Another weekend of Irish action brought to our readers by Lindie Naughton, who was out with her camera at Navan 6km as well.

Navan AC in Co Meath celebrated its 50th anniversary in some style at the annual Navan 6km on Sunday (May 7), with runners, young and old, from all over the country among the prizewinners.

Pre-race favourite Peter Brandon Somba of Dunboyne AC pulled away from the field early on and finished comfortably clear of the chasers in 18 mins 36 secs. Second in 19:14 was Aaron Smith of Cilles AC in Bettystown, while third in 20:04 was Sean Mulryan.

Finishing sixth and first woman in 21:08 was Hannah Steeds of Cork club Leevale AC. Junior athlete Freya Renton of Westport was second in 22:05 followed by her sister Holly in 22:48 and Aoife Parella of Star of the Sea AC who was first W40 in 23:24.

Winning the Simon Cumbers trophy in the men’s team category was Trim AC, led by Kieran Corcoran in fifth place was first team ahead of Navan AC, with Bohermeen AC third. Taking the Ena Tobin trophy as best women’s team Drogheda and District AC. Navan AC was second and Fr Murphy AC third.

Niamh Moore, first in the women’s race at the Bweeng 5km, receiving her prize from Patrick Murphy of Murphy Browne Auctioneers, main race sponsor. Picture: John Walshe

Bweeng provides exciting racing

Although course record holders Jake O’Regan and Lizzie Lee were absent, two exciting races – both won by Leevale athletes – made the annual Bweeng 5km in North Cork another successful venture writes John Walshe.

Eric Curran, third last year, bided his time in the early stages before moving away over the second half to win in a time of 15:34, 16 seconds clear of his Leevale clubmate Tom McKenzie.

Andy Goulding of Grange-Fermoy had a fine run to finish third just four seconds further back in 15:54.

The women’s race was even closer as Niamh Moore, second two years ago, battled all the way with Martina Kiely of St Finbarr’s AC to cross the line just four seconds ahead, with the pair timed at 17:15 and 17:19. Orla Byrne, also St Finbarr’s, finished third in 17:51.

Moore heads to Belfast on Saturday for the Belfast Irish Milers Meet at the Mary Peters Track where she drops down to the 1500m. At the other end of the scale, Curran is targeting the Cork Half-Marathon on the June Bank Holiday weekend which will be his debut at the distance.

In Cavan Town, Conan McCaughey of North Belfast Harriers proved the class of the field at the Run with Catherina 5km on Saturday (May 6) .

McCaughey’s time of 14 mins 59 secs saw him finish almost two minutes clear of Longford AC’s Ciarán Madden who was second in 16:16. Third and first junior in 17:18 was Mark Kearns.

First woman was junior athlete Aurelia Crotty in 18:47. Just one place behind her was race patron Catherina McKiernan in 18:55. Catherina was also first W50, with her daughter Deirbhile third woman in 19:10.

Before the weekend starts

On Friday evening, Evan Fitzgerald was the winner of the Portlaw 5-Mile in 25 mins 48 secs.Pat Fitzgerald of Waterford AC was second in 25:59 and Craig O’Brien of Ferrybank AC third in 26:10. First woman was Kealey Tideswell of Clonmel AC in 29:30.

Kate Veale of West Waterford AC was second in 29:47 and Angela McCann of Clonmel AC third and first W50 in 30:24. The race was the second round of Carrick-on-Suir AC’s annual Summer Series, with two more rounds to come.

A day earlier on a wet Thursday evening, Veale had finished first woman with a time of 30:45 at the Midleton five-miler, a race that started back on the same date of May 4 in 1984. The evergreen Carmel Crowley from Bandon, third last year, moved up a place to take second (and first W55) in 31:35 with Niamh Cronin of St Finbarr’s AC third in 31:40.

Upfront, Leevale AC’s Mark Walsh heeded the advice of his coach and father Donie waiting until the final 400m before kicking away from Anthony Forristal to win by four seconds in 25:57. Forristal has just transferred from the Midleton club to East Cork AC,

The consistent John Meade of St Finbarr’s AC was third in 26:06.

