Teresa Doherty of Fin Valley and Brian Maher of Kilkenny City Harriers proved worthy champions at the National Masters Cross-Country Championships held in Aondale House, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow on Saturday (February 8).

Doherty proved the quality in the women’s race leading from the start and finishing in 15 mins 21 seconds. Kate Purcell of Raheny Shamrock was second for a second year in 15:45 and Claire McGuigan of Lifford Strabne AC third in 15.59.

Age group winners included Breda Gaffney of Mallow AC W45, Annette Kealy of Raheny Shamrock W50, Niamh O’Sullivan of An Riocht AC W55, Pauline Moran of Mayo AC W60 and Mullingar pair Brigid McCabe and Eileen Kelly who were the W65 and W70 winners.

Galways City Harriers, led by Kathryn Casserly, packed well to beat Raheny Shamrock for W35 team gold; Finn Valley finished third. Raheny had the consolation of winning the W50 title from Mayo AC and Mullingar Harriers.

Photo: Lindie Naughton

In the men’s race, Maher was lying second behind Peter Arthur of Liffey Valley AC with what he thought was a lap and a half to go. When told he was on the final lap, he made a huge effort to catch Arthur and made it to the line in 23 mins 43 secs, with Arthur three seconds behind for second.

Pierce Geoghegan, also Liffey Valley, was third, with the team losing to defending champions Rathfarnham WSAF by five points in the M35 category. Finn Valley was third.

Like Annette Kealy, Des Kennedy of Raheny Shamrock made it a Raheny double in the M50 category, not only winning the individual title but also leading his team to victory over Sli Cualann and Mullingar Harriers.

Patrick Malone of Newbridge AC was first M55, and Tommy Hughes of Termoneeny AC first M60. In a competitive M65 race, Brian Lynch of North East Runners beat his old adversary Joe Gough of West Waterford AC for the title.

World Masters middle distance rankings

Earlier in the week, Gough had been named runner-up in the World Masters middle distance rankings for 2019 having won the title a year earlier. Anne Gilshinan of Slaney Olympics was named top middle distance woman becoming the first ever Irish woman to be so honoured.

In the intermediate races which followed, Niamh Allen was a clear winner of the women’s race ahead of Caron Ryan from Craughwell AC and Trinity College and Sarah Kelly, of Inishowen AC. Crusaders were the winning team ahead of Sportsworld and Raheny Shamrock.

Conor O’Mahoney of An Riocht AC won the men’s race from Gerry Forde of Slaney Olympic and Donal Devane of Ennis TC. Donore Harriers was first team, beating Leevale AC by two points with Clonliffe Harriers third.

Gary O’Hanlon of Clonliffe started his racing year as has done for the past few years with victory in the National 50km Championships held in Donadea Forest Park, Co Kildare on Saturday (February 8).

O’Hanlon’s time of 2 hrs 49 mins 13 secs broke his won course record. No-one else broke three hours. First woman in eighth place was Laura O’Driscoll of North East Runners in 3:32.17.

Coscoran broke four minutes for the mile again, with Scot Chris O’Hare winning the race Photo: Joseph Hale

Not much action on the roads, but plenty indoors

In one of the few road races that defied Storm Ciara on Sunday (February 9) Alan O’Shea of Mercy Hospital won the Janssen BHAA 6km in Cork with 19 mins 8 secs. First woman was Grainne O’Donnell of Kumon Douglas in 22:41.

Andrew Coscoran of Star of the Sea AC ran his second sub-four minute time of the season in the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games at the Armory, New York on Saturday (February 8). Coscoran finished 10th in 3 mins 57.83 secs in a closely fought race. Winner was British athlete Chris O’Hare in 3:55.61.

In the 800m, Mark English running for Adidas finished 6th in 1:52.94, while winning the boys mile in 4:10.95 was Cian McPhilips of Longford AC, who made his move with 400m to go and beat some of the best high school athletes in the US with a fine finish.

Ciara Everard, the ex-UCD athlete from Kilkenny, made a stunning comeback to racing when she beat Sarah Healy in the women’s 1500m at the AI Indoor Games in Abbotstown on Sunday (February 9).

Everard won the race in 4 mins 21.40 secs with Healy second in 4:22.52 and Amy O’Donoghue of Emerald ASC third in 4:24.37.

Winning the 1500m was Pierre Murchan of Dublin City Harriers with a time of 3:51.60; Mark Milner of UCD AC was a close second in 3:52.84.

Roland Surlis of Annalee AC won the 800m in 1:50.44, with Brian Fay of Raheny Shamrock second in 1:50.53. Winning the women’s 800m in 2:06.69 was Victoria Sauleda. Hiko Tonosa of DSD AC was an emphatic winner of the men’s 3000m in 8 mins 18.58 secs.

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