After a years break the County Senior XC was back. Tim was aiming for 3 in a row and boy did he not disappoint. All the pre race talk was on Ryan Creech and justifiably so after his 63 minute half and beating some heavyweights (not literally heavy obviously) up in the Antrim Coast International Half last month.
None of this deterred Tim and he set to work knowing a 10k cross country is a very different proposition to a road race. An uneven field, short hills, long hills, hills with a camber, wind in your face all makes cross country a true test of endurance. With Creech pushing the pace early Tim just sat on him and waited. The pressure of being in front and pushing the pace, without dropping your advisory, told halfway through. Tim made a surge on the long hill, broke the resistance and spirit of Creech in one move and that was that. Tim kept pushing the final 4000m to the line for a comprehensive victory in 32.29 taking his 3rd title in three years and cementing his name as the dominant distance runner in the county. Hopefully Tim can take this purple patch of form to the Munsters in 4 weeks and win that for the first time in his career.
Unfortunately our team did not run as well as Tim as we had to settle a distant second to Leevale in the team battle. However a silver lining was the emergence of Paul Hartnett, who is still a Junior, ran a very brave race for 5th overall in 34.46. The rest of the team did pack well but just a bit too far back. James was next home in 18th with 37.01, Kevin 20th in 37.05, Kenneth 22nd 37.40 and Nicky 37.44. Denis our talisman ran his 39th ever County Senior XC finished 43rd in 55.13. To put that in perspective, if Paul trys to beat that record he will have to run every County XC from now until 2060 (go on get out your calculator and see what age you will be then!!!)
The Counties were on a bit earlier than normal this year so with another 4 weeks of training in the legs as a team we should improve for the Munster and hopefully be in a position to put a reasonable team forward for the Nationals at the end of November.
The County Intermediates is on next Sunday in Whites Cross. We only have Tim Mahony running in this so best of luck Tim.
The cross country action is coming up fast and furious now. Last weekend was the County Novice XC held in Riverstick. After a bumper entry last year numbers were unfortunately back to more "normal" field size. None the less the competition was fierce and exciting, as is usually the way for Novice races. Another interesting point was Paul O'Donovan, Olympic gold medalist rower, was racing and acquitted himself quite well. He was running for the Skibbereen branch of Leevale AC.
Donal led the mens team home with a brilliant individual run to come 5th overall in 21.49. Stephen was next at the finishing, stumbling in for 9th position in 22.20 with Graham breathing down his neck 3 seconds back in 10th. Tim Mahony rounded off the team in 30th which was good enough for 3rd team overall, behind Togher and Leevale.
Annelise was our only lady in the Novice womens race and she had an excellent run improving from 18th last year to 9th in a time of 18.27
Also on Sunday was the Intervarsity Cross Country up in DCU. Norah had a great run in the womens race for UL coming 22nd.
Nicky went for a spin west with his vaporflys on Satrurday to comfortably win the Allihies 5 mile in 27.55
The County Senior XC is on this Sunday in West Muskerry. Tim will be looking for the hat trick of individual wins but will face stiff competition from the best that Cork has to offer. Eadaoin is taking entries at the moment for the men's and women's teams so make sure you email her.
East Cork Senior and Masters XC - Golden Oldie Tim still flying high:
The East Cork Senior and Master XC championships were held in Conna again this year curtesy of host Frank Hayes. Unfortunately numbers were down quite a lot on last years bumper entries but we were still treated to high quality races.
Tim might have some grey flecks in the hair, bags under the eyes and some mileage in the tank now but he still showed who was boss, literally winning the race by a country field! The intent was laid bare from the start, the challenge thrown down to the field "Hang with me at this pace for 6k if you dare". Young Paul Hartnett who was aiming to improve on his 2nd position from last year was the only person brave enough to go with Tims pace from the gun. Paul who is still a Junior will no doubt be a future winner at the East Cork but had to settle again for 2nd. Tims winning time of 19.23 was 85 seconds clear of Pauls 20.48.
James and Nicky have been nip and tuck battling against each other all summer on the road and track so cross county bragging rights were up for grabs. Nicky took the pace out for the first few laps before the wily old fox James got a gap just after half way and clinched 3rd in 21.35 with Nicky in 4th just behind in 21.46. John Hennessy of Midleton AC split up the East Cork strangle hold on the individual positions finishing in 5th. Donal was 6th overall (22.20) and satisfaction was etched on his face with his 9 second advantage on rival Stephen who was 7th in 22.29. This also got Donal the final M35 individual medal. Denis was 29th overall in 30.20. We won the Senior mens team (Tim, Paul, James and Nicky) and the M35 team (Tim, James, Donal and Stephen).
Avril was the sole lady running for us on Sunday and she claimed an individual silver in the F45 category. Completing the 4000m course in 19.19. Well done Avril.
Up next in 2 weeks is the County Seniors on October 3rd. This is on in Riverstick and the more we have running the better. We have a good team history in the mens race and would like to put our best team out on the day.
The annual Cloyne 5k was a welcome addition back on the circuit last Friday night. With a slightly amended start and finish line it was all held on the Cloyne Commons circuit traditionally used for the 4k winter series.
With cross country just around the corner we still had good representation with Tim "Kipchoge" O'Donoghue dominating the field to win in 14.43. Brother Nick got his second sub 16 clocking in as many weeks with a 15.55 for 6th overall. Stephen O'Brien making a return to racing was 17th in 17.13 with rival Donal Giltinan just pipped to the post in 20th with 17.16 (with neither wearing supershoes).
