It was at two different races, but all in fair weather Spain, that Irish athletes performed best this weekend. Lindie Naughton reports.
Leevale AC’s Ryan Creech was making his marathon debut in Seville on Sunday (February 19) where he finished 45th in 2 hrs 13 mins 3 secs.
Behind him, Sean Doyle of North Cork AC clocked 2:22.11 and Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers 2:23.09, while Jessica Craig of North Down AC finished in 2:38.44.
A large group of Irish athletes had travelled to the Barcelona Half Marathon, where Aoife Cooke of Eagle AC finished ninth woman with a time of 71 mins 8 secs – only ten seconds off her personal best 70:58 run in Barcelona last April.
Not far behind her was AnnMarie McGlynn of Letterkenny AC 11th in 72:35, Grace Lynch of Athletics Ireland 15th in 73:52 and Irish marathon champion Courtney McGuire of Clonmel AC 17th in 74:03.
Leading home the Irish men was Conor Duffy of Glaslough AC who finished in 65 mins 24 secs, followed by Ger Forde of Kilkenny City Harriers in 65:32 and David Mansfield of Clonmel AC in 65:49. All three were personal best times.
Action at home as well
Locally, Pat Hennessy of West Waterford AC was the winner of the Tommy Ryan Memorial Carrigaline 5-mile, Co Cork on Sunday (February 19) in 25 mins 42 secs. Leevale AC’s Denis Coakley was second in 25:58 and John Meade of St Finbarr’s AC third in 26:37.
Finishing eighth and first woman in 27:43 was Lizzie Lee of Leevale AC. Jelena Abele was second in 28:48 and Sharon Rynne of Kilmurry Ibrikane Nth Clare AC third in 30:19.
On the same day, Tudor Moldovan of Clonliffe Harriers, fresh from his victory at the National 50km Championships a week earlier, was a comfortable winner of the Turgeusis Island 10-Mile, Collinstown, Co Westmeath.
Moldovan proved the class of the field winning in 52 mins 38 secs. Second in 54:53 was George Snee of Dunboyne AC. First woman in 67.43 was Theresa Hughes of Athlone AC.
Former Irish marathon champion Sean Hehir, now with Croghan AC was the winner of the Gorey Night Run 5km on Thursday (February 16). Hehir finished in 15 mins 45 secs. First woman was Sandra Bernie, also Croghan AC, in 18:47.
Eoin Flynn and Sarah Mulligan were the winners of the Central Bank BHAA 6km Cross-Country, held around the playing fields of Wesley College, Dundrum, Dublin on Saturday (February 18).
Flynn, who had finished second in the All Ireland Masters Cross-Country a week earlier, took to the front after two laps of the four lap course finishing in 20 mins 22 secs. Second in 20:58 was Conor Burke of KPMG while third in 21:17 was George Snee of Fidelity Investments Ireland in his first of two races over the weekend.
Sarah Mulligan, like Flynn an Irish mountain running international, was winner of a quality women’s race in 23:11. Just six seconds behind for second in 23:17 was Edel Gaffeny while third was Aoife Byrne of the Teachers team in 25:08.
The Teachers’ A team, including Byrne, won Grade 1, ahead of ESB and Teachers B. Winners in Grade 2 were Eir by just four points from Engineering A. In Grade 3, the Gardai were the winners, with Fingal County Council second. Next Dublin BHAA race is the ALSAA Cross-Country at Dublin Airport on March 4. www.bhaa.ie
Kate McDonald of Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District AC was the winner of the women’s 4km at the Rás na hEireann Cross-Country in Oldbridge, Co Meath, on Sunday (February 19). McDonald’s time of 14 mins 50 secs put her comfortably clear of Kelly Breen of North East Runners in 15:13 and Karen Costello of Dunleer AC in 15:56. Dunleer AC took the team award.
In the men’s 6000m, Eoin Smyth of Tara AC was the winner in 19:27. Joe Cocoman [sic] of Naas AC was second in 20:03 and Eseosa Omoregbe of Dunleer AC third in 20:27. Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District AC, led by Cian McDonald in fourth place, were first team.
Third round of action
At the third round of the Meet and Race (formerly Meet and Train) women’s cross-country league in Irishtown park, Christin Scollard of Blackrock AC was the winner in 12 mins 17 secs. Scollard has made steady progress this season, finishing third in the opening round of the league and runner-up in the second round.
Second in 12:34 was Sinead Tighe of Brothers Pearse AC while a close third in 17:36 was Niamh Corby of host club Crusaders.
In the team competition Sportsworld A, Brothers Pearse, Esker A, Blackrock and Donore Dawdlers are all still in contention, with the best three results from four races to count. The final round of the league takes place on Sunday March 12 at a Dublin venue to be confirmed.
Highlight of the middle distances at All Ireland Indoor Championships held over two days in Abbotstown (February 18-19) was a win for Darragh McElhinney of UCD AC in the men’s 3000m, with his time of 7 mins 49.18 sec a championships record. Helping make the pace was Nicholas Griggs of Mid-Ulster AC who finished second in 7:55.74.
Cheryl Nolan of St Abban’s AC won an exciting women’s 3000m in 9:22.32, catching Michelle Finn of Leevale on the line; Finn’s time was 9:22.35. Niamh Kearney of Raheny Shamrock AC was third in 9:25.56.
In the men’s 800m, Mark English of Finn Valley AC was winning his ninth indoor title in a time of 1:52.47. A surprise winner of the women’s race was Iseult O’Donnell of Raheny Shamrock AC who beat pre-race favourite Nadia Power of Dublin City Harriers. The pair were given times of 2:07.06 and 2:07.22.
Taking the women’s 1500m title was Carla Sweeney of Rathfarnham WSAF AC in 4:25.62. Amy O‘Donoghue, a new recruit for Dundrum South Dublin AC, was second in 4:25.62. Eoin Peirce of Clonliffe Harriers won the men’s 1500m in 3:54.28, with junior athlete Philip Marron of Ratoath AC a close second in 3:54.64.
In the 60m, Israel Olatunde of UCD AC smashed the Irish record with a time of 6.57 secs. Paul Hession’s record of 6.61 secs had stood for sixteen years.
France and US racing in there too
Abroad, John Fitzsimons of Kildare AC ran a time of 1:47 .92 for 800m at at the Meeting Hauts de France Pas de Calais meet in Liévin, France on Wednesday (February 15).
In the USA, Charlie O’Donovan of Leevale AC was part of the Villanova squad that finished third in the distance medley relay at the Alex Wilson Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame on Saturday (February18) at South Bend, Indiana. The team ran a time of 9:20.44 which knocked seven seconds off the previous Villanova record.