Superb Weekend of Track and Field

            (More Photos)
Another hectic, but enjoyable, weekend of athletics saw the 51st BUPA Ireland Cork City Sports at the Mardyke Arena on Saturday, and the Mazda National League at the neighbouring CIT track on Sunday.
For many who attended the Mardyke it was their first visit since the Sports were last held there three years ago.  Remarkably, in spite of the age of the track (23 years), and the fact that building work on the new Arena encroached onto the track, the track itself was in remarkably good condition, and perfect for middle distance runners in particular.
While it can be dangerous naming people, some names do stand out for their contribution to the success of the Sports.  PRO Tony O’Connell is one whose business definitely took second place for some weeks past; Joe O’Flynn and Liam O’Brien ensured that everything went like clockwork, while the student athletes from Midleton CBS put in long hours of work carrying out a host of duties. And Billy O’Rourke did great work putting fields for each event together.
The credibility of Irish sprints coaches took a hammering as some sprinters decided to give the Sports a miss.  There can be no justification in providing future international competition for those who failed to show.
As ever, Sonia O’Sullivan thrilled the crowd with her front running, with Una English moving into new territory with a fantastic new PB behind in second.
James McIlroy made 800m running look easy as he raced to victory, while Geraldine Hendricken looked as though there was plenty more in the tank as she won the 1,500m with ease.
Every race had it’s talking points, while EAA observer Ian Mitchell kept a watchful eye on everything that happened.  One thing for sure is that the Sports was a big improvement on the triangular type competition of previous years.
The Mazda league at CIT on Sunday got everyone back down to earth fairly fast!  Again, there was plenty to talk about, and excellent performances by all the Leevale participants.
Brian Murphy continued his good form with another win over Gordon Kennedy, while Jessika Zebo had a good win in the 100m hurdles, both after competing at Cork City Sports.
Mark Carroll was also back on track, winning the 1,500m in 3:37.8.  He later missed the 800m as the programme went ahead of schedule.  Leevale members extend sympathy to Mark on the death of his cousin Michelle (aged 24) just a few days before City Sports.
There were two fine wins for Deirdre Murphy in the shot and discus, while both sprint relay teams won, as did the women’s 4×400 team.
There were plenty of second and third place finishes, and everyone who did compete made a contribution to our points total.  It’s all to do again on 4th August.
Well done to everyone involved on Saturday and Sunday.