Leevale Fill 3 of Top 7 Places in Rás Na hÉireann

Mark Carroll finished second to Séamus Power in Dunleer today, in the 32nd running of Rás Na hÉireann.  Kenya’s Cyrus Kataron was third.  The battle between this trio was always absorbing, with the lead changing in an exciting sequence of surges and counter-surges. Power opened the first significant gap after two of the five laps, with the Kenyan then starting to pull clear after the third. For a short while it looked conclusive.  Carroll was never too far off the leader’s shoulder but going into the final lap, Power recovered to make the most telling surge of all. He had a 10-metre gap within a matter of strides and went on to finish six seconds ahead of Carroll in 23 minutes 33 seconds.  Kataron looked a tired man when taking third in 23:54.  The flat but demanding course made for plenty of good running, although the rest of the elite field quickly succumbed to the pressing tempo of Power. By the time the Clareman first hit the front, the other Kenyan, Paul Biwott, was already dropped and Leevale’s Fiachra Lombard was leading the chasing bunch.  Lombard made a further impact on the senior ranks by holding on to fourth in 23 minutes 58 seconds, while just behind him was Vinny Mulvey who outrun the second Kenyan in the home straight.  Fiacra’s brother Cathal finished 7th.  In the women’s race South African-born Colleen de Reuck, who has just declared for America, had too much strength for Anne Keenan-Buckley and took the 6 km victory in 16 minutes 44 seconds – some 16 seconds ahead of the Irishwoman.  Kerry’s Maureen Harrington won the battle for third ahead of Teresa Duffy.  Mark Carroll retains a desire to compete in the World Cross Country Championships in Leopardstown in March despite his second-place finish today, his first cross-country outing in almost two years.  “The indoor season is my main aim right now and obviously the World Championships in Canada this summer is the main aim for the year,” said Carroll.  “I honestly don’t know where that leaves me for the World Cross Country, but obviously if the indoor season goes well then Leopardstown is just a couple of weeks later. I’m undecided now but I’ll make the call on it after the indoor season is out of the way.”  The top priority indoors is the World Championships in Lisbon, just a fortnight before Leopardstown, and Carroll will again aim for the 3,000 metres. He struck gold at the distance in the European Championships in Ghent last February.  He would add significant weight to Irish prospects in the shortcourse race at Leopardstown.  “To be honest, I just don’t prepare for cross country running. I wasn’t coming here with any great expectations. I just wanted a good solid run, and it certainly takes the place of some of my longer training sessions. He said the winner of yesterday’s race, Séamus Power, was “a great runner over the country. When he made his move he was very strong. And I managed to beat some good guys today as well.  “But I was a little bit rusty and I do prefer the harder surface. I just tried to maintain as much rhythm as I could because I really am out of touch with cross country running. And I was also out for a while over Christmas with a head cold.”  Power again reiterated his intention of concentrating on the short-course race at the world tests. The 29-year-old is confident that the shorter race would best suit the Irish prospects, especially if Carroll is in the team.  “The preparations from now on will definitely be geared towards the shorter race,” Power said. (Results)