Clonliffe 125 year reviewed

With the turn of the year to Olympic year and before the 2012 action gets underway looks back over Clonliffe’s 125 celebration year month by month – 2011 another excellent year in the history of Clonliffe Harriers A.C.


The 125 celebrations kicked off on the 2nd of January with the club cross country championships with over sixty club athletes taking part. The women’s 2011 champion was Becky Woods, Senior Men’s champion was Lorcan Cronin, master men Phillip O’Doherty and junior men Ian Guiden. January 11th seen the rescheduled inaugural club athletics awards which seen Stephen Harkness awarded the prestigious Clonliffe Harrier of the year for 2010. At the Dublin Masters Cross Country on the 16th of January Pat Bonass took the O/65 title with Phillip O’Doherty taking bronze in the O/50. On the 22nd of January at the Woodies DIY Indoor Games there were wins for Ciaran Mackey in the 400 metres and Snezana Bectina in the women’s 200. At the National Masters Indoor Championships in Nenagh on the 23rd of January Phillip O’Doherty took double gold in the 400m and 800m, George Maybury took O/55 800 silver and 400 bronze. At the Raheny 5 mile on the 30th of January Declan Power was first Master, the same day Keith Pike took Leinster Indoor junior 60m gold.


Brian Gregan was out of the blocks like lightening winning the 400 at the Vienna Indoor Classic in a time of 46.82 and in the process getting the European Indoor QT. The senior men travelled to Milan along with a large travelling contingent for the European clubs in conjunction with the Cinque Mulini, an extraordinary event on a course which literally ran through two mills, through a farmyard housing hens, ducks and cattle. The Clonliffe team finished a credible 10th of the twenty-one teams in action led home after a superb performance by Cian McLoughlin in 37th place. At the National Intermediate and Masters Cross Country held the same day at Alsaa there was individual silver won by Pat Bonass in the O/65 race. On the 16th of February Clonliffe played host to the Aviva Irish Schools Leinster Cross Country Championships putting on an excellent Meet which received universal acclaim. On the 20th of February at the National Indoor Championships at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast the club produced two national champions as Dave Donegan retained his indoor pole vault with Ian Rogers 3rd with Brian Gregan taking the 400 title. Marcin Klinkzow took bronze in the high jump with a 2.00m clearance. On the 26th of February Clonliffe played host to the National Cross Country Championships, again the club put on an outstanding event which really was a great tribute to the members of the club who turned out in force over the two days to mark the course, marshal the course and put on an event worthy of a National Championships. The event was dominated by DSD who swept the boards winning all four team races. From a Clonliffe perspective there were good performances in particular from Sergiu Ciobanu in 6th place as the team finished 3rd.


Brian Gregan travelled to Paris for the European Indoors, however, unfortunately failed to progress to the semi-finals. The club also embarked on a juvenile athletics spring series with Raheny Shamrocks, Skerries A.C. and Lusk A.C. with races in March on the track in Santry, the grass at St. Annes (hosted by Raheny) and finally on the beach in Skerries hosted by Skerries A.C. The other big news in early March was Sergiu Ciobanu winning the prestigious Ballycotton 10 in a PB of 49.37. On the 20th of March at the European Masters Cross Country in Gent Pat Bonass was on the O/65 Irish team that took silver. The same day young Megan Coomber won the National Juvenile U/16 Indoor long jump. On what was an excellent weekend for Clonliffe Harriers at the New York City half marathon Alistair Cragg set a new Irish record of 60:49 in finishing 6th. There was also a first international vest won by Ian Guiden on the Irish men’s junior team taking part in the home countries cross country in Antrim on the 26th of March and on the 27th of March Mark Kenneally won the prestigious Dunboyne 4 Mile.


Andrew Heeney won the U/17 National Indoor title in Nenagh with a winning jump of 1.96. Fionnuala Doherty had a superb win in the Connemara marathon on the 10th of April. On the 14th of April David Flynn got the European U/23 QT at the Mount Sac relays running a time of 8.52.26 for the 3000 SC. Mark Kenneally was on target for the London marathon QT in Vienna until he had a problem with cramping and dehydration finishing in a time of 2:17.22. Also that day, April 17th, the ladies senior team did the club proud by winning the first ladies national team road relay medal for a long period of time with the team of Eleanor Alexander, Becky Woods and Ailish McDermott winning bronze. That same weekend a large contingent of the club’s young juvenile athletes travelled to Wales and performed superbly at the Deeside College Stadium.


