Archive for December, 2008

Top class European Cross in Brussels

Dec 17, 2008 [Noel Guiden] The City of Brussels provided an excellent venue for a top class European Cross Country Championship on Sunday the highlights of which included a magnificent Eighth Senior Men’s Cross Country win from Serhiy Lebid, a battling fourth place from Ireland’s Mary Cullen in the Senior Women’s event and numerous good performances from the Irish Athletes including our own David Flynn in the Junior Men’s race and although the hoped for medals did not materialise there is certainly a very strong base to be built upon over the coming months in preparation for Santry Demesne on the 13th of December 2009.

There was a substantial Clonliffe presence in Brussels. My travelling companions were Joe Cooper, Gerry Carr, Pat Bonass, Mick Fogarty and a couple of Eamonns – Messrs. Coghlan and Dolan. Over the course of the weekend we met up with Club President Paddy Marley, Padraig Keane, Noreen Keane and Johnny O’Leary. We witnessed an extremely well organised event from the Belgiums who had constructed a compact spectator friendly course at Laken Park. From the athletes point of view it was a very testing course which had a number of sharp switch-back bends which caused a number of athletes difficulties. No such difficulty, however, for Lebid, the 33 year old Ukrainian running in this his 15th European Cross Country Championship. Lebid bided his time, always in the lead group and when Great Britain’s Mo Farah upped the pace Lebid covered the break as the pair opened a 50 metre gap back to 3rd place, again Lebid sat and waited until the final 400 metres when he hit the front for the first time powering away to a magnificent eighth championship. Mo Farah after a superb performance was second with Sweden’s Mustaf Mohamed 3rd. From an Irish perspective in the early stages things looked very good as Martin Fagan led out the field and looked fairly comfortable until on the 3rd lap he disappeared from our view eventually coming around in about 25th place, we later learned that a fall had contributed to his demise. In the end Fagan placed 24th and with Alan McCormack 32nd, Gary Murray 36th, Andrew Ledwith 37th, Mark Carroll 42nd and Mark Christie 74th the Irish team placed 7th.

Mary Cullen ran a magnificent race in the Women’s Senior Race and was positive from the gun and always to the front of things, eventually, however, she slipped off the pace and out of the medals positions to finish a heartbreaking 4th place only a matter of seconds away from that elusive medal. The Irish Women’s team placed 9th (Mary Cullen 4th, Deirdre Byrne 29th, Rosemary Ryan 41st, Hazel Murphy 57th and Kerry Harty 60th).

David Flynn ran very well in the Junior Men’s race, he clearly struggled over the first 2 of 4 laps and in his own words ‘just couldn’t get going’, at the end of the second lap he was placed 75th, however, got down to business over the second half of the race coming strongly through the field eventually placing 51st to be the 3rd Irish scorer. The Junior Men’s Team with Craig Murphy 19th, Ian Moore 40th, Flynner 51st, Michael Mulhare 59th and Patrick Quinn 84th placed 8th.

The Men’s under 23 team of David McCarthy 24th, Richie Yeats 33rd, Mick Clohissey 37th, Paul Pollock 57th, Jason Fahy 60th and John Coghlan 65th placed 8th.

The Women’s Junior and under 23 teams performed very well both teams placing 4th. The Junior Women’s Team of Sarah Tracey 12th, Charlotte Ffrench-O’Carroll 15th, Ciara Mageehan 17th, Lorraine McCarthy 33rd, Tara Jameson 54th and Rebecca Ffrench-O’Carroll 60th finished 4th on 77 points behind the Russians on 62 points whilst the Women’s under 23 team of Linda Byrne 10th, Rosemary Galligan 21st, Ciara Durkin 23rd, Hollie Knight 26th, Aisling Baker 41st and Eimear O’Brien 64th placed 4th on 80 points.

A notable feature of the championships as a whole was the quite exceptional performances of the Great Britain teams. It was an extraordinary achievement particularly in the Junior Women’s race for the 6 British girls to fill the first six places and the British with team gold in the Junior Women, team gold in the Women under 23, team gold Men’s under 23, team silver in the Senior Women and team bronze Senior Men and Junior Men took team medals in all six races. Clearly whatever they are doing they are doing right.

From an Irish perspective we just came up short again but with the correct approach for 2009, with home advantage and hopefully a big crowd at Santry Demesne medals are a distinct possibility.

It was also interesting and good to see first hand the organisation of the event by the Belgiums and all could see the commitment which is going to be required to put on an event next year as good as the magnificent event put on last weekend.