Eric Meade was next home in 18.52 with Jen Preston our sole female runner coming 13th in 19.41 after a long season of racing. Liam Leahy was chasing Jen down in the home straight with a 19.42. Denis was 114th in 23.33. Well done all for racing and also to everyone from the club that helped out on the day with all the unseen work to ensure the race ran smoothly.
- East Cork Senior XC: Sunday Sep 19th - Venue TBC later this week
- County Senior XC: Sunday October 3rd - Riverstick
Cork County T&F:
We had 5 athletes competing in the county T&F last Sunday. With a limited program due to Covid there was an 800m and 3000m for middle distances.
There were two heats, in Heat 1 Nicky continued his good form with a third overall and silver in Senior category in a time of 9.29. James who did a lot of the pace pushing in the middle section of the race was just behind Nicky in 9.32. This got him a gold in the M35's.
In Heat 2 Jen was second senior lady home in 11.21. Eric was 5th in the race and first M55 in 11.17 with Denis taking silver in the M55 too in 13.55.
There are still some spots left in the Cloyne 5k on Friday at 7.30pm if anybody is interested. It is held in association with East Cork AC so if anybody is around to help out too on the night that would be greatly appreciated too.
Link - https://register.enthuse.com/ps/event/Cloyne5kRoadRace
Rathcormac 4 Mile and Bweeng 5:
We have had a number of local road races in the past week. Tim O'Donoghue showing there is life left in Master athletes as he won both in style. Supershoes are adding some glamour onto times but they are here to stay and with the vast majority of people wearing them now it is a much more level playing field than previous years. Tim pushed both races from gun to tape and left a lot of classy athletes in his wake, if he can continue and build on this form he will be ominous in the County Senior XC in 6 weeks as he pushes for his 3 in a row of county titles!
Tims winning time was an impressive 19.28, Frank after a long track season was 4th (and commendably is still not wearing any supershoes) in 20.57 with the ever improving Nicky just over his shoulder in 21.08. Oliver Smiddy ran a solid race to finish 33rd in 25.41 and Avril Crowley was 12th in the womens race in 29.31.
Bweeng 5k was on 3 days later and some of the usual suspects turned up again, eager on cashing in on the late season road race prizes and running some good times on a fast course. Tim again pushed the pace from the start and took a comfortable victory in 14.29. Great to see Paul Hartnett back in action too and he ran a mighty last couple of kilometers to finish 2nd in 14.48. Nicky ran a PB as well finishing 8th in 15:47. Well done all.
Cork County T&F:
Better late than never the Cork Country T&F are on this weekend. There are 800m and 3000m middle distance races. If you want to run either of these please respond to Eadaoins email by today.
Training will officially resume again this Saturday, Aug 28th, in Welchtown at 11am. For anyone new please touch base with somebody for directions.
Upcoming Fixtures - XC
- Sep 19th: East Cork XC Day 1, 11am
- Sep 26th: Charleville Half Marathon, 10am
- Oct 3rd: County Junior and Senior XC
- Oct 10th: County Novice and Masters XC
- Oct 17th: Autumn Open XC, 2pm
- ???: Munster Senior XC
- Nov 13th: British and Irish Masters XC, Santry
- Nov 21st: National Junior and Senior XC
- Dec 5th: National Novice XC
- Dec 12th: SPAR European XC
In a hastily organised national league this year, for reasons that everybody is sick of talking about, we had just one athlete representing the East Cork Division. In a high standard womens 1500m Norah scored 4 points with 5th place in 5.40. Frank also ran in the mens 800m finishing 8th in 2.03. Both have had a long season and have been the most consistent at training. A little break and onto cross country for all. Fingers crossed we will get a full season of it this year with the Europeans looming in Dublin for December.
Munster Senior T&F:
Norah represented the club at the Munster Seniors in Templemore last Saturday. Norah came 5th in the 800m in 2.35 just outside her PB set earlier this season. Well done Norah. Frank ran in the 5000m and was 6th in 15.41.
The night before the Conna 5k road race was held on a hilly stretch of roads in Ballynoe. Tim continued his good form with a commanding win in 14.55. Nicky ran a 40 second PB to clock 16.03 and 3rd overall. James was 4th in 16.27. Jen was 4th lady in a new PB of 19.11 with Denis running 24.51.
Norah represented the club at the Munster U23's in Templemore last Saturday. On a hot scorching track Norah raced to a big PB of 5.17 in the 1500m and took home the Silver medal in the process. Well done Norah. Brother Frank won the 1500m U23 tit;le in a time of 4.07.
Fermoy 4 Mile:
On Sunday the Fermoy 4 mile was on with a limit of 200 athletes. We had three competing. Tim continuing his current streak of races was 3rd in 19:30, Nicky was 28th in 22:04 and Jen was 6th lady in 25:16.
Carrignavar hosted the second day of the East Cork T&F championships up in MTU track on Wednesday July 21st. An ideal balmy evening for track racing was instore for the 26 entrants and the East Cork athletes did not disappoint, taking home 4 of the 6 medals on offer!
