Efrem Gidey and Fionnuala McCormack led home a massive entry of 3,500 at the 38th Raheny 5-mile in Dublin on Sunday (January) — the first major road to be held in the city in almost two years.

Gidey, of the Clonliffe Harriers club, was making a return to racing and a period out with injury and he was to the forefront from the start of the race, around a new look course which tracked its way through St Anne’s Park and is possibly not as fast as the original course over the local roads.

With half a mile to go, Gidey had a clear lead and he finished in a time of 24 mins 41 secs.

For second place, Leevale’s Ryan Creech beat Ben Branagh of St Malachy’s AC in Belfast with the pair timed at 24:46 and 24.48. Eskander Turki of Annadale Striders finished fourth and Tim O’Donoghue of East Cork AC fifth.

In the team competition which attracted a record total of seventy-nine teams, Creech was leading Leevale to a comprehensive team victory over host club Raheny Shamrock. Making up the Leevale team were Conor McCauley and Gavin Rourke.

A further fifty-eight masters’ teams had signed up for the race, with Portmarnock AC the winners ahead of Raheny Shamrock and Rathfarnham WSAF AC.

Photo: Lindie Naughton

Of the women, Fionnuala McCormack of Kilcoole AC, who had finished first woman the last time the race was held in 2020, again proved the class of the field finishing in 27 mins 32 secs. Sorcha Nic Dhomhnaill of Donore Harriers was second in 27:51 and Nakita Burke of Letterkenny AC third in 28:29.

Again the big story was the number of club teams who had enetred the race from all over the country and leading home the sixty-three senior teams from all over the country was the DSD AC trio of Meghan Ryan, Maria McCambridge and Niamh Devlin.

Dublin teams for the win

Making it a Dublin top three were Raheny Shamrock second and Sportsworld RC third. When it came to the masters, Raheny Shamrock had their only team victory of the day finishing first of forty-seven teams. Mullingar Harriers were second and Clonliffe Harriers third.

In the age categories, the women’s winners were Aisling Nic Dhomhnaill (Donore Harriers) W40, Maria McCambridge (Dundrum South Dublin AC) W45, Annette Kealy (Raheny Shamrock) W50, Mary Stuart (Mullingar Harriers) W55, Grainne Grennan (Blackrock AC) W60, Nuala Reilly (Drogheda and District AC) W65 and Eileen O’Brien (Lucan Harriers) W70.
Of teh men, first M40 was Niall Shanahan of An Bru AC.

Other winners were Declan Reed (City of Derry Spartans) M45, Declan Power (Clonliffe Harriers) M50, Michael Counsel (Trim AC) M55, Peter Donohoe ( Celbridge AC) M60, Paul Elliott (Beechmount Harriers) M65, Patrick Devitt (Clonliffe Harriers) M70 and Eddie Coyle (Tallaght AC) M75. First junior was Shane Spring of Raheny Shamrock.

Never far from anyone’s minds was the late Pat Hooper, founder of this great race and a club man through and through. How delighted would he have been to see both road running and club athletics back with such a bang!

Road action elsewhere

Elswhere, at the Kerins O’Rahilly GAA 10km, former Irish international Shona Heaslip of An Riocht AC finished second overall and first woman in 33 mins 41secs. Race winner was Derek Griffin in 33:19.

Also back in action at the weekend was the Marathon Club of Ireland, with Aidan Hogan in 3:15.45 and Anne Jennings in 3:53.57 the fastest man and woman at its event in Bracknagh, Co Offaly, on Saturday (January 29)

After a race-long battle with West Waterford’s Pat Hennessy, Clonmel athlete Evan Fitzgerald set a new course record when winning the Newcastle 5km on Sunday (January 30) in a time of 15 mins 13 secs writes John Walshe.

Hennessy equalled his 2020 winning time of 15:25 in second with James Tanner of Nenagh Olympic third in 15:28

In a close women’s race, Marie-Claire McCarthy just got the better of her Clonmel club-mate Angela McCann, her 18:28 giving a nine-second advantage over McCann

Westport native Maura Ginty of Sportsworld finished third in 19:38.

Keeping it indoors

Highlight of the Irish performances at the Millrose Games in New York on Saturday (January 20) was a second place for Luke McCann of UCD AC in the Michael Blum Mile. McCann was leading at 1500m with a time of 3:42.27 and held on to finish second in 3:58.21. Race winner was Shane Streich of Atlanta TC in 3:57.98

In the Wanamaker Mile, Andrew Coscoran of Star of the Sea AC finished 12th in 4:03.81.

Both Grace Foley and Cian Donnelly finished third in the respective Fastest Kid in the World races.

In the women’s 800m, 17-year-old Roisin Willis, the daughter of Irish Olympian Brid Dennehy Willis, finished third in 2:03.28, while in the boy’s mile, Shane Brosnan was third in 4:09.83.

Brian Fay of Raheny Shamrock AC was one of three Irish athletes to break four minutes this weekend, running a time of 3:55.14 when competing for the University of Washington on an over-sized track of 300m. The time knocked over three seconds off his previous best.

Darragh McElhinney of UCD improved his personal best time to 3:42.89 when winning the 1500m at the Irish Universities Indoor Championships in Athlone on Saturday (January 29).

His UCD teammate Mark Milner was second in 3:44.48, also a personal best.

