On a bright, crisp winters morning in ideal conditions for racing we had 12 toe the line for the big race of the weekend. Santa must of raided a sweat shop in Asia on his way around the world last month, there were many new shiny racers reflecting in the sunshine. The question still remains if the extra spring in the step is offset by a heavy heart or guilty conscious.
Kevin O'Leary turned the screw on his competition for the overall series win by putting down a dominant display and running a PB of 12.28. Kenneth ran 25 seconds faster than the first race in November to record 12.37 for 2nd. Donal Giltinan continued his good form to finish 4th in a tight battle with Chris Kelly. Donal ran 13.21 and Chris 13.22. Just behind Tim Crowley and Niall Murphy had a similar duel with Tim kicking hard in the last 300m to get past Niall and finish with 13.30.
Fiona had a mini breakthrough, slashing over 30 seconds off her best time from last year with a convincing win in 14.02. Martin and Conor were 39th and 43rd respectively and both smashed the 16 min barrier. Eadaoin also had a great run with 16.01, although a sprint finish like the Munster Seniors might have seen her take out Midleton AC rival Eileen Leahy and break the 16 min barrier in the process! Caitriona Santry looked dead and buried with 250m to go but the competitive instinct took over when coming around the last corner Denis was spotted and she took off like a bride down the isle to pip him by one second.
Unfortunately we heard some very sad news over the weekend. The immense Mary Meagher, who was involved with every aspect of Cork athletics sadly passed away. Mary was ever present for us all from cross country to track to national events, she was always giving a helping hand or leading from the front and she will be sorely missed.
All at East Cork AC would like to wish our deepest condolences to all Marys family at this time. She will be long remembered.
Christmas and New Year Racing Updates
A few got out and about for some racing over Christmas. Norah ran the Goal Mile on Christmas day in 6.30. Tim Crowley, Jonathon Finn and Caitriona Santry ran in Belgooly on St Stephens Day. Also on St Stephens Day Sean went to Farrenfore for their annual 5k. In Togher it was an O'Brien family affair with Norah, Claire and Frank all togging out to run off the Christmas chocolates and biscuits with Chris Kelly also toeing the line.
The first race of the 2020 was the BHAA cross country event in Blackrock. Sean McGrath kicked his year off in style with the win with the ever improving Caitriona finishing 6th lady. Kenneth continued on the BHAA podium streak with a brilliant 3rd in 16.19 on Sunday 12th.
Locally Cloyne 4k is on Sunday 19th, there sounds like there will be a large club turn out at this one.
After this there will be National Intermediates and Masters, Dungarvan 10 Mile, Indoors coming up in next few weeks. Stay tuned for further details on dates.
Some new old photos added now too which might be of some interest. There is one of current club record holders in action back in their Glenbower days, along with a rare snap of the driving force behind the club in the early years Fr Liam O'Brien.
Season Bests and Old Club Newsletter - 3rd Edition from September 1986 now available
Old Club Newsletter - 3rd Edition: The 3rd installment of the club newsletter is now on the website. It has some details of club records at the time, along with road performances listings for Marathon, half marathon, 10 miles, 5 miles and 10km.
Club Captain at the time Denis seemed non too interested in compiling listings for the ladies club. This can be brought up with him at training over Christmas.
To save the club from falling into a media storm of sexist allegations there is fittingly a nice members profile of Mary Joyce Curtin, whos daughter Joyce just recently improved the clubs marathon record to 2.46.
Season Bests 2019: A compilation of the club season best times as of December 23rd are now below. Congratulations if you got your name on this esteemed list. If not get your head down to some training over Christmas and the New Year and stay off the mince pies!
Every few weeks we will have a feature on one of our members. The next installment is an interview with Niall Murphy:
The National Novice XC was held in Cow Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath on Sunday. We had 10 athletes competing and had two full mens and womens teams. While it was cold and mucky, the sun did shine on the bumper fields, there were 216 finishers in the mens 6000m race and 134 in the womens 4000m race.
