With restrictions slightly easing in Ireland, road racing was back with a bang over the last week. Although numbers were still restricted, it feels like great progress. 

On Sunday (July 25), Leevale’s Ryan Creech was the winner of the Bob Burke 4-Mile held in Fermoy Co Cork – one of at least four road races that day held at venues all over the country.

Creech’s time of 19 minutes exactly put him half a minute clear of Ger Forde from Kilkenny City Harriers who finished in 15:31. Tim O’Donoghue from East Cork AC was a second behind for third and Niall Shahahan of An Bru AC a second behind again for fourth place. Shanahan was also first M40.

Leevale AC took the top five women’s placings, with Lizzie Lee first in 21:24, followed by Jessica Coyne in 22:30 and Niamh Moore 23:3 the top three.

Back to strong 5k racing on the road

In Ferbane, Co Offaly, Mick Fogarty of host club Ferbane AC was the winner of the Hugo Smith Memorial 5km in 15 mins 30 secs. Andrew O’Brien from Kildare AC was second in 15:45 and Paul Buckley of Ferbane AC third and first M45 in 16:12.

Tullamore Harriers dominated the women’s race with Danielle Donegan first woman in 17:39, followed by Emily Grennan 18:16 and the great Pauline Curley, now W50, in 18:21. Ciaran Tobin of Trim AC was first M60 in 22:54 and Eileen Kenny of Athlone IT AC first W70 in 23:55.

Colin Leonard made it a home win in the Drogheda and District AC 5km, finishing in 15:54. He was followed home by club mates Paul Smith, who was first M40 in 16:09, and Brian Martin in 16:20.

Tenth overall, first woman and first over 50, man or woman, was the ageless Catherina McKiernan of Annalee AC in 17:35.

Eimear Dowling of Navan AC was second woman in 20:04 and Fiona Kenna of Drogheda and District AC third woman and first W40 in 20:14.

Road running stalwarts Chris Keeling of Balbriggan and District AC and Nuala Reilly of Drogheda and District AC took the over 60 prizes.

Wicklow 5km series continues

Taking place in Avondale Forest Park outside Rathdrum, Co Wicklow was the second round of the Wicklow 5km Series, where Jason Byrne finished well clear of the field in 17 mins 48 secs.

Ray Kenny was second and first M45 in 18:39 and Sheila O’Byrne third and first woman in 18:45. Winning the juvenile 1500m was Maria Zakharenko W14 of local club, Parnell AC. Three rounds remain in the series.

On Saturday (July 24), Galway’s east side was the venue for the Back to Business 5km, where the winner was Rory Chesser of Ennis TC in 15:21. Abaas Edris of Castlegar AC, who is originally from the Sudan, and started running in Ireland through the Sanctuary Runners group, was second in 15:41 with Ger Cuddy of Galway City Harriers third in 16:24.

The women’s race proved a thriller, with Deirdre Gibbons just beating her Galway City Harriers clubmate Kathryn Casserly. Gibbons won in 18:35 and Casserly a second behind. Third was Niamh Johnston of Naas AC in 20:18.

Not just track in Tokyo

With the qualifying rounds for the National Track and Field League cancelled, the fine new track at Carlow IT played host on Sunday (July 25) to a replacement meet called the Athletics Ireland Summer Games.

Star of the show was Cian McPhilips of Longford AC who won the men’s 1500m in an Irish U20 record time of 3:40.56. Second was the vastly experienced Eoin Everard of Kilkenny City Harriers in 3:43.81. Jodie McCann of Dublin City Harriers won the women’s 1500m in 4 mins 33.21 secs.

Winning the 5000m in 15:38.97 was Jamie Fallon of Craughwell AC.

Ulster athlete Katie Kirk was a clear winner of the A grade women’s 800m at the Loughborough BMC Grand Prix on Saturday (June 24), where a large number of Irish athletes were in action.

Kirk ran a season’s best time of 2:03.11.

In the men’s Grade A 1500m, Darragh McElhinney of UCD AC finished second in a personal best time of 3:42.14. Winning the C race in 3:45.45 was Jonathan Whan of Clonliffe Harriers. Letterkenny’s Danny Mooney clocked a time of 3:48.08 for eighth in the B race followed byMitchel Byrne of Rathfarnham WSAF AC, tenth in 3:50.41. In the D race, Mark Hanrahan of Ennis TC ran 3:49:30 for second place.

Women’s 1500m packed full of Irish talent

Georgie Hartigan of Dundrum South Dublin AC, who pushed hard from the start in the women’s 1500m, ended up a solid second in 4:12.13. Winner was Ellie Baker in 4:11.33. Behind them, Maisy O’Sullivan of St Abban’s AC was sixth in 4:17.93, Carla Sweeney of Rathfarnham WSAF AC seventh in 4:18.12 and Amy O’Donoghue of Emerald AC ninth in 4:20.04.

In the men’s A grade 800m, Cillian Kirwan of Raheny Shamrock AC was third in 1:48.27, with Roland Surlis of Annalee AC clocking 1:50.24 for eighth place.

Fearghal Curtin of Youghal AC lined out in the men’s A 5000m finishing second in 13:49.91. Other Irish in the race were Thomas Moran of Dunshaughlin AC, sixth in 14:14.62, Liam Harris of Togher AC, ninth in 14:20.26, and Jamie Battle of Mullingar Harriers, 11th in 14:23.07. In the B race, Keelan Kilrehill of Moy Valley AC ran a personal best 14:18.43 for fourth place.

Best of the Irish in the women’s 5000m was Grace Carson of Mid-Ulster AC who finished fifth in in 16:23.57. Full results here.

Mary Mulhare of Portlaoise and District won the 5000m at the fourth Dublin Graded Track and Field meeting held in Tallaght on Wednesday (July 21). Mulhare proved the class of the field with a time of 16 mins 58.94 secs.

Cliona Murphy of Dublin City Harriers was second in 17:27.10 and Eavan McLoughlin of Sligo AC third in 17:40.76.

Ger Forde of Kilkenny City Harrers was fastest in the mens’ grade A race, finishing in 15:05.20. Chasing him hard was Dylan Wright of Lucan Harriers who was less than half a second behind in 15:05.50. Brishan O’Brien of Tallaght AC was third in 15:17.80.