On the 25th July 1925 the ‘Belfast Telegraph’ reported on a meeting that had taken place the previous day in Messrs. Robsons, Chichester Street , Belfast at which Mr. Tom Murphy presided. The outcome of the meeting was the formation of a new governing body to control and administer athletics in Ulster ( Northern Ireland ) to be known as the Northern Ireland Amateur Athletics, Cycling and Cross Country Association. At the meeting it was proposed by Mr. Herbert Neill (Belfast Cycling Club) and seconded by Mr. Jim Stevenson (Cross Country Association) that:
“henceforth all athletes and cyclists who participated in any meeting in Northern Ireland other than under the laws of the new Association would be liable to suspension”
In 1932, dropped the cycling connection and became the Northern Ireland Amateur Athletic Association.
On 15 th August 1925 at Ballydrain J. P. Clarke (Co. Antrim Harriers and R.U.C.) defeated C. Jamison and J. Holmes (both Trinity) to win the first Northern Ireland Mile Championship, a success which he followed up twelve days later by adding the half mile championship. The occasion was the Glentoran Football Club Sports Day at 6.45 in the evening and for 9d the spectators had the chance to see J. Morrison of Glentoran win the 75 yards Handicap and J. Hayes of Trinity win a Backwards Race. Trinity was the name of a Belfast club and should not be confused with the Dublin University of the same name. The following year the same J. Morrison became the first Northern Ireland 100 and 220 yards sprint champion.
I can only assume that he was the same J. Morrison who in that 1925/26 season teamed up in the Glentoran attack with the famous Joe Bambrick who played only one season for the ‘Glens’ before signing professional terms with the ‘arch enemy’ Linfield.
These were the only two championships held in 1925. Indeed progress was slow and it was not until 1935, when the Championships took up residence at Dunmore Stadium, that what might be considered a full programme of Track and Field events was staged.
Athletic meetings at that time were held throughout the country in towns and villages, often in conjunction with the local festival. Tracks were little more than fields specially marked out for the occasion. Running and field events including heavy throws and tug of war shared the programme with cycling and most of the track events were handicaps.