Oct 23, 2011 [Noel Guiden] A good day for Clonliffe at rain swept Phoenix Park today for the annual Gerry Farnan Festival of Cross Country Races. The Gerry Farnan races of course also incorporate the trial for the Masters teams for next months British and Irish International Cross Country and in recent years the festival has been expanded now to also incorporate the Dublin U/18 cross country championships. The club enjoyed some excellent performances accross the spectrum from Ian Guiden`s win in the U/18s to a right ding dong of a battle between Brian McMahon and Dave Flynn in the feature race and some of the Master athletes looking like they`ve gotten themselves well into contention for those coveted international master`s vests: Pat Bonass in the O/65, Declan Power looks like he may have done enough in the O/40 and Mags Greenan in the O/50.
We had two athletes in action in the girls U/18 Championships both of whom aquited themselves well, Roisin Leahy was around 6th while Laura Brennan place around 11th or so in a difficult race as the rain lashed down on the small field. In the boys U/18 Ian Guiden went to the front from the gun and took the pack out on a pretty fast pace, at half way he had a lead of maybe 80m on the field, however, with Friday`s schools race still in his legs he hit a bad patch on the final lap as his lead was eaten away by the chasing Donore and DSD athletes down to only 10/15m, however he had just enough in reserve to kick and take the Dublin title. The rest of the Clonliffe squad are a year younger, all U/17, and stepped up manfully to the task with particularily good performances from Liam Ashton in 7th, and Eoin McCullogh 11th, and with Conor King 16th took team silver, only 3 points off Donore`s gold. Very good runs also by John Buckley and Mark Ring.
In the womens race for the Sheila Brennan Cup, Fionnula Britton (Kilcoole AC) was a comfortable winner with a superb front running win. Good runs here from the Clonliffe ladies Ailish Malone 22nd, Louise Reilly 35th, Bernie Byrne 69th and Mags Greenan 76th.
There was a huge field in the Gerry Farnan race of over 250. The Clonliffe lads were having their first outing of the season and were watched with great interest with the Dublin Seniors only two weeks away. Up front DSD`s Joe Sweeney was the class of the field with a fine win. The race featured a great race long battle between Clonliffe duo Brian McMahon and Dave Flynn with AAI Mountain Runner of the Year nominee McMahon out kicking Flynner on the home straight in 8th with Flynn 9th. A really good run from young Jamie Rossister the third Clonliffe man home finishing around 20th with Dave Fitzmaurice 4th man in 36th. The lads placed 4th. Mark McDonald also had a good outing on the country around 45th with Declan Power a couple of paces behind in 52nd and 4th O/40, next in was Conor McGuinness 63rd and in his first Clonliffe race Boston native David Krinjak 94th, Ronan Merrick was 106th just pipped on the line by 800m man Andrew Jenkinson 104th, Philip O`Doherty was 116th. Pat Bonass was 2nd in the O/65 and one would assume makes yet another Irish Masters team.
So we`re off and running on the country with lots to look forward to: the Dublins in a couple of weeks, Inter Counties in late November, The Europeans in December and the Nationals a long way off in February. Keep it Country!!