After a busy St. Patrick’s Day weekend we have the full report on Irish endurance action. Lindie Naughton covers it all.

A close-fought battle up front saw Eoin Everard of Kilkernny City Harriers pulling out a narrow win at the Street of Portlaoise 5km on St Patrick’s Day (Friday March 17).

Everard was pushed hard by William Maunsell of Clonmel AC, only beating him by a single second; the pair were timed at 14 mins 36 secs and 14:37. Third in 14:44 was Jake O’Regan of St John’s AC. Fifth and first junior was Jack Fenlon of St Abban’s AC in 14:51.

Olympic steeplechaser Michelle Finn was a comfortable winner of the women’s race in 16 mins 01 sec. Grace Lynch, a recent recruit for Dundrum South Dublin AC, was second in 16:21, with Ide Ní Dhomhnaill of West Limerick AC third in 16:32. Fourth and first W40 in 16:38 was Lizzie Lee of Leevale AC, while first junior was Eimear Maher of DSD AC who was seventh overall in 17:28.

The race was the first in this year’s Pop-Up Race Series now sponsored by Peugeot, with a €30,000 prize fund on offer and eight races over distances from 5km to ten miles scheduled. Prizes are awared not only in each race, but also overall, with the best four results counting.

Last year, Leevale AC and DSD AC fought it out until the end in unusual mixed team competition, with the results of three men and three women counting. It looks like more of the same this summer, with DSD AC was the winning team last Friday on 58 points from Leevale on 91 points. St Abban’s was a distant third on 215, but there’s a long was to go before the final race in the series next August.

At the St Patrick’s Day Tallaght 5km, Rathfarnham WSAF made it a double with Mitchell Byrne the race winner and Laura McDonnell first woman.

Byrne, who is in top form at the moment, pushed the pace from the start of the race on the Greenhills Road and crossed the line on the Tallaght track in I4 mins 44 secs. Second in 15:12 was Eoin Smyth of Tara AC in Co Meath, while third in 15:19 was Cormac Dixon of host club Tallaght AC. Fourth and first M40 was George Snee of Dunboyne AC in 15:23. Finishing seventh and first junior was Ethan Doherty of Westport AC in 15:33.

Laura McDonnell clocked a time of 17:28 to finish first woman. Ten seconds behind for second was Aoife O’Leary of Sportsworld AC in 17:38, with Aoife Coffey of Lucan Harriers third in 17:40. Fifth and first W40 was Caoimhe Kilroy of Metro St Brigid’s AC, while first junior was Sadhbh Mohan also of MSB AC in 19:06.

The race incorporated the Dublin Novice 5km Championships with Dylan Wright of Lucan Harriers and Aoife Coffey the individual winners. Winning teams were the MSB women, ahead of Lucan Harriers and Clonliffe Harriers and the Clonliffe Harriers men, who beat Rathfarnham WSAF AC and Sportsworld AC.

The big 5-0 in Co Sligo

Andrew Coscoran of Star of the Sea AC , better known as a track man, won the 50th Tubbercurry St Patrick’s Day 10km in Co Sligo with a course record time of 29 mins 30 mins. Recently crowned All Ireland schools corss-country champion Jonas Stafford of Ashford AC in Co Wicklow was second in 31:33 and coach Emmet Dunleavy third in 33.01. First woman in 40:31 was Michelle Needham of Westport AC. Mari Johnson of Sligo AC was second in 40:49 and Colette Tuohy of Mayo AC third in 41:47.

In Co Westmeath, Peter Somba of Dunboyne AC was the winner of the Mullingar Half Marathon in 70 mins 46 secs. Local athlete Vinny Connolly of Mullingar Harriers was second in 71:05 and Nathaniel James Forson third and first M40 in 71:16. First woman was Ciara Hickey of Brothers Pearse AC in 77:14. Sarah Lavery of Beechmount Harriers AC was second in 77:25 and Kate Kelly of Athlone AC third in 80:55. A total of 1,229 completed the race.

