“Markham brothers in the fast lane to success”    by Tony Mulvey


BROTHERS Brian and Liam Markham are among the new generation putting their native Coolmeen parish on the map.

They are doing so by letting their feet do the talking and although still in their teenage years they have accumulated more titles than most athletes could dream of in a lifetime.  Sons of Gerry and Joan Markham, they live at Derryguiha, just inside the Coolmeen side of neighbouring parish, Kilmurry McMahon.

Both young athletes are taking their success and fame in their stride and are looking forward to greater things at club and national level.  Brian is aged 16 years and in his case it was very much a case of success coming overnight.  He started running in 1996 when he was eight years of age and that very same year he won his first Munster medal.  A year later he progressed to winning a national title and up to two years ago had the distinction of winning cross-country and track titles every year.

To date he has bagged a total of 40 Munster and All-Ireland titles, no mean achievement for an athlete of tender years.  He can proudly boast of winning an All-Ireland title every year he has been running.

The year 2002 was a big milestone in Brian’s career in athletics.  It was then that he hit the international scene for the first time and he was proud to be named on the Irish International Schools team that competed in Derby, England.  He did not let the side down and played his part in Ireland bringing home silver when finishing second to the winning English team.

That very same year he tried his luck at AAA level and finished a very creditable seventh in the 1,500 metres final.  More international honours came his way in 2003 when he was part of the Irish team which took part in the Celtic Games in Belfast.  Athletes from Ulster, Scotland and Wales also participated and Brian was delighted to have finished second in the 800 metres.  The year 2004 also got off to a promising start for the St Flannan’s student.  He was named on the Irish team which competed in the English AAA indoor championships.  He competed in the 1,500 metres and his shouts of excitement must have been heard back in his native West Clare after he was first to cross the finishing  line.  After all he was now the best runner in his class not only in Ireland but also in the British Isles. 

However, like many athletes he was hit by injury after which it was decided that he should concentrate on the 800 meters distance.

Undeterred by this setback, he was back in the headlines last June when he won the Interprovincial Schools Tailteann Games.  He was then selected on the Irish school team that went to the SIAB international Track and Field events in Chelmford, England.  There he competed in the 800 metres and finished fifth with a time of 1.57.1 minutes.  Back home he won more silverware at national level when taking the All-Ireland 800 metres race at under 17 level in July.   And with his fast time he was selected as the Irish under 18 representative for the Celtic Games in Grangemouth, Scotland.  There he put in another good performance and despite the age disadvantage he finished in second place.  In the past Brian showed his talents when he was a top class performer at the National Community Games where he did the Banner county proud.  He showed the rest of Ireland’s up and coming athletes a clean pair heels and in doing so netted five gold medals.  A great achievement at this level.

Now with another cross-country season looming Brian will be on the road again and he is looking forward to more success at All-Ireland level and perhaps further afield.

However, this year he will be thinking of more than running shoes as very much in the back of his mind is the Leaving Certificate which he will be sitting next summer.  He is looking forward to doing as good in the exams as in the running and maybe head off to college in the US to further his career and his running.  Maybe there could be another Ron Delaney making his was across the Atlantic.

Brian’s younger brother, Liam, has also been making his mark.  Although still only 12 years old, he already has 12 All-Ireland victories to his credit.  Another remarkable achievement.  He was aged nine years when he won his first cross-country title at All-Ireland level.  And following on that he won cross-country and indoor track 600 metres races at the age of 10, 11 and 12.  He has helped Clare to win three gold medals in Mosney.

An all rounder, Liam has been to the fore in other games and at GAA level has assisted Coolmeen to win county football titles at under 13, under 13 and under 14.  And for good measure he has featured in soccer teams and last year won an under 11 title.  He too is a student at St. Flannan’s College where he has started his first year.

The Markham brothers are like many of the young athletes coming form this part of the country, a product of Tommy McCarthy.  He has set them off on the right foot.  Brian is now a member of Ennis Track Club and Liam runs in the colours of St. Mary’s AC. Both young athletes must have been influenced by the contribution made by the Markham name in West Clare.  After all their father Gerry won silver and bronze at the All-Ireland track championships for over 35’s at Tullamore.  His sons are fat on his heals

