|Junior Men are All-Ireland Cross Country Champs|
|Sunday, 07 March 2010|
SILVER FOR SENIOR MEN AND JUNIOR WOMEN; BRONZE FOR ANNETTE
FOR only the third time in the club’s history the junior men’s squad claimed the All-Ireland title at today’s AAI National inter club cross country championships in the Phoenix Park.
Performing as a cohesive unit Kevin Dooney, Donal Foley, Jake McDonnell and Timmy Moriarty bunched magnificently to take 7th, 8th, 11th and 13th position in the 8Km race. With a total of 39 points they saw off the formidable challenge of the host club Donore Harriers who had a worthy race winner in John Travers.
The four scorers were ably backed up by Colm O’Leary who finished an excellent 26th on a bone dry course situated between the Magazine Fort and the Papal Cross.
On a day borrowed from summer the pace was relentless from the gun but Donal Foley led out the team for most of the four lap race before been overtaken by Kevin Dooney near the finish.
Jake McDonnell was a model of consistency throughout while Timmy Moriarty after a conservative start finished magnificently. What was really encouraging about the victory was the age profile of the squad which augers well for the future.
The club’s newest gold medallists have much to live up too, however, if they emulate the achievements of the first ever Raheny junior squad was made the breakthrough winning the title in 1975 under coach Paddy Noonan, now the club’s Vice President.
Dick Hooper, who coached today’s winning team, featured as a runner on the ’75 team as did Paul Brady, John Duffy and Gerry Giblin – all still actively involved in the club – along with John Maher and Vincent Hurlihy.
The club won the gold medal again in the junior grade in 1987 in Killenaule. Led home by Dave Jones – father of current star Chris Jones – who was third overall, the team also featured Pat Maher, Brian Peppard and Damien Bates.
Incidentally today's winning points tally of 39 surpassed the winning tallies of 55 in 1987 and 45 in 1975.
The junior women’s squad made a gallant effort to emulate their male counterparts but just fell short. Coached by Tom O’Sullivan they battled bravely in the 6Km race with Maria 0’Sullivan leading home the team in 5th spot in 23:46; Kayla Flynn was 10th in 25:25; Alice Fennell 11th in 25:44 and Orla Manley 16th in 26:44.
With a total of 42 points the girls took the silver medals behind the winners Dundrum South Dublin who had 26 points. Again given the age profile of the team they are capable of winning this title in the future.
The actual race itself was shrouded in controversy as the runaway winner Siofra Clerigh Buttner was disqualified as she was too young to compete in an U-19 race. Remember the name, however, she looks like a star for the future.
Yet again our senior men had to be content with the silver medals – still a magnificent achievement but not what these bunch of talented and ambitions athletes train for during the depths of winter.
As expected Mark Kenneally led the 12Km race from gun to tape. Mick Clohisey held fourth place for four of the six laps before fading slightly in the closing stages to take 7th place overall in 35:48.
Cillian O’Leary ran steady in the opening half of the race before upping the pace in the last couple of laps and he eventually overtook club mate Mark Kirwan to take 13th spot in 36:11. Mark was nine second behind in 14th place. The club’s fourth scorer was Simon Ryan 18th in 37:10. Bernard Roe was 25th in 37:39 and the ageless Mick Traynor took 36th place in 38:24.
Clonliffe won the team gold again with 33 points with Raheny comfortably winning the silver on 52 points while DSD on 87 points won bronze.
Annette Kealy was the club heroine in the senior women’s 6KM race. Once again she defied her age profile to mix it with everybody bar the runaway winner Linda Byrne. On the penultimate lap she was in second place and eventually finished an excellent third in 28:15 to take the bronze medal.
Orla O’Mahony also made steady progress through the field and it looked at one point that she might challenge for a podium finish but took 5th overall in 28:5. Aoife Talty was the team’s third scorer in 24th spot (29.38) while Fiona McGreevy 36th (31:48), Eilis Kelly 37th (32:15), Jenny O’Sullivan 39th (32:41) and Lorraine Byrne 41st (33:38) filled out the team. With a total of 68 (3,5, 24 & 36) points the girls finished 4th and outside the medals.
However, given that the gold medallists Dundrum South Dublin won with 50 points it is self evident that we had a great chance of winning the title. Unfortunately for a variety of reasons they were below full strength and a golden opportunity was missed.
Overall, however, a magnificent day for the club. Congratulations to all the athletes who ran; their coaches, the supporters and the support crew of the Drake and Stephen. We’re do it all over again in 2011.
* Pictures now posted. Click on Photo Gallery..then Club Photo Gallery and scroll down to pages 29/30/31.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 March 2010 )|