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The Bateson Review: Euro Clubs Cross Country

Sarah Bateson Reports from Albufeira: The junior Clonliffe athletes along with their coaches flew to Portugal this weekend to take on the European Club Cross Country Championships. The men’s U20 team qualified for this event at All-Irelands last November, winning by an astounding 76 points. Nicola Fallon (women’s junior coach) seized the opportunity for her athletes to compete at a european xc course in an open event. With a late arrival on Friday night the athletes were straight to bed in anticipation for the weekend ahead.

Saturday morning was spent enjoying the beautiful Falesia Beach, followed by lunch in the hotel. The athletes checked out the course and prepared the tactics for the big day. It was then back to the hotel for some rounds of pool, with Efrem Gidey, Ella Brown and Callum Simpson shining with a possible sport transfers in order. Another early night was had but few could sleep as the race drew closer.

Sunday morning had an early start with the men’s junior team at breakfast for 7.20 and heading straight to the course, followed shortly after by the junior women. With temperatures at 11 degrees ( double what Dublin was experiencing) the Clonliffe athletes were put to the test. The 6.09km men’s race had a sprint start with Efrem, Ben (team captain) and Aaron in upfront positions. After 1km the pack began to break with Efrem sitting comfortably in the front group. As the rest of the group worked together in the middle of the pack an exciting race was in store. Lisbon’s Edward Pingua opened up the field after 3km, with Efrem leading the chasing group. The rest of the team were in good company, running beside the Danish, Spanish and Greek team. With 500m to go, two Turkish athletes pulled away, leaving Efrem to fight to the line with Eston Barros (Portugal) and Omar Ismail (Sweden) to gain 5th position in a very impressive 19.16. Next Clonliffe home was Steven Cashin with a strong sprint finish earning him 53rd (21.19).Aaron Cullen and Jordan Byrne had a competition of their own for 57th. It was an exciting finish with Aaron (21.28) gaining the edge on Jordan(21.29). They were followed shortly after by the youngest member of the team Callum Simpson (21.52) and Ben Guiden (22.29). With superb performances all round the team came 11th, narrowly missing 10th by 2 points. Well done also to Waterford A.C., Leevale and Raheny Shamrocks representing Ireland in the other categories.

The junior women’s open race commenced at 1.15 and after a long day in the sun the girls were ready for action, taking on 2.95 km course. At the gun, Sarah Bateson, Ale Hernández and Hannah Browne were straight to the front. The field quickly broke with Sarah maintaining 2nd position for the first lap but slipped into 4th on the second lap. With 400 metres to go, she used her finishing kick to secure 2nd place overall and 1st junior. Hannah strongly maintained 5th and began to close the gap on 4th in the final 200m but ran out of course. Ale finished closely behind in 7th, followed by Ella Brown 10th, Tess Loftus 12th and Aimee Warren 13th. With no team prizes on offer, Sarah was the only “ Clon Life Warrior” athlete on the podium. (Editor`s note: In the junior section the Clonliffe positions were 1st Sarah, 4th Hannah, 6th Ale, 7th Ella, 8th Tess, 9th Aimee, a winning score if ever their was one!)

Pizzeria Falésia was the venue of choice for the athletes to finish the weekend. The night concluded with Danish friends, card games and Mick Fogarty conducting his own edition of Shotgun. Departure felt too soon for some athletes but with a great experience had, we returned back to “rainy Ireland”.

All athletes would like to say a huge thank you to the coaches that made this trip possible.

(Editors note: The eight athletes, Efrem Gidey, Aaron Cullen, Ben Guiden, Stephen Cashin, Callum Simpson, Jordan Byrne, Ale Hernandez, Ella Brown, Tess Loftus, Aimee Warren, Hannah Browne and Sarah Bateson did themselves and Clonliffe Harriers proud.)

Photos are here:


Efrem 5th in Euro clubs

Stop press: At Euro clubs Clonliffe junior men put in a fighting performance to finish 11th. Efrem Gidey had an outstanding run to 5th place. Behind him all give it their absolute best Stephen Cashin 53rd, Aaron Cullen 57th, Jordan Byrne 58th  Callum Simpson 61st and Ben Guiden 67th.

Full report tomorrow.

In the regional race the Clonliffe junior women’s team guested and put in top drawer performances. Sarah Bateson was an excellent 2nd and 1st junior Hannah Browne was an very impressive 5th  Ale Hernandez 7th, Ella Brown 9th  Tess Loftus 12th and Aimee Warren 13th.

Clonliffe are a go!

ClonliffeJunior men have arrived in Albufeira Portugal and after a shakedown on the course are good to go for tomorrow’s European Clips cross country.

The team enjoyed a 20 minutes Jog and strides on the dry fast sandy course and are looking forward to tomorrow’s challenge.

Likewise the junior woment who tomorrow go in a Portuguese Regional Championship race trained and all are happy and excited for tomorrow.

The event is livestreamed from 10.00 tomorrow.

Clonliffe Juniors ready for European adventure

The Clonliffe junior men’s team rounded off preparations for Sunday’s European Club’s Cross Country in a bitterly cold Trinity playing fields last night. The six athletes selected are : Efrem Gidey, Ben Guiden,  Aaron Cullen,  Stephen Cashin, Callum Simpson and Jordan Byrne.

