The Belfast City and Limerick Marathons both saw strong performances, but they weren’t the only events this weekend. Lindie Naughton reports. 

Mohammed Oumaarir from Morocco was the winner of the Belfast City Marathon on Sunday (April 30) with his a time of 2 hrs 22 mins 56 secs putting half a minute clear of Adam Bowden from Wales who finished in 2:23:26. Pre-race favourite Bernard Rotich from Kenya was third in 2:26:03.

Best of the Irish was former Olympic race walker Colin Griffin from Ballinamore AC, who finished fourth in 2:26.41. Fifth and first M45 was Gary O’Hanlon of Clonliffe Harriers in 2:30:15.

Tenth overall and first woman in 2:37.20 was Shewaye Woldemeskel from Ethiopia. Gladys Ganiel of North Belfast Harriers was second in 2:41:20 and Gadise Gudisa Negasa, another Ethiopian, third in 2:44.24, while Sarah Lavery of Beechmount Harriers was fourth in 2:53.53.

At the Limerick Marathon, also on Sunday, Clonliffe Harriers was celebrating a double victory, with Tudor Mircea the overall winner of the race in 2 hrs 25 mins 16 secs and Yuliya Tarasova first woman in 2:59.15.

Yet the most impressive performance of the day came in the six-mile race where Shona Heaslip of An Riocht AC was first woman in a stunning time of 31 mins 43 secs. Heaslip ran a time of 33:24 for 10,000m in May 2018 but has struggled with injury in recent years. Overall winner of the six-mile was Jose Ignacio Giminez Peréz in 29:14.

Winner of the half marathon was William Maunsell of Clonmel AC in 69 mins 19 secs, with Dunboyne AC’s Peter Somba a close second in 69:25 and Sinead Lynch first woman in 80:04.

A little bit less than the marathon

Over shorter distances on Sunday, Aaron Hanlon of Drogheda and District AC won the Drogheda 10km in Co Louth with a time of 31 mins 22. Second in 31:26 was Eoin Richards, while third in 32.00 was David Scanlon of Rathfarnham WSAF AC. Drogheda and District was first team, with four finishers in the top seven.

Michelle Finn of Leevale was eighth overall and first woman in a fast time of 33 mins 49 secs. Mary Mulhare of Portlaoise AC was second in 34:42 and Aine Cotter of North East Runners third in 36:03, with North East runners the winning women’s team.

Norah Pieterse of Mayo AC made it a home win at the West of Ireland Women’s Mini Marathon 10km, held in Ballina, Co Mayo. Her time of 36 mins 47 secs saw her finish over a minute ahead of Sinead Whitelaw of Mullingar Harriers in 37:49, with Serena Tuffy of local club, Ballina AC, third in 39:00. First junior was Roxane Sands of Rathbane NS in 39:53.

Laura Buckley of Dunboyne AC won the novice women’s race at the Leinster Novice and Master Road Championships, held in Gowran, Co Kilkenny, on Saturday (April 29) . Buckley’s time of 10 mins 46 secs saw her finish four seconds clear of Sportsworld AC’s Aoife Carroll. Third in 11:08 was Eva McNelis of Dunboyne AC, with Dunboyne taking the team title.

In the men’s novice race, William Fox of St Abban’s AC was the winner in 18:42, followed by Conor Burke of Celbridge AC in 18:53 In third place with a time of19:32, Andrew Nevin was leading Mullingar Harriers in team victory.

At masters level, Fiona Kehoe of Kilmore AC won the women’s masters race in 10:32 and was also first W40. In second place, Maria Jones of Sportsworld AC was first W35 in 10:40. Third and first W45 was Catherine O’Connor of Sli CUalann AC in 10:46. First W50 was Jackie Carty of Kilmore AC.

Three points for three teams

In a closely contested team competition with just three points separating the top three, Newbridge AC led by Michelle Cox in fourth place were the winners followed by Clane AC and Kilmore AC. First W50 team was St LOT AC led by former track athlete Geraldine Hendricken, who finished 16th in 11:30. Mullingar Harriers were second and Sportsworld third.

Sean Hehir of Croghan AC, now in the M35 age group, won the men’s masters race in 19 mins 11 secs. James Kelly of Castlecomer AC was second in 19:32 and Michael O’Brien of Tullamore Harriers third and first M45 in 19:50.

Newbridge AC was first team, led by Iosif Guther in eighth place; Mullingar Harriers were second and Croghan AC third. Ronan O’Reilly of Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District AC was first M50 and United Striders the winning team.

At the final round of the Roscommon Harriers 5km Series on Friday (April 28), the winners were Andrew Lennon in 17:04 and Kate Kelly in 17:45. Both are members of Athlone IT AC.

