Monday Memories with Eamonn Tierney

As far as cross country was concerned, I was a bit inconsistent when it came to performing well on the day. It was probably more psychological than physical so being a member of Clonliffe Harriers put more pressure on a runner than if he ran for most other clubs.

Anyway in 1987 I remember asking Paddy Marley if it was ok if I could be excused from running in the Nationals that year in Killenaule. After all we were the reigning champions with runners like Jerry Kiernan, Noel Harvey, Dave Taylor,Eugene Curran, Gerry Finnegan, Gerry Brady, Billy Horgan, Padraig Keane, Denis Noonan, Dermot Redmond, Peter McDermot , Kieran O’Dwyer and many many more. I cannot recall if all these runners were available on the day but i figured a combination of any four from the above names would easily retain our title. Paddy however saw it differently. He mentioned things like injuries, lack of fitness and other reasons why some runners may not perform on the day. I think I was training for the Amsterdam Marathon so although I was fit, cross country was not on my agenda.

So with a fair bit of reluctance I travelled with the team. Killenaule is a tough hilly course and not one that really suited me although I was running a lot in the mountains at the time so I was trying to psyche myself up that the course actually did suit me. I remember starting off slowly thinking if I make the top eight Clonliffe runners I would have a decent run. Dave Taylor was having a blinder and word came back that he was streaking away from a top class field that included Gerry Curtis and John Woods. This news gave me reassurance because with Dave a certain winner it was great news for Clonliffe. I think Jerry Kiernan started off slowly. He may have had injury problems from 5 years of heavy marathon training but he ended up with a solid run finishing around 7th or 8th. A young Eugene Curran may have finished 15th or so.

The question was where was our 4th man. I was moving slowly through the field and was 5th Clonliffe man when I think it was Johnny O’Leary screamed at me that Harvey was in trouble and was coming back through the field. When Johnny screamed information you took notice. He told me I was going to be the 4th scorer and that I had to keep going in order to retain the team prize. Noel was the reigning champion from the previous year on our home turf in Santry but for whatever reason he was having a bad day so I remember running past him at maybe 9k {the race distance was 12k} in those days. I finished 25th and we did retain the title and I was needed on the day. It was a great feeling winning a National title with a famous club like Clonliffe.

Even now 33 years later I still tell runners how important everyone is on the team,especially in cross country. Even if you are not in the top 4, if you are 5th, 6th, or 7th scorer you could still finish ahead of the next club’s 4th scorer and I know that people like Paddy Marley, Johnny O’Leary, Maurice Ahern, Peter McDermott and others will make sure this tradition of running to the line counts for eveything when you were the black and amber.

Nil Desperandum
Eamonn Tierney

Clonliffe’s team of Champions
Eamonn (112), R. Dooney (151), John Woods (050), Jerry Kiernan, Dick Hooper (098)