To start the week Lindie Naughton brings us all the Irish endurance action and news from the weekend just gone (Monday 24th June).

On a super busy weekend for road racing in the greater Dublin/Meath area, three races attracted entries of a thousand and over.

On Saturday evening, William Fitzgerald (Craughwell AC) was a surprise winner of the Michael Manning Memorial Dunshaughlin 10km, Co Meath. So popular is this race that the entry is capped at a thousand.

While the looming National Track and Field Championships a week later meant big names were absent, the race still produced a thrilling finish with Fitzgerald just edging  it from previous winner Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) and Aaron Hanlon (Drogheda and District AC).  Fitzgerald was timed at 30 mins 10 secs  and Duffy and Hanlon both given a time of 30:11. The times were well off Efrem Gidey’s course record 28:15 set in 2022.

First woman was Danielle Donegan (Tullamore Harriers) in 34:18, with Meghan Ryan (Dundrum South Dublin AC) second in 34:29 and  Ciara Hickey (Brothers Pearse AC,W40) third  in 3:02.

Winning all three team categories was Dundrum South Dublin. The trio of Ryan,  McCambridge and Sarah Mulligan  took the women’s prize ahead of Dublin City Harriers and Mullingar Harriers, while the quartet of Killian Mooney, Eanna O Bradaigh, Declan O’Meara  and Oscar Lubliner  proved best of the sixty-tree men’s teams entered. Mullingar Harriers finished second and Craughwell third.

Third team win for DSD came in the mixed cateegory linked to the Peugeot Race Series 2024  with Mullingar Harriers second and DCH third.

Overall, Pierre Murchan (DCH) was already a clear points winner of the men’s category in first phase of the series and didn’t need to run in Dunshaughlin. Winning a far more open  women’s category was Hannah Steeds (Leevale) with 15 points, followed by Maria McCambridge (DSD) 29 points and Sinead Whitelaw (Mullingar Harriers) 45 points. The series now moves into its second phase of longer races starting with the popular Roscommon 10-mile next Saturday, June 29.

Early morning starts

Early the next morning in the Phoenix Park, where limits also also imposed on numbers, Kieran Kelly (Raheny Shamrock AC, M35) led home 1,658 finishers at the Irish Runner 5-Mile Challenge, which doubled up as an Irish championships.

Kelly, better known as a track runner, finished in 24 mins 11 secs, with Luke Johnston (Moy Valley AC) second in 24:29 and Ian Guiden (Clonliffe Harriers) third in 24:46.

Ciara Wilson was first woman in 27:25, followed a minute later by Heather Murphy (St Michael’s AC) in 28:25  and Niamh O’Mahoney (An Ríocht AC) in 28:38.

Raheny Shamrock won the senior men’s team category ahead of twenty other teams  by just three seconds from Celbridge AC, with Clonliffe Harriers a close third and Liffey Valley fourth.

Leading home the twenty-five senior women’s teams entered was Sli Cualann, with Raheny second, and Moyne AC third. In the masters’  team categories, Armagh beat Clonliffe Harriers for the M35 title, with Raheny Shamrock third and Donore Harriers fourth of the 25 teams entered. Grange Fermoy won the M50 title, ahead of Inishowen and Omagh Harrier; fifteen teams had entered.

Dunboyne AC was first of the twenty W35 teams entered, followed by Donore Harriers and Newbridge AC. In the W50 category, Raheny Shamrock’ came out on top. Lucan Harriers was second and RathfarnhamWSAF..

Also in the Phoenix Park, on Friday evening, close to 1,200 turned out for the the annual Dublin Pride Run 5km, where James Moran led  them home in 16 mins 44 secs. Second in 16:56 was Christopher O’Reilly in 16:56, while third in 17:18 was Owen Fletcher.

First woman was Deirdre Lyons in 19:33, followed by Mie Hoff in 20:32 and Deirdre Ni Chearbhaill in 21:15. Groups from many Dublin clubs and businesses took part in the race.  Now here’s a thought: it would have been physically possible to run all three of these races. Did anyone do that?