In the first race there was a ding dong battle for the title between Frank O'Brien and Tim O'Donoghue. Frank lead Tim and James out for the first 3k in a consistent 9.30. With 2k to go Tim tried to make his move but Frank would not leave him pass despite 3 or 4 attempts, the wind sprints in the CBS a few weeks ago paying off. With 400m to run Frank injected a bit more speed and opened up a 30m gap that he held to the finish, winning in 15.32. Tim just behind in 15.37. James was 3rd home in 16.10 with Nicky in 6th in 16.55 and Donal making his racing return in 10th in 18.20.
In Race 2 we had Jen leading the women's race from gun to tape, winning in a time of 19.45. Annelise was 2nd after a titanic battle with Rhona Lynch of Carrignavar in a time of 21.49. Ollie Smiddy made his debut for the club too in a brand new pair of spikes, running a very solid 19.30 for 2nd. Denis McCarthy running his 65th ever 5000m on a tartan track was 14th. The fastest of these he ran 14.58 in back in the 1980's!! Not to be content with a short warm down, Denis was also still clocking some mileage as most people were driving home. Denis has an incredible ambassador for East Cork and Irish athletics over the years.
-Munster Junior & U23 T&F Championships: July 24th, Templemore
- Conna 5k: July 30th 8pm, Conna
- Munster Senior & Masters T&F Championships: July 31st, Templemore
- Irish Life Health National Masters T&F Championships: September 5th, Tullamore
East Cork T&F - Day 1
Carrignavar hosted another wonderful night of athletics on the grass track up in Colaiste an Chroi Naofa last Tuesday night. We had 10 competing on the night won 9 individual medals! A haul of 5 gold, 2 silvers and 2 bronzes.
First up were the 1500m's. Norah and Annelise were both racing in the Senior section. Norah running her first 1500m as a Senior athlete won in a great time of 5.28, with Annelise not far behind in 3rd with 5.59. Stephen was our solo man in the masters 1500m and he won the race in 4.40, pipping an ever improving Keith Kelly by a few seconds. Frank O'Brien (Midleton) won the senior section in 4.37.
Next up in the middle distance races was the rarely ran 300m. Norah was 2nd to Katie Walsh of the host club in 49.5 seconds. Stephen doubled his medal haul with another gold in the M35 section running 44.9 (being the only competitor in this category helped with the confidence on the start line) and Fran Hayes made a very welcome return from a long bout of injury to come second in the M45's in 50.5. Frank O'Brien was 2nd in the Senior section in 40.40
The final individual events on the track were the eagerly anticipated 3000m's. Nicky O'Donoghue returned to the winners enclosure with an exciting victory by a mere .4 of a second over local rival Tony Forristal in the senior 3000m, Nicky ran 9.47.5. Frank Hayes and Denis McCarthy also ran but I do not have their times at the moment. Even closer than the mens race was Jen Preston v Sinead Keavany in the womens 3000m. Jen edged Sinead out by a marginal .1 of a second in a very tactical race. Jens time was 11.41. Avril Crowley was first home in the F45 section and broke the 13 minute barrier in the process clocking 12.58 for the gold.
Our 4 x 300m team of Norah, Jen, Nicky and Stephen won the "B" race .
There was a slight inaccuracy in the results for the East Cork Roads mens 5 mile race. It was reported that newest member Liam Leahy wore super shoes in the race. Luckily a reliable eye witness on the night has confirmed that this was not true. So apologies to Liam for tainting his time.
MTU Track Night 2
The second night of action of the MTU track meet was on last Friday June 18th. We had 7 plus 2 athletes competing (Frank and Tamzin are a bit like Northern Ireland, hard to tell what camp they are in). First up was Paul who had an excellent race to finish 2nd in 8.41. Paul lead most of the race and pushed the pace on from current National Senior cross country champion Liam Brady from the start. It is a good springboard for Paul to put down a few more solid races in the next few weeks now that the leaving cert is out of the way too. Kevin O'Leary was next home in his first ever 3000m. Kevin rana solid race competing with James the whole way to finishing in 7th in 9.05 with James on his heels in 9.10th. Stephen O'Brien had a rare off night and didn't commit to the pace set by his rivals, but nobody ever remembers preseason friendly games and no doubt Stephen will spring back with some big PB's this summer.
Jen Preston lead the East Cork ladies in the next 3000m finishing with an excellent PB of 11.16. Tamzin ran a solid effort throughout to get her track season up and running in 11.37 and Annelise ran a massive 1 minute PB in 12.23. Great to see all the lock down training paying off with plenty more to come no doubt!
In the 800ms Frank and Norah were representing the club and training squad. Frank ran a solid 600m but it was not quite his night finishing in 2.02. Mark English did something similar at the Cork City Sports a few years ago so keep an eye out for Frank at the Nationals next week. Norah ran a suberb 800m. With a target of 2.40 she had no choice but to go with the group and went through 400m cruising in 74. As the wheels came off a few in front of her she pushed through and finished in 4th in a new PB of 2.34. Well done Norah another great example of a consistent spell of training
East Cork Roads 2021:
The 2021 version of the East Cork Roads was held in its traditional venue of Ballynoe. With Covid causing destruction to the normal road racing calendar hopefully these championship road races can gain in popularity again as the focus is fully on the athletics side of competition with true racing the key focus.
