There was a lot of indoor action this weekend, but Lindie Naughton covers all the action, inside and out, in the Irish round-up.
Pre-race favourite Ryan Creech of Leevale AC was a clear winner of the 39th AXA Raheny 5-Mile held in bright gusting conditions in Dublin on Sunday (January 29).
Creech, who runs the Seville Marathon on February19, pushed the pace from the start and pulled away in the final stages of the race to win in 23 mins 53 secs. Just five seconds behind in 23:58 was Mitchell Byrne of Rathfarnham WSAF AC who had stuck to Creech for as long as he could and was running the race of his life.
A close third in 24:01 was Ben Branagh of St Malachy’s AC. In fourth place (in 24:04), Ian Guiden was leading Clonliffe Harriers to a comfortable team victory over Rathfarnham WSAF AC and Leevale AC – and another fifty-four men’s teams. First junior in an impressive time of 25:31 was Niall Carbery of Clonliffe Harriers.
Ann-marie McGlynn of Letterkenny AC, was first woman and first W40 in 26 mins 44 secs. It was a third victory in the race from McGlynn, who also won in 2018 and 2019. Sorcha Nic Dhomhnaill, now with West Limerick AC after a number of years with Donore Harriers, was second in 27:05. Sinead O’Connor was third in 27:16 and with her Leevale team mate Lizzie Lee a close fourth, Leevale took the team title. Host club Raheny Shamrock AC was second and Sportsworld RC third of the forty-one teams, many of them from new clubs and businesses.
Raheny made it a team double in the over 40 category, with the women beating Drogheda and District AC and Lusk and men clear winners over Donore Harriers and North Belfast Harriers.
Almost 5,000 runners had come from all over the country to race in what is the first big road race of the year. Virtually every Dublin, Meath, Wicklow and Kildare club and running group was represented, along with an impressive number of teams from Northern Ireland, Munster, the rest of Leinster and Connacht.
*In Carlow, Paddy Kavanagh of St L O’Toole AC in 27.00 and Michelle Keenan in 31:42 were the winners of the Charlie Curran Memorial 5-Mile, also on Sunday.
Cross-country in the mud
Catherine Whoriskey of City of Derry Spartans won the master women’s title at the NI and Ulster Intermediate and Masters Cross-Country Championships held at Carndonagh Carn GAA Grounds on Saturday (January 28). Whoriskey ran a time of 15 mins 18 secs for the 4km distance.
Second in 15:26 was Leonie Cook of Finn Valley AC and with her clubmate Teresa Doherty finishing third and Kay Byrne 10th, Finn Valley took the team title ahead of City of Derry Spartans and Knockmany RC.
North Belfast Harries dominated the men’s 8km race with Philip Goss the winner in 29:17 ahead of his team mate Lawrence O’Hara, Eamonn White fifth and Arran Rutledge 15th, which meant North Belfast Harriers were comfortable winners of the team title. Inishowen AC, led by the ageless Pauric McKinney in seventh place finished second and Foyle Valley AC third.
Winners of the intermediate titles were Stacey Leonard of Finn Valley and Gary Crummy of Newry AC.
Ireland’s new minted junior international Jonas Stafford provided the performance of the week at the Leinster Schools cross-country qualifiers held in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on the three week days between January 25 and 27.
First off were the East Leinster Championships, where Stafford, representing Glendalough School, had almost a minute to spare when winning the senior boys’ race. In the senior girls’ race, Emma McEvoy of Loreto Stephen’s Green was the winner. Senior team winners were the Institute oof Education girls and the Wesley boys.
At inter level, the winners were Noah Harris of Educate Together Wicklow and Julie Cleary of Loreto Stephen’s Green, with the Blackrock boys and the St Andrew’s girls the team winners.
Eve Nic Chonchubair of Coláiste Cois Life and Cormac Dixon of HFSC Rathcoole were the senior winners at the West Leinsters, where Emily Bolton of Mount Sackville and Cillian Gleeson of Celbridgetook the inter titles and Belevdere took three of the four boys’ team titles on offer. Maynoooth PP was first of the senior girls and Mount Sackville the inter winners.
Last up were the North Leinster qualifiers where Coláiste Mhuire Mullingar won both the senior and inter boys’ individual and team titles. Diamuid Fagan took the senor title, with Conor Sherwin first home in the inter race. Aimee Wallace of St Finian’s won the senior girls race, where St Dominic’s Cabra proved best of the teams. Eimear Cooney of Sacred Heart SS was the inter winner and Loreto best of the teams.
The top teams and individuals will race at the Leinster Championships in Santry on Wednesday, February 8.
Nicholas Griggs of Mid-Ulster AC ran a personal best 7:54.44 for 3000m at the Manchester World Indoor Tour meet on Saturday (January 28).
Griggs finished fifth in the race which was won by Emil Danielsson of Sweden in 7:48.23. John Travers of Donore Harriers finished 12th in 8:34.28.
