Some excellent performances at home and abroad for Irish athletes this weekend. Lindie Naughton covers the ground in her weekly roundup. 

The standout Irish performance this weekend was Darragh McElhinney of Bantry AC. The young distance runner not only  improved the Irish U20 5,000m record to 13:54.10 at the IFAM Meet in Oordegem in Belgium on Saturday (May 25) he became the first Irish junior athlete to go under 14 minutes for the distance.

McElhinney improved on his previous best by 17-second improvement on his previous best, breaking Kevin Mulcaire’s 2015 record  of 14:02.30.

McElhinney was part of a large Irish group competing in Belgium, attracted as much by the party atmosphere as the opportunity to run fast times in ideal conditions.

Track and Field

Keith Marks was Clonliffe’s Harrier’s only winner at the the European Championships Clubs Championships in Tampere Finland on Saturday (May 25).

In a tense long jump competition, Marks jumped 7.40 to beat Finnish athlete Roni Ollikianen by a single centimetre. He later helped Clonliffe to second with a time of 41.55 secs in the 4 x 100m relay.

Simon Galligan had got Clonliffe Harriers off to a good start with throw of 58.47 for second place in the hammer and there were a number of fourth places for the Santry-based club. In the 1500m, Colm Rooney was unlucky to finish only fourth with a time of 3:55.04; the winner Jan Petrac of Slovenia finished in 3:53.83.

Also finishing fourth in their races were Cathal Doyle in the 800m, Dara Kerwick 400m and Leo Morgan 100m. In the 500m, Ian Guiden ran a personal best 14:53.13 fof fifth place. Overall, Belgian club RECS came out on top ahead of AD Mas from Slovenia and Maccabi Tel Aviv from Israel.

In the women’s competition, St Abban’s AC from Co Laois were representing Ireland for a second year and Nessa Millet not only won the 400m hurdles but recorded a personal best time of 58.40 secs. Other winners for St Abban’s was Saragh Buggy with 13.02m in the triple jump and Cliodhna Manning 54.30 in the 400m. Overall, AD Mas from Slovenia were the winners from Rotterdam Atletik and Slovakian club SK Dukla Banska.

A large group of Irish athletes, most of them sprinters and hurdlers, headed for the annual IFAM Outdoors, at Oordegem in Belgium on Saturday (May 25), attracted as much by the carnival atmosphere as the promise of fast times in near perfect conditions.

First up was the pre-programme, which started at around midday with up to 13 “heats” over many of the distances and all standards welcome. Some of the Irish used the earlier races as a warm-up and indeed recorded faster times in them than in more elite races held as part of the main programme later in the day.

One of those was 110m hurdler Matthew Behan of Crusaders AC who clocked a time of 14.19 secs for fifth in the pre-programme race and then 14.22 in the evening race. Behind him was Gerard O’Donnell of Carrick-on-Shannon AC with identical times of 14.35 in both races. Best of the junior men competing was Shane Monagle of Tramore AC in 14.39.

In the pre-programme, Leevale’s Conor Morey ran 10.73 to win one of the twelve 100m heats. He would later clock 10.76 for third in an evening race. Overall fastest of the Irish in the 100m was Marcus Lawler of St LOT AC, who ran only in the evening and clocked a time of 10.56 to win his heat.

Others running fast times included Stephen Gaffney of Rathfarnham WSAF AC 10.79, Joseph Ojewumi of Tallaght AC 10.80; David Murphy from Kilkenny City Harriers 10.82 and Eanna Madden of Carrick-on-Shannon AC 10.87. Fastest of the twelve or so Irish starters in the 200m races was Mark Smyth of Raheny Shamrock AC with 21.35.

Over 400m, both Brandon Arrey of Raheny Shamrock and Chris O’Donnell of North Sligo AC ran times of 47.64 secs with 19-year-old Cathal Crosbie of Ennis TC also under 48 seconds with a time of 47.72.
Best of the Irish over 1500m was Luke McCann of Dublin City Harriers in 3:42.37.

In the fastest of three 5000m heats, John Travers of Donore Harriers finished a close fourth in 13:28.86 with the Ethiopian Abe Gashahun winning the race in 13:26.77. Clocking 13:54.10 for second place in the third heat was junior international Darragh McElhinney of Bantry AC.