Shane lead the men home with a storming second half of the race to pip the current East Cork Novice champion Donal by 1 second and 1 place! Donal in his first National XC was pleased with his performance and enjoyed the mucky conditions. Next home with a good run was Jonathon and Tim just behind. This got the lads 18th team out of 26.
Michelle improved 53 places from her 93rd in Navan in 2018 to finish a very credible 40th in the womens race. In a fast and furious 4000m Michelle positioned herself well in the opening 1000m lap and held her position before unleashing a great sprint to pass a few rivals in the last 150 meters. Eadaoin held off a large chasing group in the last lap to finish in 68th position and to be second East Cork scorer. Caitriona must of had ice in her veins as she produced a devastating clinical finishing kick, moving from outside the top 100 to 96th in the closing stretch. Norah finished off her first Senior year with East Cork with another good run, finishing 106th just ahead of another fast finishing Santry, Lorna, in 110th. Eibhlin, despite being in crutches during the week, bravely battled for the entire race and was rewarded with another National Novice XC race to her credit. The girls were 16th out of 20 teams.
Cloyne Commons 4k:
Club Captain Kevin had a spring in his step on Sunday morning, taking out the 2nd Cloyne Commons 4k of the series with a swift 12.42. This secures him the fast 4k of the year on Cork soil. Chris Kelly, just back from a few weeks out sick, was 5ht overall in 13.44. Martin Hennessy and Conor Tierney had a close battle finishing 30th and 31st with only seconds separating them. Denis ran 17.17 then for 62nd overall.
East Cork Novice XC, Whites Cross Dec 8th, 2019
We had nobody competing in the European Cross Country in Lisbon on Sunday so all roads and rain showers lead to Ballinahina, Whites Cross instead.
There were early Christmas presents for Donal and Michelle in the form of big East Cork trophies. Both were convincing winners in the mens and womens Novice races and in the process both won their first race of the year. Donal made light of the very bad hail and powered to a unassailable lead over Chris Kelly and Niall Murphy. The course was well set up and had some jumps in the mix to make it even more interesting. Chris was 2nd, holding off the fast finishing Niall for an East Cork AC clean sweep of the podium positions. Unfortunately we didn't have one more to have a team.
Michelle after running her first Senior XC two weeks back is full of confidence and despite doing a full hills session on Saturday still had plenty in the tank to take the womens race out in style. She now becomes the second ever women to win the Emer Casey Novice Womens Trophy. Caitriona had another good run to edge out Lorna once again. Caitriona was 6th, Lorna 7th and Eibhlin 8th. The ladies missed out on the team title to Carrignavar by 1 point, the final tally was 21 v 22.
There also was some of the juvenile members of the training squad competing too. John Spellman followed up his Cork schools win on Thursday by winning the U-17 race and it was great to see Paul Hartnett back racing after a long spell out injured, finishing 2nd in the U-19 race.
National Novice XC:
The next big race is coming up this weekend. By far the most exciting XC on the calendar, the National Novice never fails to entertain. Big numbers, short distance and it is fast and furious from the start. Hopefully we should have a team present in the both the mens and womens races. It is on in Cow Park, Dunboyne, Meath on Sunday. Best of luck to all racing.
Christmas Dinner Social:
This is on Thursday week Dec 19th at 7.30pm in Midleton Park Hotel. If you are attending please confirm with Lorna.
Old Club Newsletter - Second Edition from July 1986 now available
A quite weekend on the racing front. The Munster Intermediates were on in Tipperary but I think most people have cross county overload at this stage of the year with races thick and fast (not in all cases) most weekends since September.
On the roads Niall Murphy did run the CRYS Jingle Bell 5k in Carlow and ran 17.13 for 5th overall. Great to see Niall back competing again after injury. He could be a key component to our National Novice Cross Country team in 2 weeks in Meath.
The second edition of the club newletter is now available in the "Old Club Newsletter" section. It highlights the focus of the club to compete in National Senior championships with 7 athletes competing at the National T&F and coming home with a two gold medals and a bronze! You can read the small paragraph dedicated to this yourself for further information!
