It’s close to the end of the year for most, but there’s still time for a bit more racing and PBs in December. Lindie Naughton reports. 

Cathal Doyle of Clonliffe Harriers proved the class of the field at the Drogheda and District Christmas 5km, in Co Louth on Sunday (December 17) winning in course record time of of 14 mins 16 secs.

It’s been a breakthrough year for the 26-year-old Clonliffe man who, over eight days in July, ran personal best times for 800m (1:48.51), 1500 (3:36.85) and the mile (3:56.05). A week later, he retained his Irish 1500m title. Providing he can hold that form, he looks almost certain of a place on the Irish team at next year’s Paris Olympics.

Behind Doyle, in the battle for second place, Mitchell Byrne of Rathfarnham WSAF AC beat Kieran Kelly of Raheny Shamrock AC with the pair both given a time of 14:43.

Danny Nugent of Ace AC, fourth in 15:25 was first junior. In a fierce masters battle, Maurice McMahon of North East Runners in 15:58 beat Enda Marron of Swinford AC who finished in 16:01.

First woman in 17:00 was Carla Sweeney of Rathfarnham WSAF AC. Catherine O’Connor of East Down AC was second in 17:11 and former Clonliffe athlete Becky Woods third in 17:21.

Rathfarnham WSAF took the men’s team prize, with Ryan O’Neill 10th, Lee Byrne 21st and Paul Fleming 22nd making up the team. Host club Drogheda and District packed well to finish second with Clonliffe Harriers third.

Drogheda and District, led by Yasmin Canning proved best of the women’s teams beating Dunboyne AC and Skerries AC into the minor placings.

In the junior team categories, the Boyne women and the Ace AC men took the prizes. Ace AC is based in Drogheda.

Christmas runs for all

Four finishers at the Cork BHAA Simon 5km Handicap Christmas Run, at Blackrock Hurling Club finished just one second off their predicted times. Dermot Ryan was declared the race winner with his finishing time of 17 mins 11 not only just one second slower than his predicted 17:10 but also the fastest of the day.

Also in the plus-1 second club were Gearoid O’Flynn, second overall in 17:18, Jacqueline Hughes 24:41 and Alan O’Sullivan 18:44. Fastest woman and sixth overall was Hannah Steeds in 18:24; Steeds’ predicted time was 19.00. Michelle Kenny wasn’t far behind in 18:35.

Eoin Hughes of Letterkenny AC and Nadine McIntyre were the winners at the Tir Chonaill AC Jingle Bells 5km, at Abbey VS, in Co Donegal. Hughes finished in 16 mins 19 secs and McIntyre in 18.00.

Winning women’s team at the North West Cross Country. Photo: Lindie Naughton


Jared Martin of Ballydrain Harriers was the winner of the open 6km at the North West Cross-Country, held at Thornhill College, Derry on Saturday (December 16).

Martin finished in 21 mins 24; Luke Dinsmore of Annadale Striders was second in 21:48 and Declan Reed of host club City of Derry Spartans third in 22:07. Fourth and first junior was Frank Buchanan of St Michael’s College in 23:02.

North West Cross Country men’s podium.

First woman was Judith Storm of City of Derry Spartans in 25:47, with her clubmate Amy Jackson a close second in 25:58 and Leoni Cooke of Finn Valley AC third in 26.12. Fourth and first junior woman was Hannah Wade of City of Derry Spartans in 26:31. Spartans finished best of the women’s teams.

Of the masters, Fearghal Delaney of Armagh AC was fifth and first M40 in 23:06, Chris Moran of North Down AC first M45 in 23:32, Darren Coyle of City of Derry Spartans first M50 in 24:14, Francis March of North Down AC first M55 in 24:52.

Odeta Sidlauskaite of Willowfield Harriers was fifth and first W35 in 26:35, Ciara Toner City of Derry Spartans sixth and first W40 in 26:57 and Elisoa Crawford of North Belfast Harriers seventh and first W50 in 26:58.

And that’s it for 2023 folks! Have a cool Yule and here’s to lots more running in 2024!