Earlier in the week, Aaron Farrell was the winner of the BMS BHAA 5km in Ballycoolin on Wednesday (April 26) with a time of 15 mins 56 secs. Second in 16:12 was Thomas Sherlock of the winning Division 1 team Bank of Ireland , while third was Declan Power in 16:23. Best Division 2 team was Dublin City Council.

Orla Gormley of Aer Lingus was first woman in 20:46, followed by Mary Watters of the Health Group in 21:03 and Caroline Hynes in 21:10. Winning team was Revenue.

Winners of the opening round of the Galway 5km Series at Skehana on Tuesday (April 25) were Ger Hartnett of Tuam AC in 16 mins 35 secs and Jane-Ann Meehan of Galway City Harriers in 18:07.

Men’s 800m – chase for the line. Photo: Lindie Naughton

Track and field

Well over 200 athletes from all over the country signed up for the first Dublin Graded Meet of the season on Saturday (April 29) – which was also a first meet for the new track at UCD’s Belfield campus.

Long distance race for the day was the 3000m and in the women’s race, with Clodagh Gill of Moy Valley AC pushed the pace from the start and won in 9 mins 50.12 secs. For second place, Lucy Barrett of Raheny Shamrock AC pulled away from Maria McCambridge of Dundrum South Dublin AC on the final lap with the pair timed at 9:58.35 and 9:59.38.

Women’s 3000 – Clodagh Gill of Moy Valley AC. Photo: Lindie Naughton

Winning the men’s grade A/B 3000m was Iuean Hopkins of Brothers Pearse AC in 8:14.15. Colin Maher of Ballyfin AC was second in 8:42.24 and Jamie Gahan of Kilkenny City Harriers third in 8:48.03.

A series of 800m races also took place with the fastest times recorded by Neil Culhane of newly-formed Drogheda club Ace AC (1:51.72) and Niamh Margaret Markham of Ennis TC (2:11.20. Next Dublin Graded Meet takes place in Tallaght on Wednesday, May 10, with 1500m races on offer. Entries open on Friday next, May 5.

Pick of the Irish performances in the USA was a personal best for Shay McEvoy of Kilkenny City Harriers in the 1500m at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on Friday (April 28), where his time of 3 mins 44.94 secs was enough for third place.

At the Penn Relays on Thursday (April 27), Laura Nicholson of Bandon AC finished third in the women’s 1500m in 4:17.03. Second in the men’s 10,000m in 28:59.86 was David McGlynn of Waterford AC, with Naas AC’s Shane Coffey finishing fourth in 29:22.84. In the women’s 10,000m, Orla O’Connor of Waterford AC was fifth in 34:33.43.

Photo: Lindie Naughton


Despite a large influx of overseas talent, Irish orienteers held their own in the elite classes at the Irish Orienteering Championships held over four days in Co Wicklow, with sprint, medium and long distance races followed by a relay.

Battle of the weekend came in the women’s W21 elite class where, on Saturday, Clodagh Moran of Dublin club 3ROC had the narrowest of victories over British visitor Helen Ockenden of English club Drong O with the pair timed at 31 mins 54 secs and 31:56 respectively for a tricky 3.3km course.

Amazingly, a day later over a longer distance 8.16km course with twenty controls at the aptly named Devils’ Glen, Moran again had only two seconds to spare on Ockenden. This time she won in 91 mins 50 seconds with Ockenden finishing in 91:52.

It really was not Ockenden’s weekend – in the sprint event on Friday evening, she had finished second behind Kathryn Barr of UCDO.

Best of the Irish men was Ruairi Short of CNOC, who won the 4.3km medium distance race on Saturday in 32 mins 48 secs. Less than a minute behind in 33:42 was Lawrence Quinn of Dublin club GEN, while third in 33:48 was Colm Moran of 3ROC – it was a good weekend for the Moran family.

A day later, Philip Vokes of Deeside Orienteering Club in England was the winner of the long distance 13.8km race. Vokes was the only orienteer to break two hours for the strength-sapping course finishing in 199 mind 35 secs. Short was second in 120:53 and Eoghan Whelan of South East O third in 122:28; , with Colm Moran ten seconds behind for fourth.

Winning the men’s sprint race was Paul Pruzina of Northern Irish club LVO.

Underlining the longevity of orienteers – and their commitment to the sport – many former champions were in action over the weekend, with Aongus O Cleirigh of Ajax winning the M60 classic distance race from old rival Brian Corbett of CorkO, with Colm O’Halloran, also CorkO, fourth and Robin Bryson of FermO eighth.

Yet this distinguished quartet still have some way to go before they catch up with 3ROC’s Con Carroll. On Saturday Carroll became Ireland’s first ever M90 champion when he completed a 1.1km course in some style.

Photo: Lindie Naughton