A day of mixed emotions for the black and amber at Abbotstown today for the Irish Life Health National Cross Country. First the joy as the Junior men retained the title won in Santry twelve months ago. With a stirring run from Sean O`Leary leading the charge a surprise National title was taken beck to HQ.
Throughout the course of the race this seemed to say the least unlikely as several of the Clonliffe men endured a pretty torrid afternoon. Cathal Doyle after a good start really suffered over the final laps and finished up very disappointed in 12th place. With Cathal in trouble Sean O`Leary rose to the challenge working his way through the pack to record an excellent 6th place, and 3rd U/18. Likewise Adam O`Brien struggled a bit placing 27th but a strong run from Joey Hession in 57th put the Clonliffe lads a mere point up on DSD to retain the title and fittingly the Larro Byrne Cup. Great run also by Craig Giles (63rd), Daniel Lacey (69th), Greg Hossenny 77th, Thomas Ward 104th, Jack Maughan 111th, Alex Gibbons 162nd and Matthew Jenkinson 163rd. In the U/18 category the Clonliffe team of Sean O`Leary, 3rd, Joey Hession 31st, Craig Giles 35th and Daniel Lacey 40th took team bronze with Sean and Craig also picking up Dublin inter county silvers. Also in the U/18s 96th Alex Hogan, 109th Fintan McManus.
In the junior women`s/U/18 4000m race Alannah Cooley had a fine run indeed to finish in an excellent 11th junior, while Hannah Browne will have gained great experience placing 63rd U/18.
On then to the senior men where the Clonliffe men were defending champions and a bad day at the office for the team. The early optimism was soon put to bed as the Raheny team packed at the front, the lead Clonliffe man Sergiu Ciobanu back just out of the top 10, with David Flynn next in about 20th. Soon things got even worse as Sergiu pulled out to be followed a short time later by James Kevan. With some of the other lads having a day to forget the team ended up back in 7th. For the record the placings: 25th Dave Flynn, 37th Killian Lonergan, 54th Ian Guiden, 55th Eoin Taggart, 58th Jayme Rossister, 67th David Mansfield, 71st Liam Roarty, 74th Conor McGuinness, 81st Mark Doyle, 92th Tom Sherlock, 94th Conor Keane, 108th Eoin McCullough, 116th Sean Doran, 139th Niall Sherlock.
In all fairness the winning Raheny team, taking their 1st National, were in supreme form and fully deserving of their victory. Likewise an excellent individual win by Mark Christie of Mullingar.
The sole Clonliffe lady in the senior race was Sarah McCormack who fought bravely and ended up in 12th place.
In the juvenile programme pride of place once again goes to the Clonliffe U/16 boys who really battled all the way in a paced quality field the lads with Cian Bolger 24th, Ben Guiden 31st, Daniel Stone 49th and U/15 Daragh Carter 58th took silver on countback. Great runs also by Ian McAlweney 68th and in his first national Thomas Baltazar 88th. Cian, Ben and Daniel also took inter county gold for Dublin.
The U/16 girls found the step up from Dublin challenging, but all put in great efforts. First home was Ella Brown 79th, then 81st Abby Sheehy, 89th Tess Loftus, 102nd Aimee Warren and 106th Vicky McDonnell. The team finishing up 12th.
Likewise it was a big step up for the U/14 girls, but again all put in solid performances: 40th Ava Mulvahill, 54th Aoife Hession, 124th Ella Cooley, 129th Holly Roche, 142nd Katie Halpin, 161st Alana Fitzsimons placing 11th team. The girls, as indeed will all the juveniles, will benefit greatly from today and will continue to learn and progress.
Finally well done to all our athletes who as usually gave it their best. After all what more can anyone give? Nil desperandum.
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