East Cork AC infiltrated the Leevale Open Sports on Saturday. In an encouraging trend the training squad made up a large portion of the number of competitors in the 3k race. This follows up from a bumper attendance by us at the Graded League 1 mile race midweek.
We had 4 of the 11 athletes in the mens race. Kevin O'Brien took home the spoils leading a controlled pace for the first 6.5 laps then making a move with 400m to go to open up a small gap on Eric Curran of the host club to win in 8.54. Frank O'Brien, on his season opener, ran a nice race for 3rd overall with a big kick in the last 200m to seal a PB of 9.02. A full 10 seconds faster than last year in very windy conditions.
Tim Crowley had split loyalties on the day and was seen warming up and down with old friends. This did not deter him however from racing hard and he came away with 8th in 9.54. A nice 11 second improvement from the Munster Indoors in February. Patrick Kelly having turned his attention to the track now that the schools cross country season is over ran another competitive race in 10.12.
Fiona in her first track race in many years, reignited her rivalry with Aishling Kelly of St Johns. They last did battle in November in a tense Munster Senior Cross Country in Two Mile Borris where Fiona prevailed for 3rd overall. Kelly, however, got her revenge on Saturday. Despite being close together for much of the opening mile Kelly made a decisive break to finish 2nd behind Sinead O'Connor (Leevale AC) with Fiona 3rd in 10.47.
Midleton 5 Mile and Munster Marathon:
Midleton 5 mile is the next big local road race, on this Thursday evening at 8pm. There will also be track training at the cricket pitch at the normal time for anyone not racing.
Also on May 5th in Limerick. The Munster Marathon and half marathon championships are on.
East Cork Road Champs:
Well done to all who competed last night at the 40th East Cork Road Championships on the fearsome course in Ballynoe. James has now become the most successful individual winner of all time with 6 individual titles. He is standing on the shoulders of Denis and Sean who have won 5 each. With Meade brothers Eric and Bryan on 4 each.
In a calm but chilly evening we had 11 athletes in total. James took out the win in 26.41 with trackman Kevin O'Leary 2nd in 27.10. The remainder of our men made up the silver winning team. Congrats to Graham on his debut at this course with 5th in 28.35, former 3 time winner Frank Hayes was 6th in 29.16, Donal also on his debut with a sub 30 7th of 29.57 and Denis who has won medals at this event in the last 4 decades in 35th.
The womens event of 3k and twice up the infamous hill was fast and furious from the start with eventual winner Claire O'Brien (not Liams lovely wife) pushing the pace from gun to tape for a comprehensive win. Eadaoin, former champion from 2012, was our first lady home in 5th with Michelle closing fast not far behind in 7th and Niamh with another good run in 10th. This made up the gold winning team so congrats all. Eibhlin after only just arriving back from a long drive form Dublin was 31st and Lavinia close behind in 36th. Well done to Tamzin Muldowney too for finishing 2nd overall and first Junior.
JB Graded League - 1 Mile
The first round of the John Buckley Graded League was held on Wednesday night in CIT. In all we had 5 athletes from the club running the 1 mile event along with numerous others from the training group. In the first race Kevin O'Brien retained his mens title from last year this time holding off fast finishing Jake McCarthy from Youghal. Kevin O'Leary in his first ever track race ran a controlled 4.49. Tim Crowley continuing his return from injury broke the 5 minute barrier by a second to finish 11th.
The second race was won by John Spellman of Midleton AC in 5.02. John was only just back from a weekend orienteering at the JK in England. He pushed hard from 650m out and maintained this advantage despite strong late efforts from Patrick Kelly and Stephen O'Brien. Stephen on his debut finished 2nd in a PB of 5.04 with Patrick just behind. Donal also on his debut ran a strong race in 5.06 and is showing good range in the last few weeks from 1 mile - 10miles.
Stryker BHAA 4 Mile
Also on Wednesday night was the Styker 4 Mile. Niall Murphy had a storming run to finish 2nd overall in 22.15 with Donogh in 17th om 23.56.
