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 elibible 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.