As we say goodbye to 2019 and indeed the decade of the 20 teens we take a look back at a monumental 10 years in the life of Clonliffe Harriers AC. Whilst the goal is to try and sum up 10 years of highlights in a few short paragraphs this may not be possible but here goes….
On 30 January Brian Gregan won the London Open in 47.67, a week or so later at the national indoor’s there was a shock as Brian misjudged the finish and failed to qualify for the final, although in the B final he ran the fastest 400 of the weekend a time of 47.57. David Donegan took gold and Ian Rogers silver in the pole vault. At the Euro clubs cross country in Bilbao on February 8 Mark Kenneally was an excellent sixth in a top-class field, a superb team effort from the junior team saw them finish a superb sixth place and only 10 points off bronze. Then on 16 February Brian Gregan ran 46.68 in Vienna to qualify for the world indoors. On 8 March Mark Kenneally won the national senior cross-country leading Clonliffe to a 7th successive team title with the junior men finishing second. Brian Gregan competed in the world indoors 400 in Doha narrowly missing out on qualification for the semifinals as he ran an excellent 47.26. On 10 May the club held an excellent club championship day for juveniles juniors seniors and masters then on 30 May at the European clubs track and field in Switzerland a superb effort by the Clonliffe men’s team saw them finish in fourth place, highlights included a 400 H win by John Fagan and the new club record in the 400 by young Gregan of 47.2. The clubs promotion of the Morton mile, held as part of the Dublin graded, saw a very successful mile race won by Will Leer, this was the last time the Morton mile was included in a ‘non-Clonliffe’ meet. In August Joe Cooper’s troops made it three national track and field titles in a row in Tullamore. Alistair Cragg remained the clubs top international athlete featuring in the top 10 in three events on the European rankings: eighth over 5000 (13.21.66), seventh over 3000 (7.44.25) and second half marathon (61.28), for good measure in September Cragg ran 3.58.59 in the fifth Avenue mile. On the streets of Dublin Sergiu Ciobanu was the national marathon champion and along with Brian McMahon and Lorcan Cronin won the team title. Then at the European cross-country Clonliffe were represented by Mark Kenneally in the senior men’s race and Becky Woods in the U/23.
This year was a special year in the life of Clonliffe Harriers as the club celebrated its 125th birthday. Brian Gregan once again got the year nicely underway as he won the Vienna indoor 400 classic in 46.82 to qualify for the European indoors. On 8 February the senior men competed in the Euro cross in Milan, the Cinque Mulini, an extraordinary race around and through (literally) five windmills the team finishing in 10th. On 20 February Brian Gregan claimed the national indoor 400 title with Dave Donegan having retained the pole vault title the previous day. On 27 February the national cross country title have been won seven years in a row was relinquished as DSD wrestled the title from Clonliffe. On 20 March Alistair Cragg ran an Irish half marathon record in New York City of 60.49. At the national road relays in the Raheny pride of place went to the women’s team of Becky Woods, Ailish McDermott and Eleanor Alexander who took bronze. A much understrength men’s team finished well down the pecking order at the Euro clubs track and field in Belgrade. In June Sergiu Ciobanu won the Cork marathon, later that month David Fitzmaurice took a rare Clonliffe win in the Clonliffe 2. Then on 8 July in a revival of the old Clonliffe international sports the club promoted the Clonliffe track and field Grand Prix, soon to become the Morton Games, this full international meet featured a superb Morton mile won by Jordan McNamara (USA), a win in the 800 by Ireland’s Mark English and the win in the pole vault by Jeff Coover (USA). On 16 July Brian Gregan took silver in the European U/23 400 in a time of 46.12, a new PB and the club record. The highlight of the national track and field was gold for Mark Kenneally in the 10,000, gold for Alistair Cragg in the 5000 with Kenneally taking silver. Gregan then moved on to China for the world universities where he ran sub 46 for the first time as he finished fifth in 45.98. Then at the National League final one of the best days from a team perspective as the men retained the Premier division title and the women won the division one title and promotion to the Premier division. Alistair Cragg made it to the final of the world 5000 Championships and then in September at the tail end of the season in Brussels ran a new Irish record of 13.03.53. At the Dublin Marathon the Clonliffe men’s team of Sergiu, Gary O’Hanlon and Mark Birmingham retained the national team title. Earlier that month Mark Kenneally achieved the Olympic qualifying time. The club introduced an athlete of the year awards night and the Christmas cracker 5K road race.