The team will travel to Faro in Portugal on Friday evening and then onwards to Albufeira, a venue where the senior men have completed in the Euro Clubs in times past as indeed did the juniors on the club’s last outing at these prestigious championships in 2017. Clonliffe will face strong teams with the Spanish defending champions Playa de Castellon, looking for a 3rd successive European U/20 title, Turkish and French teams expected to be particularly strong.

The teams entered are:

The event is live streamed on Sunday through the event web site with the junior men’s race over 6,000m at 10.40am local time. For link click:

A Clonliffe junior women’s team also travels to Albuferia. The girls will compete not in the European race but in a Portuguese regional race. This presents a great opportunity for the team to bond and gain vital experience. Considerable credit goes to Nicola Fallon for her foresight in organising this. The six athletes travelling are: Ale Hernandez,  Hannah Browne, Ella Brown,  Tess Loftus,  Aimee Warren and Sarah Bateson.


Adam O`Brien in 18th leads Clonliffe Juniors home to 8th in Europe (updated)

News from Portugal of a very good showing by the Clonliffe Junior men at the European Clubs in Albuferia. As expected it was a top class field and the Clonliffe boys did not disappoint getting in very solid runs from all 6.

Adam O`Brien had a very impressive run as he lead the team home in an excellent top twenty position: 18th (20.12). Around half a minute later Sean O`Leary 27th (20.43) and another solid showing on the comeback trail was Sean Carrig 40th (21.08).  Joey Hession and Craig Giles enjoyed a race long battle and at the finish were separated by only 5 seconds: 48th (21.35) Joey with  Craig 49th (21.40). Alex Gibbons also put in a credible performance to place 57th (22.09) .

On the team front the Clonliffe lads placed 8th. 1st were pre race favourites Playas de Castellon (ESP) with the Clonliffe team ahead of teams from Belgium, France, Switzerland, Greece and the Czech Republic a pretty solid performance and of course they will over the coming years benefit enormously from the experience. Well done lads. Full report from Albuferia later in the week.



Boa Sorte to Clonliffe Juniors

Tomorrow the Clonliffe Junior Men’s Cross Country team head to Portugal for the European Champion Clubs Cross Country which takes place in Albuferia on Sunday February 5th.

The Junior team competing is Adam O’Brien, Sean O’Leary, Alex Gibbons, Sean Carrig, Craig Giles and Joey Hession.   The team management are club captain Joe Cooper and Conor McGuinness.  Fittingly Conor was on the Clonliffe Junior team at the club’s only previous appearance at the European Junior Champion club’s cross country in Bilbao, Northern Spain in 2010.

On Sunday the black and amber will face Europe’s top junior teams including the home team Sport Lisboa E Benfica, crack Turkish squad Fenerbahce SC, from Italy CUS Torino and Spanish team Playas de Castellon.

The Clonliffe lads will enjoy great support in Portugal as there is a fairly substantial travelling party including club President Paddy Marley, Clonliffe stalwarts Johnny O’Leary, Noel Daly, Martin Treacy and of course the one and only Fogo.

On behalf of all left behind at HQ we wish the team Boa Sorte!

Clonliffe Junior team for European Clubs announced

For the second time in Clonliffe`s long history a junior team will compete in the European clubs cross country in a little over two week`s time. The team consists mainly of the athletes who won the National junior cross country in Abbotstown at the end of November was announced by club Captain Joe Cooper tonight: Adam O`Brien, Sean O`Leary, Alex Gibbons, Joey Hession, Sean Carrig and Craig Giles. Reserves: Daniel Lacey and Thomas Ward.

Clonliffe did qualify for last year`s championships, as indeed did the seniors, however, with those championships taking place in Turkey for obvious reasons the decision not to take part was made. The club`s only previous appearance in the junior European clubs cross country was in Bilbao in 2010 where an excellent 6th place was recorded by the team. The juniors also competed in the European clubs track and field in Leira, Portugal in 2012.

This year`s championships take place on February 5th in Albufeira, Portugal. The teams competing are:

Euro Clubs: Clonliffe Men finish 9th in Albufeira (plus Cragg interview)

The weakened Clonliffe Men’s team of five gave Sunday’s (Feb 2nd)European Club’s Cross Country in Albufeira, Portugal their best shot with all five athletes putting in their best possible performance on the day. The club’s finishing place of 9th was a considerable improvement on last years 14th place but on later reflection that evening there was an air of disappointment as not only were we only a mere point off 8th but 7th was within touching distance.

 The Championships were held at what is now a permanent course in Albufeira, underfoot conditions are short grass and sandy soil. The ground was hard, there were a number of hairpin bends which certainly did not suit taller athletes and several testing sharp hills. Athletes elected for track spikes or in some cases flats. It was a perfect day with nice sunshine and temperatures of around 15 to 17 degrees.