On the 1st of May Brian McMahon won the Limerick half marathon in a time of 69:46 with Lorcan Cronin 3rd. At the graded meet held on the 4th of May Thomas Rauktys got his season off to a record braking start setting a new club shot putt record, while Stateside David Flynn won at conference in the 3000 SC in Colorado. The club’s ever popular Grand Prix Series also got underway in May as did the Dublin juvenile league. Gary O’Hanlon took to the roads in May winning the Dundalk half marathon and Kildare half marathons. The club track and field championships again proved to be one of the highlights of the year once again being held in superb sunshine on the 22nd of May in the Morton Stadium with athletes from all sections taking part, juvenile, junior, senior and masters. A fantastic days athletes superbly organised once again by the club captains, the highlight again being the men’s 800 which was won by Stephen Harkness in 1.56.9. The senior men then travelled to Belgrade where a weakened team finished 8th overall but there were two club records set in the hurdles, Matt Field in the 110 H and John Fagan in the 400 H.


The month got off to a positive start with the news of David Flynn’s selection for the Irish team for the European team championships. On the 6th of June Sergiu Ciobanu won the Cork City marathon with Lorcan Cronin in 2nd place for all but the last couple of miles when he ‘suffered a bad day at the office’ finishing 5th. That same day there were medals won by our athletes at the Leinster Championships, Phillip O’Doherty winning 400, 800 and 1500 O/50 gold, John Hartnett winning O/35 400 gold and 200 silver, Stephen Harkness won the senior 800, Conor McCrossan won the 110 H and Keith Pike took bronze in the 100. On the 11th of June at the Diamond League Meet in New York Alistair Cragg finished 8th in the 500 in an excellent 13.12.21, on the 12th of June the defence of the national track and field title got underway in Sligo to a solid start. Over the course of that weekend the club’s juvenile athletes had considerable success at the Dublin Track and Field Championships winning many Dublin titles far too numerous to mention and approximately 40 medals over the course of the wet weekend in the stadium. June 16th was the night of the 120th Clonliffe 2 on the traditional Finglas to Glasnevin route, an excellent race with some 160 plus starters which was won by Dave Fitzmaurice in a time of 9.04.


At the Cork City Sports on the 2nd of July Pat O’Connor was 6th in the 100 A race and won the 200 B race in a time of 22.72. John Fagan was 4th in the 400 H and Ian Rogers joint 3rd in the pole vault whilst Matt Field further lowered the 110 H record in a time of 14.77 in the U.K. There was a most successful outing by our road racers to the Achill Half marathon with Fionnula Doherty winning the women`s race, Tara Whyte 3rd and Marie Byrne 5th while Mark Bermingham was 3rd in the men`s race. July 8th was the date of the Clonliffe 125 Track and Field Grand Prix featuring the Morton Mile. An excellent nights athletics was served up in the Morton Stadium the highlight of which was a thrilling Morton Mile won by Jordan McNamara (U.S.A.) 3:56.83 leading seven athletes under four minutes including new members of the 4 minute mile club Ciaran O’Lionaird and Paul Robinson. Other highlights included a magnificent sprints double from Jason Smyth (City of Derry), an excellent 3000 metres won by Michael Mulhare, a most entertaining pole vault won by Geoff Coover (U.S.A.) with a vault of 5.3m, a stadium record courtesy of Amy Foster in the 100m and some superb IMC 800 metre races. That same weekend at the National Juvenile Championships in Tullamore there was double sprint gold from Patrick O’Connor U/19 100 and 200 metres, Andrew Heeney 2nd U/17 high jump, Ian Guiden silver U/18 3000m, bronze also for Elaine Begley U/18 300 H and for Simon Galligan U/17 hammer. Gold for Manuel Calvo-Curry in the U/18 hammer, gold also for Keith Pike U/18 100. Selection also for Clonliffe athletes Ryan Whelan and Andrew Heeney for the Aviva Irish Schools International. Speaking of internationals there was also of course the small matter of Brian Gregan winning European U/23 silver in a new PB of 46.12! On the 23rd of July the National juveniles continued with more success for Clonliffe athletes, Ryan Cleary capturing silver in the U/17 3000 race walk, Ryan Whelan taking U/17 javelin gold by a margin of over 4 metres and at the end of July the news of both Ryan Whelan and Ian Guiden’s call up to the Irish team for the Celtic Games to be held at the Antrim Forum.