Ladies Race 3k:
The ladies race was first up at 7.15pm with 3k and the dreaded Ballynoe hill twice. We had 3 ladies competing with Jen arriving just on time for the start of the race with no warm up, although Donal did bring her for a spin to see the mens start line as he bizarrely thought she might be interested in that!
The race started fast with Norah leading with Jennifer Goggin at the top of the hill for the first time. Jen was tucked in behind a few meters back. As they moved down the hill away form the village the group stretched out with Jena nd Jennifer in pole position as they passed the GAA pitch on the steepest gradient. There was still very little in it at the final right turn but Jennifer Goggin finished a bit stronger to take the win with Jen 2nd a few seconds back in 12.09. Norah battle strong up the last hill to run well over a minute faster than last year in 12.24 for 4th overall. Avril had a solid race and picked off a few on the second lap to finsh 18th in 14.20. As Jen was in the top 3 she gets excluded for the team results so unfortunately we didn't have a team (same as last year, Ladies ye need to sort it out!).
Mens Race 5 MIles:
The mens race had a lot of action early on. Tim and Kevin O'L justified their favourite tags and went to the front from the start and it was no holds barred for the first mile. They bombed through the first mile in 4.40 leaving the rest of the field well behind. Kenneth and Frank did offer some small resistance going through in 4.50 but the race for the win was already over at that stage! Tim and Kevin duked it out for the next lap before Tim showed his mountain running prowess and pulled away on the unrelenting hill to open a gap that he kept to the finish, winning in a convincing time of 25.26. Kevin O'L ran a very solid 26.02 with Frank shaking off Kenneth to finish 3rd in 26.27 (Frank was also the first non vapourflyer home too). Kenneth running the course for the first time was 4th in 26.38 with Kevin O'B and James in 5th and 6th. Graham Swords ran his usual tactically astute race coming through the field for 10th in 28.09. Fergus Meade made his return to racing driving down from Carlow to run an aggressive 28.44 for 14th. He was reliably informed by Denis that this was his first time running the Ballynoe course since 2004.
Chris Kelly thought he was in the 100m Olympic final in the home stretch, giving it everything to make sure he beat old foe John Hennessy. Nick O'Donoghue was just behind for 17th in 28.56. John Spelman who was one of the youngest in the field broke the 31 minute barrier by a second and will no doubt improve dramatically over the next year. Mike Cremin was 32nd in 31.26, Eric rolled back the years looking strong for 39th in 32.52 with newest member Liam Leahy striding home for 40th in 32.55. Denis McCarthy was reliable as always broke the 42 minute barrier yet again for 67th overall.
The men retained the team title again. As Tim and Kevin O'L were in the top three and James was involved in some shady late entry none of them counted for the team, so congratulations Kenneth, Kevin O'B, Graham and Fergus for flying the flag.
Friday 18th: Day 2 of the MTU Track Night this Friday. Entries have closed for this so best of luck to everyone running. There is no timetable out yet but this should be email with start lists shortly.
Tuesday 22nd: East Cork Track and Field - This is on in Carrignavar grass track, same as last year. There is 1500m, 3000m and a 4x300m mixed relay on the night. Eadaoin sent an email for entries for this last week.
Friday 25th-27th: National Senior Track and Field - Entries are now open for this with a provisional timetable on Athletics Ireland website. If you want to race enter directly yourself for the event you want to compete in.
It has been a long winter slog since the last official race back in October 2020. It's hard to believe that when the County Senior XC was cancelled that the next race would be on the track in June, you could tell the change of season as there were many dragonflies buzzing around the track. MTU Athletics held an excellently organised meet on Tuesday evening with seeded 1 mile and 5000m races drawing excellent fields. All credit to Ian O'Sullivan, Craig Harrington and all involved in such a well run professional event.
First up we had our newest member Paul Hartnett race in the A mile race. Paul was showing nicely at the head of the field for the first 3 laps before fading a small bit in the final lap but still came away with a strong 4.29 for his efforts and something to build on for the rest of the summer (once he gets the pesky leaving cert out of the way, which he was starting only 14 hours after his race!). Training partner Frank O'Brien ran the opposite, hanging around surveying at the back of the pack for the first 3 laps before making a bit of a move in the final 200m to get 6th in 4.27.
James Mc was 4th in the B mile in 4.38. Incredibly it was his first track race since 2017 so all in all it could set the tone for a good summer ahead. James will probably note that he was, in fact, first M35 in all the mile races...
Stephen O'Brien renewed rivalries with former teammate Tim Crowley in the C mile. Tim put on a convincing final 400m to take the race out and Stephen was not far behind in 3rd with 4.56. In the D mile Jen raced well to finish 7th in 5.46, it was a close battle with speedster Norah most of the way but she just pulled away in the last 300m. Norah was just behind in 10th with 5.52, an improvement of 18 seconds since her last mile in CIT last August.
It was a battle of the Kevin's in the 5000m race. Both had a solid outings, running well together for most of the race. Kevin O'B pulled away a little bit in the final 2k to finish 7th in 15.41. Kevin O'L was right on his tail (and notable wearing an old pair of Saucony flats) in 15.48.
It was an excellent race to blow a few cobwebs off and there are two more coming up next week. Tuesday, June 15th, we have the East Cork Road Championships in Ballynoe. 5 miles for the men and 3k for ladies with the dreaded hill awaiting all. Next Friday 18th is the MTU Track meet Day 2 with 800m and 3k's on.