Pat Fitzgerald of Waterford AC proved the class of the field at the Kilsheelan 10-mile winning in 54 mins 7 secs. Second in 61:59 was Eugene O’Keeffe of Carrick-on-Suir AC in 61:59. First woman in 65:14 was master athlete Angela McCann of Clonmel AC. Linda O’Connor of Carrigalien was second in 65:53.

In Belfast, Patrick Bell won The Craic 10km in 34 mins19 secs. Stephen McAuley of Ballycastle Runners AC was given the same time for second place, with Michael Connolly of Beechmount Harriers AC thrd in 34:21. Gladys Ganeil of North Belfast Harriers was first woman and first W45 in 36:25, Dearbhla Cox of Annadale Striders was second in 37:03 and Melissa Eccles of North Down AC third in 37:49.

Paddy Benson of Metro Bootcamp and Zoe Quinn of Raheny Shamrock AC were the winners of the 10km at the Up & Out Fitness Paddy’s Day 10km/Half Marathon, held at McCauley Park, Harmonstown. Their times were 34 mins 51 secs and 39:04. Winner of the half marathon in 78:48 was Derek Byrne with Suzanne McEntee of Monaghan Town Runners the first woman in 93:29.

Fastest times at the Green Race (1.25km) held in Galway before the St Patrick’s Day parade came from Sean Mulready of Castlegar AC who clocked 2: mins 52.6 secs and Emer O’Leary of Galway City Harriers who finished in 3:17.9

Athletes from Rosses AC took the first two places at the at the St Patrick’s Day 5km in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

Declan Ferry was first home in 16 mins 11 secs, followed by Shane O’Donnell in 16:31. Finishing third in 17:57 was Gavin Crawford of Letterkenny AC. Finishing fourth and first woman in 18:10 was Natasha Kelly of Finn Valley AC. Shauna McGeehan of Letterkenny AC was second woman in 19:03 and Marina Murphy third in 21.00

Meet and Train…and race

Fittingly, the National Cross-Country course at Abbotstown was the venue for the final cross-country race of the season – the Women’s Meet and Race League race on Sunday (March 19). Winner was Aoife Carroll (main picture) with a time of 11mins 12secs for the 3km distance- her third win of the four race series.

Sinead Tighe of Brothers Pearse who had finished fourth in the first race, third in the second and second in the third, was again second. Helen Maher of Blackrock AC was third. Best of the teams in the platinum category was Crusaders AC, with Sportsworld second. A prizegiving and fun run will take place iat Bushy Park on Sunday April 16 (11am)

Ultra-running for a couple of days

For a second year, the top three finishers at the Jill McCann Track 48 Endurance Festival of Running at Youth Sport in Omagh were women.

The event, which is the only 48 hour endurance race in Ireland, started on Friday March 10 at 6pm, and overall the conditions were brutal with and icy track as weel sleet, snow, wind, rain and overnight temerpatures of -5 degrees.

It didn’t stop Amy Masner of Parnell AC in Co Wicklow battling on and winning the race with a total distance of 292.8 km/183 miles. She was followed by Nichola Duffy of Navan AC with 260.4km and Susan Morrissey with 210.4km. First man in fourth place was David Higgins with 187.2km

Ed McGroarty of Lifford Strabane AC, who holds the Irish 24-hour record, was attempting his first 48-hour race and aiming for Tony Mangan’s Irish record of 426.178km. Unfortunately, he was forced to pull out after eight hours. ‘I was due a bad day I guess and this was it. I’m disappointed of course, but I’ll get stuck in again and on to the next one,’ he said afterwards.

Winners of the 24-hour race were 24 hour Aoife O’Donnell with 128.4 km and Greg Cotter on 117.2km. A clear winner of the 12 hour was Arturas Siktorovas with a total of 115.2 km.