  • Moloney, The Marathon Hero.
  • The journals race is over, the marathon is won,
  • All records they are broken, by Moloney it was sone,
  • Though he being but an amateur, the pros’ may now beware,
  • Of this sturdy son of Erin, from Coolmeen, Co. Clare.
  • There were many entries for this race, some three hundred or more,
  • Who thought, the race they had in hand, and smiles they wore galore,
  • But they little knew Moloney, this lad so blithe and fair,
  • This gallant son of Erin, from Coolmeen, Co. Clare.
  • Among’st  the starters for the race, there were those who won before,
  • Such as Crowley, who on thanksgiving day, made other cracks feel sore,
  • For him they all were on the watch, they thought none else was there,
  • Not knowing Matt Moloney, from Coolmeen, Co. Clare.
  • But soon they found out different, when after a mile or two,
  • He showed them what youth and muscle, and Irish blood could do,
  • And very soon he took the lead, and to keep it then took care,
  • This hero Matt Moloney, from Coolmeen, Co. Clare.
  • And now he owns the record, I hope it brings him joy,
  • For he always was a marvel, yes even as a boy,
  • He could play a game of football, with a man from anywhere,
  • When at home in dear old Ireland in Coolmeen, Co. Clare.
  • And sometimes he showed his prowess, when he led a score or more,
  • Of the young lads around his home, ‘stead from Aylroe to the shore,
  • Where they often ran on Sundays, not troubled then by care,
  • Along the banks of the Shannon in his native, Co. Clare.
  • And often as a child, when in Effernan at school,
  • To run from there to Neenans, he always made it a rule,
  • But never for a moment, in boyhood days so rare,
  • Did he think of athletic honours, in Coolmeen, Co. Clare.
  • Last summer when in London, the Marathon was won by Hayes,
  • When the days were long and warm, and the sun sent forth its rays,
  • He thought it a great achievement in weather bright and fair,
  • Yes, all but Matt Moloney, from Coolmeen, Co. Clare.
  • And when in the garden, where Hayes and Dorando ran,
  • To bring others to the forefront, the Marathon craze began,
  • And in a few years after, Longboat them all did scare,
  • They were watched by Matt Moloney, from Coolmeen, Co. Clare.


Matt Moloney was born in Coolmeen, on the 26th October, 1882 and baptized in his local church the same day. He took part in local Gaelic football matches but never took part in athletics. At the age of 20 he left for the U.S. and did not take part in his first race till 1907 at the age of 25. He had great victories in the Yonkers Marathon in 1908, the American Marathon in 1909. His first professional race was a match race against fellow Irishman, Pat White from Co. Dublin. This race was held at Sixty Ninth Regiment Armoury, New York City and was over 26 miles and 385 yards. Moloney was victorious in this one. This was Matt Moloney’s seventh successive win over the full marathon distance.

James Brogan 1966




Since the foundation of St. Mary’s Athletic Club in 1955 the contribution of athletes from the townland of Derryguiha has been enormous. These athletes have captured the attention of the media; bringing pride and honour at County, Munster and National level. James Brogan of course was a remarkable and talented athlete, my first memory of him was seeing him run the hills of Coolmeen in all types of weather. He set a high standard on competition and of course in the 1960’s and 1970’s modern training facilities and luxuries were confined. In the 1959 local sports meeting James was the winner of the one and two mile flat, open races. The Junior Cross-Country Championship of 1961 was won by James Brogan with Jim Hanrahan also of Derryguiha in 7th place. The victory led to an inflow of new athletes and St. Mary’s won the Clare Youths (Under 18), C.C. of that season new faces from Derryguiha encouraged by James and making the victorious team were; Michael Brogan, Pat Hanrahan and Noel Markham. In the All Ireland youths championship of that year James was the recipient of the gold medal.

Again in 1962 James continued his winning way by winning the All Ireland youths c.c. championship at Carrigaline, Co. Cork and in 1963 Brogan added to his laurels by winning the Clare Senior c.c. (seven and a half mile distance) championship at Cross.

Joseph Brogan a brother of James won the county Junior cross country championship at Cross in the 1964/’65 season. Josie was also showing talent in sports meetings locally.

1966 holds special memory for James Brogan his achievements in that year included the winning of the All Ireland Junior c.c. title at Ballymore-Eustace, Co. Kildare and the Clare senior c.c. title.

St. Mary’s athletic club won its first ever Clare Senior cross country championship in 1968 at Dromoland, James Brogan and his neighbour Jim Hanrahan were a part of the team. Two years later James Brogan and Jim Hanrahan won their second team championship at senior grade.

The contribution from three homesteads; Brogans’ Hanrahans; and Markhams’ in the small townland of Derryguiha has been enormous and is now endorsed in the annals.


Some results from competitions involving athletes from Derryguiha;

St. Mary’s Sports 1960 – Mile 1st J. Brogan, 3 Mile J. Brogan

St. Mary’s Sports 1962 – 100 Yards un 12 …1st O. Markham

St. Mary’s Sports 1962 – 2 Mile ….1st J. Brogan

NewMarket Sports 1962 – Mile …1st J. Brogan

St. Mary’s Sports 1963 – 880 Yds …1st J. Brogan

St. Mary’s Sports 1963 – 440 Yds…1st N. Markham

St. Mary’s Sports 1964 – Un 14, 220 Yds 1st…O. Markham



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