Archive for January, 2020

The inside story: “Italica or bust”

Laura Tuite reports from inside the camp:  On 17th January a group of 30 athletes and 10 coaches headed to Seville to compete in the XXXVIII Cross Internacional de Itálica, IAAF recognised race.

As the plane touched down in the warm south of Spain everyone was bursting with excitement and anticipation of the 16+ degree heat we had awaiting us! Once we all checked in, we headed to the restaurant for the buffet dinner, which was mediocre at best. Things picked up though when we realised who was sitting at the table beside us eating the same food; Hellen Obriri (5000m world champion) and Paul Chelimo (Olympic 5000m silver medalist)!!

Our hotel was situated 20 minutes from the center of Seville but as Daniel Lacey liked to describe it, “we were in the ghetto”. There was not much around except a small bowling alley, Lidl and a few small local bars, which the coaches put to good use.

Saturday we woke to a dull grey sky, we were not one bit impressed. A bus was organised to bring us out to the course. Upon arrival, the rain began to fall but that did not stop us. We ran around the course and to our surprise it contained no grass or muck, which is what we have been used to all season! It was a hard red clay trail with some parts of the 3k loop containing concrete. There was two gradual inclines followed by two nice downhills and many sharp corners. The consensus was good but the burning question everyone had “Spikes or flats?”
Saturday evening was spent relaxing in the hotel and resting our legs for the main event.

Bright and early Sunday morning the junior women were first awake as they were first to race at 9:30am. As they arrived to the course the sun began to rise. It was a beautiful day! Weather was perfect for running. The rain on Saturday had no effect on the course so most athletes chose to run in flats rather than spikes. It was around 16 degrees with a slight breeze. The Spanish were wrapped up in their hats and scarfs but us Irish rocked up in shorts and t-shirts.  Hourly shuttle buses from the hotel brought the athletes to the course.
The atmosphere was electric! The crowds were amazing shouting “VAMOS” (GO)  throughout the entire race.
Junior women and men all had a great run, everyone was smiling ear to ear which encouraged us older ones to relax and just go out and run.
Stephen Cashen showed us how it’s done by leading out the men’s popular race; containing 1000 participants. As soon as we saw him come around the first corner, the Clonliffe tent erupted!
The men and women’s international races were filled with top class athletes who set an unbelievably fast pace from the start. It was inspiring to watch Efrem stick in and tough it out against the best of the best.

After a hugely successful day at the office, everyone headed back to the hotel on a high. Showered and famished we went and got a well-deserved Mc Donald’s.
Sunday evening was spent in the local pub playing pool and watching the football.  Which progressed into dancing, and singing to ABBA and Bruce Springsteen. The night ended by a solo performance of Amhran na bhFiann from Gerry Cullen.

Monday morning 8:15 wakeup call was tough for some but tougher for others. Fed and packed we all made it onto the bus only 15minutes behind schedule.  The weekend was a huge success; everyone had a great time and already looking forward to our next trip!

Clonliffe at Bro. Pearse M & T

Yvonne McDonagh reports: An overnight frost but beautiful sunshine greeted the ladies as they embarked on Ballyboden St Enda’s GAA club for the third race of the Meet & Train series (Jan 19th).  Sunday’s race was hosted by Brother Pearse AC. Over 150 ladies toed the start line. There was a sense of giddiness and anticipation in the air as the ladies waited for the gun to go for the two one mile laps.  The Clonliffe ladies were in good spirits as always with everyone keen to get going. Despite some weekend birthday celebrations Evelyn Brennan was looking fit and eager to get going. More on her race later.

The gun went and the ladies were off.  Elaine McLoughlin was keen to get into the lead pack as early as possible.  Though her start was not to her own liking, Elaine settled in with the lead group early on.  Once again the field was led by ex international runner Niamh Fitzgerald. Emerging from the woods on the first lap our own Elaine was in 3rd position and looking strong.  There were strong showings from many of the other ladies too with Siobhan Devaney in close pursuit, followed by Clare Roche and Emma Byrne. Mel Curran was having a stormer of a race and was picking off the competition one by one.  At the end of lap 1, Elaine had moved into 2nd place and her form was looking good. With the layout of the course the rest of the girls could see how well Elaine was running and it definitely spurred them on. Orla Deighan and Yvonne McDonough were also looking comfortable midway through the race.  Anne “only doing one race this weekend” Lyons (two half marathons last weekend was more representative of a typical weekend for her!!) and Emer Brennan were close behind.

As the ladies entered their second lap, Evelyn had that steely determination on her face. It was clear she intended on doing her usual trick of passing runner after runner on the second lap.  However, today was a little different and Evelyn not wanting anyone to have an unfair advantage in the race was sure she saw a man trying to join in as they went through the forest area and so she dived across to stop him in his tracks.  Evelyn hit the mud, testament to her dedication to the cause. Once again she was willing to sacrifice her own finishing position for the fairness of the rest of the field! If anyone has some spare Persil or Fairy non-bio I am sure she would appreciate it to get the mud out of her singlet!  Janette checked on her welfare as she went by but the ever selfless Evelyn insisted she go on.

