All roads led to north Dublin on Sunday, where the 40th Raheny 5-Mile had attracted a capacity entry of 5,000 from clubs all over the country. Lindie Naughton reports.
From the start, Ryan Creech of Leevale AC, who had won the race a year earlier, was clearly a man on a mission and very quickly was out on his own reeling in the miles.
He came home a clear winner in 23 mins 58 secs – five seconds slower than his winning time of a year earlier. Second in 24:30 was David Scanlon of Rathfarnham WSAF AC, while third in 24:32 was John Paul Williamson.
In the women’s race, Shona Heaslip of An Ríocht AC proved the class of the field winning in 26:12. Nakita Burke of Letterkenny AC was second in 27:01 and Cheryl Nolan of St Abban’s AC third in 27:05.
A race for all ages
In the men’s age categories, Jamie Gahan of Kilkenny City Harriers was ninth overall and first M40 in 25:07, Declan Reed of City of Derry Spartans 17th and first M50 in 25:30.First M55 was Michael Counsel of Trim AC in 27:50.
Cheered to the line was Paddy Beauchamp of host club Raheny Shamrock who finished first M80. First junior was Mahad Mohamed Egaal of Clonliffe Harriers 20th overall in 25:35.
Of the women, Raheny’s Fiona Roche was first W40 in 28:54 and Aislinn Nic Dhomhnaill of West LimerickAC first W45 in 28.56; Aislinn’s mother Carmel was fourth W65 behind Mary Brown of Lucan Harriers.
Winning the W60 category was Niamh O’Sullivan of An Ríocht AC, who is Shona Heaslip’s coach.
A total of 4,270 finished what was the first big road race of the year, with virtually every Dublin, Meath, Wicklow and Kildare club and running group represented as well as clubs from the rest of Leinster, Ulster, Munster, and Connacht.
An honoured guest on the day was former Raheny Shamrock AC club president Nick Corish, now in his 100th year. Completing a complete set of 40 Raheny 5 races were longtime Raheny club members Bob Quinn and Steven Rowe. A great day.
Not the only 5 miler of the day
In a day of five mile races, Stephen Hunter of St Abban’s AC was the winner of the Charlie Curran Memorial 5-Mile Run in Carlow, with a time of 28 mins 14 secs. First woman in 31.02 was Meghan McCarthy of Kilkenny City Harriers.
Junior athlete Denis Hegarty of Leevale AC won the inaugural Clonakilty Charity 5-Mile in Co Cork on Sunday (January 28) in 26 mins 48 secs. Second in 27:09 was Tadhg O’Sullivan of Bweeng Trail Blazers AC. First woman was Hannah Steeds in 28:51, with her Leevale club mate Michelle Kenny second and first W40 in 30:06.
Oisin Spillane won the Kerins O’Rahilly’s GAA 10km in Tralee, Co Kerry, with a time of 33:01. Patricia Hannon was first woman and first W45 in 43:32.
At the NI and Ulster Intermediate and Masters Crosscountry Championships, held at Billy Neill Country Park, Dundonald, on Sunday (January 28) , Elisoa Crawford not only won the women’s masters race but led North Belfast Harriers to team victory.
Sarah McNutt of Lagan Valley was second and Aine Gosling of Newcastle and District AC third. In the team competition, Lagan Valley was second and Newcastle third of the eight teams entered.
Winning a closely fought men’s race was James Monaghan of St Peter’s who just held off the challenge of John Craig from Annadale Striders. The pair, both in the M40 were given times of 28 mins 00 secs and 28:01. Third and first M35 was John Black of North Belfast Harriers.
Sixth and first M45 was Gareth Lyons of North Belfast Harriers, while seventh and first M50 was Stephen Duncan of Omagh Harriers. With three in the top six, NBH took the team title from St Peters and Annadale Striders.
In other age groups, Pauric McKinney of Inishowen AC was first M55 and Jim Doyle of City of Derry Spartans first M60. Winner of the shorter M65 plus race was Norman Mawhinney of Scrabo Striders.
