The name of Fr Liam Kelleher is synonymous with athletics and sport in general both as an organiser and photographer.
For years he produced and edited Marathon magazine, has been an accredited photographer for decades covering several codes including the Olympic Games.
Imagine his surprise then at being refused entry during the week to the running track at CIT tom cover the Cork Primary Schools Sports!
“I was gutted at not being allowed on to the main track to take pictures of schools as I have always done for local schools and local newspapers down through the years,” he said.
Probably best known in the field of athletics and ladies football, the Donoughmore native said it was the first time in 40 years covering these sports that he has been refused entry to the track.
“Yet there were other photographers on the track all day. It ruined my day and meant I could not get proper pictures of all the athletes I have been training in schools in Cobh for the past month or so.
“One stupid excuse I got for not being allowed in was ‘for health and safety reasons’.”
“Yet I have full press credentials including an ASTAI press card and European press card AIPS. There were so many schools disappointed that I have taken pictures for as well as local papers for the past number of years.”
Born in 1944, Fr Kelleher received his secondary education at St Colman’s College, Fermoy and in 1968 was ordained by Bishop John Ahern at St Lachteen’s Church, Donoughmore.
Having developed a love of sport early in his ministry and, while ministering in Tullylease in North Cork, he brought a full size all weather track to fruition there – a facility that would bring such notable runners as John Treacy, Eamonn Coghlan, John Walker, Frank O’Mara and Liam O’Brien to this rural location. The track at Tullylease was designed by the late Fanahan McSweeney.
For a man who has had an immense career in athletics and has managed Irish teams in the Europa Cup, refusing this accredited photographer entry to the track, is poor form indeed. An answer should be forthcoming from whoever is responsible.