There is an interesting section on the clubs founding philosophy in the newsletter. One great turn of phrase "parish pump attitudes" is used.
Club Christmas Dinner - Midleton Park Hotel, December 19th 7.30pm:
If you would like to attend and have not responded to Lorna (email@example.com) yet, can you please let her know if you are attending by the end of the week.
National Senior XC, Abbotstown November 24th, 2019 - It's a number game!
We had 4 athletes competing in the National Senior XC in Abbotstown on Sunday. In a strange quirk we had the same results in both the mens and womens races. Tim and Fiona were 33rd while Kevin and Michelle were both 61st. In a trial run for the European Cross Country next year the course was changed to a 1500m lap. One half was a downhill, fast very runnable section and then things got interesting, through the woods and up the other side by the wall was a long uphill mucky slog. All in all it was an ideal course for cross country running and conditions were good on the day.
Fiona had a another solid run, improving from 41st last year to 33rd overall. Michelle running her very first National Senior XC covered the 8,000m with aplomb, expertly coming through the field in the final 2 laps taking some scalps with her. It was a promising run and great to see two of our ladies compete with the best in Ireland.
Tim and Kevin had reasonable runs, unfortunately not much more to write about except they kept the East Cork presence at the National XC going and Tim was on the scoring silver medal winning Cork team. In an interesting quirk Dublin won the mens event by a whooping 147 point and sealed the top three team places but do not have a single athlete selected on the International team for the Euro XC in Lisbon next month. And the Dublin womens county team won by 30 points and also do not have any international representation.
Hopefully next year we will come again with a strong team(s).
Club Social Night:
The Christmas social night is on Thursday December 19th at 7.30pm in the Midleton Park Hotel. If you have not received an email about it and wish to go please let Lorna know on firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Senior XC - Abbotstown Nov 24th, 2019
Best of luck to all our athletes competing in the National Senior cross country on Sunday. This is the pinnacle of athletics nationally and the one race a year where all the top runners compete against each other in one race.
Unfortunately due to a last minute injury Sean is out for Sunday so we have no mens team. Competing on the day will be Tim O'Donoghue and Kevin O'Brien in the Mens 10,000m at 2.25pm with Fiona and Michelle in the ladies 8,000m at 1.45pm.
Others to watch out for will be Frank O'Brien and Jack O'Shea in the Junior race along with Laura Hayes in the Junior Womens.
Flashback to 1986 - Club Newletter Archive:
Like top secret government documents that are unclassified after 30 years for public consumption we have our own bit of history now digitalised. The very first club newsletter that was created on a typewriter by Fr Liam O'Brien gives a great insight to the foundation of the club and the happenings during the first season. Some interesting takeaways:
- We were promoted to 2nd in the National Road Relays due to a disqualification. - We were 6th in the National Intermediate XC in Navan. - We made a profit of £250 in the first Castlemartyr 4 mile race (This money is still sitting in the account unused!) - Denis won his first Senior Championship race! - The much anticipated East Cork Social cost £5-£6 - National Leagues teams were entered for both men and women.
If you want to read the full newsletter it is saved in the "Old Club Newsletter" section at the top of the page.
Munster Masters XC, Beaufort November 17th, 2019 - The great form continues!
Father time might be against them but boy that didn't stop Sean, Donal, Tim and Graham reign supreme down in Beaufort on Sunday. The fact that we only had three for the team Tuesday night makes the team in the end win all the more sweeter. Graham still recovering from Chicago and a stint out at sea put the team ahead of his own goals and offered to also travel so we would have a team. Perhaps it was the opportunity to experience first hand an infamous car trip with Tim Crowley that helped make his mind up. Sean, who had another excellent run and is really racing himself into form at the right time was 3rd overall (and 2nd M35), Donal and Tim have been having ding dong personal battles at every race this season. Donal got revenge from the County Masters and pipped Tim finishing in 11th (4th M35). Tim was 14th (6th M35) and Graham made sure the lads packed well was 16th (8th M35). Not only did the lads win gold but Sean, Donal and Tim all played a huge part on the gold winning County team. Well done to all of you.