The month got underway with the news that Keith Pike had also been added to the Irish team for the Celtic Games in the 4 x 100 relay. The National track and field took place over the weekend of the 6th and 7th of August with probably the most successful outcome from a club perspective in many a year, Mark Kenneally took a superb National 10,000 metre title, Brian Gregan decided that he would shatter the club 200 metre record, not once but twice lowering the time to 21.09 as he took bronze. Also on day one Tomas Rauktys took silver in the shot putt, Marcin Klinkzow took high jump bronze. The following day the highlight was the 5,000 metres with a Clonliffe one two courtesy of Messrs Cragg and Kenneally in the 5,000. An unbelievable 13th National title for Dave Donegan in the pole vault with Ian Rogers again 3rd. Gold also for the big man Tomas Rauktys in the discus. Paul Marry took javelin silver on what was a superb weekend for the club. Overseas Brian Gregan continued his exploits this time at the world student games in China powering his way into the final with a semi-final win in a new club record of 46 dead, the following day Gregan finished 5th as he went sub 46 for the first time, an unbelievable 45.98. What a season. Things got better and better from a club perspective when on the 20th of August the men and women’s team finished double top in the National League. The men retaining for the fourth year in a row the premier title with some truly inspirational performances whilst an emotional day was completed by the ladies last gasp victory winning the 4 x 400 and in the process winning division one and gaining promotion to the premier. Champagne all round. The masters athletes were in action for the National Masters Track and Field where once again Phillip O’Doherty took double gold in the 400 and 800. There was treble gold from Kathryn Walley in the 100, 200 and 400. Golden performances also from Matt Slattery in the 400 and Pat Bonass in the 5000.


At the National half marathon championships the senior men’s team of Gary O’Hanlon, Michael McDiarmada and Declan Power finished 2nd. At the world track and field championships in Daeu, South Korea Alistair Cragg exceeded expectations in making in the world 5,000 metres final where he placed 15th. That same weekend Mark Kenneally ran an excellent 48:15 in a ten mile road race in Tilbury, Netherlands. Also this month at the world mountain running championships there were very good performances from the Clonliffe athletes in action, Brian McMahon and James Kevan on the senior men’s team, Sarah McCormack on the senior women’s team and Louise Hill-Sterling in the Junior women’s team. On the 16th of September there was an unbelievable performance from Alistair Cragg at the Diamond League Grand Prix 5,000 in Brussels when he set a new Irish record of 13.03.53. On the 24th of September Louise Hill-Sterling won bronze in the British and Irish mountain running championships in Wales and led the Irish team to team bronze, team bronze also for Fintan Doherty in the boys race.


On the 1st of October the Clonliffe open run took place. There was also a club photograph taken of an estimated 150/160 club members ranging in ages from eight to ninety as part of our 125 celebrations. The following day Jayme Rossiter won his biggest race to date winning the Dublin novice cross country and leading the men’s team of Conor McGuiness 3rd, Brian Tobin 7th and Mark McDonald 8th to the Dublin title, other Clonliffe athletes in action included Mark Kenneally that day in the Great Edinburgh 10k road race, Mark in an international field placed 4th in a time of 29.23. The 12th of October was the date of the third annual Brother at your side Clonliffe Schools Invitational Cross Country, this event has now grown into the biggest Clonliffe promotion currently on the calendar with 1,100 athletes taking part in the races for primary and secondary schools. There were wins for Clonliffe athletes Ruth Bergin, primary girls, Morcheen Leonard, primary boys and Ian Guiden, senior secondary boys. On the 16th of October Mark Kenneally reached the promised land as he was 65 seconds inside the London Olympic Marathon QT with a time of 2:13.55. At the Jerry Farnhan festival on the 23rd of October there were excellent runs by Brian McMahon, David Flynn, Jayme Rossiter and Dave Fitzmaurice in the men’s race whilst Ian Guiden took the boys U/18 Dublin title as the Clonliffe lads took team silver. Both Declan Power and Pat Bonass were selected for the British and Irish Masters, coming to the end of October Alistair Cragg was 3rd in the great south run in Portsmith in a time of 47:14 whilst at the British Columbia Cross Country Championships in Canada Michael McDiarmada was 7th in the men’s race and Becky Woods 10th in the women’s race. October 31st the Dublin City Marathon. Sergiu Ciobanu was the club’s top finisher finishing 2nd having put up a sterling defence of his national title, Sergiu running a time of 2:20.56. A great run in this race on his marathon debut from Gary O’Hanlon finishing 5th in the National Marathon in 2:26.3. These two along with Mark Bermingham running a PB of 2:48.47 took the National team title.


