Jul 24, 2006 [Noel Guiden] A most enjoyable National Senior Track & Field Championships took place over the course of the weekend. Sunday the 23rd of July seen an epic battle in the Pole Vault competition between Clonliffe club mates David Donnegan and Anthony McCreery, with David Donnegan ultimately prevailing to take the national title with a vault of 4.60M from Anthony McCreery with a vault of 4.40M.
There was a bit of a shock in the Men’s 1500M final when Clonliffe’s pre-race favourite Alistair Cragg was relegated to 2nd place in a terrific final lap battle, with Liam Reale of Limerick AC taking the win in a time of 3:43.26. This was a really good race, Alistair Cragg taking them out with a fast 58 second opening lap, the second lap slowed slightly with the breakaway trio of Reale, Cragg and Colin Costello hitting the 800 mark in just over 2 minutes with a substantial gap to the rest of the field which included Colm Rooney. As lead trio took the bell Reale hit the front with Cragg on his shoulder, but in the final 150 Reale proved the stronger to take his first national title. Cragg was 2nd in a time of 3:44.98.
One of the highlights of Sundays programme was the Men’s 5000M, which included surprise starter James Nolan of UCD, moving up in distance. Again in this race there was an early breakaway of the front three of Mark Fagan (Sligo), Gary Murray (St. Malachys), with Nolan sitting in 3rd place. Nolan then came under some pressure over the final three laps and was dropped and the two leaders ran shoulder to shoulder over the final lap with a terrific sprint finish all down the home straight with Murray taking the victory by a very slim margin in a time of 14:21.
There was also a terrific Men’s 800M final, unfortunately Clonliffe’s Conor Healy had been eliminated in the previous days semi-final, Conor being clearly off form and suffering badly the effects of a flu virus which he had earlier on in the week. The title was taken by Thomas Chamney (Crusaders) 1:48.71 from David Campbell (St. Coca’s) 1:49.2.
David Gillick of DSD ran a PB in the 400M, taking the national title in a time of 45:67.
As expected Deirbhle O’Rourke won the Women’s 100M hurdles. There was a surprise winner of the Women’s 1500M championship in Mary Cullen (North Sligo), after a very brave performance when she took an early lead at roughly 600M to go, adding the title to last years 5,000M title.
In the sprints Paul Brizzel (Ballymena and Antrim), seeking to add the 100M title to the 200M title taken the previous day, was disqualified after a false start. The 100M title being won by Darragh Graham (Sli Cualann).
Joanne Cuddihy (UCD) was a most impressive double champion taking the 200M title with a PB of 23:33 on Saturday and adding the 400M title on Sunday with a championship best of 51:28, also a PB.
The highlight of Saturdays track performance was undoubtedly Vinney Mulvey of Raheny Shamrocks in taking the 10,000M championship in a time of 29:58.35 from Joe McAlister of St. Malachy’s (30:11.06) and evergreen Peter Matthews (DSD) 3rd in a time of 30:15.69.