Irish athletes shine at the Trafford 10k, whilst elsewhere fast times over a range of distances. Lindie Naughton reports.

Kerry athlete Shona Heaslip of An Riocht AC continued her remarkable comeback after three years of injury when she finished fourth woman at the Trafford 10km in Manchester on Sunday (March 6).

Heaslip’s time of 32 mins 14 secs was an impressive personal best and put her just over a minute behind Jessica Judd who was first woman in 31:06.

Finishing fifth in 32:45 was Grace Carson of Mid-Ulster AC, an ex-junior mountain running international, while ninth in a personal best 33:39 was Meghan Ryan of Dundrum South Dublin AC. Both were inside the European 10,000m qualifying mark of 33:57.85. This year’s European 10,000 Cup takes place in Pacé, France, near Rennes, on May 28.

After dipping her toe in cross-country over the winter, Heaslip had signalled that she was back in top form at the Cork BHAA 6km on February 13 when she finished third overall. Meanwhile Celtic Steps Tralee, for which Heaslip is still a listed cast member, resumes on May 3.

In the men’s race, Paul O’Donnell of Dundrum South Dublin AC finished ninth in 29 mins 23 secs — less than a second off the qualifying mark of 29:22.83.

At the Rome Half Marathon in Italy, Sean Doyle of North Cork AC finished 27th in a PB 65:55. It was a first race in some time for Doyle.

Local races don’t disappoint

Locally in Sunday’s races, Clonliffe’s Efrem Gidey was the winner of the Lusk 4-mile in Co Dublin on in a new course record time of 18 mins 27 secs. Over a minute behind for second in 19:34 was Rory O’Connor of North Cork AC, with Sean Doran of Clonliffe Harriers, winner of the BHAA cross-country in Maynooth a day earlier, third in 19:51.

Knocking a minute off the women’s record with a time of 21:42 was Fiona McKenna of UCD AC. Edel Gaffney of Trim AC was second in 23:12 and Michelle Cox of Newbridge AC third in 23:27. Over 500 completed the race.

In Co Kildare, Brian Martin of Drogheda and District AC in 54:26 and Maria McCambridge of Dundrum South Dublin AC in 62:11 led home an entry of close to 500 at the Naas 10-Mile.

Quilty Co Clare was the venue for the Munster 4-Mile Road Championships, where Dympna Ryan of Dundrum AC was overall winner and first W40 in the women’s race in 22 mins 44 secs.

Sharon Rynne of Kilmurray/Ibrick/N Clare AC was second in 24:27. Second of the masters in 25:14 was the ageless Niamh O’Sullivan of An Riocht AC, who is coach to Shona Heaslip and was also first W55. Ennis Track Club was best of the senior teams with An Riocht first of the masters.

Tim O’Donoghue of East Cork AC was overall winner of the men’s race and also first M35 finishing in 19:45, with Kevin Moore of Dundrum second in19:52. West Limerick AC packed well to take both senior and M35 team gold.

BHAA’s final Sunday morning race

In Cork, the BHAA concluded its programme of Sunday morning races with a large turnout of 350 runners for the MTU (formerly CIT) 5km at Bishopstown. Aa cold but beautiful morning, along with the return of the after-race refreshments, added to the enjoyable occasion, writes John Walshe.

John Meade, fifth M40 in the recent Irish masters cross-country, moved away after a mile to cross the finish on the MTU track in a time of 16:06. Kenneth Kelleher of Irish Distillers (also M40) was second in 16:20 with Jonathan Murphy of RSA third in 16:27.

Two Leevale members dominated the women’s race as Jessica Coyne had over a minute to spare over Carol Finn when winning in the good time of 17:16. Finn was almost a minute behind in 18:29. Coached by Donie Walsh, Coyne finished fourth in last summer’s national 3000m steeplechase.

In third place was the ever-consistent Carmel Crowley, representing Stockhealth, in 19:00. Now in the W50 category, the Bandon athlete was a contemporary of Sonia O’Sullivan from her early days in cross-country.

Next up for the BHAA in Cork is the PwC 5km, a new addition to the calendar for 2022. This takes place on the Marina on Wednesday evening April 13.