National Senior T&F:
On top of this and more importantly the National Senior Track and Field is on June 25th, 26th and 27th. The timetable and entries for this should be made available later this week. As a club this is the gold standard event to be competing at and if anyone wants to race the best in Ireland keep an eye on this page for details soon.
County Novice XC:
The County Novice and U23 XC was held in Riverstick on Sunday October 4th under very tight organised Covid restrictions. The event ran exactly as advertised and all credit has to go to all involved in the organising the event in testing circumstances. Interestingly this was the first county championship of the year. Spoiler: The girls report goes first as they were the only ones who won medals.
There was a big battle to be the number 1 East Cork Novice lady. Michelle and Jen have been training together all summer and this was the first of hopefully many battles to come. Jen went off confidently. With her great news from the day before she probably thought this was her extra lucky weekend. Unfortunately cross country doesn't work like that and after 2 laps the pain started. Michelle, who had no intention of trying to better her 3rd from last year, was hot on the heels of Jen to this point. Success was defined as beating her clubmate. While this duel was developing Annelise, Norah and Lorna served up another delightful battle. This time it was Annelise who was laying down the law in the middle section of the race. Avril Crowley, Eibhlin Cleary and Lavinia Swords were all having fine races just behind the girls. Coming into the final stretch, which was cruelly up a long hill Emily Knox of Leevale took the title in a convincing performance. Not far behind Michelle appeared in 4th with a sly smile/grimace on her face, a quick glance over her shoulder confirmed she had got what she came for - 8 seconds behind her was Jen, finishing her 1st official race for the club in 5th place. Annelise kept the pace going in the closing stages and stayed ahead of Norah and Lorna in convincing fashion. The girls finished in 18th, 20th and 22nd. Norah also was 3rd U-23 and also our only individual medal winner on the day. It is great when age is on your side. Avril had another great finish and was 29th with Eibhlin in 47th and Lavinia in 55th. This was good enough for 3rd team overall and agonisingly only 1 point off Leevale who came 2nd. St Finbarrs won the title.
The mens race was the talk of the place leading up to Sunday with a bumper 160 entrants. With a few not turning up and also a few who found the going not quite to their taste there ended up being 112 finishers, still a massive field for a county mens race.
Our leading man was again Stephen O'Brien, although he must be starting to get worried as Nicky with a block of uninterrupted training behind him has closed the gap dramatically since they last raced in the East Cork Seniors. To be fair both executed the race very well moving from about 14th and 15th positions at halfway to 9th and 10th at the finish. Stephen went for a lie down straight after to contemplate how the race went, while Nicky went in search of the elusive woods to warm down in. Further back Graham Swords and Chris Kelly had a great battle for 3rd spot on the team. At halfway Graham looked like he had done enough to keep Chris at bay but there was no die in this dog on this day. Chris had a monster last kilometer and overhauled about 5 people to get to 21st place with Graham 5 seconds behind in 24th. Paul Crotty suffered a bit after a hot first couple of km and finished in 41st. Tim Mahony was next in 55th and Chris McGrath cracked the top 100 with 95th place, if it was the Ballycotton 10 there would of been a tshirt for them all.
This got the men 5th team overall and heartbreakingly one behind Midleton AC. It was a great battle between the two clubs. Midleton were lead by Frank O'Brien who won the race overall and set a record the time for someone crossing the finish line and driving out the gate almost immediately after. It really was an impressive get away. If Michael Guineys doesn't work out and Liam knows how to operate an JCB then there could be a career in robbing ATM's up the North for the father son duo.
Unfortunately now with Level 3 restrictions all races are on ice until further notice. At best there might be some in November but that remains to be seen. The silver lining is training can go ahead as "normal" in the pod system so that will continue until we hear otherwise.
The East Cork Novice XC was hosted by Carrig na bhFear in Whites Cross on Sunday. We had 11 athletes competing on a warm balmy day. Both our mens and womens teams won silver medals. Our mean just out scored the women 33 points to 35 points, so well done to the lads!
Stephen O'Brien headed up our team with a very impressive 4th overall. Stephen was positioned in 7th after the first lap but came through well to overtake a number of athletes and finished just 13 seconds behind race winner Frank O'Brien of Midleton AC. Stephen was also 4th master last week so he will need to work on that killer instinct for the rest of the winter. Perhaps some one on one sessions to learn the dark arts with Sean McGrath will do the trick. Graham Swords was next home for us in 8th. Graham also ran through the field strongly and pipped Chris Kelly on the last lap. Chris still regaining fitness from injury and a summer of triathlon had a very combative race to finish 9th with Paul Crotty keeping a very close eye on the lads just behind in 12th. Chris McGrath had another good run, especially after an exceptionally hilly long run on Friday evening, finishing 38th.
As mentioned above this was good for silver medal. With the gold going to Midleton AC.
The ladies race was a mix between Junior and Novice. Lucy O'Keeffe ran away from the field to be first Junior. Then it was a very close battle for the first Novice, with 400m specialist Katie Walsh taking the glory with a strong last lap. Our first athlete home was Norah O'Brien. She had a brainstorming sprint finish over the last 300m to pip Lorna just before the line for 7th. Annelise Hutch was just behind the girls in 9th. These three have had some good battles the last few weeks so hopefully that extra edge will help them all have a great cross country season as we move into the counties stage in October. Avril Crowley, the sister of club greats Eric and Brian Meade, made her club debut and had an excellent run finishing 11th overall and helped secure the silver medal for the ladies. Eibhlin Cleary gained revenge on Lavinia from the East Cork Seniors last week and finished 21st with Lavinia in 25th. Well done all.
