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.