Family affair on the National XC podium – Irish tour
The main focus of the weekend was the All Ireland Cross Country Championships where fierce competition saw some of Ireland’s top long distance runners compete against each other.
Kilcoole AC’s Fionnuala McCormack proved she is the undisputed queen of Irish cross country when she pulled away from the rest of the field to claim her ninth national title at All Ireland Senior Cross Country Championships in Abbotstown, County Dublin, Sunday 23 November.
McCormack’s younger sister, Una Britton, helped create a little piece of Irish athletic history when she finished third; it was the first time that a pair of sisters had finished in medals in the national cross country race. “It’s a great day for our family and for the club,” said Fionnuala.
Mary Mulhare from Portlaoise, who is in good form this season, was second. With Britton, she had passed Fionnuala Ross of Armagh AC and Michelle Finn of Leevale who had led the chasing pack early in the race after McCormack broke up. Defending City of Lisburn AC champion Ciara Mageean was not competing.
Finn, in fifth place, was helping Leevale AC successfully defend the tag team title they won last year. North Down AC followed closely, while Mullingar Harriers were third. The first of the U23 athletes was Sorcha McAllister of Westport AC.
Brady completes cross country titles
The senior men’s 10k race was much closer, where Tullamore Harriers’ Liam Brady was the winner. Brady, a junior and U23 champion in the past, had shown good form at the Fall Open where he led the race early on, but was hoisted up as the race progressed.
This time he took the lead halfway through and was forced to dig deep on the last lap when he stood up to the challenge of second and first U23’s Brian Fay of Raheny Shamrock AC. Sean Tobin of Clonmel, after injuring himself in recent months, was third.
“I was really starting to worry when I heard everyone cheering on Brian Fay. It’s fantastic and a relief to finally have him in the bag,” said an emotional Brady after crossing the finish line. . “I must have hurt myself. I had to bury myself. If I hit the ground, I had to get up and start over,” he said. “My father gave me advice before get out. He told me to keep going until the end, I’ll have an ambulance waiting for you.
Dublin dominated the team competition
In a Dublin-dominated tag team competition, the Clonliffe Harriers retained their title, with Dundrum South Dublin AC second and Raheny Shamrock AC third.
A comfortable winner of the junior men’s race was defending champion Darragh McElhinney of West Cork, now with UCD AC. Keelan Killrehill of Moy Valley AC was second and Thomas McStay of the Galway City Harriers third. Clonliffe Harriers won the tag team title by three points ahead of Dundrum South Dublin AC, with Ennis TC third.
With Sarah Healy ill from UCD AC who retired late, Jodie McCann of Dublin City Harriers won the junior women’s 4km, with Danielle Donegan of Tullamore Harriers second and Maeve Gallagher of Swinford AC third. Waterford AC was the first team ahead of Dundrum South Dublin AC and Dublin City Harriers.
An impressive winner of the U18 women’s title earlier today was Dundrum South Dublin AC’s Eimear Maher. The Under-16 winners were Dara Donoghue of Lucan Harriers and Catherine Martin of Loughview AC.
Even more cross-country races
Conall Kirk and Eskander Turki scored a home brace for host club Annadale Striders in the Malcolm Cup cross-country held on Saturday November 24 at Sixmilewater Park in Ballyclare, County Antrim. The pair ran together for much of the race with Kirk finishing in 21:27 and Turki two seconds behind for the second. Third was Luke Dinsmore of Springwell Running Club in 21.45. The fourth and first U20 was Oisin Cassidy of St Michael’s in 21.57.
Robyn McGee of Dromroe AC won the women’s race in 18 minutes 4 seconds. Natalie Hall of Armagh AC was second and first in W35 in 18.08 and Hannah Gillilland of Willowfield Harriers third in 18.20.
(Photos at http://annadalestriders.co.uk/gallery/malcolm-cup-2019/)
Up there in these hills
Newcastle AC’s Mark Stephens clearly won the Powerscourt Ridge mountain run at Co Wicklow on Saturday 23 November – the last great Irish hill climb race of the year.
Stephens finished the 16km race in 76 minutes 26 seconds, with orienteer Conor Short of Currgah Naas OC a far second in 78.35 and George Snee third in 79.36. Tom Blackburn of Mooreabbey Milers AC was fifth and first U50 in 81.50.
The first woman in 99 minutes 9 seconds was Anna Simkovics. Rosy Temple was second in 1: 43.17 and Great Eastern Navigators orienteer Eadaoin McCavana third in 1: 43.44.
United States Collegiate Race
Stephanie Cotter of West Muskerry AC and Adams State won the women’s 6 km per 24 seconds race at the NCAA Div II Cross Country in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, November 23. His time of 19 minutes and 15.5 seconds was a competition record and gave Adams State their first victory since 2012. Sisters Eilish and Roisin Flanagan, both of Tyrone’s Carmen Runners AC club, finished second and third for give the “Grizzlies” a clean sweep of the top three rankings.
TO NCAA Div I Finals in Terre Haute, Indiana, Aoibhe Richardson, representing the State of San Francisco, finished 19e, earn All-American status.
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Lindie Naughton is a Dublin-based journalist and writer who joined her university track club many years ago and has never quite escaped. You will normally find her jogging around an orienteering course somewhere – or on the Irishtown trail to train the kids!