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 but as the rules are different for men and women she is still eligible for the novice team next year. 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!
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
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.
All please note the membership for the 2019/2020 season is due. There is a great Halloween special until October 31st of €5 off. 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.
County Seniors XC:
The annual pilgrimage to the County Senior XC was made by the club on Sunday. It was held in Carrigadrohid on a lovely rolling hilly course and we had 11 athletes competing. Tim was the star performer once again, beating a very strong field to retain his title that he won last year for the first time in Whites Cross. The race started fast with the former US collegiate athlete Ryan Creech of Leevale setting a strong pace at the front. Tim, Sean Doyle (North Cork) and Paul Moloney (Mallow AC) went in pursuit and a big gap developed between them and the rest of the field. In typical cross county form the strength drained from most athletes as the last few laps approached. Unfortunately for the other leading contenders this is usually the time when Tim feels his best (he has been endearingly referred to as a mud lark in the past). With 4000m remaining Tim surged up the hill, shook off Sean Doyle for the final time and opened a 20 second gap that he held to the finish line. The deluge in the last few minutes of the race was a fitting way to finish the race off for Tim, exactly how he would want it.
Our mens team over the years has won 20 team titles, this year we were a bit off the top table but held our own to come 3rd overall. Tim lead the way with the win, Kevin O'Leary two weeks on from his 2.25 in Berlin was next home in 14th. Sean McGrath who was 2nd overall last year is on the road back to fitness and was 16th, Kevin O'Brien held off the stern challenge of Shane Harrington over the last few laps for 17th with Shane settling for 18th. Denis, incredibly running his 38th ever County Senior XC, rounded the team off in 33rd. His streak stretching back to 1981. To put this in perspective (and to make him feel really old) the Berlin Wall was still standing for 8 more years, John McEnroe beat Bjorn Borg in Wimbleton, Bobby Sands was in the middle of his hunger strike, Eamonn Coghlan won the National 1500m title and East Cork AC was yet just a dream.
For the first time in the clubs history too the ladies team outperformed the mens team. The ladies won silver medals. Fiona (the new ladies captain) lead the team home in 5th overall, Michelle showing great form ploughed through the field in the last lap to come 7th, Eadaoin was 10th with Lorna and Eibhlin putting in battling performances in 14th and 15th. Congratulations to this dedicated bunch who have become a force to reckon with the last number of years and numbers are expanding at a record rate so hopefully there will be plenty more success to come!
Unfortunately numbers for both races was quite low and turn outs from some established clubs was disappointing but we can only race who laces up their spikes. Gladly we came home with an individual title and two sets of Senior team medals.
Graham and Lavinia made the long but rewarding trip to Chicago at the weekend too. Competing against some of the best marathon runners in the world both had excellent runs with PB's. Graham has been improving steadily the last year with the club and again proved what a tough racer he is running 2.39:56 breaking the 2.40 barrier by the tightest of margins! Lavinia, mixing it with (former) world record holders, also ran a superb PB of 4.45:14. Congrats to you both and enjoy a few days of putting the feet up!
Upcoming Race - Munster Novice Sunday 20th:
The next race on the calendar is the Munster Novice in Limerick Race course next Sunday. We have strong teams entered in both the mens and womens races so best of luck to all competing. The juveniles are on first starting at 11.30 so the womens race is expected to start at approx 1.30pm with the mens at 2pm.
Congrats to Michelle on winning her second individual XC medal in a week. Michelle followed up her impressive East Cork Senior performance with an even better one on Sunday in Liscarroll. She lead the field early on and was not afraid to take the race to the other girls and finished in 3rd overall. To put this in perspective, in 2017 she finished 39th and last year she was 28th. It just goes to show the improvement that can happen if you dedicate yourself enough to the training. Michelle also lead the womens team to silver medals. Niamh O'Connor was 9th overall after a ding dong battle for a long spell with Norah O'Brien, who ran her first XC race for the club. Norah was 12th overall and 4th in the U23 race. All the late training in Dublin after work seems to be paying dividends! Next home was the ever dependable Lorna Santry in 19th position with Eibhlin Cleary in 27th.
Shane lead the mens team home with an impressive run in 4th overall, an impressive 10 places better than 2017 in Macroom. Tim Crowley ran an aggressive race and was rewarded with 7th. Chris Kelly on his debut for the club and first ever XC race had a stormer to finish in 10th with Donal hot on his heals for the whole race in 12th.. Another debutant was Paul Crotty who looked menacing over the first 4k. With a few more weeks training under his Paul will be a force to be reckoned with. Jonathon Finn was coming through the field like a train in the last lap and looked certain for a top 10 until an unmerciful stitch derailed him in the last 1km. The mens team were a carbon copy of the womens as they also won silver medals (but also were beaten by 10 points by Leevale!).
The County Senior XC is on Sunday in Carrigadrohid. The womens race of 6k will start at 12pm with the mens straight afterward at approx 12.30pm.
We have had a rich history in this race since the club formed in 1985 winning the team title 20 times and 9 individual titles from four men: Liam O'Brien (1989), Donncha O'Mahoney x6 (1990,1991,1992,1993,1994,2003), Garreth Barry (1997) and Tim O'Donoghue (2018)
East Cork last won the team title in 2017 and will be looking to regain the title relinquished to Leevale last year, although a rejuvenated North Cork and last years intermediate All Ireland winners Togher could provide stiff competition too.
The team titles were won in: 85,86,88,89,90,91,92,94,96,03,04,05,06,07,08,09,10,11,13,17.
Breakdown of team winners below: *6 to count to 1995, 4 to count after:
Kevin O'Leary made his now annual pilgrimage to Germany for a marathon at the weekend. In 2018 it was the financial superpower of Frankfurt. This year he took on the 26.2 miles at the world famous Berlin marathon, home of the world record. Training had been going well for Kevin in the lead up to the race. On top of setting PB's at 5k (15.23) over the summer he had reduced his 10 mile mark to 51.53 also. But the marathon doesn't usually care about how many miles you have run or how many times you wanted to smash your alarm clock getting up for early morning runs. Luckily for Kevin though he had his taper judged expertly and was fully prepared for the job ahead.
There was a bit of rain around at the start of the race and the wind was stronger than expected. Kevin stuck to his plan of running a sensible controlled first half. He cruised through 5k in 17.11 and 10k in 34.03, envious splits in there own right for most club runners. At half way he was bang on target going through with a group in 72.14. Kevin kept that pacing going for another 18km and reduced the group dramatically. At the crunch part of the race with 7km to go Kevin ran his 35km to 40km split in 17.30! With the Brandenburg Gate coming into sight for the finish, and his body wanting a bar stool, Kevin somehow squeezed every last drop of effort from himself to cross the line in a huge 2 minute PB of 2.25:20.
Congrats Kevin from all at the club. You have been the model of consistency the last two years and all your improvements are truly deserved.