Solo effort for O’Regan

On Saturday, Jake O’Regan of St John’s AC posted an excellent time of 48 mins 40 secs to win the Bundoran 10-Mile, held in Co Donegal.

From the start, Iit weas a solo effort for O’Regan and he finished with over two minutes to spare.

In a race where the finishers were well spaced out, Eoin Mullan of Omagh Harriers was second in 50:59 and the ubiquitous Tudor Moldovan of Clonliffe Harriers third in 51:58.

First woman in 64:52 was Eimear Gormley of Letterkenny AC. Cora Regan of Drumshanbo AC was second and first W40 in 65:26 and Donna Evans of Clones AC third and first W50 in 65:39.

Jonny Wham of Clonliffe Harriers won a competitive Coleraine Campus Elite 5km on Friday in a time of 14 mins 47 secs. Callum Morgan of St Malachy’s AC was second and first junior in 14:49 and John Paul Williamson third in 14:51.

First woman in 16:28 was Jessica Craig of North Down AC. Ciara Toner of City of Derry Spartans was second in 17:17 and Kerry Bamber of Ballymena Runners third in 17:40.

Cross-Country – DCU On The Double

DCU’s Keelan Kilrehill, a member of the winning Irish U23 team at the European Cross-Country, was the winner of a quality men’s 8km race at the Irish Universities Cross-Country Championships at the Trinity Sports Grounds in Santry on Saturday (March 5).

Last year, Kilrehill pulled out in the later stages of the race, but there was no such drama this time as he battled it out with UCD post-grad student Alberto Mondazzi, a winner of the recent Clane 5km. At the finish, the pair were separated by just two seconds with Kilrehill finishing in 25 mins 21 secs. Third was Jamie Battle, also DCU.

For a second year, NUI Galway took the team title, with Donal Devane leading them home in fourth place and all six counters finishing inside the top sixteen. DCU was second and UL third, with nine complete teams competing.

In the women’s 5km, Aoife O Cuill of DCU made it a DCU double and proved the class of the race finishing in 18 mins 16 secs. Second was Celine Gavin,who was leading Trinity College toteam victory. Best college overall was DCU with Trinity second and UCD a distant third.

Rounding off the Leinster BHAA cross-country season was the annual AIB NUI Maynooth fixture held in the tranquil surroundings of NUIM.

First up were the women with Laura O’Donnell a clear winner of the two mile race and Retail Ladies the winning team.

Sean Doran of Harriers Products was back to winning ways in the men’s 4-Mile race, holding off the challenge of Mark Ryan, with Thomas Sherlock of Bank of Ireland third.

Brotherly love was put to one side when Niall Sherlock led the Teachers team to a two-point victory in grade A over Bank of Ireland, led by his brother Thomas. ESB was third. With no grade B teams entered, he Department of Education won grade C, and ESB grade D. BHAA athletics now turns to the roads, with theDublin City Council Road Races scheduled for St Anne’s Park, Raheny on Saturday, April 2 (11am). Newcomers are very welcome atany BHAA race.

Abroad, at the final CrossCup round in Brussels on Sunday (March 6), Lauren Tinkler of Dublin City Harriers finished eleventh and her clubmate Ali Armstrong 27th.

Indoors and out in the USA

Roisin Flanagan of FinnValley AC finished second in the women’s 3000m, witha PB of 9:07.10 at the American Track League meet in California on Sunday (March (6).

In another women’s 30000m, Kilkenny athlete Aoibhe Richardson, making her season’s debut, was third in 9:22.50.

At the ICAAA/ECSC Indoors, hosted by Boston University over the weekend, Alex O’Neill of Ennis TC won the 1000m in 2:45.53. In the men’s 3000m Abdel Laadjel of Donore Harriers ran a time of 8:07.89 for seventh place, while in the women’s 3000m, Nadine Donegan of Tullamore Harriers was sixth in 9:29.16.

At the Sound Running 10,000m in California – moved to Sunday becauseof the weather – Ryan Forsyth, of Newcastle and District AC, running his debut race of the outdoor season, was 17th in 29:35.38.