Malahide Castle was once again the venue for Round 5 in the Grand Prix Series. This is the second year in which this 4 Mile Grass Race has featured. Once again the race was generously sponsored by Tom Flood.
The race is a sealed handicap and is run over 4 miles of a circuit on grass just at the main car park running along the Avenue to the Castle and then turning left alongside the Castle lawn before heading out into the field.
On Thursday the 3rd of June a good turnout of 29 athletes lined up.
From the starters gun the lead pack of David Brennan, Noel Cullen, Ronan Hartnett and Brendan Buck headed the field. This group quickly pulled away establishing a considerable lead. The lead group was then broken up somewhat as David Brennan pulled away from Ronan Hartnett with Noel Cullen sitting on Ronan’s shoulder.
As the runners headed into the third lap Dave held a reasonable lead, with no sign of the following two making any inroads. Dave was to comment after the race that: “I wondered why they were not catching me and thought is there something wrong with my socks!”. In no time at all however Ronan put his head down, closed the gap and went past Dave with Noel still sitting on his shoulder and Noel at the same time overtook Ronan to take an unassailable lead.
At the finish Noel Cullen was first across the line in 22:05, a pretty impressive time over what was generally considered to be a fairly hard and possibly long 4 mile race. 9 seconds in arrears Ronan Hartnett came home followed by Dave Brennan, some 15 seconds later.
Fourth across the line was Brendan Buck in 22:51 with a fairly substantial lead over Martin Tully in 23:48.
As is usual in Grand Prix races the Yellow Jersey result is based on the result of the handicap and the winner was Shay Byrne, followed by Dave Brady, Paul Lannon and Noel Cullen.
As a result of scoring 16 points to claim 5th place by Stephen Byrne there is a change in the overall leadership of the Series and Stephen now leads on 54.5pts. from Colm Hickey at 52pts. and Martin Tully 4th on 44pts.
In the Green Jersey competition, points being awarded to the top ten fastest in each race and there is now a tie between Noel Cullen and Brendan Buck, both on 34 points with Ronan Harnett 3rd on 29pts.
The Series continues again in Malahide for the Michael Murphy Memorial 5 Mile Race on the path on Thursday the 17th of June.