Aug 21, 2011 [Noel Guiden] What a day for Clonliffe Harriers. As the club enters the final leg of our 125th celebrations our athletes served up a thrilling National Track and Field League double in sunny Tullamore yesterday.The mens team were strongly fancied in the lead up to make it four in a row in the premier division, which was duly delivered despite a somewhat, on paper in any event, weakened team, however, it was the magnificent performance of the womens team to win Division 1 that stands out as possibly the highlight of the year to date.
The trip to Tullamore began with the bad news of the enforced withdrawal from the mens team of one of Joe`s “bankers” Tomas Rauktys, this coupled with the unavailability of 400m star Brian Gregan currently in China after his fantastic performances in the World Student Games, and other fitness concerns called for a rethink and a reshuffle of the pack. More importantly it called for the guys called into the fray to roll up their sleeves and double their efforts, and boy did they only just.
Marcin Klinkzow deserves the highest praise for his work. Doubling up in th high jump and discus is hard enough but when both events are on at the same time and at opposite ends of the infield? Marcin handled this with great humour as he litterly would take his jump and run the lenght of the infield to throw the discus, and repeat half a dozen times, he could well have covered a 1500m in the process. Marcin scorred invaluable points placing 3rd in both (HJ 1.90, discus 36.22). If that were not enough he then turned his hand to coaching first time javelin man Brian Tobin in the “way of the javelin” fantastic club men both. Brian placed 7th with 24.47 and then made himself available for the 56lb and/or 400 relay, where there was a job to be done Brian would do it.
These foundations where built on by the maximum points scored by Dave Donegan in the pole vault (4.60m), a turbo charged Danny Kavanagh in the 100m (10.89) and Mark Kenneally who was a very comfortable winner of the 5,000m in 15:02.88. Young Patrick O`Connor played a big part in the win running maybe his best 200m to date as he ran Chris Russell to the line finishing only 300th of a second down in 21.70. Dave Flynn also had a good day 2nd in the 3,000sc (9.32.91).
John Fagan chipped in with more valueable points 4th in the 110h and 3rd in the 400h (15.65 and 54.37). Ciaran Mackey was 3rd in the 400m in 49.54. Young Ryan Cleary still U/17, once again, as in both previous rounds, was excellent in the 3,000 race walk placing 4th and taking over half a minute off his previous best (15.14.34).
In one of the races of the day Conor Healy was 3rd in the 1500m (3.58.56), Eoin Pierce was 7th in the 800 (1.57.01). Back in the field events Tomas Dorina stepped up as asked for the long jump 5th (5.65) and was also 5th in the triple jump 12.61). Martin Hunt was 2nd in the hammer (50.47) and 4th in the shot (10.95) and Paul Marry 6th in the 56lb (5.04).
The two relay teams continued the consistant form both with 3rd place finishes: the 4 x 100 team of Keith Pike, Patrick O`Connor, John Laffey and Danny Kavanagh and 4 X 400 Ciaran Mackey, John Laffey, Brian Tobin and John Fagan.
With the competition over it was now the matter of the official results, our talley men had us ahead by 10 plus points. The official result 1st Clonliffe 118, 2nd St. Abbans 101, 3rd North Down 99.5. Fantastic the men`s 4th title in succession.
The women`s team lead by Pamela Cooper have had promotion to the premier divison as the season`s goal, and going into the final round in 3rd place to achieve this goal would require the girls to really move up a gear. The girls were inspired. Soon the points started racking up. Sharon Kilduff has been a wonderful addition to the squad, superb wins in the 100 (12.51) and 200 (25.39), maximun points also thrown into the pot by Ciara McCallon in the 400 (55.58), Louise Reilly 3,000 (10.04.43) and Denise Byrne in the javelin (35.25) soon had Pamela and the girls believing that today could be the day…promotion…not topping the table.
Middle distance also reaped a good harvest with Orna McGinley 2nd in the 1500 (4.55.75) and Eleanor Alexander 2nd in the 800 (2.13.92). Over the hurdles Sarah Woods chipped in with another excellent 2nd place, 400h (65.62), a great race also by junior athlete Elaine Begley 3rd in the 100h (16.19).
That nil desperandum team spirit came to the fore as the girls chased every single point: Snezana Bectina, a sprinter, 4th in the 1500m walk, 4th in the long jump (4.73) and 6th in the triple jump (9.24). Orna McGinley after a brief rest took in the high jump placing 5th (1.35), Denise Byrne discus 6th (22.21), Ange Lidova 5th in the shot (8.06) and then Madame Clonliffe Harrier Frances Mansfield 7th in the hammer (15.24). Simply extraordinary club spirit.
The final event. The 4 X 400. The talley men had us 2nd and 3rd! The girls needed to go for the win. First away young Elaine Begley, holding her own, Eleanor Alexander running an exceptional leg, passing onto Sarah Woods another gutsy run and then to Ciara McCallon patient, make one move only, off the final bend hits the front. 9 points. Is it enough? After what seemed like an age cheers of delight: 1st Clonliffe 113, 2nd Raheny 108, 3rd St. Abbans 98.
From a club perspective one of the best days we`ve had in 125 years. Thank you Captains, coaches and you wonderful Clonliffe athletes.