A quieter weekend with some exciting action in Portugal over the well know cross-country championship course in Albufeira. Lindie Naughton reports.

Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole AC) made a surprise appearance at the European Club Champions Cross-Country Championships, in Albufeira, Portugal on Sunday (February 24) finishing eighth in the women’s 9.28km, with a time of 32 mins 21 secs.

McCormack will compete in her fifth Olympic Games later this year —-about a month before celebrating her 40th birthday. McCormack was the European cross-country champion in both 2011 and 2012.

Seven Irish club teams were competing at the championships after coming in the top two at the All Ireland Championships last November.

In the senior men’s 9.28km race, In Albufeira, Finn McNally representing North Belfast Harriers (he’s also a membef of Brighton Phoenix), finished best overall of the Irish in 31st place with a time of 29 mins 22 secs.

Joseph Lavery finished 57th, Conan McCaughey 82nd and Conal McCambridge 89th. North Belfast Harriers had qualified to compete at this level for the first time in the club’s 128-year history after finishing a close second a behind Kilkenny City Harriers in last Noveember’s All Ireland Cross-Country Championships.

KCH again scored a narrow victory over NBH in Portugal, finishing 17th, one place ahead of the Belfast-based club. For KCH, Eoin Everard was second of the Irish in 46th place, followed by Cathal O’Reilly 55th, Gerry Forde 63rd and Jamie Gahan 90th.

In the women’s senior race, also run over 9.28km, Dublin City Harriers was led home by Cliona Murphy 39th. Next was Edel. Monaghan 41st, followed by Orla Duffy 45th and Avril Deegan 70th.

Lughaidh Mallon led home the Lagan Valley team in the U20 men’s 5.62m, finishing 13th.

Only a week earlier, Mallon had finished third behind Cathal Doyle and Nick Griggs in a dramatic 1500m at the All Ireland Indoors Championships. Making up the Lagan Valley team were Jack McCausland was 28th, Charlie Jones 31st, and Tommy Arthur 66th.

For Clonliffe Harriers, Sean Cronin finished 17th place, with Matei Ursachi 34th, Tom Breslin 56th and Cillian Keegan placing 65th. The team placed 13th.

Teams from Youghal and Kilkenny City Harriers were competing in the U20 women’s 5.62km race. For Youghal, Avril Millerick finished 12th in 21:24, Alex Cashman 27th and Izabella Chidlow 50th. For KCH, Clodagh O’Callaghan was 29th, Isabella Burke 31st and Pia Langton 33rd with the team tenth.

A Dublin City Harriers quartet made up of Pierre Murchan, Claire Rafter, Faye Dervan and Philip Marron finished eighth in the mixed relay ( 4 x 1500m). Two places behind in tenth place was Rathfarnham WSAF, with the team made up of Mitchell Byrne, Edel McCreery, David Scanlon and Zoe Richie.

Spanish club Playas de Castellon was once again the dominant force at the championships, taking five of the nine titles on offer

Indoor action

In the USA, James Dunne ran a time of 8:03.69 for 3000m in Seattle, on Friday (February 23).

Earlier in the week, in Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday (February20), Shay McEvoy’s time of 14:25.87 for sixth in the 5000m was a personal best. Grace Richardson (Kilkenny City Harriers) won the women’s 3000m at the UAA Indoors Championships at the Armory, New York on February 24-25. In a closely contested race, Richardson finished in 9:36.14.

Busy Sunday on the roads

Former Irish Marathon champion Aoife Cooke (Eagle AC) made a return to racing at the Kinsale 10-Mile, finishing first woman in in 63 min 33 secs.

Overall winner was Tim O’Donoghue (East Cork C) in 52:05. Evan Fitzgerald was second in 52:57 and Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers, M40) third in 52:39. Cooke’s Eagle AC clubmate Catherine Murphy finished second woman and first W45 in 63:38 , while Breda Gaffney (Mallow AC) was third woman in 64:59. The race was just one of many held on the Irish roads on Sunday.

In Co Meath, Dublin raiders dominated the Duleek and District 5km. Kevin Donagher (Rathfarnham WSAF AC) was the race winner in 15 mins 49 secs and Daragh Keegan (Donore Harriers) second in 15:57, with Colin Leonard (Drogheda and District AC) third in 16.00, and Cillian O’Leary (Raheny Shamrock AC) fourth and first M40 in 16.23. Clonliffe Harriers took the women’s team prize and finished second in the men’s competition.

First woman was Laura McDonnell (Rathfarnham WSAF AC) in 18.03, followed by Karen Costello (Dunleer AC, W45) in 18:23 and Julie Larkin (Clonliffe Harries) in 18:44.

At the sold-out Adare 10km in Co Limerick, Niall Shanahan (An Brú AC) was the winner in 31:34.
Declan Moore (Bilboa AC) was second in 31:42 and Paul Fitzmaurice (Shanon AC) third in 31:54. Carolyn Hayes was not only first woman in 39:28 but also led West Limerick to team victory . West Limerick also finished best of the men’s teams.

James Keegan (Mullingar Harriers) was the winner at the Turgesius 10-Mile in Collinstown, Co Westmeath; his time was 56:50. First woman in 71:49 was Emer Gaffney (Athlone AC). Edenderry AC made it a double at the Graiguecullen 10km in Co Laois, with Brian Duffy the winner in 36:13 and Aisling O’Connor third overall and first woman in 37:15.

In Co Kilkenny, Callum Barron won the Thomastown Camogie 10km in 32:47. Grainne Brennan was first woman in 41:15.

Abaas Ettis (Castlegar AC) won the 15th Maree 8km in Oranmore, Co Galway, with a time of 26 mins 47secs. Jane Anne Meehan (Galway City Harriers) was first woman in 31:46.

A comfortable winner of the Glaslough Harriers 5km in Co Monaghan with a time of 15:51 was Mindaugua Baalciauskis (Monaghan Town Runners) First woman was well-known masters athlete Denise Toner (Clones AC) in 18:04.

Photo: Mikkel Beisner @muderspak

Ultra (icy) running

Cork ultra runner runner Alex O’Shea (St Finbarr’s AC) has won the 5-day Beyond the Ultimate Ice Ultra in the Lapland area in the far north of Sweden completing the 230km course in 32 hrs 31mins on Saturday (February 24), having braved temperatures well below freezing in the challenging environment of the Artic tundra.


Darragh Mulrooney of J & M Enniscrone was the winner of the senior boys’ race at the Connacht Schools’ Cross-Country Championships held at Bushfield, Loughrea on Wednesday (February 21). With Padraig Corduff second and Ruairi Hollywood third, Rice College Westport was the winning team.

Eimear Hughes of St Joseph’s Castle won the girls’ senior race ahead of Caitlin Hughes of St Louis Kiltimagh and Aine Gilhooly of Coláiste Chiarain. J&M Salerno with three in the top six was the winning team.

A well-supported girl’s inter race was won by Emma Brennan of Moyne CS; Sarah Hartnett of Dunmore CS was second and Aisling Geaney of Seamount Kinvara third. Coláiste Bhaile Chlair was the winning team.