All posts in European clubs track and field

Fine dining indeed!

It certainly is tough at the top as the Clonliffe Men’s team well and truly found out over the course of the two days competition at the ECCC Group A Track and Field Championships in the Alexander stadium, Birmingham. This is the first time that Clonliffe were in Group A and thus dining at the top table of European athletics.

Whilst the competition was red hot and proved to be more than an eye-opener it was a wonderful experience for the Clonliffe athletes to compete against what in many cases are the world`s best athletes. By way of illustration in the discus Rolus Olusa found himself competing against the current world champion Andrius Gudzius. The 400H featured the European champion Yamani Copello while the middle distance boys found that the current European 10,000 champion Polat Kemboi Arikan was competing for Turkish champions Enka in both the 3000 and 5000.

The individual Clonliffe performances are outlined in earlier postings. Full results can also be accessed on

What was pleasing about the weekend was that Clonliffe did score in all events and there were some impressive performances. The 4 x 100 relay team of Leo Morgan, Keith Marks, Keith Pike and Jeremy Philips impressed and were 2nd in their heat and 5th overall in 41.60.  Likewise on Sunday there was a superb 5th place finish by young Cathal Doyle in the 1500, Cathal clocking a massive 4 second PB of 3.51.69.  Also Jeremy Philips contributed enormously to the Clonliffe effort and was 3rd in his 200 heat on Sunday and 5th place overall and in Saturday`s 100 he was 2nd in his heat and 4th overall in 10.50.  In addition to his relay efforts.

Other athletes taking in several events over the weekend included Timmy Crowe in both the 400h and 110h, Keith Marks in the high and long jump and also the 4 x 100 relay and Rolus Olusa in the discus and pole vault, in the latter he set a new PB of 4.00 – using borrowed poles!

All in the travelling party gave of their best, huge credit must also go to physio Ciara McCallian who used copious amounts of tape, sticking plaster, massage and psychology  to ensure that several of the travelling party who were carrying injuries made it successfully to the start line. Huge credit also goes to the travelling reserves (Adam O`Brien, Sean Carrig and Craig Giles), who assisted enormously and were always at the ready to step into the breach until finally stood down by Joe Cooper at 5.00pm on Sunday! (Craig did get the nod and featured on the anchor leg of the final event the 4 X 400). Marcin Klincosz was a huge assistance to the athletes in the technical events and must be commended enormously for his contribution over the weekend.

The title was retained by the Turkish outfit Enka by 4.5 points from Sport Lisboa E Benfica (POR)

At the end of the two days the Clonliffe team finished 9th of 10, it was always going to take an enormous effort to remain in Group A but with four teams being relegated this year it was in reality a ‘mission impossible’. Clonliffe along with Slovakia’s AK Slavia UK Bratislava, Slovenia’s AD Mass Ljubljana and Royal Excelsior S.C. (BEL) are relegated to Group B where the champions of each country will battle away again next year.

Having tasted what’s on offer at the top table Clonliffe are more than keen to try and make it back at some stage in the near future.

Well done to all on the contribution made to an historic weekend for Clonliffe Harriers.

Final standings:

Enka (TUR) 163.5
Sport Lisboa E Benfica (POR) 159
Playas de Castellon (ESP) 148.5
Birchfield Harriers (GBR) 132
Cosma (LTU) 123.5
Sparta AM (DEN) 97
Royal Excelsior SC (BEL) 79.5
AD Mass Ljubljana (SLO) 70
Clonliffe Harriers (IRL) 66
AK Slavia Uk Bratislava (SVK) 48

Clonliffe team for Europe

The club captain has confirmed the Clonliffe team that will travel to Liera in Portugal on Thursday week for the European Champion Clubs Track and Fieldwhich takes place on Saturday May 27th.

The team is:

100 – Keith Pike

200 – Dara Kervick

400 – Luke Lennon-Ford

800 – Mark McDonald

1500 – Richie Owens

3000 – Ian Guiden

5000 – Aaron Hanlon

3000 Steeplechase – Jayme Rossiter

110h – Rolus Olusa

400h – Timmy Crowe

Pole Vault – David Donegan

Long Jump and High Jump – Keith Marks

Triple Jump – Rolus Olusa

Javelin – Rory Gunning

Shot – Luke Mangan

Hammer – Simon Galligan

Discus – Stephen Harkness

4 x 100 – (from) – Keith Pike, Paul Whelan, Rolus Olusa, Stewart Roche, An Other

4 x 400 – (from) – Luke Lennon-Ford, Dara Kervick, Timmy Crowe, Mark McDonald, Craig Giles.

