McCarthy Second in National Inter-Counties, Keane Third in Juniors

The National Inter-County Cross Country Championships, were held in warm sunshine over hilly terrain in Carrignavar today.  Leevale’s Martin McCarthy (shown left) carried Cork hopes in the senior race, a race that saw the lead change constantly over each of the five laps that made up the 10k distance.  After the runners settled down somewhat there was a three man break at the head of the field as defending champion Seamus Power from Clare, and Garret Turnbull from Belfast followed leader Peter Matthews of Dublin, with a gap opening to McCarthy and the Belfast air of Dermot Donnelly and John Ferrin.  A big effort going out the third lap brought McCarthy and Donnelly up to the leaders, and then, after getting to the top of the hill, the Corkman made his big move.  He quickly opened up a lead of some thirty metres with Turnbull the first to react.  McCarthy’s effort wasn’t enough and it was Matthews who surged to the front again with just under two laps to go.  Power looked in trouble at this point, explaining afterwards that he suffered a stitch.  By the top of the hill he had recovered and then made what turned out to be the decisive move of the race as he surged into the lead.  He quickly split up the leading pack, with McCarthy the only one to react.  However, there was no catching Power as he raced to a very impressive win.  McCarthy held onto second, a good run considering his illness problems of the summer, with Matthews third.  Afterwards, McCarthy said, “I came down to look over the course last Monday and settled on the spot where I would start my finishing run.  I tried to put that homework into effect but I’m afraid it was no use. Seamus was just too strong for me on the day.”  Other Leevale finishers included Cathal Lombard (16th), Cillian O’Tuama (32nd), Roy Fahy (37th), James McGee (42nd), and Damian Collins (49th).Cork were third team behind Antrim who were winning their first title since the formation of Athletics Ireland.  Rosemary Ryan of Limerick, was an impressive winner of the women’s race with Ann Keenan Buckley of Laois second.  Margaret Mary Meade had a super race in the Cork singlet, finishing sixth, just ahead of the fast finishing Louise Cavanagh, with the Cork team finishing third.  By the halfway stage of the junior mens race there were just four incontention for individual honours, but then Joe McAllister from Belfast increased the pace, and Gary Murray from Donegal went with him, a gap opening to Leevale’s Brian Keane and Mark Smith of Sligo.  On the last lap McAllister pulled away to win, while Keane won his battle with Smith for bronze.  Cork won the team title to continue their dominance of this age category. Mairead O’Callaghan of North Cork made a brave attempt to win the junior womens race as she led for much of the early stages.  AoifeByrne of Dublin was strongest in the closing stages to record a narrow win, with the Cork girl running a great race to finish fourth, just seven seconds behind the winner.(Results)