2019 Grand Prix Series is won by Deirdre Fitzsimons

Liam Hennessy reports: The Awards Night kicked off at the clubhouse on Friday evening. The master of ceremonies; Maurice Ahern began by giving a lengthy speech, where he thanked the President; Paddy Marley, the Grand Prix Committee of John O’Leary, Caroline and Paddy Tuite, Pamela Cooper, Liam Hennessy, Murray Ahern, Gerry Mc Cabe, Noreen Keane, Ben Lawlor and Mick Kearney. Maurice also thanked the volunteers; too many to mention; however their efforts were well appreciated during the series, He also thanked Caroline and Paddy Tuite for their excellent work in running the bar and providing refreshments for everyone following each race, the many sponsors who are vital to the success of the series and importantly everyone who took part during 2019. Maurice spoke of how well the series had been received during the year. The club president Paddy Marley then addressed the gathering and outlined how taken he was by the energy the series has brought to the club.

And so we came to the presentation of prizes. We hadn’t met as a group for any prizegiving in some time, so Maurice along with Paddy Marley, Pamela Cooper and Tom Griffin Jnr began the formal presentations.

The presentation for the Irwin Cup, incorporating the Club Cross Country Championship held in early November was first up.
The result of the handicap was as follows;
Winner – David O’Sullivan
Second Place – Des Shorten
Third Place – Mel Curran
The presentation for The Men’s and Women’s Club Cross Country Championship for 2019 was as follows;
Men –
Winner – Sean Doran – Club Champion Cross Country 2019
Second Place – Karl Nolan
Third Place – Mick Bermingham
Women –
Winner – Clodagh Moriarty – Club Champion Cross Country 2019
Second Place – Aimee Ahern
Third Place – Mel Curran

Next up was the presentation for the Ahern Cup, incorporating the Club Championship 10 Mile race held in October and kindly sponsored by Maurice Ahern. The results were as follows;
Club Championship – Men
Winner – Sean Doran – Club 10 mile Champion 2019
Second Place – Shane Casey
Third Place – Garreth Loye
Club Championship – Women
Winner – Aideen O’Connor – Club 10 Mile Champion 2019
Second Place – Rachel Eustace
Third Place – Marie Howard
The Ahern Cup – Handicap Result was as follows;
Winner – Gerard Fay
Second Place – Declan Grant
Third Place – Mary Ketterer

The presentation of prizes for the Horan Cup, (the oldest cup in the club’s history) the last race in the series, held on Saturday, November 23rd was next. This race was kindly sponsored by George Maybury and the result was as follows;
Winner – Clodagh Moriarty
Second Place – Aimee Ahern
Third Place – Mick Bermingham

Then we came to the presentation of prizes for the overall winners in the series for 2019. Maurice spoke about the sponsor of the overall winner in the Grand Prix Series; Behan & Associates and in particular he thanked Noel Guiden for his continued sponsorship.


And so, after 16 Races, run on Track, Trail, Road and Cross Country from April through to November 2019, the final results were revealed;
I’m going to go in to a bit of detail here but these people deserve to be talked about.
The Green Jersey Winner was Shane Casey – Shane has had a standout year, so well done Shane.
In 6th Place overall – Shane Casey – Again Shane achieved a top six finish overall, so well done Shane.
In 5th Place – Mick Gleeson – Mick was the overall winner last year and ran PB’s right through this series battling to finish in a very credible 5th place. He is without doubt one to watch next year !!
In 4th Place – Richie Barr – Richie showed flashes of the old Richie and  the fierce rivalry between himself and Mick Gleeson is always a joy to behold, as he snatched 4th place from Mick by just one point !!
In 3rd Place – Gerard Fay – Ger had a fab series running every race and was in the hunt to win the overall prize right up to the last race, so well done Ger.
Runner-up – Mick Bermingham – Mick ran so well throughout the series and like Ger had been in the hunt for the overall prize up to the last race. Mick has now finished 3rd, 2nd and 2nd the last three years, so here is hoping next year will bring fab performances from Mick and edge him closer to that top prize.
And the Winner – Deirdre Fitzsimons – Winner of the Behan & Associates sponsored Grand Prix Cup presented for 2019 – Well, what can I say about Deirdre. Deirdre has hardly missed a single race in the series over the past few years. She is a most popular winner and becomes only the second lady to take the overall title since Emma Dunne’s win in 2017. Deirdre was leading going in to the last race when she tired and scored zero points, but when the points were tallied she hung on to win by just a single point in the end. As Deirdre said in her victory speech “the Grand Prix Series is the best race series in Ireland” and for those of us lucky enough to enjoy it each year we have a gem of a series and long may it continue. Speaking of continuing, it was sad to hear Maurice announce that he would be stepping down from his role as Chairperson and handicapper of the series. On behalf of the Grand Prix Committee, volunteers and club members I would like to thank Maurice for the amazing job he has done over the past number of years. Maurice, your passion, attention to detail and commitment have without doubt contributed to make the race series so popular year on year. How are we going to find a replacement for Maurice. Well, the show must go on and we have to ensure that the Grand Prix Series in 2020 is the best yet.
Well that’s it – The 2019 edition of the Grand Prix Series has been a great success. We would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and the best of health in 2020. We will convene again next April when we hope to kick off the new series, so keep yourselves healthy and let’s make 2020 the best year yet !!