At the Brendan Kinane 5km in Co Tipperary on Wednesday (May 3), Kevin Moore of host club Dundrum AC was the winner in 15:25, Second in 15:36 was Ben Coughlan of Clonliffe Harriers, while third in 15:55 was Declan Guina of West Limerick AC.

Making it a Dundrum double was Dymphna Ryan who was first woman in 17:17, followed by Vicki Spiteri of Midleton AC in 18:55 and Linda Grogan of Dundrum AC in 18:56.

Winner of the opening round of at the Pat Finnerty 5km Woodland Trail League in Mullingar also on Wednesday were Vinny Connolly of host club Mullingar Harriers in 15:37 and Fiona Gettings of Longford AC in 17:57

Track time

Opening his 2023 outdoor season at the Diamond League meet in Doha, Qatar on Friday (May 6), was double Olympian Mark English of Finn Valley AC who lined out in his specialist 800m where he finished seventh in 1:48.56.

English’s PB of 1:44.71 set in 2021, is the Irish national record. Last February, he ran 1:46.57 indoors in Boston, USA.

A number of Irish athletes were in action at the Sound Running Track Fest, held in Walnut, California on Saturday (May 6). In the men’s 1500m, Brian Fay of Raheny Shamrock AC finished sixth in 3:38.39, putting him top of the current Irish rankings. Georgie Hartigan of Dundrum South Dublin AC was seventh in the women’s 800m in 2:05.89.

Over 5000m, Barry Keane of Waterford AC was not far off his best when he finished 13th in the men’s race in 13.27.83. Roisin Flanagan of Finn Valley AC was seventh in the women’s 5000m in 15:26.32 followed by Aoibhe Richardson of Kilkenny City Harriers 15th in 15.50.66

In the USA, Cathal Doyle of Clonliffe Harriers finished second in the 1500m at the Oregon Twilight Meet on Friday (May 5) with a time of 3:39.96 – just over two seconds off his best Also in Eugene, James Dunne of Tullamore Harriers was fifth in the steeplechase in 9:04.27 and Stephanie Cotter of West Muskerry AC eighth in the 1500m in 4:20.15.

Schools on track

Rising middle distance star Jonas Stafford of East Glendalough School was a triple winner over the two days of the East Leinster Schools Track and Field Championships on Tuesday (May 2) and Thursday (May 4) held at the new UCD track in Belfield.

Stafford won the senior boys’ 5000m on the opening day of competition and followed that up two days later with victories in the 2000m steeplechase and 1500m.

At inter level, Noah Harris of ET Wicklow won both the 1500m steeplechase and the 3000m. Winning the inter 1500m was Bobby Moore of Woodbrook College.

Of the girls, Holly O’Brien of St Andrew’s College won the inter 1500m, followed by Julie Cleary of Loreto Stephen Green; Cleary had earlier won the 3000m, with O’Brien second. Olivia Tobin of Mount Anville won the steeplechase.

At senior level, Alex Carey won the 1500m and Ava Martin the 3000m; both are students at Dominican Wicklow. Winning the 1500m steeplechase was Siomha Magge of the Institute of Education. Isabella Prina Mello of Stepaside ET won the U16 mile

Overall, the Blackrock boys won team titles at junior, inter and senior level, while Mount Anville went on better winning all four categories; minor as well as junior, inter and senior.

At the North Leinster Schools Championships in Tullamore a week earlier (Wednesday, April 26), Diarmuid Fagan of Coláiste Mhuire Mullingar won the senior boys’ 1500m, with his schoolmate Conor Sherwin taking the inter title.

Winning the senior 2000m steeplechase was Sean Boyle of St Aidan’s Whitehall, with Cillian Keegan of St David’s Artane not only finished second in that race but also winning the 5000m.

All these will now compete in the Leinster Schools Championships in Tullamore on Wednesday May 17 and Saturday May 20.

Hills and trails

Winners of the Garryduff Woods trail race in Rochestown, Co Cork on Wednesday (May 3) was Barry Twohig of St Finbarr’s AC with a time of 29 mins 41 secs for the 6.2km distance. Fifth overall and first woman in 32:48 was junior athlete Nicole Dinan of Leevale AC.

In Dublin, Mark McAdden won the 9km trail race over a hilly course at Ardgillan in 35 mins 39 secs. First woman was Caoimhe Daniels of Sportsworld AC in 39:14.