Leevale Athletes Shine in Mazda National League Finals

The Mazda National league trac and field finals were held in ideal weather conditions at Tullamore Harriers Stadium today.  As always the competition for points was intense, and some great competitions ensued.  The meet also proved to be a perfect build-up to next weekend’s TNT National championships in Santry Stadium in Dublin.  The meet got off to a good start for the Cork clubs as Fionnuala Lombard won the shot, but it was close as she only went into the lead with her final throw of 11.33.  Shortly afterwards her Leevale clubmate Derval O’Rourke was again fluent in the 100m hurdles, clocking a season’s best of 14.03 to win.  Later in the afternoon she was third in the 100m, closing on the two in front with a time of 11.89.  And shortly after that Togher’s Robert Heffernan again raced to another impressive win in the 3,000m with a time of 11:27.06, a new Irish record.  Tony Lilley of the Togher Blarney combination dropped down to the 400m and showed his class with a super win in a new personal best time of 48.59 – great preparation for a cut at the World junior qualifying time next weekend.  Martin McCarthy of Leevale went into the lead from the gun in the 5,000m, but was tracked by Noel Berkeley of DSD all the way. With just 200m remaining Berkeley sprinted into the lead for the first time.  McCarthy wasn’t finished though and he battled hard in the last 100m to get ahead again in the last few metres to win in a time of 14:38.8.  Freda Davoren of UCC was another who blazed into the lead at the gun, and recorded a superb solo win in a time of 2:06.80, much faster than the Premier division where Aoifa Byrne of DSD got ahead of Geraldine Nolan of KCH in the closing stages of a competitive race.  The overall totals saw Leevale’s mens team finish in fifth position in the Premier Division, much higher than expected, while the women’s team finished sixth.