Lombard and Grufferty Lead Leevale to County Championships

The County Senior and Junior Cross Country Championships were held in Callatrim, Bandon today.  Underfoot conditions were surprisingly good, considering the amount of rain that fell in recent times, but for Leevale runner Fiachra Lombard, the conditions made little difference.  After winning two national inter-varsity cross country titles with UCC, and a national under 23 title over 1,500m on the track, he was the obvious favourite for the senior race.  Garret Barry and George Murray of North Cork set the early pace, with Lombard in close attendance.  After one 2,000m lap of the 10k race Lombard was in control, having taken the lead.  And for each of the next four laps he gradually increased his lead, winning impressively in a time of 34:34, some two minutes ahead of Barry.  There was a close battle all the way for third place, with Cillian O’Tuama of Leevale proving strongest on the last lap to overtake John Kearney of East Cork and Murray.  It proved to be an unique double for the Lombard family, as older brother Cathal, running as a guest, won the Dublin championships, ahead of Noel Cullen in Santry.  Back in Cork, Louise Cavanagh of UCC was just as convincing in the senior womens race, as Fiachra in the men’s..  She raced into the lead from the start and was never challenged on her way to victory.  Second place went to Carmel McCarthy of West Cork, who was only having her second race in twelve years, having retired from athletics as a seventeen year old.  Fergus Meade of East Cork and James Grufferty of Leevale made an early break from the rest of the field in the junior mens race.  Grufferty proved strongest on the last lap, breaking away to win impressively.  Brian McMahon of Carraig na bhFear was third.  East Cork dominated the junior womens race with Niamh Walsh proving best ahead of sister Angela and Ann Marie in third.  Photo shows the first three in the Men’s Senior race.  From L-to-R: Cillian O’Tuama, Fiachra Lombard, and Gareth Barry with son Jack.  Nice to see he’s a United man Gareth! (Results).