Although the team was hit by the late withdrawal of the injured Mark Kenneally the presence of Alistair Cragg was an enormous boost. Alistair’s wealth of experience, knowledge and presence was a great confidence booster to the other four team members and it was clear that Alistair himself was also benefiting from the experience as a team man in his first European Clubs event.

The quality of the field in the European Clubs is simply unbelievable. Champion athletes abound. Literally minutes before the start Gary ‘Giggsy’ O’Hanlon quipped to Joe Cooper: “Joe, the field looks a little stronger than the one I faced in the  Connemara marathon!”. The five Clonliffe athletes including Giggsy O’Hanlon now wearing black shorts (don’t ask) lined up in pen number 15. A great start from the gun saw Alistair Cragg move nicely working himself up into a top ten position as the first small lap finished before the field set out on the 1600m or so bigger lap. The yougster of the team, Jayme Rossiter was looking particularly impressive over the first half of the race not in any way nervous in what was the biggest race of his young career.

As the race developed the pace at the front was phenomenal being driven along by Daniel da Silva (BRA) with the European Cross Country champion Alemayehu Bezabeh sitting comfortably in the lead six. Over the latter stage of the race, however, Bezabeh was dropped.

Further down the field from a Clonliffe perspective Alistair was under pressure in around 20th position, remember that this was Alistair’s first cross country race in some five years. National Cross Country Champion Sergiu Ciobanu was as always running another very solid and positive race, Jayme Rossiter was still the 3rd place scorer but Gary was closing fast with Colm Rooney, who up to midweek had been a serious doubt for the race having been laid low with a virus the week before, now battling hard but feeling the after effects of illness.

At the end of a long hot race the race winner was Mohammed Mousaoui in a time of 29.13, one second behind, for the second year in succession, was Ayad Lambassem with da Silva 3rd.

The Clonliffe finishing positions were Alistair Cragg 21st (30.25), Sergiu Ciobanu 34th (31.02), Gary O’Hanlon 49th (31.51), Jayme Rossiter 51st (31.56) and Colm Rooney 68th (32.44).

What can be said with certainty is that all five of the black and amber clad athletes gave the race their all on the day. No-one can ask for any more than this.

An excellent night’s relaxation followed, it was great fun all round as Alistair did his best to convert a pretty cynical bunch of clubmates to the virtues of bird watching! It was a true traditional Clonliffe night (no further comment required).

The travelling support crew also deserve a mention for their continued undivided support of the lads: Johnny O’Leary, Mick Kearney, Paddy Marley, Noel, Conor and Margaret Daly, Martin and Terry Treacy, Eamon ‘Clonliffe ‘til I die’ Tierney, Mick Fogarty, Gerry Carr and an Unnamed Athlete from an Unnamed Club (to protect his identity). Well done also to the other vital members of the team Captain Joe Cooper, Vice Captain Killian Lonergan, coach Peter McDermott and reserve Tudor Mircea.

Great post race interview with Alistair Cragg click here:

There is now a great determination in the squad to defend the National Title, the first Sunday in March, and to be at these Championships again in 2015. Nil desperandum.



Greetings from Albufeira: European Clubs Cross Country

A brief live report from Albufeira, Portugal: The Clonliffe team of 5 performed admirably at today’s European’s Club’s Cross Country. Unfortunately 2012 London Olympian Mark Kenneally had failed to recover sufficiently from injury and accordingly was not in a position to make the trip to these Championships. Nevertheless the team of 5 put in very solid performances.

Three time Olympian Alistair Cragg found the sharp hills and tight bends caused him back difficulties nevertheless he put in a gutsy shift to lead the team home in 21st place.  Alistair was followed home by Sergiu Ciobanu 34th, Gary O’Hanlon 49th, Jayme Rossiter 51st and Colm Rooney 65th.

When the points were totted it was revealed that the Clonliffe Men had placed 9th. A pleasing performance all round.

Mention must be made of young Jayme Rossiter running in his first senior European Championship, Jayme back in 2010 had ran on the Clonliffe junior team in Bilbao, in Northern Spain and today became the first Clonliffe athlete to run in the European Clubs Cross Country on both Junior and Senior teams. An excellent debut at this level for Jayme as he finished in a most credible 51st, 4th scorer.

Full report on the race and the weekend’s activities will be posted on Tuesday.

Club set for European Champion Clubs Cross Country

The Clonliffe men are finalising their preparations for Sunday`s European Clubs Cross Country. Ireland`s top distance runner Alistair Cragg arrives home tomorrow ready to fly out with the team and travelling support on Friday afternoon. The team is one of the strongest to represent Clonliffe in the Europeans for maybe 30 years: Cragg, Mark Kenneally, Sergiu Ciobanu, Jayme Rossister, Colm Rooney and the ever dependable evergreen Gary O`Hanlon.

Albufeira will witness a seriously competitive senior mens race featuring defending champion Andrea Lalli (ITA) and current European cross country champion Alemayuh Bezabeh (ESP).  The clubs to beat are once again Atletismo Bikilia, the defending champions and Lalli`s club G.S. Fiamme Gialle.

Final entries are available:

Good luck not only to the Clonliffe men but also to our northside neighbours Raheny Shamrocks in the senior women`s race and to DSD in both junior men and junior women.




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