Sunday, August 25, 2013

Overall view of the size of athletic clubs in Munster...

From the Running in Cork blog.....

Following on from an earlier post about the size of the various athletic clubs in Cork by the number of adult and juvenile members, I had similar posts up on the Running in Munster site about the clubs in Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and Waterford.

In this post, we'll look at how the Cork clubs compare to the other various clubs in Munster.

First of all, here is some background info. The chart below from the 2011 census shows the population of each of the six counties in Munster. It would probably be a reasonable expectation that  the number of athletes in each county should roughly match the relative size of each county. i.e Cork will have the most adults in clubs, then Limerick, then Tipperary and so on.

Adults...Seniors and Masters...First, this is how the counties compare based on the number of adults in athletic clubs (July 2013).

By taking the total number of adult members and dividing it by the available population in that county then a percentage of the total can be worked out.  
1) The best performing county is actually Tipperary. For example, about 0.62% of the total population of the county are adult members of an athletic club.

2) Waterford at 0.43% has remained largely unchanged in the last two years.

3) The numbers in Cork have grown in the last two years going from 0.29% to 0.42%. There is plenty of scope there for clubs to grow before they match the performance of the Tipperary clubs. For example, there would be over 3,200 adults in athletic clubs in Cork if they were doing as well as the clubs in Tipperary rather than the 2189 as it is now.

4) Clare are at 0.35% but it's a bit misleading because of the inclusion of Marathon Club Ireland members registered through the Clare County Board. If they were omitted then Clare, Limerick and Kerry are roughly all the same around 0.26%. Over the last two years, Limerick has recorded a small growth while Kerry is the only county in Munster to lose adults in the last year. Looking at the chart above, all of the athletic clubs in Kerry, Clare and Limerick could double the number of adult members and they would still be behind the numbers in the Tipperary clubs. Obviously, there is huge scope for growth in adult membership in athletic clubs in those three counties.

Largest clubs in Munster....These are the 14 largest clubs in Munster in terms of adult membership (100+ members)...(Cork 7 / Limerick 2 / Tipperary 3 / Waterford 2)...
It's no great suprise to see that Clonmel AC in Tipperary is the largest club in Munster in terms of adult members. No clubs in Kerry or Clare have over 100 adult members.

Juniors and Juveniles......This is the breakdown of the number of Juvenile and Juniors in athletic clubs in each county...

Again, by taking the total number of juvenile & junior members and dividing it by the available population in that county then a percentage of the total can be worked out.  
1) Again, Tipperary have the highest percentage at 0.83%.
2) For juveniles and juniors, the clubs in Clare and Kerry are doing well in contrast  to the number of adult members that they have. The stats show strong growth in numbers in Clare in 2013.
3) Waterford are slightly behind at 0.66%. The stats show hardly any growth in the last two years. There is plenty of scope for growth in underage athletics in the Déise.
4) Cork is well behind with 0.53%. One possible factor here is that very large population centres don't seem to translate into huge numbers in clubs. An example of this can be seen in Dublin where the clubs while big are nowhere as big as the population there might suggest. However, it's hard to believe that the clubs in Cork couldn't be bigger even though they recorded huge growth in last two years already.
5) Limerick is frankly dismal with 0.38%. Even looking at the raw stats bears this out. Limerick is the second largest county in Munster in population terms and has 720 juveniles. Waterford is the smallest county and has 743. It was even worse two years ago when there was only 584 in Limerick. Whatever the reason for the low numbers in Limerick, there is huge scope for growth.

Largest clubs in Munster....These are the 29 largest clubs in Munster in terms of juvenile and junior membership (100+ members)...(Cork 9 / Limerick 3 / Tipperary 6 / Waterford 3 / Kerry 5 / Clare 3)...

One to note here is Bandon AC in West Cork, the second largest club in Munster in terms of juveniles and juniors. The population of Bandon was 6,640 back in the 2011 census.

These are some of the other larger towns in Munster by population.....
Ennis Clare      25,360 / Tralee Kerry       23,693 / Clonmel Tipperary & Waterford    17,908 / Carrigaline Cork    14,775 / Killarney   Kerry    14,219 / Cobh    Cork    12,347 / Midleton    Cork    12,001 / Mallow   Cork    11,605 / Tramore   Waterford    10,328 / Shannon   Clare    9,673 / Dungarvan Waterford    9,427 / Nenagh Tipperary    8,439 / Thurles  Tipperary    7,933 / Youghal    Cork    7,794

Why couldn't there be athletic clubs in these towns as big as Bandon AC?

In conclusion.......I started off this post as a quick comparison between the various clubs in Munster and it turned into a monster post ;o) For anyone interested in the stats however, it does show up areas in the province where club membership for adults and for underage athletes is lagging.

Of course, the size of a club doesn't mean a club is better. Some of the clubs with a large adult membership have different priorities with some concentrating on track and field while others are more interested in road running. In general though, the larger a club is then then more dynamic it is. It's no accident that two of the largest clubs in Munster...Clonmel AC and West Waterford AC.....are also the busiest in terms of organising road races.

In terms of juveniles and juniors, it's obvious that there must be areas of Munster and probably the country where there is very little in terms of athletics. Look for example at BMOH AC in Sixmilebridge in Co.Clare. A brand new club and already it has over 100 juveniles. Could that not be repeated in many other towns around the country?

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