In January an excellent club cross country day at the place with the men’s title won by Michael McDiarmada and Ailish Malone taking the women’s title. In 5 February Jayme Rossiter won the national intermediate cross country title and led the team to gold. David Donegan won yet another national indoor pole vault title, in the US Brian Gregan qualified for the world indoors as he ran a new indoor PB of 46.66. On 26 February the club hosted the national cross country in Santry demesne where the men made up for the previous year’s disappointment with Sergiu second and Gary O’Hanlon third leading the team to victory, the juniors took silver and bronze was won by both the senior women and junior women. The senior women once again took bronze in the road relays. On 26 May the club hosted an evening with the legendary Kip Keino. In Slovakia in May the men’s team finished seventh in the European track and field. On 30 May as part of his London marathon buildup Mark Kenneally ran the European 10,000 standard as he records a time of 28.33.12. At the European Championships in Helsinki Brian Gregan ran a simply superb series which included a 45.63 PB qualifying him for the European final where he placed a superb sixth. On 25 July the Morton Games was born with a great nights athletics before a big crowd in Santry including more than a dozen Olympians on the way to London including Nick Symmonds (USA) who ran a 400 PB of 47.45 from a standing start (yes no blocks!), Matt Centrowitz, Melissa Bishop, Emma Coburn and Morton mile winner Will Leer. Mark Kenneally became a Clonliffe Olympian competing in the London Marathon while Alistair Cragg became a three time Olympian in the 5000. The Clonliffe junior men’s team competed in the European clubs junior track and field on 15 September in Portugal and with Aaron Hanlon winning the 1500 and Ian Guiden the 3000 the team finshed in a very credible sixth place. At the European cross-country in Budapest Clonliffe had three representatives: Dave Fitzmaurice U/23, Ian Guiden junior and Sarah McCormack who took team gold with the Irish senior women.
Once again Brian Gregan got their year off to a superb start as he clocked the European qualifying time of 46.07 at the AAI Games, Brian a couple of weeks later winning the national 200 indoor title. At the national cross country in Tullamore on 24 February Sergiu Ciobanu took a first national title and with Michael MacDiarmada, Gary O’Hanlon and David Flynn these four retained the national title. Ian Guiden took junior bronze as a young Clonliffe junior team took team bronze, bronze also for the senior women and junior women. On 27 April Brian Gregan was part of the Irish distance medley relay team that set a new Irish record at the Penn Relays. Morton Games, a now annual event, once again brought world-class athletics to Santry with the mile being won by Cory Leslie (USA). At the national track and field championships the clubs athletes claimed no less than five national titles, including an extraordinary 17th national title by Dave Donegan. In the National League the title this year was relinquished making its way to Crusaders. The Marathon man yet again took the national Marathon title on the streets of Dublin: Sergiu Ciobanu, Gary O’Hanlon and Michael MacDiarmada.
At the European clubs in Portugal Alistair Cragg ran his first Euro clubs, although hampered by a back injury he battled on gamely to 21st as the team placed ninth, in February Ian Rogers took a first national senior pole vault indoor title. At the national cross country on 2 March in Dundalk Sarah McCormack bridged a 28 year gap by winning the national senior women’s title as the team finished in bronze. Sergiu was third in the men’s race as the team missed out on winning the national title by a solitary point, the junior men took silver and likewise the junior women took silver. At the road relays the men finished third with the women’s team fifth. In May Dominic Brannigan’s History of Clonliffe Harriers was published, on 22 May Ian Guiden won the Clonliffe 2. At the European team Championships Brian Gregan bagged maximum points for Ireland in the 400 and the following day ran a fine anchor leg in the 4 x 400, a fine performance also in the 4 x 100 by Keith Pike and in the 4 x 400 by Ciara McCallion. July 11 saw Morton Games deliver the night of nights, no less than nine Stadium records in a never to be forgotten night including Tom Barr taking down the world champion Jehue Gordon in the 400 H, Mark English winning the 800, Juan Luis Barrios in the 3000, Molly Huddle in the mile and then the Stadium mile record of Steve Scott was finally broken, indeed it was shattered, Will Leer 3.51.82. At the National League the women’s team had their best ever performance finishing second in the Premier division as the men slipped back to 3rd. Brian Gregan once again put in a magnificent performance in a major championship as the Irish 4 x 400 relay team finished fifth in the European Championships. Gary O’Hanlon finished fifth in the world 50 K Championships. In November the legendary Frank Murphy, European 1500 silver medallist, was inducted into the Athletics Ireland Hall of Fame. Hope Saunders ran an excellent race for Ireland at the European cross-country U/20 finishing in a fine 35th.
At the inaugural indoor league the Clonliffe men’s team finished second losing on count back to Tallaght AC with the women’s team placing third. At the national indoor championships in February Dara Kervick collected his first national senior title as he won the 400 in 46.53 and in the process qualified for the European indoors. The previous day Ian Rogers had retained his indoor national pole vault title, Keith Pike continue the great Championships for the club as he won 60 M gold and this was then followed by Andrew Heney winning the high jump. A total for Clonliffe athletes competed in the European indoors: Dara Kervick 400 & 4 x 400, Declan Murray 800, Kris Valters (LAT), Timmy Crowe 4 x 400. The national cross country championships on 1 March the Clonliffe men’s team led home in second place by Sergiu Ciobanu regained the national title, Hope Saunders won at first national junior women’s title leading the team to 2nd place with the junior men taking 3rd. Jayme Rossiter finished second in the Varsities XC . European indoors Dara Kervick bowed out in the semis. On the roads on 8 March Sergiu took an historic five in a row at the famed Ballycotton 10. In the Masters front at the national indoor championships on 15 March Bernie Byrne won M 5800 gold in the new Irish Masters record, Matt Slattery took a notable trio of silvers M 60: 60, 200, 400 while at the European Masters cross country Pat Bonass won M70 bronze. Then at the national road relays the W 50 team took gold. In April the juvenile athletes enjoyed a very successful trip to a competition in Liverpool capturing numerous medals and also availing of the opportunity to meet and pass on some tips to future world champion Katerina Johnson Thompson! Four Clonliffe athletes were selected for the Irish team for June’s European team Championships: Brian Gregan, Ciara McCallion, Ian Rogers and Keith Pike. Geraldine Reilly set an Irish Masters W50 400 record of 65.26. July 24’s Morton Games featured Yohan Blake drawing a huge crowd to Santry, Blake did not disappoint setting a new Irish allcomers record of 10.12 while Jeff Riseley (AUS) broke the American stronghold to win an exciting Morton mile. At August national track and field championships Brian Gregan won the national 400, Ian Rogers the pole vault and the 4 x 100 squad also took gold. In Beijing at the end of August Gregan played a pivotable role for the Irish 4 x 400 team that set a new national record. With the switch on the cross country season it meant that November saw a second national cross country championships taking place in 2015, hosted in Santry by Clonliffe. It was without a doubt the deepest cross country field assembled for a national championships in many a year making the Clonliffe men’s victory all the sweeter (Sergiu Ciobanu, David Flynn, Gary Murray, Brian MacMahon), fittingly Hope Saunders retained the women’s junior title won nine months previously. The club where the 2015 club of the year.
On 6 February the senior men won the national indoor league title, a title which has been retained to this day, was the women’s team took magnificent silver. Gary O’Hanlon on 13 February won the national 50 K Championships in the new Irish record of 2.56.51. At the national indoors Ian Rogers made it three pole vault titles in a row, Andrew Heney retained the high jump with a 2.00 clearance. At the Leinster Masters indoors Matt Slattery won every M 65 title from 60 to 800 (4!!) And the couple of weeks later took the national 200 and 400 titles, gold also for George Maybury M60 800. During the track season the club introduced a juvenile all medal open sports which proved to be very successful and has now become an annual fixture. On 28 May the men completed once again in the European clubs track and field, this time in Leira, Portugal where David Flynn won the 3000 SC, young Keith Marks broke the longest standing club record on the books jumping 7.48M is the team finished a credible seventh. At June’s national championships Rory Gunning won the javelin, and Brian Gregan made it three national 400 titles in a row. Morton Games once again provided a magical night in Santry, the standout was a magnificent Morton mile which was won by Johnny Gregorek (USA) leading a procession of 11 sub- four-minute miles. At the National Masters track and field Geraldine Reilly took her third 800 title in succession and Matt Slattery took all three M 65 sprint titles. At November’s national cross country the senior title was relinquished to Raheny where it would remain until this year whilst the junior men took a fine national win, the club finished the year by once again being the Athletics Ireland club of the year.
The year began with the intermediate team winning inter-cross country gold led home in third place by Ian Guiden. At the new indoor arena in Abbotttown the Clonliffe men retained the national indoor league comfortably whilst in Portugal Adam O’Brien was first home for the juniors at the Euro clubs cross as the team placed a credible eighth then at the national indoors Brian Gregan took yet another 400 title with Luke Lennon Ford second, seconds also for Keith Marks in the long jump. With the indoor arena now open for all competition huge numbers competed for Clonliffe in Dublin juvenile Championships with many successes (fortunately far too many to include in this shortish review). Snezana Bechtina took Clonliffe Masters athletics to a new level internationally winning W 35 indoor silver in both the 200 and 400 in Korea. In April’s London Marathon Stephen Scullion ran a PB of 2.17.59, later that month Ian Guiden finished runner-up in the Clonliffe 2. Then on 27 May history was made in Portugal at the European clubs track and field as the Clonliffe men finished on the podium, bronze medal, and were duly promoted to group A with winning performances by Jayme Rossiter 3000 sc, Ian Guiden 3000, Richie Owens 1500. On 1 July Brian Gregan achieved the world championship 400 qualifying time as he ran a PB of 45.48. Some 12 days later Gregan revived the ‘Santry roar’ as he won the 400 at another super Morton Games in 45.26, the feature Morton Mile produced a record 12 sub 4s, the most ever in a single race on Irish soil. On 14 July Greta Streimikyte finished fourth in the world Paralympic Games T13 1500 in London. At the nationals in 24 July Brian Gregan again took the 400 title and Jeremy Phillips the 100. Gregan then travelled to London for the world Championships where he made it to the semifinals running an excellent 45.42, to finish a season Gregan then competed in the diamond league in Birmingham wearing the Clonliffe vest with pride. On the home front the men’s team duly won the league title yet again. Over the course of this year’s cross country season the club once again very successfully promoted the Brother schools cross country an event which since its inception in 2009 has risen in popularity now attracting almost 2000 young athletes to Santry, Clonliffe athletes continued to perform exceptionally well at schools and juvenile level but this season disappointed at both junior and senior level
The year got off to good start with good performances by the Masters in the Dublin Championships in Raheny. At the national indoor U/23 Keith Marks had an afternoon to remember as he retained his title with a new indoor club record, a month later Keith took senior silver in February the Masters M50 team took national cross country bronze. Indoors the men retained the national indoor title, Snezana Bechtina again took a national indoor honours at W 35 and follows that up with a golden performance in the European Masters in Madrid on 20 March winning W 35 400 gold. On the cross country a star was born as Efrem Gidey won the all Ireland schools title. Both Stephen Scullion and Sergiu Ciobanu won international honours competing for Ireland in the IAAF world half marathon championships in Valencia. On 29 March in the Grand Prix series opener, the Frank White 5 mile, Scullion ran an Irish best for a track 5 mile race of 24.03.59, a month later Scullion achieved the European marathon qualifying time running 2.15.55 in London. Clonliffe left Aprils road relays empty-handed. Later that month the Clonliffe 2 was won by Dunboyne’s Peter Samba with Ian Guiden once again filling the runner-up spot. At the end of May the club dined at the top table of European athletics competing in group a of the Euro clubs in Birmingham, the Gulf proved too wide to bridge and after a tough two days the team placed ninth and were relegated to group B, the standout performance however was a young Cathal Doyle who ran a massive 1500 PB of 3.51.69. At July’s national track and field championships Stephen Scullion took the Clonliffe plaudits with a fine win in the 10,000 while Shannon Sheehy took a most welcome silver in the high jump. Highlight of the summer’s Morton Games was world indoor 800 champion Boris Berrian’s win in the 800 and Stephen Rice throwing a new Irish U/23 record in the javelin competition. With Gary O’Hanlon second and Sergiu Ciobanu third the Clonliffe men retained the national Marathon title. There was a change of fortunes at the national cross country as a re-galvanised men’s squad took silver and the juniors took gold, gold also for the U/18 boys team. At the Euro Cross Sean O’Leary had an outstanding run in the U/20 race. The Christmas cracker 5K was won by Efrem Gidey..