Coming up this Thursday night will be the 40th running of the East Cork Road Championships. A full history of the event from its humble beginnings would require a guest article from John Walshe so I am just going to limit this to the niche group of 7 East Cork AC women who can claim they have worn the East Cork Road Champions crown.
Going right back to 1986 Mary Curtin of Mount Uniake won the title for East Cork AC for the first time, she also regained it in 1989 and 1990 . Eileen Prunty, our women's 10 mile record holder (60.04), was our 2rd winner of the event in 1988 and also won the title for her 2nd time in 1991. Mary Sheehan won back to back in 1992 and 1993 and Helen O'Callaghan stamped her authority on the race and won a unique triple from 1995 - 1997.
On the turn of the millennium Claire O'Brien (Liams lovely wife) won the 2000 event. We then went through another quiet period for 12 years until club stalwart and current competition secretary Eadaoin O'Neill took the title in 2012. Fiona Santry, the current dominant force in East Cork road running, fittingly added her name to this bunch of East Cork AC legends then in 2018. The question remains who will take out this special 3000m road race this Thursday night April 25th in Ballynoe?
Joyce Curtin (daughter of Mary from 1986 and 1989 vintage) won the race in 2004, 2006 and 2008 as a juvenile/Junior representing Glenbower AC. And Niamh Walsh who is a current club member won in 2008, alas representing rivals Youghal AC.
Dromina 10 Mile:
Congrats to Donal on his podium and PB in his home 10 miler of Dromina at the weekend. In a hilly undulating course in poor conditions Donal ran a strong 61.12 for 3rd overall.
Ballintotis 4 Mile:
Ballintotis 4 was another amazing success this year and a lot of credit has to be given to the organisers for the massive effort for all the preparation and attention to detail to make it such an enjoyable experience for all involved. Thank you very much.
From an East Cork AC point of view it was a literal runaway success with the men taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd and Fiona winning the womens for the second year in a row.
Kevin O'Brien was first home over the line in 20.13 and continued the East Cork winning streak, with Kevin O'Leary close behind and smashing his PB in 20.28. James was 3rd and continues his impressive feat of finishing on the podium every year since the race began in 2009.
The race started fast with Barry O'Donovan form Leevale pushing the pace through the sea of spectators outside the church before the race settled down as they hit the country roads. James and the two Kevin's formed a bunch at the 1 mile mark with Frank O'Brien (Midleton AC), Barry O'Donovan (Leevale), Kieran McKeown (Watergrasshill AC) and Damien Kennealy (Eagle AC) forming a chasing pack just behind.
The easterly wind was tough for all between the 1-3 mile stretch and it was halfway along here that Kevin O'B made his move and broke away (after selfishly tucking in behind out of the wind for the previous mile). Kevin O'L pushed hard at the tight hairpin turn and made his bid for home with over a mile to go. He knows these roads better than anyone else and ran 4.57 solo for the last mile to take 2nd. James was 3rd then with Frank O'Brien 4th overall and first junior home next, also with a big PB in 21.00.
Graham, relieved than his nemesis Niall Murphy decided not to race, ran 22.05 for 8th. We then had a big group very close together. Tim Crowley with a typically gritty and strong finish was 18th in 23.00. Stephen O'Brien with a another impressive performance and PB was 21st in 23.05, despite missing three week training in March due to injury. Jonathon Finn was one behind in 22nd in 23.11, a hearty congratulations to Jonathon too as he got engaged last week, no wonder he had a big smile before the race started (although that changed quickly after a sprightly first mile). Kenneth Kelleher made a return to the roads with a steady 23.22 and was quoted after saying "I'm just glad I didn't get chicked". Donogh was 31st in 23.29, Eric won was 3rd O50 was 62nd, Jens on his road back form injury race a painfree 25.28 for 89th and Denis was 3rd O55 with a banjaxed knee so hopefully he will recovery quickly.
Fiona dominated the ladies for the 2nd year in a row with an impressive performance and another PB of 23.26, she had over a minute to spare over Ann Geary of Midleton. It just shows the level Fiona is operating at these days and she keeps going from strength to strength. Hopefully she got the honour this year of actually breaking the winners tape after last year debacle..