As the leaders approached the long final straight Elaine was in a strong position sitting in 3rd just behind local favourite Sinead Tighe and ahead of Eimear English of Dunboyne AC.  Having worked hard at the lead of this small group for nearly a full lap the two girls pushed on and just took Elaine as they approached the finish. Elaine had a super run securing her best finishing position to date and showing a lot of promise to improve on this in the final round of the league.  With Siobhan coming back into form and more athletes available for the final leg of the series, it is expected that the Clonliffe ladies teams will continue to move up the overall leaderboard. Today saw a number of the ladies beat many who have been ahead of them in the previous races. The hard training is clearly paying off.

Thanks again to Ciara for coming out to give us all a cheer and to Brid Beausang who pulled up injured during the warm up, for giving us all a big shout out and lots of encouragement throughout the race.

The final race of the series will take place in Abbotstown on February 16th at 11am.  With our official supporter and photographer away that day we are appealing to any other club members who might be free to come along and support us.  If anyone would like to run the last race of the series please get in touch with any of the girls who have run to find out more.

Well done to all on the excellent performances today!

Hugely positive trip to Seville as Efrem places 14th at IAAF International XC

The weekend trip by the Clonliffe cross country teams to Seville for the Cross Country Internacionel de Italica was an outstanding success. A hugely enjoyable event brought positives all round for every single athlete competing. Efrem Gidey put in yet another five-star showing in the feature IAAF men’s international over 9,975m as he lined up with a world-class field including Olympic silver medallist Paul Chelimo (USA). As usual Efrem showed no fear in going out fast with the field and indeed in the early stages featured in the lead pack of six athletes. The course is however a pretty testing course. It is unique in that it is run through the ancient Roman city of Italica over compressed red clay, sand, stone and in some places concrete, several athletes ran in flats while others took a chance with spikes. The course features a lot of hills but then very fast downhill sections and therefore the pace was extremely hot from the off.

Huge crowds attend the event making for an electric noisy atmosphere. The crowds cheered on as Ethiopia’s 17 year old Tadese Worku upset the form book stealing a march on the rest of his rivals to come home the winner in 27.32 with prerace favourite Chelimo 2nd (27.48). Efrem obviously tired over the latter stages but never gave up finishing an excellent 14th position in a time of 29.34. A superb run from Jayme Rossiter saw him keep a steady pace throughout meaning that as other athletes tired he was going through them like a knife through butter gaining place after place finishing up in a superb 25th (30.16), next in was Cathal Doyle who on the surface suffered a recurrence of blisters but still hung in to finish 32nd (30.36) and with Eoin Taggart also having an excellent day to place 49th (32.16) it proved to be an extremely satisfactory day for the team.

In addition to the senior team there was a large travelling party of Clonliffe athletes competing in the ‘undercard’. First into the fray, literally at sunrise, where the 18 girls getting the Clonliffe Day off to an excellent start with a brilliant run from Aoife Hession placing 13th with Katie Halpin next in placing 19th and Alana Fitzsimons 24th. Interestingly enough the 18 girls race with the 14 boys and the feedback from the Clonliffe athletes was that this kept them running stronger throughout the whole race as there was always an athlete in striking distance.

The 18 boys raced with the U 20 girls, again the feedback from the girls was that it was positive. Niall Carbery was excellent in this race, he got himself into the mix from the start despite a fall on the start line battling his way through the field and remained undeterred when believe it or not he suffered a second fall and again was straight up onto was feet to push himself to a highly impressive 20th place. Very positive runs also from Alex Neuroth 44th and John Lawrence 46th.

Sarah Bateson continued her recent good racing form with another determined run to finish in a brilliant 8th position with Abbie Sheehy also breaking into the top 10, placing 10th. Tess Loftus despite missing several weeks through illness got stuck into the race to finish 18th U/20.

Eighth and ninth places were filled by Clonliffe athletes in the men’s U/20 race. Aaron Cullen ran another quality race to place eighth with the fast finishing Callum Simpson, who had made up so much ground finishing in an excellent 9th position. After months of injury frustration Evan Foster announced that he is back! A fantastic 19th. Next in was another athlete just out of sickbay, Ben Guiden placing 22nd (although the official results described him as ‘retired’ he certainly is not and finished the race!) Alex Murray was next in 27th, a place further back Ian McAlweeney after a race long battle with Thomas Balthazar, Ian 28th and Thomas 30th and 43rd was Dermot Buckley, again in his comeback race after recent injury.

The day’s proceedings also included ‘popular race’, these were basically open races for men and women. Hugely successful they are too with the men’s open race having a field capped at its limit of 1000 starters. The huge army of athletes snaked to cover almost half of the lap and leading the field on lap one (for approximately 200m of glory) was the black and amber vest of Stephen Cashin. Stephen however was swallowed up but finished up very credible 25th, next in was master athlete Declan Power in 36th position (17th master and second M/45), 39th Ryan Sheridan, 46th Daniel Lacey and 53rd (gaining 10 places over the last 100) Jordan Byrne.