Niamh O'Connor was our sole lady in the race and had another good run finishing 27th overall (7th F35).
Cloyne Commons 4k:
We had 5 running the opening race of the Cloyne Commons 4k winter series. Kenneth was our first man home in an impressive 13.02. This was good enough for 2nd place behind the flying Kieron McKeown.. Conor Tierney finished in 15.21, Martin Hennessy in 15.57, Denis 17.39 and Eibhlin was 19.49.
Norah represented the club in the Run in the Dark on Wednesday night in Dublin. Her time of 47.39 gets her on the club leaderboard for 2019 in the 10k.
Norah also ran for UL in the Road Relays in Maynooth on Saturday and anchored their ladies team home in the final mile leg in 6.39.
- National Senior Cross Countries - Sunday November 24th in Abbotstown
An East Cork AC history of the Munster Senior XC: 1986 - 2019
***Updated November 21st, 2019***
Overall since the club first competed in the Munster Senior XC championship we have won an impressive 23 out of 35 runnings of the event.
We have won the individual title 8 times by four men: Donnacha O'Mahoney (1991,1994,1996,2004), Liam O'Brien (1986,1987), James McCarthy (2009) and Michael Harty (2015).
Donnacha on his own has won half of these winning 4 times and hauling an unprecedented 14 team titles along the way stretching over 20 years from 1987 to his final team title in 2010.
Our longest streak was 9 wins from 2004 to 2012 until St Johns won in Limerick Racecourse in 2013.
Of the 23 titles won 22 men have contributed directly to the team by scoring in the top four. As mentioned Donnacha tops this list with 14. Right on his tail is Sean now with 12 and James on 11, both are solely responsible for the consistent run of team results in the mid 00's. Other team medal winners are in the below table.
Note: Traditionally the Munster Senior XC was held in January which fitted naturally in the XC calendar a number of weeks before the Interclub All Irelands. However with the merging of the intercounties and interclubs to one race in December 2015 the Munsters changed to a November date in 2015. Which is why there were two races in that year.
Munster Senior XC, Conna November 10th, 2019 - East Cork AC back on top in Munster!
The Munster Seniors were held on home turf on Sunday, in club legend Frank Hayes field. After being a distant third in the Counties a month ago the mens prospects, to add to the 22 team title haul that we have amassed since 1986, were low. However the golden generation from Midleton CBS were to the fore again to spearhead a long shot attempt at the team title.
Back in 2004 and 2005 Tim and Kevin were 1st and 2nd scorers for the schools All Ireland winning Senior Boys teams in Antrim and Waterford and yesterday in Conna, 14 years later, helped lead the East Cork team to another Munster crown. Last year we won the title in nail biting fashion after tying with Ennis Track and the result had to be decided on countback. This year, with James and Michael out injured, we had the bare four to make up a team. Tim as usual had a super run leading from the start and opening up a small gap on the chasing pack. However in a reverse of the counties Sean Doyle from North Cork managed to hang with Tims pace and surged in the last 400m to win by 3 seconds. The birth of his daughter Chloe, 2 weeks ago, was probably to blame for this. Kevin was home next then in 9th overall after a tussle with St Johns Jake O'Regan the whole way around (and importantly got revenge on all the Leevale lads that beat him in the counties). Sean was 16th overall and collected his 12th Munster team title! Only Donnocha has won more with 13 to his name. Kenneth Kelleher was the star of the show running his first cross country in years. All expected him to fade in the last couple of laps but somehow the Midleton CBS 5000m record holder (15.28) responded to Liams encouragement and stayed ahead of Ennis tracks fast finishing Liam Naughton.
This got the team a total of 48 points with Ennis 2nd and Togher 3rd. Tim and Kevin also were on the gold winning Cork team.