- County U-23/Novice XC - October 4th, Riverstick
- County Junior and Senior XC - October 11th, Riverstick
- County Masters XC - October 25th, Riverstick
- County Intermediate XC - November 1st, Riverstick
In one of the more anticipated East Corks of recent years we had a bumper turnout of 19 athletes competing in Frank Hayes fields in Conna on Sunday.
Kevin O'Brien won the 6k mens race in 20.55. In doing so he gain revenge on Midleton AC Junior Paul Hartnett from the East Cork Roads last month. Kevin last won this race 14 years ago in 2006 as a Junior running for Glenbower AC. Paul Hartnett was 2nd overall in 21.16 with Sean McGrath just squeezing 3rd in a titanic sprint finish with Tony Forristal. This also secured Sean the M35 Gold. James McCarthy on the comeback trail, and his first ever Masters race, ran a solid 5th (Silver M35). Team man supreme Kenneth Kelliher completed the Gold medal Senior mens team in 6th place in 21.59 (Bronze M35). Interesting fact: this was Sean's 13th East Cork XC team gold!
Next in line was the ever improving Stephen O'Brien, who in the end was agonisingly close to getting on the Senior team. He paced himself well and came through the field to finish just 2 seconds behind Kenneth for 7th overall. Stephen did get himself on the very competitive M35 team with Sean, James and Kenneth to claim the Masters title.
Nick O'Donoghue who was running his first cross country race in over 2 and a half years had another fine run to finish 9th, one ahead of Brian Harty who pushed very hard the first 2 laps. This was Brians first race since the County Masters in November last year so this race will go along way to getting race fit again.
Graham Swords was next home in 12th and Tim Mahony (aka "Coach Tim") 24th. Next we had two making their club debuts Mike Cremin was 26th and Chris McGrath was 46th. Then switching from new members to the longest standing member of the club still active we had Denis McCarthy finishing in 55th. Interesting Denis wore the number 0, which might be a first in Irish athletics history! This must of been a private tribute and personal touching gesture from training partner Liam (who assigned the numbers).
Fiona made it 5 East Cork Golds in a row on Sunday with another dominating performance from start to finish. Jen Preston was next in line in 5th overall but does not count for the team until October due to transfer rules. Then we had a trio battling it out in Norah, Annelise and Lorna finishing in 14th, 15th and 16th. Lavinia had a great run to pip Eibhlin to the line in 31st. Eibhlin, who is only just making her racing comeback will get stronger as the season goes on, was 32nd.
The girls team was 3rd overall. If Jen was eligible then it would of been gold! Well done all.
Next Sunday is the East Cork Novice in Whites Cross. The womens race is at 2.15pm and the mens race is at 2.45pm. If you want to enter this please email Eadaoin by Thursday.
National Junior and Masters Track and Field:
The National Junior and Masters T&F were held last weekend in Morton Stadium in Santry. Sean McGrath was 5th in the M35 category in a SB of 4.24. Frank ran in the juniors the day before and won an individual bronze medal in a 13 second PB of 10.06 for the 3000m S/C. Well done to both. Congrats also to ex East Cork AC member John Hennessy for winning gold in the M50 1500m in an excellent 4.30. Also Joan Hough won a gold medal in the womens F60 1500.
The East Cork Senior and Masters is on Sunday 13th in Conna. Please note there will be a cover charge of €5 per adult and no change is given. There will also be a separate field for parking and warming up to the race field, so please listen to the public speaker announcements in the the lead up to your race for further details. The timetable is below and race times are expected to be run off per this.
If you wish to enter the Senior or Masters please let Eadaoin know by Thursday evening as this is a pre entry only event.
National Junior and Masters:
This weekend is for the young guns and the old codgers.
Frank O'Brien competes in the 3000m S/C on Saturday and Sean McGrath in the M35 1500m on Sunday. I am not sure if this will be live steamed.
Best of luck to both of them as again competing at the National level is where we all should be aiming to test ourselves.
There could be a book written for the number of interesting and obscure records Denis holds. He has added another one to his collection this week by completing his 2,000 race of his glittering career. Fittingly it was at his local GAA club at St Catherines monthly 3k time trial. This is a staggering amount of races, equating to one a week for more than 38 years! Congrats Denis and long may it continue. While the times have slowed somewhat there are still many current challenges that Denis is engaged in. Denis' 3k track PB of 8.33 is a considerable one for any of the current club to try and beat.
Denis also gave a very thorough and engaging interview with Barry Drake on CRY 104FM last week on the history of the East Cork Road Championships. You can listen to it on the link below, it is well worth a listen:
There was white smoke from the Cork County Board during the week. They have given the green light for East Corks to go ahead, These are penciled in for September 13th (Conna) and September 20th (Whites Cross). More detail will be available at the weekend regarding which is Senior and which is Novice. We will be making a big attempt to have competitive teams for men and women for all races.
On top of that Cork Athletics have sanctioned all grades of racing (Novice, Intermediate, Senior and Masters) and will have races every Sunday in October for these. The exact race each day will also be confirmed in the coming weeks.
East Cork would like to welcome Jen Preston who will be a strong new member to our ladies team. Jen is a Ballintotis local and have been one of the most dedicated trainers through out the lockdown. Her transfer was approved this week and will be eligible to run officially for us from October 1st.
National Track and Field and East Galway 5k:
Fiona and soon to be newest member Jen Preston went in th search of PB's with a road trip to Skehana, Galway at the weekend.
A course that was billed as "fast and flat" turned out to be not quite so flat with a spiky hill in the 2nd mile a long drag up the entire final mile. However conditions were good and both Fiona and Jen both ran excellent races to get the PB their training over the summer deserved. Fiona took the win out with a stunning 17.37. A full 15 seconds faster than the CIT track race 2 weeks ago. Jen knocked 3 seconds off her lifetime best in her first race in over 6 months so signs are good leading into cross country that our ladies team will be as competitive as normal. Well done both.
Frank O'Brien donning the Midleton AC vest was representing the division in the National Track and Field. He ran a superb heat to just miss out on the final by 1 place. He was 3rd in 1.58:02 (also another PB). With 200m left to run Frank showed great tactical awareness to be tucked in behind the leader in 2nd position and was ready to strike for home. Unfortunately just in the final 100m a Kildare athlete was able to just pip Frank to the line. That heat was won by the eventual winner Harry Purcell too so in good company.
As things are still very uncertain we are hoping to hear shortly what races are or are not going ahead and in what format. Currently things are hopeful that Senior races will go ahead at County and Munster levels. There is a high possibility that there will be a Novice and Senior East Corks in September too. Any details on this will be sent around by mail and posted here.
East Cork Road Race Championships:
In a very windy and blustery night last Thursday, the 41st East Cork Road Championships were held in the traditional venue of Ballynoe. Kevin O'Leary improved on his 2nd place finish from 2019 to record the victory in a mighty impressive 26.11. Dictating things from the 2nd mile Kevin strung the field out and pushed Paul Hartnett hard until he broke clear and literally didn't look back all the way to the finish line. Paul held on for 2nd, getting bragging rights over his Midleton AC Junior colleague Frank O'Brien in 3rd. Kevin O'Brien ran 27.37 for 4th with the evergreen James (6 time champion) and Sean (5 time champion) in 6th and 7th. Graham Swords completed the team for the men in 13th (the top 3 individuals do not count for the team title) and this was enough to secure the team Gold from Watergrasshill AC). Chris Kelly was next home in 20th with the everpresent Denis McCarthy recording a 5th decade of competing at these championships in 47th.
Fiona took firm hold of the womens race form the off and opened up a clear lead early and kept the pressure on right throughout to record a fine win in 11.22 and tied the course record (also held by Sinead Keavany from 2017). Niamh O'Connor was next home in 11th in 13.33 with Norah just behind in 13th and 13.45. As Fiona was in the top 3 we unfortunately were one short for a team. Hopefully our lesson will be learnt from this and it doesn't happen at this years cross country races.
Winter Training 2020:
Winter training starts again Tuesday 25th August. Due to government restrictions on training group sizes we will train in Walchtown Woods at 6pm on Tuesdays and 10am on Saturdays for the next few weeks as this will better able us to manage numbers etc.
CIT Track Night:
The inaugural CIT Athletics Track night was held on Monday night. It is a model that should be embraced and adopted going forward. There were five paced 5k races, three paced mile races and five 400ms too. A middle distance playground! A lot of credit should be given to the organisers, especially Craig Harrington and Ian O'Sullivan on a wonderfully well run and organised event.
Stephen racing in his 5th race in 2 weeks ran in the mile and recorded his first every sub 5 minute mile and by a considerable way. In a big last 200m where he passed out three athletes he finished in 9th overall in the "A" Mile in 4.49.
Norah also ran in the mile race and went off strong in 83 seconds to open the first lap. She was just outside her target but finished with a decent 6.10 for 7th.
Nicky continued his comeback in the "B" 5k and ran a solid race to clock 16.55. Fiona ran the "C" mile and got a 6 second PB for her efforts along with being the first woman home. She ran 17.52. Michelle and Eadaoin ran the "D" Mile and Michelle also clipped under 20 for the first time with a new PB of 19.52. Eadaoin who has been eyeing cross country for the last few weeks rounded out her season in 20.58. Annelise rounded up the East Cork athletes for the night with a 22.16 in the final 5k. Well done to all for competing.
Frank and Jack both ran the 400m race too in preparation for the National Seniors in the next few weeks. Frank had a big breakthrough clocking 52.67 with Jack close behind in 53.74.
The East Cork Road championships are being held in the traditional venue of Ballynoe Thursday August 20th. If you would like to be entered please let Liam know in advance as there are no entries on the night. The race is 3k for ladies (7.30pm start) and 5 miles for men (7.35pm) with "The Hill" waiting for all. €5 entry to be paid on the night with no change given.
Fermoy Invitational and Leevale Track Meet:
It's been a long spell since the weekend in March when Norah ran the Irish XC Intervarsities and Sean came 4th in the M35 3,000m indoors.
Starting back with Fermoy Invitational on July 26th, Fiona with a springy new pair of shoes ran a PB of 23.22 coming 6th lady overall in a highly competitive field.
