Clonliffe Harriers Men’s Team after a Titanic battle with Crusaders AC prevailed in Tullamore yesterday to win the Woodies DIY National Track and Field League Title for the fifth time in succession. Good news also was the performance of the Senior Women’s Team competing in the premier division for the first time in a long number of years who overcame a litany of withdrawals to put on a spirited display and battled away to finish 7th.
The manner of the men’s win was pure drama. There had been a day long battle with Crusaders going to the proverbial wire, not only to the last event of a long day, the 4 x 400m relay but down to the last leg of the last event. The Crack Crusaders 4 x 400 team were certainties to win, the question was how close to them would Clonliffe be. As the teams lined up it was clear to win Clonliffe needed to finish in the top three. Brian Gregan took the baton for the final leg in eighth place, a task that looked even beyond the big man, however, displaying extraordinary determination and having already delivered a win in the 400 and a second place in the 100 Brian gave it all to the cause as he powered through the field like the proverbial hot knife through butter up to the necessary third spot with 200 to go. Brian, however, is never one to rest on his laurels and drove on to overhaul Raheny and finish in jubilation in 2nd place to deliver the national league title.
Today was a fantastic team performance by all as the lads overcame an early setback in the proceedings when an unfortunate disqualification occurred in the 4 x 100 relay. On the day there were wins delivered by Brian Gregan running very comfortably in the 400 always in control in lane 1 as he ran a time of 47.55. A win also from the always dependable Matt Field in the 110 hurdles in 14.33. The Banker Tomas Rauktys chipped in with two wins, the 56 lb distance 8.26 and discus 51.46. Team captain Dave Donegan delivered once again in the pole vault winning with a best of 4.60m. Second place finishes on the day to add to the points total came from young Ryan Cleary in the 3000 walk (14.04.10), Brian Gregan running in the 100m, Brian ran a cracker of a race pushing Crusaders Steven Colvert all the way to the line recording a time of 10.54, inside the club record mark, however, the wind gage reading of 2.1 rules out any club record. 2nd place also for Martin Hunt in the Hammer (48.79). Kris Valters 2nd in the 800 metres (1.58.07). Third places and more valuable points were chipped in by Tomas Dorina in the triple jump (13.02m), Jayme Rossiter in the 3000 steeplechase (9.45.52), John Fagan running his first race of an injury hit season in the 400 hurdles (55.65), Dave Fitzmaurice running his race of the season today in the 5000m 14.55.74, new Clonliffe Harrier Dimitri “Dermo” 3rd in the 1500 metres in 4.01.22. Andrew Heaney was 3rd in the high jump (1.95m). Young Ryan Whelan scored some good points in the javelin as he was 3rd with a best of 49.21.
Epitomising club spirit on the day was the performances of young Daniel Doran, normally a sprinter but taking part today in the long jump where he acquitted himself very well finishing 4th with a jump of 6.04m and Marcin Klinzow, normally a high jumper or javelin thrower but today throwing the shot putt where he placed 4th with a best of 11.19m.
In the end when the points were totted up with the four worst results being dropped Clonliffe had successfully defended the National League Title to make it five in a row on 122 points with Crusaders AC pushing all the way second with 120 points and Leavale third on 98 points. A great performance from an evolving team – today’s team included half a dozen juniors!
The women’s team were really up against it today competing in the premier league and had done very well to make today’s final. Their cause was not helped by the absence of a lot of athletes with the whole sprinting section being sidelined for various reasons, however, again the spirit displayed by the athletes in action for the club was exceptional: Snezana Bectina, 4th in the 200, 7th in the 400, competing in the pole vault and also running legs in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays. Young Elaine Begley battling away in both the 100m hurdles and 400 hurdles, finishing 7th and 6th respectively, Orna McGinley, normally an 800 metre runner competing for the club in the high jump, Denise Byrne finishing second in the javelin and also competing in the long jump where she was 8th, good points also scored by Eleanor Alexander 2nd in the 1500 metres in 4.35.58 and by Lorna Begley 4th in the 800 in 2.22.34, Becky Woods was also 4th in the 3000 10.27.27 and in the throws Caoimhe Morris chipped in with valuable points, courtesy of 2nd place in the discus 32.69m and 5th in the hammer 35.39. Caoimhe also ran a leg of the 4 x 100 relay. In all a great shift put in by all of the girls on the day many of them competing in unfamiliar events.
Thus the curtain is drawn on another excellent track and field season for Clonliffe Harriers, the women’s team get stronger by the year and does not look out of place in the premier division whilst the men drew deep to successfully defend this title, it was almost wrestled away by Crusaders AC today but in fairness to the black and amber clad Santry warriors they withheld the challenge.
Congratulations to all our athletes and to our club captains and thank you to our coaches. An exceptional team performance. NIL DESPERANDUM.
Meanwhile on the road Michael MacDiarmada continues his build up for the national half marathon and was a winner of a hilly ten miler in Slane in a time of 53.36.
Please see the photos for this event below: