Aug 7, 2011 [Noel Guiden] Another very successful day for Clonliffe athletes at day 2 of Nationals. Once again a very nice day in the Morton stadium as the rain held off leaving pretty favourable conditions which clearly enticed people out of their homes as this was the best attended Nationals in a long number of years. The Clonliffe Harriers in action took up where they had left off yesterday with some excellent performances and several medals beening won to bring the overall haul to 11 medals. Pretty impressive indeed.
First medals of the day where taken by our two super pole vaulters. In a tense competition defending champion Dave Donegan held his nerve to take an unbelieveable 13th National title and to complete an indoor and outdoor double for the 4th successive year. ave winning on count back with a season’s best of 4.70m. U/23 National Champion Ian Rogers was 3rd with a best of 4.55m.
Continuing his excellent form in the Nationals was the Big Man Tomas Rauktys as Tomas successfully defended his National Discus title with a throw, just short of his Clonliffe record, measuring 52.06. Later in the day Tomas won his second title winning the 56lbs for distance with 8.40, adding two golds to his shot silver from yesterday.
Paul Marry took his second senior National medal with silver in the Javelin competition in another season’s best of 56.43m. Marcin Klinkzow, who won the bronze in yesterday`s high jump was 4th with a big personal best throw of 54.10m, while in the early morning Hammer competition Martin Hunt placed 7th (51.03m).
Highlight from a Clonliffe perspective came in the men`s 5,000m where Alistair Cragg looked pure class from the off. Cragg took the lead on the 2nd lap and lead for the rest of the race breaking away from Sean Connolly (Tallaght AC) around half way to win, and retain his title, in 13.48.03. It was a bit of a surprise to see Mark Kenneally line up for this one and it was clear after a couple of laps that despite the exertions of his 10,000 yesterday that he wasn`t here for a training spin. Kenneally was always in the top 3 and as Cragg applied the pressure to break Connolly Kenneally struck smoothly taking over second place and running an excellent last couple of K to take silver in sub 14, 13.59.29. Post race Mark was very pleased with his weekend`s work after a Summer of frustration and now looks forward to a late Autumun marathon. Words of praise also for young Connor McGuinness in his first National senior having only come out of the junior ranks as of Jan 1st Connor ran like he`d been in this company for years as he recorded a very impressive debut time of 15.33.64.
Good things had been expected from Dave Flynn in the 3,000 SC, however, after a few laps it was clear that the long US track season had taken it`s toll as he trailled off the lead three, and called it a day a lap from home. Another of last year`s juniors Jayme Rossister also ran very well in this race recording a third PB this season with a time of 9.37.75 in 5th place.
In the men`s 1500m Paul Robinson (St. Cocas) was the class of the field to take an excellent win. Eoin Pierce performed best of the Clonliffe trio running a PB of 3.55.13 in 7th place with Gary O`Hanlon 12th in 3.57.73 and a tired Mark McDonald 13th in 4.00.59. Unfortunately things didn`t work out at all for the girls in the women`s 1500 as Eleanor Alexander got badly spiked early in the pace forcing her out only to be joined a lap later by Becky Woods.
Conor Healy found the last lap pace too hot to handle in the 800, he was in contention until 200 to go but hit trouble waters from here on in finishing 8th in 1.53.04. Up front Mark English (Letterkenny) took in a thrilling finish.
Top Clonliffe 100m man of the day was Danny Kavanagh who made it through to another national final placing 7th (11.27). As expected the winner was Jason Smyth (City of Derry). In the B final Keith Pike, who was called up for international duty for next week`s Celtic Games, ran very well to take 3rd (11.46). Matt Field ran yet another sub 15 second 110H as the strong headwind surely denied him another club record (14.77) when he was 4th in 14.83. Ciaran Mackey ran 49.24 for 7th in the 400m in a fast race won in 46.68 by Crusaders Brian Murphy.
Finally Sarah Woods ran an excellent personal best time of 64.99 in finishing 7th in the 400H and Ciara McCallion knocked another few tenths of her best ever in finishing 5th in the 400m final with a time of 55.41.
So in summary an excellent Nationals for the club`s athletes who it must be said received great support from their club mates today. Well done to all