Munster Senior XC - Mens:
The Munster Seniors was held in Two Mile Borris last Sunday and despite the very heavy rain all week the course held up pretty good and allowed for some fast running. Tim stole the headlines yet again. After a harrowing experience two years ago where Sean Doyle pipped him to the title in Conna, Tim was not about to let lightning strike twice. After his impressive showing at the County Seniors, Tim was probably the favourite going into the race but with Ryan Creech (Leevale), Liam Harris (Togher), Donal Devane (Ennis Track) and Jake O'Regan (St Johns) all running strong lately it was never going to be plain sailing. After Liam Harris took on the running on his own for the first 3k, the next lap settled into a leading bunch of 5. Tim, never one to leave anything to chance, decided with 5k to go to start pushing the pace and test the will and resolve of the rest. Unsurprisingly after going through 5k in about 15.25 a surge in effort devastated the group and Tim got the gap he was looking for.
However as in Conna 2 years back just having a gap doesn't count for much midway through a XC race. Tim knew this and kept applying the pressure. Hitting 9k the commentator announced the overall time at 27.55 and Tim glanced over his shoulder to see Ryan Creech only a few seconds back, looming in yellow. He also glanced to the crowd and saw his wife Eimear cheering him wildly and daughter Chloe running around in circles playing and completely ignoring the suffering her Dad was going through.
As the two leaders ran the bottom part of the course and took the sweeping bend after the ankle deep muck patch it looked like Tim had Creech covered, a 500m slight uphill all the way to the finish was what was left. However the commentator left nobody in doubt that this race was still well and truly on. Tim's earlier efforts had finally caught up and the last 200m were more guts, heart and determination than a fluid gliding stride (what's new there some might say!). But timed to perfection it was and Creechs last dash up the home straight was just not quite enough and Tim held on to win by about 2 seconds.
Despite paying for chip timing Munster athletics did not release the times of the finishers. Tim was approx 31.10, which shows the high level of performance needed to win this race.
The remainder of the team can be summarised a little quicker. Overall we came third. Leevale won the title for the first time in 20 years. Togher were 2nd and pipped us by 2 points. James was 23rd in 34.44, Kevin 26th in 35.36, Brian Harty, had a great race winning his first Senior XC medal at Munster level, was 28th in 36.00 and Donal Giltinan, despite having raced XC 5 of the last 6 weeks, was 32nd in 36.31.
Norah was our sole representative in the ladies race. She had a solid run for 23rd overall. Aoife Cooke won the race from Ciara O'Neill and Shona Heaslip
Munster Senior XC History:
- Overall since the club first competed in the Munster Senior XC championship we have won an impressive 23 out of 36 runnings of the event.
- We have won the individual title 9 times by five men: Donnacha O'Mahoney, Liam O'Brien, James McCarthy, Michael Harty and now Tim O'Donoghue also.
- Donnacha on his own has won 4 times with an unprecedented 14 team titles along the way stretching over 20 years from 1987 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 23 titles won 23 men have contributed directly to the team by scoring in the top four:
As mentioned Donnacha tops this list with 14. Right on his tail is Sean with 12 and James on 11, both are solely responsible for the consistent run of team results in the mid 00's.
* Note: Traditionally the Munster Senior 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 intercounties 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.