Eadaoin in her fasted 4 mile since 2015 was 11th with 26.35, Michelle on her ever improving curve ran a staggering 4 minutes 21 seconds faster than her previous best 4 mile time!! Averaging a cool 6.45 Michelle finished in 27.03 and firmly established herself in the top 20 (16th). Eibhlin and Lavinia had a close battle with Eibhlin using her usual sprint finish to good effect in 32.19, while Lavinia record a PB of 32.40.
- John Buckley Graded T&F, Wednesday 24th in CIT. This is a graded 1 mile race and is a great opportunity to run on the track. It cost €5 and starts at approx 8pm. It is open for all men and women. The range of finish times is large so really is a great chance to run your first track race and experience something different. Last year finish times ranged from 4.30 to 9 minutes and the races are graded so you run with people of a similar ability.
- East Cork Road Championships, Thursday 25th in Ballynoe. This is the 40th running of this event and is usually well supported by the club. The womens race is 3k (and crucially only once up "that" hill) while the mens is 5 miles.
- Leevale Open Sports, Saturday 27th in CIT. There are 800m, 1500 and 3000m races on the day and entry is online. Details on Leevales website (I dare not post that link on here...).
Donogh ran in Waterford in the Ballinroad 5k last Friday night. In a course not quite as quick as Emer Casey he ran a solid 18.05. This should set him up nicely for Ballintotis next week.
East Cork Track and Field Day 1- Sunday April 14th, CIT:
Disappointingly there has been very little information from the East Cork board about the East Cork track and field championships upcoming this weekend in CIT. These championships are an ideal gateway to get athletes used to running track races and experiencing the core disciplines of the sport.
Unfortunately for the senior women there is only one race to chose from (an 800m), while there are two for the men (although at completely opposite ends of the programme!). Perhaps this is due to a lack of an appetite for track and field in the general East Cork region. But after successfully competing in the National Leagues last year and also aiming to field full teams again this year it would be great if there was a little bit more effort put in to promote the Senior races.
So for those who are thinking of competing please see the programme below. The mens 1500m is to start at 11am, with the 800m races to start at approx 2pm. The juniors will more than likely be mixed in with the seniors in the 800m too leading to some exciting competitive racing. You turn up, enter and pay on the day.
This really is an event for all, especially if you have not raced on the track before. And believe it or not if you improve your track speed it means you run faster on the road too :) !
Sean and Lavinia braved racing the never ending straight road at the UCC 10k. Sean was 2nd behind Alan O'Shea with a decent 33.12 and Lavinia ran a 90 second PB of 53.31. Well done both of you. Winter miles = summer smiles!
Emer Casey 5k:
We had a very large turnout in the Emer Casey 5k last night. James ran swift 15.16 to take out the win with Sean in close pursuit 4 seconds behind. Kevin O'Leary had a breakthrough PB with an excellent 15.40 for 4th. There were some road races on in the last week and we were well attended.In other very tight battle NIall edged out Graham once again, this time by the smallest of margin. Just one second separated them at the finish line! Niall ran an amazing PB for 16.42 with Graham at 16.43. Donal also ran a big personal best knocking about 50 seconds off his previous time to run 17.31. Brian Harty was close behind in 17.38.
Eadaoin was very close to breaking the 20 minute barrier with 20.08 although she has held on to bragging rights by nudging ahead of Denis (20.16) and Lorna (20.18). Niamh also had an excellent race running 30 seconds faster than her best time from 2018!
Welcome to new member Norah O'Brien who made the jump from local rivals Midleton AC to East Cork in the latest transfer window. Rumour has it the signing on bonus was large and she will be a strong addition to our female long jump team..
Upcoming Championship Races:
- National 10km Championships - April 14th; Dublin
- East Cork T&F Day 1 - April 14th, CIT (800m and 1500m (men only)) 1500m is at 11am and 800ms approx 2.15pm
- East Cork Road Championships - April 25th, 7.30pm; Ballynoe (5 mile for men, 3k for women)
- National Road Relays - April 28th; Raheny