Roads in Munster from John Walshe 

On a busy Thursday evening in Munster (June 19), the Donoughmore seven-mile race, which has been on to go for 40 years, saw Barry Twohig of St Finbarr’s AC winning in 37:41. The tough hills proved no obstacle to the former top-class cyclist, now aged 45, who added to his recent fine performance in the Cork City Marathon where he finished sixth overall in 2:31:01.

Second was Brian Murphy (M40) of Iveragh in 37:55 with M50 Vivian Foley (Eagle) third in 39:03. This is one race where the course record is unlikely to be broken anytime soon since  it stands at 33:09 to British international Peter Reilly of Leigh Harriers, the race winner in 2006.

Lorna Wolfe of Leevale was first of the women in 44:27 with the minor placings going to Anita Locke (St Finbarr’s), 46:46, and Sally-Ann Lynch of the promoting club, 52:29.

At the Coolagown 10km near Fermoy, three runners well known to each other battled it out for the honours. John Meade (St Finbarr’s) prevailed by five seconds over Conor McAuley (Leevale) in 33:06 with Donal Coakley of the same club adding another top-three finish with his time of 33:29.

Best of the women was Oliver McCarthy of the local St Nicholas club in 41:26. Second, exactly a minute behind, was Sarah Treacy (Watergrasshill) with Clotilde Fitzgibbon (Grange-Fermoy) third in 42:39.

At the Dave Fogarty 4-mile, in Thurles, Co Tipperary, Peter Somba – now with Ratoath AC – retained his title with his time of 19:41 four seconds faster than 2023. Declan Moore of Bilboa was also inside the 20 minutes with his 19:47 while Evan Fitzgerald (West Waterford) finished third in 20:03.

Sharon Kiely of the organising Thurles Crokes was a clear winner of the women’s race in  24:15 with Maria Maher (Ballyskenach) second in 26:16, and Grainne Brennan (Carrick-on-Suir), thrid in 26:29.

Roads elsewhere

Master athlete Jayne Bleakley was the winner of the Belfast City Women’s 10km, in the Titanic Quarter on Sunday (June 23) in a time of 34 mins 12 secs. Second in 36:26 was Niamh O’Connor (Tullamore Harriers) in 36:26, with Dearbhla Cox (Annadale Striders) third in 37:10.

In Omeath, Co Louth, Tadhg Donnelly (Drogheda and District ) was a clear winner of the The Long Woman’s 5km in 13 mins 50 secs on Friday (June 21) . Conor Murphy was second in 15:36 and Joshua Muchran (Slieve Gullion Runners) third in 15:45. Finishing fifth and first woman was Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) 15:54.  Not too far behind was Kelly Breen (North East Runners)  in 16:25 with Sive Dundan third in 18:13.

Patrick O’Grady (Clonliffe Harriers) was sixth and first M60 in 16:13. Also for Clonliffe, David Brady finished ninth in 16:44 and Lee Maginnis 13th in 17:01. Glenmore AC was first of the men’s teams with  Newry City Runners best of the women.

Eskander Turki was the winner of the Lisburn Half Marathon on Wednesday June 19 in 69:33. First woman was Gillian McCrory  in 85:06. 10km winners were Brandon McKeown in 33:49 and Hanna Gilliland in 35:20.

Photo: James Rhodes

Track and field

Mark English (Finn Valley), who many seem like a veteran but is still only thirty-one, broke his own Irish 800m record not once but twice over four days last week.

On Tuesday evening, English ran a time of 1:44.69 for second place at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, not only breaking his own Irish record but booking himself a place at his third consecutive Olympic Games.

On Friday night, English went even faster when  clocking a time of 1:44.53 for a fighting fourth at a Continental Tour silver meet in Madrid. At the European Championship last year,  English took bronze in a tactical 800m with a time of 1:45.19 and currently lies 34th in the Olympic rankings. Also in Madrid, Sarah Healy (UCD AC) was second in the 800m in 2:01.30, while Nick Griggs (CNDR TC) was sixth in the 1500m in 3:35.64.

Elsewhere in Europe, Cathal Doyle (Clonliffe Harriers) ran a time of 3:35.98 to win the men’s 1500m at a meet in Kuortane, Finland,  on Saturday (June 22). Jodie McCann (Dublin City Harriers) won the women’s 3000m in 8:54.61, while Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC) finished second in the women’s 800m in 2:01.98.

