The Munster Intermediate XC is on this Sunday in the Cork County Board grounds in Riverstick. We have strong teams competing in both the mens and womens races. Best of luck to all racing and all support is greatly welcome. The first race begins at 11.30am (this is probably the juvenile start time, more details at training tonight)
Men: Jens Wachter, Kevin O'Leary, Tim Mahony, Shane Harrington, Jonathon Finn, Tim Crowley
Women: Eibhlin Cleary, Lavinia Swords, Michelle Aherne, Eadaoin O Neill
The big race of the weekend was the National Senior XC held in Abbottstown Dublin. This is the course that will hold the 2020 European XC Championships.
We had 4 men and Fiona competing! Conditions for racing were ideal. The surface was like a carpet for the majority of the course with just a small section with a covering of mud. Predictably the pace went out very fast with the lead group covering the first mostly downhill mile in 4.40. Timmy probably ran close to 4.50 in his opening mile and was about 30th in the field. Sean and James were neck and neck in about 50th and Kevin O'Leary was covering the Leevale contingent just behind them.
In what is a very unfriendly spectator course it was hard to see the ebb and flow of the race as you had to choose either the top field of the lap or the bottom to watch the race and then wait 3 minutes for the athletes to reappear. Sean Tobin and Kevin Dooney kept the pace fierce at the front and both had spells leading and pushing the pace on. The only other man able to hang with them was Kevin Maunsell of Clonmel AC. These three had a large gap on 4th and Kevin Dooney of Raheen took the honours in 30.07.
Tim was first home for East Cork with another solid run finishing in a respectable 22nd and very nearly outsprinted (a fading) 4 minute miler, but alas it was not to be. Tim came through strong in the last 4km and passed a few big names that were not able to handle the pace. Sean also ran through the field well and got up to 36th at the end with a trademark hard last 200m that picked off another few places for him. James was next home in 57th and Kevin O'Leary in 107th out of a field of 162.
This got us 9th place overall and 150 places from team medals. Cork were 4th county team also. Well done lads for keeping the flag flying.
Fiona had a good run in the Senior Womens race finishing 41st overall. In a race that was won by track star Ciara Mageean, Fiona was in about 50th with 2k remaining but showed her strength to power through 9 athletes in the last lap. Cork were just outside the top three in 4th as well in the womens. To put this result in perspective there were over a hundred of the best athletes in Ireland in the race and Fiona was well above halfway. This is a very serious standard and all credit to Fiona to be consistently competing at this very unforgiving level.
Other Notable Results from "athletes in the East Cork area".
Frank O'Brien and Paul Hartnett of Midleton AC had a titanic battle once again in the U-18/Junior race. With a finish akin to the famous Cheltenham Racecourse hill, Paul held a 10m lead turning around the last corner with 200m to go but Frank, like Kauto Star in his pomp, chugged right to the end and pipped Paul on the line. This reversed the result from the Munsters and got Frank 4th in the U-18 race and Paul 5th. This went a long way to getting silver for the Midleton AC team also with Jack O'Shea 22nd, Cian Horgan 86th and Patrick Kelly 87th in the team. Well done lads.
Laura Hayes of St Catherines AC, and daughter of club stalwart Frank, was 12th overall in a very strong Junior women's race won by double European champion Sarah Healy. Tamzin Muldowney was 32nd overall and both girls were on the scoring Cork team that won the county competition. Norah O'Brien in her final Junior Race was 81st. Well done all.
The Glenville 4 mile was also held on Sunday with a ig turnout. john Walshe was our sole athlete competing and ran 33.08.
Munster Intermediate XC next Sunday in Riverstick. All wanting to be entered should of let Eadoin know by now.
British and Irish International - Swansea
Congrats to Michael Harty who represented Ireland in the Bristish and Irish Masters Cross country in Swansea on Saturday. In a very competitive race Michael finished 4th overall and 3rd M35. He was the leading scorer for Ireland in coming 2nd to a strong England team.