Taking the intermediate titles were Joanne Mills of Newcastle and District and Oisin Toye of Finn Valley AC. Newcastle took the men’s team title. North Down was the only women’s team entered and duly took the title.
Indoors – Stateside
In Boston, Andrew Coscoran of Star of the Sea AC, running for New Balance, set a new Irish indoor record when finishing seventh in the elite 5000m race at the Terrier Classic on Friday (January 26).
Coscoran’s time of 13 mins 12.56 knocked four seconds off Brian Fay’s time of 13:16.77 set in December 2022. It was also 56 seconds quicker than his previous best time. Coscoran already holds the Irish indoor 1500m and mile records, set last season.
In the same race, Fay, from the Raheny Shamrock club, who was running in Nike colours, finished tenth in 13:17.21. Fay holds with Irish outdoor 5000m record with a time of 13:01.40 set last summer. Both athletes are part of the Dublin Track Club coaching group.
Also over 5000m but in different races, Matthew Neill of City of Lisburn clocked a personal best 14:04.84, while Shane Coffey of Naas AC ran 14:09.52, also a personal best.
Running in the mile were four Irishmen who all broke the four minute barrier.
Paul Robinson of St Coca’s AC finished ninth in 3:57.1 which was his fastest time in ten years. Running personal best times were Thomas Moran of Dunshaughlin AC 13th in 3:58.07, Oisín Ó Gailin of Finn Valley AC 14th in 3:58.28 and Shane Bracken of Swinford AC 16th in 3:58.58. A total of 340 competed in the mile races.
Over 3000m, Paul O’Donnell of Dundrum South Dublin AC was 11th in a personal best 7:59.71, while in the 800m, Harry Purcell of Trim AC finished third in 1:49.22.
Running on Saturday in the women’s race were Alex O’Neill of Ennis TC who finished tenth in the 800m in 2:05.49; World U20 champion Roisin Willis, whose mother is Irish, was second in 2:01.99. Laura Mooney of Tullamore Harriers clocked 16:19.98 for 14th overall in the 5000m, finishing second in her heat.
At the University of Washington Invitational, Sophie O’Sullivan of Ballymore Cobh AC ran 4:35.63 for third place in the elite women’s mile. Maebh Richardson of Kilkenny City Harriers ran 5:02.42 in the tenth of fifteen heats.
In the Penn State Open on Friday, Sean Donoghue of Dublin City Harriers ran a personal best time of 3:58.86 for eighth in the mile, with Conor Murphy, an American resident, who declared for Ireland last year, running a personal best 1:46.95 for second in the 800m.
In New York, also on Friday, Sean Kay of Clonliffe Harriers ran 14:09.56 for 5000m, finishing fourth in his race, while in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Roisin Flanagan of Finn Valley AC won the open women’s mile in 4:40.12.
Indoors – Europe
Nicholas Griggs of the Belfast Candour club ran a personal best time of of 7 mins 45.94 secs for third in the men’s 3000m at the Meeting de l’Eure in Val-de-Reuil, France. In Sabadell, Spain, on Saturday, Georgie Hartigan (DSD AC) ran 2:04.51 for fifth in the 800m.
Indoors – Home
Locally, the AI Games in Abbotstown on Saturday (January 26), Leevale AC’s Louise Shanahan won the women’s 800m in 2:04.25. Shanahan is now coached by Belfast-based Mark Kirk, who also coaches Nicholas Griggs.
In the men’s 800m, Cian McPhillips (UCD AC) edged out his training partner John Fitzsimons (Kildare AC) for victory in a time of 1:47.32.
Over 1500m, the winners were Amy O’Donoghue (Dundrum South Dublin AC) in 4:22.41 and Phillip Marron (Dublin City Harriers AC) in 3:48.60 while in the 3000m, Efrem Gidey (Clonliffe Harriers) ran a new indoor personal best time of 8:05.69. Carla Sweeney (Rathfarnham WSAF AC) won the women’s 3000m in a personal best 9:30.20.
In Kuldīga, Latvia, on January 20, Mark Milner of UCD AC ran 3:42.93 for 1500m, a personal best time that puts him top of the current Irish indoor rankings.