Athletics

Ireland's athletics clubs emerge with credit from the red-hot competition in Algarve

Raheny Shamrock's Mick Clohisey in action at yesterday's European Champion Clubs' Cross Country in the Algarve, Portugal
Malcolm McCausland

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IRELAND'S clubs emerged with credit from the red-hot competition of the 54th European Clubs’ Cross Country Championships in Portugal’s Algarve.

Marathon specialist Mick Clohisey put his strength to full use with a battling performance in the Senior Men’s race.

The Raheny Shamrock found himself wanting for speed in the early stages of the 10K event but moved impressively through the field to cross the finish line in a fine 10th place.

That helped his club to a more than respectable 12th spot, five places ahead of Britain’s representatives Aldershot, on the north Dublin club’s first appearance in the race.

Dundrum South Dublin showed the benefit of tight packing in the women’s race.

The DSD mentors had to wait until 26th place for their first finisher, the evergreen Maria McCambridge, but completed their scoring quartet by 35th.

That gave them sixth in the team competition in which Aldershot, with the aid of Steph Twell in fourth, lifted the bronze medals.

Clonliffe Harriers found the going difficult in the Junior Men’s race but ended up with their standings enhanced with an eighth place team finish.

Adam O’Brien led home the Santry club in 18th as the young Spaniards of Playas of Castellon prevented a clean sweep of all four team trophies by Turkish outfits.

Hard luck story of the day had to be that of DSD’s Junior Women who finished just out of the team medals in fourth. The Dundrum girls were led home by Sophie Murphy in an excellent fifth place and had not one but two Turkish teams in front of them along with the Danes of Sparta, Copenhagen.

At home Conor Curran was the winner of the top event of the weekend, the Run Forest Run Series 10K at Antrim. The North Belfast Harrier covered the relatively flat course in 33 minutes and 54 seconds to see off the challenge of Mourne Runners’ Timothy Johnston by half a minute. Local Pace Running Club member Stephen Nicholson took third in 34:30.

City of Derry’s Catherine Whoriskey finished third overall to claim the first ladies’ prize with a 34:30 clocking. The ubiquitous Cathy McCourt was next home in 36:52 while North Down’s Rachel Gibson grabbed the final place on the podium in 37:17.

The shorter 5K events at the Series are growing in popularity with almost 200 taking part on this occasion. Sam Linton was first home in 16:51, seeing off the challenge of Bliadhan Glass (17:02) and Ann Terek (18:30).

Vincent McAllister claimed the win in the fourth round of the Sperrin Harriers Winter League at Drum Manor Forest Park, near Cookstown. McAllister covered the ten kilometres in 35:27. Karen Alexander tightened her grip on the women’s overall title with another win in 39:48.

Stephen O’Gorman dominated at the Bessbrook 10K winning seemingly as he pleased in 34:55. Patricia McKibben was first woman across the line in 42:12.

Dublin City Harriers and Clonliffe Harriers were crowned the National Indoor League champions for 2017 in the pristine new Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown on Saturday.

Catherine McManus was instrumental in the DCH women coming out on top with individual victories in the 60m Hurdles and the Long Jump. Clonliffe Harriers were truly dominant in the men’s league winning by 30 points with a total of 94.

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