The year got off to a solid start as the Dublin Masters as the M 50 team took bronze, Stephen Scullion then ran a further marathon PB of 2.14.34 in Houston. The men then made it four national indoor team titles in a row winning by a massive 20 points. On 3 February there was a superb day for the club as in Dundalk Sean O’Leary won the national intermediate xc title and in Portugal Efrem Gidey was an excellent fifth place in the Euro clubs junior XC with the junior team putting in a solid showing. On 15 February the Clonliffe men’s team travelled to the Armagh international 5k and junior finished an excellent second. The following weekend saw Eoin Pierce win his first national title as he took the indoor 1500 with silvers for Keith Marks long jump and Rolus Olusa 60H. Efrem Gidey retained his all Ireland schools cross country title on 9 March, the following day at the National Masters indoors there was double goal for Matt Slattery and gold for Snezana Bechtina. April’s Clonliffe 2 was won by Andrew Coscoran (Star of the Sea) with Colm Rooney filling the Clonliffe runner-up place this year! On 27 April there was a good performance by the men in the road relays as the team of Efrem Gidey Ian Guiden, Cathal Doyle and Colm Rooney took bronze. On 4 May Cathal ran a huge 1500 PB of 3.44.74 and two weeks later lowered that to a very classy 3.42.64. At the end of May the team travelled to Helsinki for the European clubs track and field were excellent results were recorded as the team finished in fourth place with a starring performance over the course of the weekend from Keith Marks. At the National’s there were three titles won by Clonliffe athletes: Stephen Scullion successfully defended his 10,000 (29.36.33), Jayme Rossiter took a first senior title win the 3000 SC and Stephen Rice retained his javelin title. Jamye , Stephen Rice and Luke Lennon Ford were selected to compete in the European team Championships. A much later than usual Morton Games was held in late August in unfavourable weather conditions (in a word ‘awful’) still the weather made for spectacular photographs with an excellent Morton Mile one for a second time by Robert Domanic (USA) and a superb men’s 5000 win by Pat Tiernan (AUS). At the European Masters cross country Philip O’Doherty won team bronze, days later Snezana Bechtina took W 35 200 bronze. On 28 September Emma Mitchell, who had only recently joined the club, won the Northern Ireland 10k road championship, at the Berlin marathon Karl Nolan ran a PB of 2.31.51, the following week was a Clonliffe 1 2 in the Rathfarnham 5K as Efrem Gidey won in 14.18 with Ian Guiden second in 14.20. October 20 saw Efrem star in the autumn cross country in Abbottstown. October 27th was Dublin Marathon day where Stephen Scullion was simply pure class winning the national title in the new Clonliffe club record of 2.12.01 and leading the team of Gary O’Hanlon, 45 years of age, a PB of 2.16.29, Mark Kenneally 2.16.33 and Sergiu Ciobanu 2.17.17 home as Clonliffe took the senior and M 35 team titles. Emma Mitchell in her marathon debut set a new club record of 2.38.47. On then to the cross country championships and first the small matter of the Dublin cross country where Efrem led the Clonliffe men’s team to a comprehensive victory and then to Abbottstown for the Nationals where after a three-year gap the national title was proudly brought back home to Santry by scoring four of Efrain, Jayme Rossiter, Cathal Doyle and Colm Rooney. To complete a superb day for the club the junior team of Aaron Cullen, Ben Guiden, Stephen Cashin and Callum Simpson won the junior title. A few weeks later and the U/19’s (Ben Guiden, Aaron Cullen, Callum Simpson and Ian McAlweney) took national gold. December 8 in Lisbon will long be remembered by all Clonliffe Harriers as Efrem Gidey completed his journey from Eritrea to Ireland by proudly running in the Irish green vest all the way to the podium to claim European U/20 cross-country bronze. Not forgetting of course that also proudly competing in those European Championships for country and club where Cathal Doyle U/23 and Eoin Pierce mixed relay. Finally to bring the curtain down on the decade an excellent ERP Christmas cracker 5K in Santry on December 29 which saw Efrain lead home the biggest field to date in that race in a time of 14.25.
So folks that was the decade that was. Hopefully the above gives some flavour of an outstanding decade of success for this club of ours and our athletes. Apologies to anyone whose performance may have been missed in the above review, it would be an impossibility to mention and cover all. In particular apologies to our superb juvenile athletes if they feel their efforts have been overlooked – they have not I assure you,but to try and cover the juvenile athletes input to this club over the past 10 years would probably take another month to put together. All are set out in the archives of this website. If you have the time it is well worth the effort to have a look back.
Happy New Year to all our athletes, juveniles, juniors, seniors, masters, coaches, volunteers, committee members, officers, supporters, sponsors and all who have any involvement whatsoever into this wonderful club of ours. Your support and commitment is greatly appreciated. Here’s to 2020 and the decade ahead!