The women’s ‘popular race’ was a slightly smaller affair with only 400 starters! At the sharp end of the field were the Clonliffe Quartet with the girls having an outstanding race: Laura Tuite 12th, Alannah Cooley 14th, Clodagh Galvin 32nd and Hannah Browne 59th.

It was a brilliant weekend for the athletes all of whom will benefit hugely from the experience of attending a top-class overseas events like this. All supported their clubmates and did themselves and Clonliffe Harriers proud. (The athletes view of the weekend will be posted in a day or so)

To see photos click: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmKRH9iV

Scullion qualifies for Olympic Games!

Stephen Scullion has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Running a PB of 2.11.53 in Houston this morning and with 5th place in this gold ranked event the Clonliffe man has secured his place for the Summer Games. Huge congratulations for all in Clonliffe.

Rolus takes National Indoor Combined Events

Rolus Olusa is Clonliffe Harriers first national champion of the new decade as he took the indoor combined events title at Athlone IT today.

With 4 firsts and a second Rolus finished in 3584 points some 250 clear of defending champion Shane Aston (Tara): 60h 8.48 , Long Jump 6.69, High Jump 1.93, shot 11.29 and 2nd in the 1000 (3.00.50).

Sean O’Neill RIP

Former Clonliffe athlete, from 1950s onwards, and Trustee of Clonliffe Harriers for a long number of years until 2010 Sean P. O’Neill passed away on January 14th. Clonliffe extends our sympathies to Sean’s family.

Arrangements reposing at home on Friday, January 17th, from 4pm to 8pm. Funeral Service in Dardistown Crematorium on Saturday, January 18th, at 2.30pm. No flowers please.

Sean Cronin bags another win

The schools cross country season is underway. Sean Cronin, the national U/14 champion today won the Drogheda and District schools cross country 1st year race. Next week sees the regional Leinster qualifiers with the North and West Leinster double header in the Phoenix Park on Thursday.

Also today at the secondary school indoor races at Abbotstown Christain Finn in the 1st year sprints placed 2nd in both the 60m and 200m.

Club membership/ Athletics Ireland registration

Members please note that club subs are now due this month. The system for collecting of subs is that members are encouraged to avail of the online facility. If of course your preference is payment of subs by cheque (payable to Clonliffe Harriers) or cash you must print off and complete the membership form. As per previous posting we are requesting that all members renewed subs this month, this is required in order to ensure the orderly running of the club and more importantly your registration with not only Clonliffe Harriers but Athletics Ireland. Please note that members whose subscriptions are not renewed before the end of the month will no longer be covered by the clubs insurance policy with Athletics Ireland and therefore regrettably cannot use the club’s facilities.

Juvenile members please note that in addition to paying your registration fee online you must then print off and then complete the membership form and give this to your coach for the juvenile captain.

Once the club is in receipt of your subscription we will renew your membership with Athletics Ireland. There will obviously be a time lag between those two events as with over 500 members to register each member as they paid a subscription would be a full-time administration job, your committee are entirely voluntary and have the obvious other commitments! We reregister athletes in batches with athletics Ireland, we appreciate that members do require their Athletics Ireland registration number in order to enter events and therefore if you are currently entering an event and require registration number, after payment of your membership subscription please text Pamela Cooper 086503015 with your name and she will text you back as soon as possible your registration number. We request however that if you do not require registration number that you hold off looking for this until the end of the month as we would plan to put a list on the club notice board of members names and the registration number.

The committee would very much appreciate the cooperation of all.

Scullion chases Olympic qualification in Houston on Sunday

Clonliffe’s national marathon and 10,000 champion Stephen Scullion goes in search of Olympic qualification in the Houston Marathon on Sunday. Stephen gave an extensive interview to Declan Bogue published in the Irish Examiner a couple of days ago. Well worth a read: https://amp.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/sport/the-big-interview-with-stephen-scullion-marathon-man-no-longer-on-the-run-from-himself

Ariel sets another club record at NIA Live

Ariel Lieghio’s club indoor pole vault record set on Saturday lasted all of three days as she went 10cm higher at last night’s NIA Live meet in Abbotstown. The new record now stands at 3.80m.

On the track Leah Bergin has two wins: 60m 8.20 and 200 26.48. Lauren Carr went even faster winning her 200 in 25.68. Emma McDonnell 1st 400 (63 57) with Kristin Hogan (68.04)

Other results: 60m Keith Burke 3rd (7.88) and 4th 200 (26.57), Sally Sumola 4th 60m (8.27), Natalia Gill 7th 60m (9.60) and 200 (33.83), Eoghan Murphy 3rd 800 (2.02.70).

In the juvenile races Ava Usanova had a fine win in the 200 in 29.47 and a 2nd place in the 60 (8.87).

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