In the men’s 3000m, Keelan Kilrehill of DCU was the winner in 8:20.14 with Liam Harris from UCC second in 8:22.76 and UCD’s Conor Maguire third in 8:23.83. Roland Surlis of NUIG won the men’s 800m in 1:53.02.

Winning the women’s 3000m in 9:26.02 was Aoife Kilgallon of NUIG. Highlight of the women’s programme was a new Irish 60 m record of 7.23 secs set by Molly Scott.

Overall, UL finished top of the men’s table with DCU best of the women.

30 January 2022; Anne Gilshinan of Slaney Olympic AC, Wexford, on her way to winning the over 55 women’s 800m during the Irish Life Health National Masters Indoor Championships at TUS International Arena in Athlone, Westmeath. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

A day later, also in Athlone, master athletes were warming up for the Europeans Masters Indoors in Portugal in a few weeks time, most notably perennial winners Joe Gough of West Waterford AC and Ann Gilshinan of Slaney Olympic.

Gough had wins in both the M65 400m and 800m, while Gilshinan’s time of 2:22.15 in the W55 800m was the fastest overall of the day. Over 3000m, impressive winners were comeback kids Paul Cowhie of Civil Service AC M55 and Liffey Valley’s Tom O’Connor M60.

30 January 2022; John Gibson Gribben of Orangegrove AC, Belfast, competing in the over 75 men’s 200m during the Irish Life Health National Masters Indoor Championships at TUS Internation Arena in Athlone, Westmeath. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

On the other side of the world

Down Under in Melbourne, Sinead Diver of Mayo AC ran a time of 32:36.15 to finish fifth in the Zatopek 10km at Hagenauer Reserve, Box Hill, on Wednesday (January 26)

Cross-country season isn’t over yet

Teresa Doherty of Finn Valley AC won the women’s title at the NI and Ulster Masters Cross Country Championships at the QUB Playing Fields in Belfast on Sunday (January 30)

Doherty finished six seconds clear of Olympic steeplechaser Kerry O’Flaherty who was leading Newcastle and District AC to team victory. Finn Valley, with Jennifer Elvini n third place, finished second and Willowfield Harriers third.

In the men’s race, Owen Mullan of Omagh Harriers was the winner from Philip Goss of North Belfast Harriers and Chris Hutchinson of Annadale Striders. With four finishers in the top eleven, Annadale Striders took the title title by six points from North Belfast Harriers. Newcastle and District were third. Winning the M65 race was Gerry O’Flaherty of City of Derry Spartans

Annadale also took the intermediate women’s team title, led by individual race winner Robyn McKee. In the men’s intermediate race, North Belfast Harriers were the winners ahead of Annadale, with Andrew Milligan the individual winner.

Across the pond

Charlie O’Donovan of Leevale AC finished a fighting second in the mile with a personal best time of 3:57.46 at the Sykes and Sabock Invitational in University Park, Pennsylvania, on Saturday (January 29) . Just a fortnight ago, O’Donovan, a student at Villanova, ran 1:49.63 for 800m in New York.

Alex O’Neill of Ennis TC, competing for Providence, clocked a time of 2:06.77 when she finished seventh in the women’s 800m at the John Thomas Terrier Classic, hosted by Boston University on Friday (January 28).

At the New Mexico Team Open in Albuquerque, James Dunne of Tullamore Harriers finished fourth in the mile in 4:06.48, while Ava O’Connor, also Tullamore Harriers, ran a time of 2:11.50 in the women’s 800m.

Clocking a time of 8:00.39 to win the 3000m at the Washburn Open in Topeka, Kansas, on Saturday (January 29) was Shay McEvoy of Kilkenny City Harriers. Hot on his heels in 8:00.87 was his Kilkenny clubmate Peter Lynch. A day earlier, Michael Power of Waterford AC finished third in the mile in 4:01.17. All three are students in Tulsa.

Back to Schools

Schools athletics was back in some style last week, with both East and West Leinster Cross-County Championships taking place in the Phoenix Park.

First up was the East Leinsters last Wednesday ( January 26), where Irish junior athlete Emma McEvoy, a student at Loreto Stephen’s Green in her first year as a competitive athlete, won the senior girls race, with Eimear Maher of Mount Anville second. Saoirse Ni Bhriain in third place led Colaiste Iosagain to team victory.

Holly O’Brien of St Andrew’s qwon the inter race after a close tussle with Anna Watson from St Joseph of Cluny Killiney. St Andrew’s was the winning team.

Jonas Stafford of East Glendalough won the senior boys race where Ard Scoil Ris were the team winners. In total, 339 girls and 269 were in action.

At the West Leinsters a day later, three of the four boys’ races attracted entries of over a hundred. Winning the senior title in some style was Scott Fagan of Castleknock Community College, with his school taking the top three places and clear winners of the team title.

Cormac Dalton won the inter title for HFCS, where Belvedere’s A squad was top team; the school had six teams entered.
Making it a Castlenock Community College senior double in the girls senior race was Sadbh Mohan. Maynooth PP was first team. In total, 433 boys and 288 girls ran. Full result at www.popupraces.ie

In Connacht, the finals take place in Loughrea next Sunday and among the contenders in the senior boys’ races are likely to be Oisin Davis of Pres Athenry, winner of the south zone title last week, and Niall McLoughlin of St Gerald’s, the north zone winner.

Of the senior girls, Sarah Brady of St Clare’s won the north zone race with Leah Toher of Pres Headford the south zone champion.