The County Senior & Junior Cross Country Championships took place in glorious weather over a tough course at Bandon today.
Lizzie Lee was looking for a third consecutive title in the senior women’s event and quickly hit the front. However, she was made work all the way by Bandon’s Carmel Crowley who reeled her in several times before Lizzie pulled away strongly again in the last lap. Her victory ahead the Bandon woman was a repeat of last year’s result and is an impressive 3-in-a-row for the Leevale athlete. Not far behind the first two was Leevale’s Annette Quaid who had a great run to finish just ahead of Martina Kiely of St. Finbarr’s. Carmel Parnell had a very consistent run to make it three Leevale athletes in the top five. Along with Sinéad O’Connor in 11th, they comfortably took the team title ahead of Eagle. Showing Leevale’s strength in depth in distance running these days, the next 4 athletes, Fionnuala Desmond, Ann Moore, Rosaleen McKeown, and Niamh Walsh, made up the Leevale ‘B’ team that finished 4th.
There was great excitement in the senior men’s race as both the individual and team titles went right down to the wire. For much of the race East Cork’s Seán McGrath, Togher’s Eoin O’Sullivan, and Barry Donovan of Leevale were vying for top position and during the last lap it looked as though the East Cork man might take it. However, Barry Donovan powered up the last hill to open up a gap of a few seconds that he maintained all the way to the line to take a surprise victory. The team competition was just as tight with East Cork and Leevale within a couple of points of each other throughout. In the end they finished level with 21 points each, but East Cork’s higher-placed fourth man meant they took victory on the day. It was unfortunate for the Leevale men who came so close to winning the title again after several barren years. The rest of the Leevale team were Tim Twomey, who had a great race to take 5th, Chris Harrington in 6th and John Shine 9th.
Earlier in the day that junior races took place and Leevale had just two competitors: Chris Mintern and TJ Hogan, who finished 6th and 11th respectively in the Junior Men.
Photos from Gearóid Ó Laoi.
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