Clonliffe men dominant in Dublin cross country

Nov 5, 2007 [Noel Guiden] The Clonliffe Senior Men’s Team totally dominated proceedings in the team event of the 2007 Dublin Cross Country Championships held on home turf at Santry Demesne yesterday. There was in particular an outstanding performance from Gary O’Hanlon who was always at the sharp end of the field and after a terrific race was the first of our team home in 5th place. Gary was always in the lead pack and in the latter stages was looking a good outside bet for a medal however, heading into the last lap as DSD pairing of Joe Sweeney and Alan McCormack upped the pace Gary was cut slightly adrift and battled on gamely to hold off Vinny Mulvey of Raheny to take 5th place.

The championships were held over the European 2009 Cross Country course on what was once again a brilliant autumnal day (it is however winter isn’t it?). Underfoot conditions were superb with a nice spring in the ground courtesy of the previous afternoon and overnights rain however, despite this there was not a spot of mud or standing water to be found anywhere in the park.

The Senior Men’s championship proved to be a fabulous race. Straight from the off an elite pack gathered at the front featuring pre-race favourite Joe Sweeney of DSD, Vinny Mulvey and Mick Clohessy of Raheny and, on his Clonliffe debut, James Nolan. As the early laps were reeled off James Nolan found himself cut adrift and there was a lead pack of DSD pair Joe Sweeney and Alan McCormack, the Raheny pairing together with Danny D’Arcy of Liffey Valley and Gary.

Further back Sergiu Turea was having an excellent run after a conservative start and was working his way nicely through the field.

Our other championship debutante, Brian McMahon, was also having a storming run in the Clonliffe colours and was up with the leaders at the early stage however, he slipped back into the chasing pack but battled on gamely to take an ultimate 13th position and holding off a Rathfarnham pack led by Paul Flemming.

DSD’s Joe Sweeney held on to take an excellent win in a time of 32.03, four seconds ahead of team mate Alan McCormack with Mick Clohessy of Raheny in 3rd with a time of 32.09.

The Clonliffe team of Gary O’Hanlon 5th, Colm Rooney 8th, James Nolan 9th, Sergiu Turea 11th, Brian McMahon 13th and Aidan Bailey 20th, secured a comfortable victory on a total of 66 points from Raheny Shamrocks on 94 and Rathfarnham WSAF on 105. Interesting to note that had the championship been decided on a four to score basis the Clonliffe team would still have taken the victory.

Other solid runs were provided by the two backup men of David Brennan and Brett Paine, having his first run on an Irish cross country course and indeed his first cross country run since his schools U/13 competition back home in Australia.

Congratulations to Joe and the team on an excellent victory.

Its fair to say that the guys dominated the race with 3 in the top 10 and all 6 scorers in the top 20. Another interesting fact is that the scoring 6 yesterday included only one of the scoring 4 in the National Cross Country in Sligo in February. Talk about strength in depth.

Our Senior Lady’s team who have been sweeping all before them on the country in Dublin of late found the step up from novice/intermediate to senior somewhat difficult. The DSD team were in superb form and in particular the Ffrench-O’Carroll twins running their first senior championship race with Charlotte taking 1st with Rebecca 3rd and sandwiched between them team mate Linda Byrne in 2nd. With DSD’s fourth scorer in 9th place they were most comfortable winners with a total of 15 points from Raheny Shamrocks on 51 and Rathfarnham on 67.

Of the Clonliffe girls, Frances Nic Reamoinn had a superb run to take 5th place. Frances together with Aisling Coppinger 23rd, Emma Cooper 26th and Eilish McDermott 30th placed 5th. The other Clonliffe girls were Tara White 31st, Karen Duggan 32nd, Bronagh Ni Bhriain 36th and Rachel McBride 37th.

The Junior Men’s championship was dominated by DSD’s Brendan O’Neill who looked simply sublime as he cruised to victory in a time of 19:53 from John Coghlan 20.22 and Raheny’s Dave Rooney 20:28. Our first scorer was David Flynn in 6th place, followed by David Fitzmaurice 9th, Eoin Pearce 15th, Mark McDonald 17th, Brian Gallagher 24th and Eoin Khan 26th. In the junior championships the Clonliffe team placed 3rd.

This championship however also incorporated the U/19 championship and as the vast majority of our lads are in this category they actually placed 1st taking gold. The team being made up of David Flynn, Eoin Pearce and Brian Gallagher.

In the Junior Lady’s championship Becky Woods once again had an excellent run chasing home Suzanne Huet of DSD all the way to take 2nd place. Becky together with sister Sarah, Kate Purcell and Sorcha Higgins took the bronze medal in the team competition behind DSD 1st and Celtic 2nd.

Early in the day the juvenile uneven ages championships took place. We had very early success in these championships courtesy of the U/11 boys who took team silver, the team being Sean McLoughlin 10th, Andrew Eddison 15th, Peter Taylor (?) and Keith Hodson 20th. Good runs also from Matthew, Luke, Daragh, Luke, Michael and Stephen.

Our U/11 girls also ran well with Jasmine being our first scorer in 16th place, good runs also from Laura Tuite, Pheona Blyth, Emma, Aoife McGrath, Amy, Kate, Sophie, Ciara, Lilly, Lynne and Sarah.

In the U/13 girls Rachel Murray was our top finisher in 5th place with Hayley 24th. Good runs also from Niamh Daly, Leanne Tobin and Roisin.

The U/13 boys did not have enough to make up a team, however David Hussey was 18th with Sean Hannon 20th and a good run also from Shane.

The U/15 girls also ran well however finished outside of the medal position with Laura Preston 12th, Leah Bergin, Lorna McDonnell 22nd, next in was Laura Brennan, Jessie O’Neill and Niamh Falvey.

We had no runners in the U/15 boys event. Unfortunately this particular race proved to be controversial to say the least as the lead runners became confused due to a tape on the course having been inadvertently removed and as the leaders went way off course the whole field followed causing considerable confusion and to put it mildly disquiet. This was indeed a regrettable and unfortunate situation.

The U/17 girls again were short runners to make up a full team however Sarah Finnegan placed 6th with Ciara Hennigan 7th and these were backed up by Alison Lynch.

Finally on to the U/17 boys were Mick McAnallen was our top scorer in 5th with another good run courtesy of Jordan Logan in 7th and good runs also from David Murphy and Jack Fay.

In all an excellent days cross country with great success for the club from juvenile through junior and senior on a superb course which will do Ireland proud in the Europeans in 2009. Considerable credit must go to Padraig Keane and his very hard working crew who worked tirelessly over the weekend, they were out in the rain on Saturday until darkness marking the course and were back in the early hours of Sunday morning and worked right through the day and dismantled the course as night fell on Sunday evening. Well done all concerned.