Also in Manchester, Zak Curran of Dundrum South Dublin AC clocked 1:51.06 when winning the first of two 800m races. Roland Surlis of Clonliffe Harriers was fourth in 1:51.71. At a meet in Lyon, France, Nadia Power of Dublin City Harriers clocked 2:05.28 for second in the women’s 800m.
Commonwealth silver medal winner Kate O’Connor of Dundalk St Gerard’s AC smashed the Irish indoor heptathlon record at the X-athletics meet in Clermont, France. Her total of 4,396 pts added 166 points to the old record set by Grace McKenzie in 2019.
In Sweden, Mark English of Finn Valley AC opened his season at Sunday’s Folksam GP Stockholm meet, where he finished second in the 800m with a time of 1:47.62. Next up for English is the Millrose Games on February 11 in New York.
In Abbotstown, Darragh McElhinney of UCD AC set a new Irish U20 record when winning the 3000m at the Irish Universities Indoors Championships on Saturday (January 28). McElhinney’s time was 8:05.86. Taking the women’s 3000m title was Aoife O Cuill of DCU. DCU took both team titles.
Highlights of Sunday’s AI Indoor Games in Athlone included a victory for Ellie Hartnett of UCD AC in the women’s 1500m with a time of 4:24.79. Joe Warne of Doheny AC won the men’s 1500m race in 4:02.64, while James Edgar of City of Lisburn AC took a narrow victory in the men’s 3000m in 8:09.01 after a tough battle with Neil Johnston of Annadale Strides who finished second in 8:09.99.
On a hectic weekend indoors, the Stateside performance of the weekend came from Brian Fay of Raheny Shamrock AC.
Fay ran a personal best time of 3 mins 52.03 secs when finishing second in a sensational mile held on an “oversized” track at the Washington Indoor Invitational in Seattle.
Only in the chase for the line was Fay passed by his Washington University team mate Joe Waskom who won the race in 3:51.90. Washington athletes took seven of the top eight places with all of them breaking four minutes.
At the same meet, Sophie O’Sullivan of Ballymore Cobh AC ran a personal best 9:03.91 for 3000m.
Venues all over the country were hosting two-day meets over Friday and Saturday (January 27-28), with a number of Irish in action.
Highlights included a 3:56.08 time for Leevale AC’s Charlie O’Donovan when finishing second in the mile at the Penn State National Open.
Roisin Flanagan of Finn Valley AC was in action at the Dr Sander Columbia Challenge at the Armory in New York, where she ran a personal best 8:53.53 to finished second in the 3000m behind the American Madison Boreman, who won in 8:50.89. Luke McCann won the 1000m in 2:19.31 while Laura Nicholson of Bandon AC finished fourth in the mile with a time of 4:54.11.
The Boston Terrier
In Boston, at the Terrier Classic, a large group of up-and-coming Irish middle distance runners made their presence felt. Andrew Coscoran of Star of the Sea AC proved the class of the field in the 1000m in winning 2:19.25, while Abdel Laadjel of Donore Harriers, still only 19, ran a personal best 13:50.03 when finishing third in his 5000m heat. Also running the 5000m were Michael Neill who finished in 14:10.91 and Gary Campbell with a time of 15:25.84.
In the mile, Oisín Ó Gailín of Finn Valley AC lowered his personal best time to 3:59.07 — his first sub-four minute time. Also over that distance, Thomas Moran of Dunshaughlin AC ran 4:03.40, Paul O’Donnell of Dundrum South Dublin AC 4:08,863, Daniel Stone Of Raheny Shamrock AC 4:19.02, Stephen Fay also Raheny Shamrock AC 4:19.90 and Eoin Richards, aged only 19, of St Coca’s AC 4:21.54.
In the 3000m, although they were well off the pace, O’Donnell ran a personal best 8:08.27, David McGlynn of Waterford AC 8:0827, Shane Coffey of Dublin TC 8:14.08 and Cian Kelly of St Abban’s AC 8:27.77 (for 99th place!).
Of the women, Alex O’Neill of Ennis TC clocked 2:47.50 for the 1000m — a distance which clearly is appearing more often these days at indoor meets. Niamh O’Mahoney of An Riocht AC finished fourth in the 5000m in 16:42.35 followed by Orla O’Connor of Waterford AC 13th in 17:00.38. In the 3000m, Ruth Heery, also Waterford AC, finished in 10:07.44.
Elsewhere, Shane Bracken of Swinford AC ran a personal best 3:58.01 for the mile in Fayetteville; Colin O’Meara clocked a time of 4:08.61.
In Bloomington, at the Indiana University Relays, Barry Keane of Waterford AC lined out in the 3000m, finishing in 7:56.46. Fionn Harrington of Youghal AC ran 8:16.52 over the same distance, while in the women’s mile, Roisin Treacy of Dundrum South Dublin AC finished in a time of 5:08.13.
Over 1000m, Shane Brosnan, who is now eligible to run for Ireland, ran 2:27.71 in Cambridge Massachusetts.