Another positive from the weekend is that with the 2009 Championships at home we will have no necessity to rely upon the navigation ‘skills’ of Eamon ‘Garmin’ Dolan!

Gold found in Cavan mud

Dec 7, 2008 [Noel Guiden] It was grim in Ballyhaise in the county of Cavan today for the National Juvenile Uneven ages and Novices Championships. The hard overnight frost combined very well with cattle hoof pot holes to make the ground conditions vary from poor to down right dangerous,this and the lack of facilites at the venue and the number of ankle injuries inflicted on the poor athletes well answers the age old question of why our sport fails to attract the numbers of young sports people enjoyed by other codes. After the younger Clonliffe athletes “enjoyed” their runs with a variety of stories to tell to their friends ranging from twisted ankles to lost spikes it looked like an empty handed trip home until the U/19 boys dug deep into the now ankle deep mud to suck Gold from the quadmire with superb efforts from Dave Fitzmaurice, Colm Murray, Mark McDonald, Jamie Rossiter and Tony Kavanagh to take team Gold by three points from St. Malachys and Finn Valley.

In the younger age groups Rachael Murray was the pick of the crop finishing an excellent 16th in the U/13 Girls. The U/15 girls and boys squads struggled badly with only Stephen Boyle making any impression leading the first third of the boys race until he was swepped up by the pack to finsh 41st. Likewise the U/17 boys found the still frozen ground hard to get to grips with as more injuries and lost spikes put paid to their day. Kate Purcell went well in the U/19 girls race finishing a highly credible 19th.

In the boys U/19 race with the frozen ground now turning to mud Dave Fitz got into the mix from the off in his first race in many months and ran a gutsy race to place 8th. With great runs also from Colm Murray coming through the field nicely, Mark McDonald and young Jamie Rossiter supported well by Tony Kavanagh the Clonliffe lads did the business to win National Gold.

On then to the Novice Championships. The women plugged it out with all four coming through the test tired and glad it was over, results not yet to hand but well done Karen Duggan, Joyce O`Hare, Christine Hannelly, Marie Byrne and new ladies captain Pamala Cooper.

Declan Power ran very well to be our first finisher in the men`s novice in 32nd place with Stephen Harkness, more used to two laps of a tartan track, 34th. Next home was Brett Paine (46th), Brain Gallagher (76th) and Jeremy Walsh (87th), Terry McLoughlin and Declan Moran where next in. Comment of the day : ” The way lads where dropping out I thought to myself a few more laps and I`m in the medals!” (Jeremy Walsh)

Brady wins 2008 grand prix

Dec 1, 2008 [Stephen Byrne] The presentation night for the 2008 Clonliffe Grand Grand Prix last Saturday night proved to be another successful night for the club and will undoubtably be an event to be pencilled into your diaries for many years to come.

At the end of a long and by and large successful 2008 Grand Prix series athletes, family and friends gathered for the presentation held in the club bar. It was an extreamly enjoyable night with numerous highlights : the presentation of awards, the superb food, good wine, a very long raffle and DJ Joe to boot.

The night got off to a great start with presentations for the last 4 cross country races.

The Ahern Cup : Race Sponsor Maurice Ahern

As the Ahern 10 mile also incorporated the Club 10 mile championship Maurice Ahern presented Club medals plus Grand Prix prizes on the night.

GRand Prix Handicap

1. Dave Brady

2. Dermot Murphy

3. Eddie Harrison

Club 10 Mile

1. Philip O’Doherty Gold + Ahern Cup

2. Dermot Murphy Silver

3. Tom Monks Bronze

Irwin Cup; Race Sponsored by Dominic Branigan

Paddy Tuite presented Prizes to the below recipients

1. Dave Brady

2. Terry Mee

3. Stephen Byrne

As Terry Mee was the first Clonliffe athlete across the line he received the Irwin Cup.

Fastest Athlete Tom Monks

Horan Cup; Race Sponsored Colm Brennan

Paddy Tuite presented Prizes to the below recipients

1. Paul Carolan

2. Fergus Wheatley

3. Ray McConville

O’Connor Cup; Race Sponsored by John Bourke

Fastest Athlete; Niall Sherlock

Handicap

1. Pat Bonass

2. Stephen Byrne

O’Connor Cup goes to first scratch athlete over the line.

The presentation of the Fastest Athlete award, The Pat Linnane Memorial Cup was made to Noel Cullen by sponosor Fred Connolly.

