Power Retains National Title as Cathal Lombard Finishes Fifth

Seamus Power (Kilmurry/Ibrickane) raced to his third men’s title while Rosemary Ryan (Bilbao AC) claimed her first at the national cross country championships at Scotstown, Co. Monaghan.  Dubliner Peter Matthews, who won the title in 1994 and 1998, set the pace in the men’s race with his training partner, Seamus Power, at the end of a seven man leading group.  When Matthews applied the pressure on their first visit to the hill, however, Power moved up into second and it became obvious that the race was between those two.  Behind them Vincent Mulvey (Raheny) settled into third, with David Burke (Mullingar), the 1995 champion, Cathal Lombard (Leevale), and Noel Berkeley (DSD) embroiled in a fierce battle for fourth.  Power finally took control on the penultimate lap, building up a comfortable cushion.  In the end six seconds separated Power and Matthews, with Power covering the 12,000m in 38 mins 36 secs.  Vinnie Mulvey finished in third and Noel Berkeley won a sprint for fourth place over Leevale’s Cathal Lombard (photo).  Cathal was 8th last year.  Cathal’s brother Fiacrha had been in fine form lately, but he was forced to withdraw just days before the race due to illness.  Other Leevale finishers included Bryan Keane (35th), Darren Keenan (57th), and Danny Herlihy (67th).  The women’s title went to the in-form Rosemary Ryan of Limerick, who finished 10 seconds ahead of the ageless Anne Keenan-Buckley in 20:49. Third place went to Kerry’s Maureen Harrington in 21:45.  There was a much closer finish to the junior women’s race when Fionnula Britton of Kilcoole edged out Mary Cullen of North Sligo in 15:29. William Harty of West Waterford won the junior men’s race in 26:46, from Clonmel’s Pat Guidera in second.  James Grufferty of Leevale was 12th.  Other Leevale finishers included Alan Foolkes (29th), Sean Casey (31st), and Sean Conroy (39th).  Dundrum/South Dublin won three of the team titles and were second in the junior men’s race, where Mullingar Harriers deprived them of a clean sweep.  Leevale finished 6th in the Senior Men’s race with 164 points, and 5th in the Junior Men’s race with 111 points.  Once again, Leevale had no showing in the Senior or Junior Women’s races.  ( Results).