It was another weekend of races on a whole variety of terrain, but Lindie Naughton was out at the cross country and still back home to bring us all the other action too.
Dublin champion Paul Stephenson of Rathfarnham WSAF AC a was a comfortable winner of the Leinster Masters Cross-County Championships held in Avondale Forest Park, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow on Sunday (January 21).
With gusting winds and a testing course, conditions were difficult to say the least.
Stephen’s time of 24:32 for the 6km course put him over half a minute clear of Paul Mitchell of Tullamore Harriers who won the battle for second place with a time of 25:10.
A close third and first M40 in 25:14 was Mick Fogarty of Ferbane AC, while fourth and first M45 was David Kirwin of Raheny Shamrock AC in 25:17.
First in the shorter M65 race was Tommy Payne of Tinryland AC, with mountain running specialist Martin McDonald of Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District AC second and Michael Walsh of Brothers Pearse third. Tinryland took the team title ahead of Rathfarnham WSAF AC.
In a closely fought team competition, Raheny Shamrock beat Rathfarnham WSAF by a single point, avenging their defeat at the Dublin Championships a fortnight ago. A distant third was Clane AC led by Brian Conroy in sixth place. Raheny Shamrock also took the M50 team title, beating Metro St Brigid’s AC and Sportsworld AC. Dublin was a clear winner of the county team prize ahead of Kildare and Offaly, also winning the M50 title.
Kate Purcell of Raheny Shamrock AC, runner-up in the Dublin Championships, took the women’s title ahead of Laura McDonnell of Rathfarnham WSAF AC, who was third in Dublin; their times werre 15:32 and 15:50 respectively.
Third in 15:56 was Fiona Roche of Raheny Shamrock, with Sorcha Loughnane of Donore Harriers fourth and first W45 in 16:01. Yasmin Canning of Drogheda and District AC was first W50, Maura Dervin of Mullingar Harriers first W55 and Fiona Byrne of Civil Service AC first W60.
With Sharon Keilthy making up the scoring trio, Raheny Shamrock took the team title ahead of Newbridge AC and Sli Cualann AC. Mullingar Harriers was first W50 team Dublin, with the minimum possible points, was first county team. Kildare was second and Wicklow third.
In the intermediate races, Aine Burke of St Coca’s AC won the women’s race in 21:32, with Dublin City Harriers pair Aislinn Moorhouse and Cristin Scollard second and third in 21:38 and 21.45 respectively.
Civil Service Harriers, led by Laura Cullen in fourth place, took the team title, with Dublin City Harriers second and Liffey Valley AC third.
In a closely fought men’s inter race, Cian McDonald of Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District AC – son of Martin – held off Oran O’Hare of Dublin City Harriers to take the title. McDonald finished in 28:40; O’Hare was a second behind. With Liam Naughton finishing third in 29:29, Dublin City Harriers won the team title by four points from Liffey Valley AC.
Although the wind and rain took its toll on the overall entry, Ben Leen Smith, Eoghan O’Connor and James Hayes had a cracking battle up front at the Cork BHAA Dupont IFF 5km, held at Little Island, on Sunday (January (21).
In the end there was just three seconds in it with Smith the winner in 15 mins 35 secs, O’Connor second in15:36 and Hayes third in 15:38.
First women in 18:23 was Michelle Kenny, with Breda Gaffney second in 18:59 and Linda O’Connor third in 19:34. Department of Education teams won both men and women’s A categories and also men’s B.
Winners of the The Great Heath 10km in Co Laois on Sunday (January 21) were Tudor Cebotari of Run Ungheni in 34:28 and Sharon Cleere of Thurles Crokes in 38:35. Riley Connolly of St Michael’s AC won the 5km in 18:13, with Olivia O’Flanagan of The Heath and Oughaval first woemn in 22:41. Both are juniors.
As is so often the case these days, the Irish athletics performance of the weekend came from Tallaght AC’s Rhasidat Adeleke who broke her own Irish records for 60m and 200m at the Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Collegiate Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Saturday (January 20)
Adeleke – a 400m specialist don’t forget –won the 60m in 7.15 secs and then ran a time of 22.49 in the 200m. Her previous best fimes were 7.17 secs for 60m run in 2022 and 22.52 for 200m run in 2023..
In Wales, Cillian Kirwan of Raheny Shamrock AC won the men’s 800m A race at the BMC Indoor meet in Cardiff, on Sunday (January 21). Kirwan was a clear winner of the race in 1:51.27. In the women’s A 1500m, Ellie Hartnett of UCD AC finished third in 4:24.52.
More across the pond
In Colorado Springs, Michael Burke of East Galway AC, aged 18, ran a personal best 15:47.75 for 5000m on Saturday (January 20).
Running on an oversized track in Notre Dame Indiana, on the same day, Roisin Treacy from Ashford in Co Wicklow ran a personal best of 4:58.56 for the mile, while Laura Mooney of Tullamore Harriers clocked 9:43.61 for 3000m in Kingston, Rhode Island.
A day earlier, on Friday (January 19), Claragh Keane on DMP AC, still aged nineteen, ran a personal best 5:11.82 for the mile in New York, knocking over six seconds off her previous best.
School Cross Country
Schools cross-country moves into top gear this week after a warm-up event hosted and organised by DCU at St Claire’s Glasnevin on Wednesday (January 17), which attracted schools not only from Leinster but also Ulster and Munster.
Winning the boy’s senior race was Lorcan Benjacar of Ard Scoil Ris, who beat Rory Quill of St Aidan’s CBS and Ruairi McEvoy of St Kieran’s Kilkenny into the minor placings, With its three counting finishers in the top six, St Aidan’s took the team title ahead of St Michael’s Enniskillen and Ard Scoil Rís.
Maeve Caffrey of Mount Sackville won the senior girls race ahead of Laura Nunan from the Institute of Education and Cliona Ryan of St Dominic’s Cabra, who was also leading her school to team victory.
Winning the inter girls race was Emily Bolton of Mount Sackville, with St Dominic’s Cabra best of the teams ahead of Coláiste Íosogáin and Our Lady’s Drogheda. First home in the boys’ inter race was Conor McGuirk of Lusk Community College. St Michael’s Enniskillan with four finishers in the top eight took the team title. St Colman’s Newry was second and Belvedere College third.
At the annual Spine Series of ultra races along the Penine Way in England and Scotland, Joe O’Leary from Killarney was the winner of the 144 mile Challenger North race, battling ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures to finish on Wednesday (January 15).
He finished in 44 hours 37 mins 20 secs, which knocked over sixteen hours off the previous best time for the distance.
Other Irish who completed the course included Johnny Conway and Michael Dowling who finished together in 58:48.58.
Best of the Irish in the full 268 mile Spine race was G. Brian Hutchinson who finished tenth in 103 hours 41minutes reaching the finish at Kirk Yetholm on Friday (January 19). Hutchinson is a lecturer in law at UCD.
Previous winner and Spine ‘regular’ Eoin Keith finished 16th in 116:01.28 also on Friday (January 19). Race winner was Jack Scott in a new course record time of 72:55.05.