National Inter-Club Cross Country Championships in Dublin
MICK Clohisey and Fionnuala McCormack picked claimed the respective senior titles at yesterday’s National Inter-Club Cross Country Championships in Dublin.
The meeting doubled as the trials for Ireland’s teams at next month’s European Championships in France with northern athletes Paul Pollock, Kerry O’Flaherty, James Edgar and Emma Mitchell all looking as if they have done enough for selection.
Clohisey was defending his senior men’s title that he only won in March. After that the Inter-Club Championship, normally held in the early part of the year, was switched with the autumn date for the Inter-Counties.
That did not seem to cause the Raheny Shamrock athlete undue concern as he weathered the storm of a hot early pace before stamping his authority on the race and going on to win easily.
The only man to give chase was John Coghlan who has laboured all his athletic career under the yoke of his father Eamonn’s reputation.
In taking second he finally achieved something his father had never managed – a national senior silver cross country medal.
Paul Pollock took four weeks off training after running the qualifying time for the Olympic marathon in Berlin at the end of September only to be beaten by three other men qualified to represent Ireland in Rio.
The break was needed as much to recover mentally as much as physically. The rest showed as the Annadale Strider tore through the field over the last two laps almost certainly to seal his selection for France.
Ryan Creech, Joe Sweeney and Freddy Sittuk filled the next three spots with Sergiu Ciobanu likely to get the sixth spot for France due to Sittuk’s ineligibilty.
The destination of the women’s title was only in doubt for the first lap as a group of 12 bunched at the front.
Fionnuala McCormack quickly dispensed with the speculation by making a decisive move to the front.
After that it was just a question how much the Wicklow woman would win by at the tape. Lizzie Lee showed her marathon strength by taking second, and leading Leevale to the team title, ahead of Crusaders’ Caroline Crowley.
Newcastle’ Kerry O’Flaherty ran a well-timed race to take fourth and almost certainly a place on the plane to the Euros.
“I had terrible difficulties getting home from France yesterday,” said O’Flaherty. “But I knew if I kept going I would get stronger on the last lap.”
Ciara Durkan and Sara Treacy made up the top six while further down the field Banbridge’s Emma Mitchell worked hard to put herself in contention for an U23 team place.
Ciara Mageean and Ann-Marie McGlynn were among the athletes who failed to complete the course.
James Edgar showed all his class to finish fifth in the Junior Men’s race that was easily won by Ennis Track Club’s Kevin Mulcaire.
Earlier Derry Track Club ran away with the Senior Men’s race at the North Down Festival of Cross Country Relays. Dromore won the women’s event with Katie Kirk back in competitive action helping Queen’s University to runner-up spot.
William McKee was the winner of the Run Forest Run Gosford 10K Trail Race after covering the course in 33:49. Laura Graham was the first woman home in an impressive ninth overall with a 38:38 timing.