Belvedere house in Mullingar was the venue for the final cross country event of the year. On the programme was the All Ireland under 12, 14, 16 and 18 championships, as well as the national novice championships. The day was dull and overcast with a chill in the air, ideal for running.
All eyes were on Ciaran O’Lionaird in the under 18 race, mostly to see if he had recovered from his brief lapse in the under 17 race in Dungarvan. The start was much more positive than dungarvan as he headed the field from the gun. By halfway the race was down to two runners, Ciaran and arch rival Brendan O’Neill from DSD.
Running a lot more comfortably than his last race Ciaran went for home halfway round the last lap and was quickly away on his own, going on to win with ease. Unfortunately we did not have a team, but Alec Daunt ran well to finish 45th and Chris Horgan was 85th. Surprisingly Ciaran was not selected on the Cork team.
Eric Curran was our sole representative in the under 14 race, but dropped out after a lap when he was well placed in the top 15.
The novice men’s race had 190 finishers, a healthy sign for athletics. After his fine performance in the Cork novice and senior inter county championships Thomas Maunsell was expected to figure well here. However the first lap saw him well off the pace. He recovered somewhat to pick up a lot of places on the last lap to eventually finish 35th.
Well done to Mark Hanrahan who picked up a superb silver medal at the European junior cross country championships in Germany. His 56th place finish might not have been what he was expecting but the statistics show he has a European silver medal in his collection, and not too many Irish runners can boast of that achievement. Hopefully he will stay in the sport a little longer than Bryan Keane who won a bronze medal in the same championships in 1999.
Some of the club’s sprinters got their indoor season off to a flying start at the recent Irish universities championships at Nenagh. Topping the list was a superb double by Ailis McSweeney who completely dominated the 60m and 200m, winning both by a distance. Her time in the 60m is a new club record.
Deirdre Murphy had a fine double winning the shot with a best throw of 10.98 and adding the 8kg throw with a best of 7.74.
Darren O’Donovan put a lot of injury problems behind him when he competed in the 60m for a sixth place finish.