The entire club wishes Joe and the team the very best of luck at the Europeans.

European Junior Club Championships: an insider`s view

Liam Ashton reports: A 15 strong team met at Dublin Airport at 8am on Friday morning with high hopes of what the weekend had in store for us.  Due to the lack of hurdlers in the junior section of the club, Joe called upon the assistance from outside of two well established athletes in Joshua Essuman and Eoin Power, to run in the black and amber strip.  As the day progressed we got to know our team mates a lot better, some of whom we were meeting for the first time.  After several hours of travelling and many litres of water later, we checked into our hotel rooms in the centre of Leiria. We then travelled to the stadium via shuttle bus where we went through our pre-race routines and got a feel of the track.

As the bus approached the front entrance many of us were astounded at the sheer size of the structure. From the outside it looked as though it was put together with Lego blocks!  We soon walked through a dark tunnel and out to the track where I stood in awe, as I scanned the 23,000 seater stadium.   At the group meal that evening we got a chance to ‘suss out’ the opposition and get an idea what we were up against. A few comments from the Danish team, thrown in the direction of the team supervisor Noel, didn’t knock our focus.  We turned in early that night ready for the challenge the following day.

There was an early start on Saturday and after a less than satisfying breakfast of bread and butter, we soon assembled at the front entrance of the stadium in our black Clonliffe t-shirts, with our heads held high, prior to the opening ceremony.  Team Captain and High Jump specialist Andrew Heney came prepared, taking out an Irish tricolour from his bag as we began to walk out onto the track.  There was a great sense of pride and privilege amongst the team, in getting the chance to represent our club and country at such a prestigious event.  While some of the team members including myself were getting a bit phased by the opposition and anxious about the event, experienced athletes such as Fintan Doherty and Stuart Roche, kept us focused on our task at hand.

It wasn’t long before I began my warm up, in the warm up area across from the stadium, which gave me a chance to mentally prepare to race in 35 degree heat.  Soon after this I was sitting in the Call Room with my spikes on, ready to go.  The 20 minute wait seemed agonisingly long and as I sat there with the other seven , 800m athletes, keeping an expressionless poker face.  We followed a stadium official down the track parallel to the home straight. I took my mark in lane 1 with the infamous butterflies in my stomach! The race was won in 2.00 with me finishing 5 seconds off the pace, coming in 5th.   Some of the highlights from the morning session included Simon Galligan finishing 4th in the hammer event.  He gained valuable experience competing “inside” a stadium for the first time in his career.  Clonliffe’s  fastest junior athlete, Keith Pike,  gave a great account of himself in the 100m finishing an impressive 3rd.

The evening session gave the Clonliffe camp something to cheer about with the distance athletes producing the results.  Eoin McCullogh gave a heroic performance in the 3000m steeple chase.  After falling at the first barrier he continued as if nothing had happened, catching the leading group within seconds.  When it looked like a top 3 finish had slipped from his grasp he gritted his teeth and put the boot down producing a Farah like finish, to steal a top 3 placing.  Aaron Hanlon and Ian Guiden soon gave great displays of front running, winning the 1500m and 3000m respectively.

The closing ceremony gave us all a chance to swap gear with other teams, and have a chat with them, about the day’s events.  We also got a chance to mingle with more athletes later that night, which was really interesting, despite the language barrier.

The weekend gave us all a great opportunity to gain invaluable international experience and also, to develop a bond between the sprinters, distance runners and field eventers.  On behalf of the team I would like to thank Joe, Gladys and Noel for a most memorable and enjoyable weekend.

History made by Clonliffe juniors at European clubs track and field

The Clonliffe junior men put in top notch performances at Saturday`s European clubs junior track and field in Leira, Portugal  (Sept. 15th) with hisory being made as Clonliffe athletes Aaron Hanlon and Ian Guiden became the first athletes to win European clubs races in the Clonliffe colours. The championships took place under the searing sun with temperatures rising to 35 C in the afternoon as the Clonliffe junior men finished the day in a credible joint 6th.