Ladies Race - 6k:
Similar to the men the ladies had the bare 4 for their team. Interestingly it was the exact same team of four that have won bronze the last two years. And this year they did not disappoint again. Fiona lead the team (and 98% of the race) home with a mighty 2nd overall. Fiona was in a head to head battle with Amy O'Donoghue of Emerald AC. Amy was 3rd in the National T&F 1500m during the summer, so this really was a race of the XC specialist v the track star. Fiona pushed the pace for the vast majority of the race with Amy tucked in watching and waiting for any move. When they were coming up the long hill leading to the finish for the final time Fiona pushed hard but unfortunately the track speed won out and Fiona took 2nd. Eadaoin showed a turn of pace herself in the closing 100m to gun down Mary Louise Ryan and finish in 17th. Lorna had an excellent run battling in a big group for most of the 6k and finished 24th. Eibhlin Cleary, the rock of the team, showed again her commitment to her team mates by coming straight from a hen in Kilkenny and pushed hard the entire race to finish 27th. This got the girls bronze again as they held off Dundrum in 4th and Clonmel in 5th. Fiona scored on the Cork silver winning team. Well done ladies. For such a small club and we seem to be doing something right!
Well done to training squad members Frank and Jack in the Junior race too. Frank was 2nd overall (and 1st U-19) with Jack 6th (4th U-19). Both have been progressing well in training throughout the winter and have a promising season ahead.
Eyeries 5 Mile:
Shane and Caitriona went west for the weekend to run the Eyeries 5 miler. Shane was 2nd to Alan O'Shea in 28.14 and Caitriona was 6th lady home in 38.19. Being the local hero there was a nice write up on Shane "Bán". In fact, it seem suspiciously like a John Walshe guest article. There is a picture of it below.
County Masters and Novice B - November 3rd, 2019 - Silver and Bronze streak continues...
County Master and Novice B: The county masters cross county was on Sunday in idea conditions in Castlelyons. The McGraths from Ballyandreen were the source of most of our success. All three of Phil, Sean and Niamh took home individual medals. Phil was 2nd M65 with Sean and Niamh both bronze winners in the M35 and F35 categories. Sean also lead the mens team to a 2nd team behind Leevale. Brian Harty, Tim Crowley and Donal Giltinan completed the team in 13th, 14th and 15th with only 12 seconds separating them in the end. Eric Meade was our other individual medal winner getting bronze in the M50's. Denis also ran and was 4th M55, just missing out on a medal.
The Novice B race was also on and Jonathon went out hard from the gun and held on to 6th overall with Paul Crotty not far behind in 11th. Well done both.
Next Up - Munster Senior XC:
Next race on the calendar is the Munster Senior XC in Conna on Sunday. Our men won this title in dramatic fashion last year, beating Ennis Track on countback while the women were an impressive 3rd team. Individual ambitions will be with Tim, looking to continue his form from the counties and Fiona who will be trying to improve on her mighty 3rd place overall from 2018 in Two Mile Borris.
Teams Entered: Men: Tim O`Donoghue, Sean McGrath, Kevin O`Brien, Kevin O Leary, Kenneth Kelleher Women: Fiona Santry, Eadaoin O Neill, Lorna Santry, Eibhlin Cleary
County Intermediate - October 27th, 2019 - And again more Silver and Bronze...
County Intermediate XC: We had three hardy athletes hungry for medals that headed to Dromtarriff last Sunday for the County Intermediate XC. Shane was on a mission to win an individual medal and get knocked out of County Novice and Intermediate once and for all! It was a successful mission. Although there was some confusion with laps at the end of the race when the winner from North Cork was turned into the finishing straight a lap too early. Shane wanted value for his money and was keen to run the extra lap but was turned back by officials to claim his silver medal.
Niamh O'Connor was 3rd in the womens race and same as Shane she is now out of the novice team next year. Congratulations. Caitriona Santry was not far behind in 5th overall and is one to watch for the rest of the season if she keeps her weekly improvements going!