In Vienna, Georgie Hartigan (DSD AC) ran 2:03.22 for the same distance. In the men’s A grade 5000m, David McGlynn (Waterford AC) finished 12th in 14:08.27.  In Geneva, Switzerland, Luke McCann (DCH ) won a 1500m race in 3:35.71.

At the BMC Grand Prix, Loughborough on Saturday (June 22), Efrem Gidey (Clonliffe Harriers) ran a personal best 7:58.11 when  finishing third in the A grade 3000m.  In the B race, Oisin McGloin (Lagan Valley, U20) clocked 8:36.84 for 14th place. Clare Fagan (Mullingar Harriers)  finished seventh in the women’s A 3000m in 9:22.26., with  Emer McKee (Willowfield, U17) 17th in 9:55.91

In the men’s 2000m steeplechase, Matei Ursachi (Clonliffe Harriers) finished fourth in a personal best time of 6.01.03, which is inside the European U18 Championships qualifying mark. Well over a dozen other Irish athletes were competing in the lesser graded races; full result at the BMC site.

Showing a welcome return to form at a multi-events competition in Ratingen, Germany over the weekend was Kate O’Connor (Dundalk St Gerard’s AC) who has probably done enough to book her place at the Paris Olympics.

A key to O’Connor’s performance was a time of 2:14.57 in the 800m race, helping her notch up a points total of  6244 – her second best ever – and putting just 16 points behind the event winner Sandrina Sprenghal of Germany.

Three Irish competed at the Irena Szwwinska Memorial meet, in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Thursday (June 21) among them . Charlie O’Donovan (Leevale AC) who finished ninth in the men’s 1500m in 3:42.52.

At the UCD Athletics Meet, held at the Belfield, track on Wednesday (June 19). Maeve O’Neill (Doheny AC) won the women’s 800m in 2:05.58, followed by Carla Sweeney (Rathfarnham WSAF C) in 2:06.51 and junior athlete Saoirse Fitzgerald (Lucan Harriers).

Cathal O’Reilly (Kilkenny City Harriers on the men’s A 800m in 1:51.51 with Neil Culhan (Ace AC) second in 1:52.55 and Sean Cronin (Clonliffe Harriers ) third in 1:54.23

The women’s 1500m turned into a battle between Ellie Hartnett (UCD) and Amy O’Donoghue (DSD), with Hartnett edging it in 4:24.77 and O’Donoghue second in 4:24.84. Third in 4:26.93 was Fiona Everard (Bandon AC).

Junior athlete Cormac Dixon (Tallaght AC) continued his recent winning streak with victory in the men’s 1500m in 3:47.68. Sean Carrigg (Clonliffe Harriers) narrowly pulled off victory in the B race with a time of 3:59.92 with Ben Smith (Leevale AC) second in 4:00.13.

Winning the mixed 3000m in a personal best 8:18.64 was Hugh Armstrong (uanatt). First woman was Emma McEvoy (DSD) in 9:30.52.

In Liège, Belgium that same night, Cian McPhillips finished 11th in the 1500m in a time of 3:42.39.

Also at the Paavo Nurmi Games, in Turku, Finland on Tuesday (June 18) , Cathal Doyle (Clonliffe Harriers) ran a personal best 3:34.09 to beat Luke McCann (Dublin City Harriers ) in the 1500m; McCann’s time was 3:34.32.

The pair could both qualify for the Paris Olympics under the quota system. Andrew Coscoran (Star of the Sea AC) has already made the qualification time.

Mountain running

Rory Lush proved best of the Irish n the men’s race at the World U18 Mountain Running Championships in Palencina, Spain over the weekend.

Lush finished 29th in a time of 26 mins 39 secs for the 5.07km course with 224m of climb. The Irish team finished 12th of the 15 teams with with Northern Ireland 13th.

In the women’s race, Siobhan O’Loughlin finished 34th in 31:34 and the Irish team 13th with Northern Ireland 14th.

At the Broken Arrow Sky Race in California, USA, part of the WMRA World Cup, it was a strong run for Zak Hanna in 19th in 2:02:51, ahead of US-based Paddy O’Leary in 2:06:39 in 27th. Hanna also ran the VK on Friday and finished 27th.

Photo: Scott Rokis Photography