Downings man John Cronin has been appointed as the new President of Athletics Ireland.
Cronin was elected at today’s virtual AAI Congress, which took place via Zoom.
His elevation to the top spot in Irish Athletics comes exactly 47 years to the day after his first race in the colours of Glenree AC.
He is the second Donegal man to hold the role after the late Fr John O’Donnell from Kilmacrennan, who served 1980-83.
John Cronin was born in Oakland, California, USA to parents John Cronin (Mallow, Co Cork) and Catherine nee McFadden (Dooey, Downings).
He moved to Dooey, Downings at an early age and attended Scoil Naomh Brid NS, Downings and Falcarragh Community School.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) degree from University College Galway.
He went on to secure employment with Burlington Industries/Atlantic Mills in Tullamore/Longford and subsequently Wyeth/Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
Cronin followed in the footsteps of his older brother Pat to dive into the sport of athletics. Their younger sister Nora also competed.
John’s first competition was a cross country race in November 1973 at Finner Camp, Ballyshannon competing for Falcarragh Community School. He represented the school in Donegal, Ulster and All Ireland Schools Championships.
Competing for Glenree Athletic Club, his first race was the Donegal Road Championships in Carrigart on Easter Sunday 1974 (the same day as Finn Harps won the FAI Cup). He was on the winning Glenree u/14 boys team.
John, coached by Myles Gallagher, continued his winning ways for Glenree AC at National level. Among his medals are a Gold Medal in the All Ireland Cross Country under 15 (Region) team 1974 held in Letterkenny, a Bronze Medal under 15 800m 1975 (Santry), Gold Medal All Ireland under 16 800m 1976 (Limerick), Silver Medal All Ireland Cross Country under 16 (Region) team 1976 (Dundrum) and Silver Medal under 17 800m 1977 (Belfield).
He was selected as the BLOE Sports Star of the Year for Donegal in the year of 1976.
The Glenree athlete was very dedicated and often walked/ran/thumbed the five miles from Dooey to Glenree to train with his clubmates. He won multiple Donegal and Ulster titles on country and on track, including the Donegal Novice Cross Country title 1976, Ulster Senior 800m titles and Ulster Senior 4 x 100 and 4 x 400m Ulster Senior relay titles.
He competed for Tirconaill Striders Athletic Club in All Ireland Senior Bronze 4 x 800m relay 1977 (Limerick) and for Lifford Athletic Club, National League Final 1981 as guest.
He also competed for University College Galway Athletic Club and represented the University in 4 Intervarsity cross country and Track and Field Championships 1979 to 1982. He was a member of the gold medal winning cross country squad in 1979 and was later eected Captain and Chair of the club.
Cronin moved to Tullamore in 1983 lives there with his wife, Co Galway native Dympna O’Grady. He joined the Tullamore Harriers where he teamed up with the late great Paddy Larkin. He competed for the club and served as PRO, Captain, and Chair twice (second time for 21 years).
He also served as Competition Secretary for Offaly Athletics and was honoured with Life Presidency in 2020. He was also honoured by Offaly Sports Partnership for “Lifetime Contribution to Sport” in 2016. He was elected chair of Leinster Athletics and elected to the Board of BLE in 1998.
He was team Manager for Irish Athletics team for Riga International (Latvia) in 1999.
After working for approx. twenty years in athletic administration at county and provincial level, John continued at National level, as a Member of Athletics Ireland Technical Committee, and Member of Athletics Ireland Competition Committee, both of which he chaired.
He was elected to the Board of Athletics Ireland from 2012 to 2021 and has been Deputy President Athletics Ireland 2016 – 2021.
John continued his rise in the athletics world becoming an International Technical Official on the European Athletics Panel, following evaluation exams in Cologne, Germany in 2005 and Birmingham, England in 2009. He reached the highest level possible when appointed to the World Athletics panel following further evaluation exams in London, England in 2013 and 2018.
Multiple appointments followed from both panels including World Indoor Championships, Portland, USA, 2016, Field Referee; Birmingham, England, 2018, Starts Referee; World Outdoor Championships Doha, Qatar, 2019, Track Referee.
John was elected to the World Athletics Technical Committee during their Congress in Beijing, China in 2015, becoming only the fourth Irish Person elected to a World Athletics committee.
The pinnacle of John’s International Technical officialdom came when he was appointed to the Jury of Appeal at Olympic Games, Tokyo, 2021. An appropriate recognition for over forty years of voluntary dedication to athletics at all levels.
He has been elected as a Member of European Athletics Technical Delegate panel and appointed as Technical Delegate, European Championships, Munich, Germany, 2022.
John has used his vast International experience in playing a vital role in International Championships held in Ireland for the last twenty years. He is Competition Director at the 2021 European Cross Country Championships, scheduled for Abbotstown, Dublin in December.Tags: