McCarthy Leads Leevale to County Title

The Cork senior and junior cross country championships, were held at the UCC Farm today in gale-force winds.  Martin McCarthy of Leevale went to the start line a strong favourite for the senior title, and did not disappoint.  For the first of four and a half laps he was content to let others do the leading, sitting in behind clubmates Roy Fahy, Cathal Lombard, Damien Collins and Brian Keane, together with Robert Heffernan and Mark Cotter of Togher, and John Kearney of East Cork.  As they started out on the second lap McCarthy upped the pace, running 6:24 for the 2,150m lap.  Lombard went in pursuit, but it was a lost cause and he gave up the chase, settling into a battle with Robert Heffernan of Togher for the minor placings.  Heffernan, better known as a walker of international standard, ran a blinder, and it was only on the last lap that Lombard finally broke away from him. Behind them Mark Cotter of Togher was another who ran a blinder as he ran with the leaders for much of the way.  However, he was overtaken in the closing stages by Roy Fahy, James McGee, and Brian Keane of Leevale and had to settle for a creditable seventh.  Billy O’Rourke of Leevale came next, followed by John Kearney of East Cork and Cathal O’Connell of St. Finbarrs. Leevale easily retained their team title, but Togher raised a lot of eyebrows with a great second place finish ahead of East Cork and St. Finbarrs. Times for the race: McCarthy, 30:33; Lombard 32:00; Heffernan 32:19; Fahy 32:33; McGee 32:45; Keane 32:55; Cotter 32:58; and O’Rourke 33:03.The womens race saw Margaret Mary Meade record a sensational victory (17:53) from the much fancied Louise Cavanagh (18:22), with Carmell Parnell of Leevale third (18:39).  Brid Ni Chonaill came next (19:00), ahead of last years Munster champion Ann Marie Healy (19:15), and the St. Finbarrs pair of Joan Hough (19:15), and Blaithin Hannon (19:41).  UCC won the team contest from St. Finbarrs.   The junior races saw Mairead O’Callaghan of North Cork record a runaway win in the womens race, while Niall Duncan of Togher won the mens race.  Togher were convincing winners of the team event from Leevale.  Duncan was hard pressed by clubmate Timmy Murphy and Ian Donovan of Leevale in the first half of the race, but in the closing stages it was Duncan who proved the stronger (19:28), with Shane O’Shaughnessy of Togher finishing strongly (19:32), and sixteen year old Fergus Meade of East Cork surprising many in third (19:35), with Brendan Crawford of Leevale next (19:40), Thomas Kennefick of Leevale (19:42), and the Togher pair of Tony Lilley (19:43), and Timmy Murphy (19:46).