Clonliffe hosted the Dublin Cross Country Championships at Santry Demesne on the 6th of November. In the juvenile championships the U/10 girls team took Dublin gold with the U/14 boys taking team bronze. In the junior men’s race the Clonliffe junior team were 3rd, the senior women also took 3rd place whilst the senior men with Dave Flynn 3rd, Brian McMahon 4th, Eoin Pearse 16th, Dave Fitzmaurice 17th, Lorcan Cronin 33rd and Brian Tobin 35th were 2nd. At the annual Athletics Ireland awards night on the 12th of November Brian Gregan was named U/23 athlete of the year. The following day the juvenile athletes were back in action at the Dublins in Marley Park with some excellent performances by the young athletes in particular the U/19 boys team of Ian Guiden 1st, Fintan Doherty 5th, Johnny Bradley-Ward 13th and Eoin McCullogh 14th taking team gold. On the 20th of November the intermediate men picked up team silver at Tymon Park with a fine run by Mark McDonald in 2nd place, David Krinjik was 6th, Brian Tobin 14th and Stephen Harkness 20th. Good news from overseas was the performance of Wisconsin winning the NCAAs coached of course by Mick ‘The Prince’ Byrne. The club’s annual general meeting took place on the 22nd of November with Paddy Marley being returned as club president. On the 27th of November the National Intercounties took place on a very difficult course in Sligo racecourse with an inspirational run by Gary O’Hanlon in the senior race as he finished an excellent 11th place. Superb runs also by Dave Fitzmaurice and Jayme Rossiter. At the end of November the Grand Prix series came to a conclusion with Colm Hickey taking the spoils from long time leader Paddy Tuite with Phillip O’Doherty 3rd. News also of Declan Power scoring on the Irish O/40 team that took bronze and Pat Bonass scoring on the O/65 team that also took bronze at the British and Irish International in Glasgow. News also at the end of this month of both David Flynn and Dave Fitzmaurice making the Irish U/23 for the Europeans.


On the 1st of December the Clonliffe athletes of the year awards took place, the Clonliffe Harrier of the year was Snezana Bectina. The junior athlete of the year was Patrick O’Connor, master athlete Phillip O’Doherty, women’s track and field Ciara McCallian, women’s cross country Ailish Malone, men’s track and field athlete Brian Gregan and men’s road cross country Mark Kenneally. At the European Cross Country in Slovenia Dave Fitzmaurice finished 81st with Dave Flynn 84th on a memorable weekend for Irish athletics as Fionnuala Britain took gold in the women’s race. On December 18th a new event took place in the Morton Stadium the Christmas Cracker 5k. An outstanding success excellently organised particularly having regard to the challenging weather conditions on the day and in an excellent race Joe Warne (Doheny A.C.) took the spoils from Emmett Dunleavy (Sligo A.C.) with Conor Healy (Clonliffe) in 3rd place. Sara Treacy was a run away winner of the women`s race. The final events of a very successful Clonliffe 125 were the seasonal Christmas cake races, first off the juveniles on a rain sodden Morton Stadium on the 20th of December with the U/12 race won by Gavin O’Brien and the girls equivalent won by Ella Bergin. The U/15 boys race was won by Sean Carrig and the winner of the girls race was Sally Aherne. Then a few days prior to christmas the senior races on the 22nd which were won by Roisin Leahy and Mark McDonald bringing the curtain down on 2011.