Munster Masters XC - Nov 20th, 2018
Congrats to Sean McGrath who defended his Munster Masters title on Sunday. Although selected for the British and Irish cross country that was on in Swansea Sean stayed local and dominated the race from start to finish. Frank Hayes was next home in 12th overall and 3rd M45 with Brian Harty and Graham Swords neck in neck in 28th and 29th. Jens continued his packed racing schedule and rounded off the M35 team. This got us 4th team. 5 points behind 3rd place Eagle AC.
Eric Meade was 8th in the M50 category and Denis was 7th in the M55's. Sean, Frank and Eric were all scorers on winning Cork teams also.
Cloyne Common 4k
The very popular Cloyne 4k series was also back on Sunday. We had 6 runners competeting. Kenneth continuing his comeback was 3rd overall. Tim Crowley made his long awaited debut for the club and was 9th.
Eibhlin Cleary improved the ladies club 4k season best time to a more respectable 18.21. Now at least the 4k time is faster than the 5k time!
The National Senior Cross Country is on next Sunday in Abbotstown. This is the pinnacle of the cross country season for the club and if you are around all support is greatly appreciated. It is the race that all senior club athletes should be aiming to race competitively in, as it gives an accurate portrayal of fitness levels up against the best in the country. All the best to everyone taking part.
The mens team secured a remarkable win in Two Mile Borris on Sunday. With ominous storm clouds overhead there was a tense atmosphere in the build up. As is always the case at Munster level you never really know is actually competing until everyone lines up at the start line. As usual Ennis Track had a full compliment and with Clonmel not racing it was set up for another head to head battle Cork v Clare.
The race started off fast and furious with Rory Chesser taking the lead and pushing the group through 2k in 6 minutes. Despite the fast pace a big group of about 10 formed with Sean and Michael in the mix with two Ennis Track. About 50m back were Tim and James who were being man marked by two other Ennis Track athletes.
As the race progressed these positions largely held until Sean Doyle from An Bru made a decisive break off the front off the group. He was shortly joined by eventually winner Damian Landers of Ennis. It was around this stage that Tim, in 11th, decided his legs weren't feeling too bad after Dublin Marathon 2 weeks ago and started getting into his rhythm and clawed his way closer to the back of the chase group.
Sean was yoyoing from the front to the back of the chase group until listening to the wise advice from Liam to tuck in the group against the wind.
Ennis were still "in the virtual yellow jersey" with 4k to go. It was here that James dropped the 4th Ennis runner and opened up a gap. Michael in his first serious hard race back from injury was battling valiantly in the lead group.
Going into the final 2k lap Ennis were still in the lead but Tim had decided enough was enough and tagged on to what was left of the chase group and went straight through the middle of them in a show of strength against the wind. Tim, never too confident of winning in a sprint finish, made his move with about a mile to go and splintered the group apart to end up an exceptional third in the circumstances. Sean hanging on in with Tim for as long as possible found himself in 5th and 10m behind 4th place Kevin Moore and only just ahead of Ennis' second man Rory Chesser with 100m to go but in true Sean grit and determination he put on an almighty kick to power passed Moore in the last 20m and collapse over the line for 4th. Michael cam through in 10th and James close behind in 12th. Frank Hayes and Jens Waechter rounded off the team in 29th and 46th.
With a few calculations on the back of a medals envelope we worked out that it was a tie with Ennis on 29 points each and James was one ahead of their 4th man meaning we won the title in the same style as the County Senior title 12 months ago against Leevale on countback. This was James and Seans 11th title each with Tim and Michael moving onto 3 each.
Munster Senior Bronze for the Ladies!
The womens race was less dramatic but equally competitive. Fiona had a storming race to hold off Aisling Kelly from St Johns and old foe Michelle Kenny. It was nip and tuck the whole way but with 1km to go, Fiona in 4th made a decisive move to get into 3rd. But Kelly wasn't letting up and going into the final turn they were neck in neck again. Fiona turned on the afterburners in the final straight similar to Sean and clinched the individual bronze medal, following up her silver from last year in Gallbally.