For the last number of years the Grand Prix has presented Unsung Hero awards to individuals whose contribution to either Clonliffe Harriers or Athletics in general should not go un-acknowledged. Previous recipients of this award include Dave Brady, Joe and Gladys Cooper, Michael Kearney, Harry Gorman and Sean Callan, and Pat Hooper.

This years recipients are both long term members of Clonliffe Harriers whose contribution to the club has and continues to be immense. Without both these individuals there would be no Clonliffe Grand Prix.

Seven years ago Noel Guiden and Pat Bonass setup the Grand Prix and ran it for the following six years where they grew it from strenght to strenght. This year they took a back seat but truth be told they took many phone calls over the past year and their help was greatly appreciated.

Grand Prix 2008

The Grand Prix Series this year consisted of 14 races kicking off on grass with the Farren Cup in April in Santry Woods over a distance of 4 miles, the park was also to venue for the Irwin Cup Steeplechase, the Horan Cup and todays race the O’Connor Cup. The Grand Prix travelled to Malahide Castle for the McCarrick Plate over 2.5 miles, for the Michael Murphy Memorial over 5 miles and the Ahern Cup over 10 miles.

Back on the track here in Morton Stadium the Grand Prix commemorated the breaking of the 1, 2 and 3 mile World Records in 1958 with track races over the same distances, adding in the McDonald Cup and Walker Cups over 4 miles, a 1500 metre track race and throw in the Bonass 10K for good measure proving the Grand Prix offers a good variety for all tastes.

Over the course of this years Grand Prix Series we have had 7 different yellow jersey holders, Shane Galligan, Noel Cullen, Maurice McCrohan, Eddie Harrisson, Fergus Wheatley, Paul Carolan and Dave Brady.

In what proved to be a nail biting finish to the 2008 Series Paul Carolan came within two points of catching Dave Brady on the line. Presentations made to the top 10 athletes with Dave Brady taking home the Behan Associates Sponsored Noel Guiden Snr Perpetual Trophy.

1 David Brady 243

2 Paul Carolan 241

3 Eddie Harrison 239

4 Fergus Wheatley 229

5 Pat Healy 221

6 Stephen Byrne 218

7 Tom Monks 202

8 Ernie Ramsay 200

9 Pat Bonass 185

10 Ray McConville 184

11 Maurice McCrohan 183

12 Colm Doran 168

13 Alan Worrall 158

14 Pat Devitt 155

15 Colm Breen 150

15 Philip O’Doherty 150

17 Sean McGoldrick 149

18 Sean Doran 136

19 Shay Byrne 133

20 David Dunwoody 131

21 Dermot Murphy 129

21 Terry Mee 129

23 Jim Bennett 128

24 John Fay 120

25 Jeremy Walsh 119

26 Richard Connolly 118

27 Noel Cullen 114

28 Declan Muray 107

29 Frank Devitt 96

30 Gerry McCabe 93

30 Terry McLoughlin 93

32 Noel Guiden 90

33 Declan Power 81

34 Tony Kiernan 72

35 Shane Galligan 68

36 Conor Delaney 67

37 Colm Groome 65

38 Tony Westby 57

39 Kieran Murphy 46

40 Feargal Hartnett 22

41 Damien Reilly 20

42 Dave Brennan 13

43 Paul Duggan 10

44 Sean Pender 9

45 Eugene MacCarrick 7

46 Des Lyons 6

The Grand Prix had a number of new faces joining this year and the promise of a lot more for next year so it is hoped we can continue to grow this series over the coming years.

In summary an excellent end to an excellent series, full of fun, laughter and friendship…isn`t that what it`s all about.

Congratulations to all the winners, to all who took part. I would like to thank all our sponsors for their continued genorosity, their support is deeply appreciated. Noel Guiden, Shay Byrne, Dave Brennan, Eugene McCarrick, Family of Michael Murphy, Pat Bonass, Frazer Walker, Dominic Branigan, Maurice Ahern, Colm Brennan, John Bourke, Fred Connelly, Colm Doran, Brother International and a special thanks to Richard Connelly for sposoring a race plus spot prizes for tonights raffles.

I would also like to thank Caroline and Paddy Tuite for setting up the bar for the presentation night and to the catering staff for the lovely food on the night. To our raffle ticket sellers Ann and Caroline.

To my collegues on the Grand Prix committee for the sterling work over the last year, Paddy Tuite, Jeremy Walsh and Dave Brennan.

Nil desperandum.

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