The 2019 Munster Road Championships were held in Dundrum, Tipperary in what must be described as horrendous conditions. The temperature was 0 degrees, sleet/snow was falling and a chilling breeze was in your face for the second half of the race! However these cross country like conditions suited our athletes and we came home with some much prized silverware.
A huge run by Fiona on saw her crowned the champion of Munster. Taking control of the race from the gun she opened up a gap on the chasing pack over the first short mile loop around Dundrum village and literally never looked back from there. It was a dominant display of fearless running that demonstrates her excellent improvements in the last few years. In the last few years Fiona has finished 12, 4th, 3rd and now deservedly has the trophy. A brief visit to the ambulance after the race didn't deter her from celebrating with tea and sandwiches in the community hall afterwards. Well done Fi.
Following Fi home with another sterling performance was Michelle who covered the course in 27.47. A massive 4 minutes faster than her fastest 4 mile in 2018! It is no surprise to learn that she was also the U10 County XC champion in Carrig na Bhfear in 1998. That's the sort of quality your born with. Eibhlin made a welcome return to the racing scene after a bit of a lay off so fingers crossed it will be start of a long successful summer season.
The mens race is traditionally where we have been dominant in recent years. With Sean and James winning the race outright 9 of the last 10 years, confidence was high that we could add to the slightly disappointing return of 4 team titles in the same period.
After a cold warm up and a few minutes huddling for warmth in the hall the men were summoned to the start line at 1.40pm. The race started promptly and eventual winner Sean Doyle took the lead going into the first bend. He was stalked by a trio of East Cork vest in James, TImmy and Kevin O'B with Sean and Kevin O'L lurking just behind.
The race stretched out as Doyle pushed the pace. Tim and James made a bit of break from the chasing pack at the 1 mile mark and opened up a 20m gap. Shane was in about 40th position and also at this point Tim Crowley, Stephen O'Brien (on his debut) and Jonathon Finn were packing very strongly in a competitive race. Denis, who was the sole male to brave the conditions and cheer on the womens race, was in top 10 in the M55 category at this point. Tim continued to forge ahead in his attempt to catch the leader but perhaps it being the 3rd weekend in a row of racing had the legs feeling not quite 100%. He still finished in an impressive 2nd, clear of the field. Kevin O'B had a strong last kilometer to move from 8th to 4th. James who had battled valiantly in the wind on his own for most of the race finished 5th with Sean in 11th (2nd Master overall).
Kevin O'L finished in 21.39 in 28th overall. Shane was 41st with Tim C in 63rd, Jonathon in 66th and Stephen 67th. Denis finished 7th in the M55 category.
Now the hard part. The results are still provisional as there seem to be many mistakes and inaccuracies. Yesterday the Master Men were 3rd and now they are in 4th as it seems Leevale were forgotten (God forbid).
One thing that looks certain is the mens Senior team have won the team title. Currently the team that counts is Tim, James, Sean and Kevin O'L. Kevin O'B was entered in the Novice event only it seems but takes the consolation prize of Munster Novice champion although at nearly 32 years of age this may or may not be a proud achievement.
At the moment the master M35 team are 4th and Novice mens team were 4th. I will give an updated results listing when they are finalised later in the week.
On another note it was a great sign seeing us fill 3 competitive mens teams. Again the whole premise of the club when it was set up in 1985 was to give athletes an opportunity to compete in championship races and 34 years later this tradition is still going strong.