A long hot day began with the opening ceremony with the athletes marching into the Estadio Dr. Megalhaes Pessoa, a three sided bowl with a 25,000 capacity (not quite full today, mind you!). First men into the fray was Simon Galligan in the hammer circle, a good opening throw soon steadied the nerves and at the conclusion of the competition Simon finished a solid 4th (50.23m) Team captain Andrew Heney also put in a good early morning shift in the high jump coming in at 1.89 and with a best of 1.93 finished 3rd.

First on the track was Eoin Power in the 400H, another most competent performance saw him finish 4th in 56.89 and then Liam Ashton in the 800 as the heat began to rise, after a fast opening lap Liam worked himself into a good possition to finsh a solid 5th in 2.05.82. Keith Pike was next in scorching down the track in the 100m, an excellent run to finish 3rd (11.23). Fintan Doherty then stepped into the unknown as he took on the 400m (Fintan is more a middle distance) again the man in the black and amber stood up to be counted finishing 6th in 54.35.

After the lunch break the first race was the 3,000 sc. In this one Eoin McCullough ran the best race of his career to date. The heat was something else as he set off on this the toughest of track races and almost came a cropper at the first barrier as he took a heavy fall taking the skin off both knees, with a shake of the head he was up in an instant, composed himself and was back into the lead pack. As the laps were reeled off he suffered a lot in the heat and at the bell had drifted a few yards off 3rd place and then he hit back putting in a lung bursting effort over the final 300 to take the 3rd placed athlete and get right up with the 2nd running shoulder to shoulder missed out on 2nd by maybe an inch. A fantastic performance which earned him the bravery title from his club mates. Eoin`s time 10.28.4.

Things did not go so well, however, in the afternoon for our field eventers: Daniel Doran was 6th in the long jump (5.83m) and 7th in the triple jump (11.28), Safari Aketch was 8th in both shot (9.36) and discus (27.54), Ryan Whelan was 7th in the javelin (48.43).

Back on the track Josh Essuman ran well in the 110h placing 6th (16.16). Then to the 1500 and 3000 where good things were hoped for. First off Aaron Hanlon in the 1500, as always Aaron hit the front from the gun winding up the pace until only two athletes clung grimly to his tail, another quick injection of pace at 500 to go and they were gone. Aaron powering home (4.10.43) and enjoying the last 100 to become Clonliffe`s first European clubs track and field winner. Next up was Stuart Roche in the 200, a very good run from the Clonliffe man of 23.46 placed him 5th. The final Clonliffe athlete to see action was Ian Guiden, who had waited patiently for some 9 and a half hours for his moment, in the 3,000m. Ian sat in 2nd place for the opening laps but finding the pace far too slow hit the front after three and a bit laps quickly opening a five meter lead that grew and grew as he drove on. At the finish winning by the length of the straight (9.04.82) and Clonliffe had another European clubs winner.

On went the roller coaster: for every high there`s a low! Our lows on the day were in the relays. In the 4 x 100 (Josh Essuman, Stuart Roche, Conor Byrne, Keith Pike) at the final change over the guys were in 3rd place and then disaster, a batton fumble and we`re finshing 7th. Whilst no fumbles in the 4 x 400 (Eoin power, Aaron Hanlon, Fintan Doherty, Liam Ashton) likewise no cigar as the guys were out ran to again finish 7th.

In the end the team placed joint 6th with Swiss team St. Bern on 71 points only 2 points off 5th but a long way behind champions Tampereen Pyrinto (FIN) on 102 points. It was an extreamly worth while excerise for the team with excellent performances in what is an out of season competition for the guys: 2 wins, 3 thirds and a wealth of experience gained. It must also be said that the way these Clonliffe men carried themselves both on and off the field of competition was simply superb, they were truely wonderful ambassadors for their club, their country and our sport.



Black `n`Amber set to storm Estadio Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa

The excitement is building in Santry as the Clonliffe Junior Men get ready for the challenge that lies ahead next weekend with the Clubs first foray into the European Junior Clubs Track and Field Championships. The team travels to Leiria in Portugal on Friday where the magnificent Estadio Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa awaits. This 23,500 seater stadium was built only 9 years ago for the European Football Championships at a cost of in excess of €50.2m and is overlooked by the majestic ruins of Castelo de Leiria.

The team have been back in training since the summer break and rather than training for cross-country, for the middle and longer distance guys and indoor for the sprinters and field eventers, they have maintained their normal track and field regimes and all have been working hard under coaches Joe Cooper, Brian McDonald and John Shields.  This is a first European Competition for the vast majority of the fifteen strong team, only two have seen European action previously: Ian Guiden with the Junior Team at the European Clubs Cross-country in Bilbaou in 2010 and Andrew Heney with the Senior Team at the European Clubs Track and Field in Slovokia on the 27th of May last.