The team battle was looking very tight with 4 teams separated by very little. Eadaoin ran strongly to finish 16th and held off the challenge of three Ennis Track girls just behind her! Lorna had another solid race pacing herself well and finishing in 25th and Eibhlin showing well with another good performance in 31st. This was good enough for 3rd team overall and only 8 points off winners Dundrun and 5 off Ennis Track in 2nd. Not long ago this section of the club was non existent and now we are competitive in Novice, Intermediate and Senior competitions all due to a small number of dedicated women. Well done ladies.
In Other News:
Shane was down West this weekend again and picked up the win in the Eyeries 5 MIle in 29.19. If we can get the Nationals XC venue changed to the Beara peninsula, Shane could be our secret weapon at finally getting a top 3 team!
Jonathon Finn was racing again and was 12th in the Thomas Kent 10k in Castlelyos on Sunday in a decent 38.22.
Overall since the club first competed in the Munster Senior XC championship in 1986 we have won an impressive 21 out of 33 runnings of the event.
We have won the individual title 8 times by four men: Donnacha O'Mahoney, Liam O'Brien, James McCarthy and Michael Harty.
Donnacha on his own has won half of these winning 4 times and hauling an unprecedented 13 team titles along the way stretching over 20 years from 1990 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 21 titles won 23 men have contributed directly to the team by scoring in the top four. As mentioned Donnacha tops this list with 13. Close behind are James and Sean on 10 each, who are solely responsible for the consistent run of team results in the mid 00's. Liam O'Brien and Eric Meade contributed 7 wins each and John Kearney 6.
Note: Traditionally the Munster Seniors XC was held in January which fitted naturally in the XC calander a number of weeks before the Interclub All Irelands. However with the merging of the interounties and interclubs to one race in December the Munsters changed to a November date in 2015. Which is why there were two races in that year.
Any mistakes or omissions please let me know.
County Masters and Novice B:
Congrats to the mens M35 team on winning the county masters in Castlelyons at the weekend. Michael Hary won the race outright, making a welcome return to racing after over 6 months out and maintaining his 100% winning steak for 2018. Sean was 2nd to Michael with Brian Harty in 5th and Graham Swords only a week on from Dublin marathon in 7th. Well done lads, it was nice to break Leevales strangle hold on most other cross country county titles for this season.
Other Individual Medlal winners - Frank Hayes was 2nd individual in the M45 category with Denis McCarthy and Phil McGrath 3rd in the M55 and M65 catgories.
Tim Mahoney was 4th M40 with Jens Waechter making his official club debut in 6th. In the Novice race Jonathon Finn had another good cross country run finishing 6th with the ever improving Donogh Wall not far behind in 8th.
On the Roads:
There were two road races of note over the weekend also. Jonathon Finn impressively took out the Airport Runway 5k at midnight Friday night in 17.52. This continues from Kevin O'Learys win in the inaugural race last year keeping a hold of East Cork AC winners of the event. Jens Waechter made his unofficial debut with a top 20 after going out hard with the leaders into the wind and finishing in 19.32.
On Sunday morning in Little Island Kenneth Kelleher took to the line in the BHAA HSE 5k. This was Kenneths first race in nearly a year and made a very successful return in 16.45 for 9th overall.
Brickly 5K: John Walshe was in Waterford on Sunday running the Brickly 5k in 25.14.
Normally Parkruns don't make it into the weekly reports but this week might just be the sole exception. We had two runners battling it out in Bere Island and Lees Road, Ennis.
Eibhlin Cleary made her parkrun debut finished 2nd to Ennis Tracks Laura Chesser in a season best time of 23.22 on the undulating forest trail. And down in West Cork, while his teammates were battling Leevale for a county title in Castlelyons, Shane Harrington ran a confidence boosting 17.46 to come 1st by 5 minutes in Bere Island... This should set Shane up nicely for the Munster Seniors next weekend.