McCarthy an Easy Winner

The Cork senior and junior cross country championships, together with the county B juvenile championships, were held on a well laid out course at Dromtarriffe today.  The junior and senior races produced four impressive winners. The leaders in the mens race were soon whittled down as Olympian Robert Heffernan of Togher pushed the pace on the first lap.  Martin McCarthy of Leevale, an accomplished runner over the country with numerous Irish team selections behind him, stayed with him, and by the end of the lap the pair had a big lead over the rest of the field.  As they started out on the second lap McCarthy surged, while Heffernan was unable to respond.  In the space of a couple of hundred metres McCarthy had opened up a gap that simply increased as the race progressed.  It was a good blow-out session for the Leevale man as he lapped runners to regain his county title with over ninety seconds to spare over Heffernan. Behind them there was a fierce battle for the minor placings as former winners Donncha O’Mahony of East Cork and Garrett Barry of North Cork were joined by Josh Palmer of Togher.  Barry was first to feel the pace as he dropped away, while nothing separated the other pair as they battled fiercely for the third place.  As they rounded a bend with less than 1k to go Palmer slipped and fell. O’Mahony jumped over him and then set sail for home, just holding on from a determined Palmer.  It was good to see O’Mahony back in action after numerous injuries over the past few years kept him sidelined.  He now has ten weeks of training behind him and is hopeful he can continue. Palmer lost nothing in finishing fourth, running the best race of his athletic career to date, just reward for the effort he puts into training.  Togher celebrated a great day by winning the team title, their first since their formation in 1967, with Niall Duncan in seventh and Shane O’Shaughnessy 10th completing their scoring team.  Carmel Crowley of Bandon set the early pace in the senior womens race, but was soon collared by reigning champion Louise Cavanagh of UCC and Maureen Harrington of Kerry, running as a guest.  Harrington led briefly before Cavanagh took over and raced on to another impressive victory.  The junior races were held in torrential rain.  In the mens race a three man breakaway group of Fergus Meade of East Cork, Brian McMahon of Carraig na bhFear and Sean Conroy of Leevale raced together for much of the way. Conroy felt the strong pace on the last lap, but it was Meade who proved the stronger to record an excellent win, just reward for agressive race tactics. Jennifer Goggin of West Muskerry set the pace in the junior womens race for a long way, with Niamh Walsh of East Cork in close attendance.  Walsh was the stronger though, taking over the lead with about 800m remaining, and going on for a good win. ( Results).