Leevale AC held a track and Field meet over two days and got glorious weather. Fiona and Michelle toed the line in the 3,000m. Fiona had a tight battle with long time rival Aisling Kelly of St Johns but showed her strength in the last 600m to push on to a 10.24. Michelle set her target to break 12 mins and showed super finishing speed to close her last km out in 3.45 for an 11.43 and 11th overall.
In the mens 3000m we had Stephen O'Brien flying the flag for the club and he ran an excellent race against the evergreen Michael Harrington from Durrus and just pipped him in the last 50 meters to clock 9.38. John Spellman also ran in this race and finihed in 9.48.
Also on the night Jack O'Shea ran an excellent 1:57 with Frank O'Brien just behind in 1:58.
East Cork Track and Field - Day 1:
A lot of credit must go to the East Cork Board and hosting club Carrignavar for organising a very successful and enjoyable two nights of racing.
On Day 1 it was all about the 3,000m. In the womens race, Eadaoin O'Neill showed good form on the grass track to clock a SB of 12.10 and take a Senior Silver medal home. Norah was close behind for the bronze medal in 12.37. Annalise had her first official run for the club and with limited training ran 13.19.
In the mens race Stephen O'Brien led the club home finishing in 3rd overall and 2nd senior so a nice silver medal to add to his ever growing collection. Stephen clocked 10.08 in a very tactical race. Nick O'Donoghue running his first track race in nearly 15 years and his first race in 2.5 years showed a lot of grit to battle into 4th overall and 3rd senior only .5 seconds behind Stephen in the end. Promising signs for the season to come. Tim Mahony was 2nd M35 in 11.01 and Denis was also in the masters race and ran 14.04. Frank O'Brien won the race in 9.49 with an impressive kick over the final laps.
East Cork Track and Field - Day 2:
Things were a bit shorter and sharper on Day 2 with 600m and 1500m being the order of the day. Fiona, Norah and Niamh all took to the start line in the rarely run 600m and all gave a good account of themselves. Fiona ran 1.51 (which is a sub 5 min mile average), Niamh was not far behind after really giving the first 300m a good rattle in 2.01. Norah who has been probably the most consistent trainer all summer came in 2.06. With a break and a fresh build up to cross country she will be one to watch this season coming.
The 1500m thenn was held 45 minutes later and again Fiona toed the line, this time a little more comfortable at the more familiar 1500m distance and new aerodynamic crop top. She comfortably held off Jennifer Goggin Walsh in 5.05 to take our only Gold medal of the Championships. Eadaoin had a ding dong battle for 3rd with Katie Walsh and Nessa Wheeler of Carrignavar the whole way round. Going into the final 300m lap Eadaoin held a slender lead but things were ominous as the two speed specialists were able to kick quite hard around the last bend to take 3rd and 4th with Eadaoin settling for 5th in 5.40. Annalise had another good outing with a sub 6min clocking (just) of 5.59.
It was a similar story in the mens. Stepehn O'Brien ran an excellent 1.35 for another bronze medal. Frank O'Brien won the race in 1.30 with Joesph Daly in 2nd.
In the 1500m Stephen lead the field off, not interested in a pedestrian tactical race like the prior weeks 3000m. The pace was not hard enough to string the field out quite enough and when moves started happening with 3 laps to go Stephen got dropped to the back end of the group and looked like his day was done. But showing a lot of mental strength he clawed his way back through the pack and somehow managed to pick of 3 people in the final 100m (including training partners John and Nick!) to get up for 4th overall and 3rd senior. Frank O'Brien was the main protagonist again when it came to the final dust up. He opened a healthy lead with 250m to go and held it for the win in 4.32. Sean McGrath made a valiant attempt to go with Frank but the extra speed of the youth was the difference. Sean finished 3rd over all in 4.35 and 2nd senior. Again Nick ran another promising race and was in the hunt for East Cork glory right to the end. He finished in 6th with a new PB of 4.40 (on a wet grass track - so plenty more to come). Tim Mahony was 4th overall in the Masters race afterwards and 2nd in the M35 category in 5.00. Denis was 8th in 6.22.
The East Cork Road championships are being held in the traditional venue of Ballynoe Thursday August 20th. If you would like to be entered please let Liam know in advance as there are no entries on the night. The race is 3k for ladies (7.30pm start) and 5 miles for men (7.35pm) with "The Hill" waiting for all. €5 entry to be paid on the night with no change given.
It had seemed that this newsletter was on the missing list but gratefully it has been donated from an anonymous source .
While there is no athletics actually happening this is an interesting read for anyone cocooning:
- Illegal racing in Carrigaline (this is almost as bad as wearing Vaporflys)
- East Cork AC athletes laughing and joking before the East Cork XC Champs
- Club Captains for the 1987 year were Denis McCarthy and Eileen Prunty
- Liam offered advice and training programs and was "quiet happy" to do it.
We had two racing at the weekend. Sean was 4th in the National Masters 3000m in 9.27. Sean had been out sick for the two weeks prior. If he matched his time from the Munsters before he was sick he would of come home with the silver medal. It is great to have representation at all national level races. Well done Sean. Norah was flying the UL colours in the Irish University Championships in The Farm. Norah finished 53rd in a strong field over 5k cross country.
The new batch of club singlets have arrived. If you recently got a singlet that perhaps is not the right size can you let Liam know as he will have them at training. If you paid for your singlet then you can swap for a new one. If you received a singlet and did not pay then it will be €20 to swap to cover the cost.