The black and amber brigade will face top class European opposition including teams from France (Entente Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines), the Neatherlands (AVLYCURGUS), from Switzerland St. Bern, whom the Seniors faced a couple of years ago, the Danish Junior Champions Skive Am, two Portuguese Clubs Sport Lisboa e Benfica and Juventude Vidigalense.  In all there are nine European clubs taking part in the Championships. The Clonliffe athletes will give a very good account of themselves, there is a very strong team travelling, including a number of athletes who have previous international experience: Keith Pike, Andrew Heney, Ryan Whelan, Ian Guiden, Aaron Hanlon and Fintan Doherty. The experience of these athletes will be vitally important next weekend.

The full Clonliffe team is:

100m: Keith Pike

200m: Stuart Rocke

400m: Fintan Doherty

800m: Liam Ashton

1500m: Aaron Hanlon

3000m: Ian Guiden

110h: Joshua Essuman

400h: Eoin Power

3000sc: Eoin McCullough

Discus/Shot: Safari Aketch

Hammer: Simon Gallaigan

High Jump/Pole Vault: Andrew Heney

Long Jump/Triple Jump: Daniel Doran

Javelin: Ryan Cleary

4 x 100m Relay: (from) Keith Pike, Daniel Doran, Conor Byrne, Joshua Essuman, Stuart Roche

4 x 400m Relay: (from) Liam Ashton, Fintan Doherty, Aaron Hanlon, Eoin Power, Ian Guiden

With the final heavy training session taking place in Santry tonight the team will not lack in the preparations department, furthermore the steely look of determination in the eyes of the athletes over the last fortnight has been commented upon by several astute observers. The team will travel to Europe knowing that they are well up for the challenge that lies ahead.

Nil Desperandum.

Junior men`s team for European T & F clubs championships finalised

The Clonliffe junior men`s team for the European clubs junior track and field which takes place on the 15th of September has now been finalised. After a throw off tonight, when he threw some 53m, Simon Galligan gets the nod in the Hammer. Also the 400/800m debate was resolved tonight after a 600m time trial with Liam Ashton taking the 800m place and Fintan Doherty going in the 400m.

This is the first time Clonliffe Harriers will have competed in the European Junior track and field clubs championships, although Clonliffe did compete in the European Junior Clubs Cross Country in 2010. Ian Guiden is the only member of that team still competing as a junior and earns his second “European cap”.  The athletes who have the honour of representing Clonliffe and Ireland in Portugal are:

100m:  Keith Pike

200m:  Stuart Roche

400m:  Fintan Doherty

800m:  Liam Ashton

1500m:  Aaron Hanlon

3000m:  Ian Guiden

110H:  Joshua Essuman

400H:  Eoin Power

3000SC:  Eoin McCullough

Discus/Shot:  Safari Aketch

Hammer:  Simon Galligan

High Jump/Pole Vault: Andrew Heney

Long Jump/Triple Jump: Daniel Doran

Javelin: Ryan Whelan

4 x 100 relay: (from) Keith Pike, Daniel Doran, Conor Byrne, Josh Essuman, Stuart Roche

4 x 400 relay: (from) Liam Ashton, Fintan Doherty, Aaron Hanlon, Eoin Power, Ian Guiden

The teams taking part in the championships are:

Men’s Teams Women’s Teams
DEN Skive AM CZE AK Olymp Brno
FIN Tampereen Pyrintö FIN Tampereen Pyrintö
SVK SG Stavbar Nitra SVK AK Spartak Dubnica nad Vahom
IRL Clonliffe Harriers SLO AD Kronos
NED AV Lycurgus FRA Entente Sud Lyonnais
SUI ST Bern DEN Sparta AM
POR Sport Lisboa e Benfica POR Sport Lisboa e Benfica
FRA Entente Saint  Quentin-en-Yvelines NED Gorronigen Atletiek
POR Juventude Vidigalense POR Juventude Vidigalense
    GRE A.C Kifissia

Further details of the event can be found on

The team and management will fly to Lisbon on the morning of Friday September 14th before travelling onto their weekend base in Leira, some 140km from Lisbon.. The competition takes place all day Saturday the 15th in the magnificent Muncipal Stadium Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa, Leira, with the team due home on Monday afternoon the 17th.


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