Bandon 5k: Sean went to Bandon on Sunday morning to run in the Donough Coughlan Memorial 5k. In what was an incredible finish just 1 second separated the top 3 Sean was third behind winner (and training squad member) Naoise O'Flaitheartaigh and Eric Curran. Naoise had also completed a full session of hills the day before in Welchtown which makes his win even more impressive than it already was. Well done both.
Sunday coming is the County Masters XC in Castlelyons. This is a well attended race and we have strong mens team with Niamh O'Connor entered in the womens race too. Best of luck all.
Men: Shane Harrington, Tim Crowley, Eric Meade, Denis McCarthy, Donal Giltinan, Sean McGrath, Brian Harty, Kenneth Kelleher
Women: Niamh O Connor
Munster Novice - October 20th, 2019 - More Silver and Bronze but no Gold!
Munster Novice: We had a bumper turnout at the Munster Novice held in Limerick Racecourse on Sunday. One nameless athlete in fact thought it was a club day out to the races and turned up in their Sunday finest, luckily spare shorts were found! The Novice grade is extremely competitive and Michelle was in fine fettle and our sole athlete to break into the top 10, she had another excellent run to finish 6th. The blinkers were off for Eadaoin who is starting to come into form at the right time and took 14th overall. Niamh O'Connor charged up the final furlong for 17th with U-23 filly Norah O'Brien right on her tail again in 19th (5th U23). Caitriona Santry recently changed stables and was running her first competitive race for East Cork. In a nice gesture, sister Lorna let her beat her to mark the occasion. Caitriona was 21st with Lorna 22nd. On this day Eibhlin was our backmarker in 32nd but training is going well and she is making steady progress every week. These performances earned the girls a silver team medal and to cap it off Michelle also scored on the gold medal winning county team.
Our mens team put in another battling performance in the mudbath 1 kilometer circuit. For some this was their 4th weekend racing in a row! Kevin O'Leary lead the team home in 11th overall, Shane, after a wedding Friday, showed why he is one of the form men in the club at the moment finishing 14th, Chris Kelly on his 2nd XC race put in another excellent run for 20th with the ever dependable team scorer Donal just behind in 24th. The team was rounded off by Tim Crowley in 26th, Jonathon Finn (running his 2nd race of the day after dutifully pacing his fiancée Mary in the Rebel Run) in 32nd and Niall Murphy who made his XC debut in 41st. This was good enough for bronze team medals and similar to Michelle, Kevin also won a gold medal for the Cork team.
Membership Notice: All please note the membership for the 2019/2020 season is due. There is a great Halloween special until October 31st of €35. If you pay after this date the fee is €40. Please give the money to Liam or Conor at training or you can pay by bank transfer. Further details of this will be sent this week.
Munster and National Medals - A compilation by James McCarthy and Denis McCarthy
James and Denis have spent a lot of time and effort compiling results from Munster and National championships from the start of time (well 1986). It is very well put together and shows the success the club has had over the years. Thanks to both for this. It might be a trip down memory lane for some people or a source of inspiration to others!
There are one of two gaps that perhaps you might be able to help with. Mainly these are:
- 1989: National Road Relays 3rd team - Missing 3 members of the team. - 1991: Intermediate Cross Country 2nd team - Missing one member of the scoring team. - 1996: Munster Cross Country Junior Men 3rd team - All missing! - 2000: Munster Cross Country Junior Men 3rd team - 2 missing
One wonders if we will have a junior mens or womens team compete again in the near future..
The file can be downloaded below and is also saved in the Club Records section.
2019: November: - County Masters XC - November 3rd; Castlelyons - County Novice B XC - November 3rd; Castlelyons - Munster Senior XC - November 10th; Conna - Munster Masters XC - November 17th; Kerry - National Seniors XC - November 24th; Abbotstown December: - Munster Intermediate XC - December 1st; Two Mile Borris - East Cork Novice XC - December 8th; TBA - National Novice XC - December 15th; TBA