Of the women, Sarah Lavin of UCD won the pre-programme 100m hurdles with a time of 13.44, with Kate Doherty of Dundrum South Dublin AC second in 13.75. Lavin later finished third in the main 100m hurdles race in 13.56. Fastest of the three Irish women over 100m was Rhasidat Adeleke of Tallaght AC with a time of 11.72 for third in the second heat. Sarah Quinn of NUIG AC ran times of 11.78 and 11.80.

Over 200m, Sharlene Mawdsley of Newport AC ran times of 23.89 and 23.96 secs.

Kerry O’Flaherty of Newcastle AC made a return to the steeplechase where she finished 10th in 10:15.56, while in the field, Shane Howard of Bandon AC won the long jump with 7.38.

Full results here.

Road Running

Race of the week was the Bob Heffernan 5km, held in Enfield, Co Meath, on Tuesday (May 21) which was the third round of the Kia Series, with the best five results from nine races to count.

Taking his second win of the series in 14 mins 19 secs was Hiki Tonosa, of Dundrum South Dublin AC, overall winner of the 2018 series, although since Tonosa doesn’t drive, it was Donore’s Eric Keogh who took away the Kia car for a year of driving. Keogh could well be driving the car for a second year after finishing third last Tuesday behind Tonosa and Peter Somba of Dunboyne AC.

First woman was Mary Mulhare of Portlaoise AC in 16:42. Mulhare has shown steady improvement in this season’s KIA Series, finishing fifth in the Streets of Portlaoise 5km and third in the Streets of Kilkenny. Second behind her was Sinead O’Connor of Leevale AC in 16:48; O’Connor was the winner in Kilkenny and currently tops the league table.

Next round of the KIA Series is the Braveheart Trail 5km in Trim, Co Meath on Friday June 14.

Photo: Lindie Naughton

Making a comeback to racing at the ESB Business Houses Athletic Association Beach 5km on Sandymount Strand in Dublin on Tuesday (May 21) was marathon man Eoin Callaghan of the Primary Teachers team.

Callaghan’s time of 16 mins 58 secs put him over half a minute clear of Kevin Donagher in 17.31 with Karl Walsh of Revenue third in 18.02.

Tenth overall and first woman was Karla Doran in 19.58. Revenue was first of the Grade A teams, with Eir first in grade B, followed by Bank of Ireland and Teachers. Willis Towers Watson was first of the women’s teams ahead of Bank of Ireland and Dublin City Council.

On the same evening in Cork, close to a thousand runners turned out for the annual John Buckley 5km on the Marina circuit, which is (probably) the best supported BHAA race on the calendar – after the Dublin Marathon of course!

Leading them home was Niall Shanahan of the Department of Education in 14.51. David Mansfield, a guest runner on the night, was second in 15.08 and Paul Moloney of Micam third in 15.11. Another guest runner, Grace Lynch, was first woman in 16.51, followed by Niamh Moore of the HSE in 18.08 and Carmel Crowley of Stockhealth, also first W50, in 18.31.

The Department of Education won both the grade A men and women’s categories – they beat Eli Lilly and UCC in the men’s competition and Musgrave and HSE in the women’s competition, also winning women’s grade C. Grade B winners were the Stryker men and the CIT women, with Musgrave first of the grade C men.

Winning the half marathon by some distance at the Lap of the Gap races in Laragh Co Wicklow on Saturday (May 25) was former Irish marathon champion Sean Hehir of Rathfarnham WSAF AC in 71 mins 21 secs. Exactly 14 minutes behind for second was Kevin Doherty.

First woman was Annmarie Kenny of Parnell AC in 1:35.53. Ben Gurrin won the marathon in 2:57.04, with Aisling O’Connor second and first woman in 3:09.25.

Irish parkrun rankings

Conor O’Mahony and Annette Kealy ran the quickest parkrun times in Ireland yesterday (May 25). The full rankings are here.

RELATED: 7 ways to run faster at parkrun

Lindie Naughton is a journalist and writer based in Dublin who joined the athletics club at her college many many years ago and has never quite escaped. You’ll normally find her jogging around some orienteering course somewhere – or down at the Irishtown track coaching kiddies! 

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