Apr 13, 2008 [Jeremy Walsh] Perched between the cross country and track seasons, the National Road Relays is a great occasion. It’s also a day that Club Captains earn their spurs, as not only do they have to select their best team, they also have to match the right man to the right leg.
Held today in rain and shine, but mostly shine, in Raheny, first off were the Veteran Ladies. Unfortunately, Clonliffe did not field a team in a race won by Raheny.
With runners coming back from injury and lay-offs, Clonliffe patched a team together for the Veteran Mens. Declan Power had a storming first leg, handing over to Noel Cullen in (all times unofficial for now)4.46. Noel, racing himself fit, had a steady first lap (5.10) and after a 5.28 second lap, for a 10.38 leg, handed over to Philip O’Doherty. Philip on the way back from his third injury of the year, was off his best, running the lap in 5.15, for a total team time of 20.41 and 7th place. The race was won, yet again, by Raheny Shamrock.
Next up were the Senior Ladies, and Raheny made it a hat-trick of wins on the day. Notably, Annette Kealy made history, being the first person to be a member of both the winning Senior and Veteran Ladies team on the same day. Well done Annette. Clonliffe was strongly represented with 3 teams. The A team was made up of Ailish McDermott, Eleanor Alexander and Louise Reilly, the B team Karen Duggan, Emma Cooper and Mags Greenan, with Rachel McBride, Tara Whyte and Sinead Hartnett making up the C team. all battled hard, but times or positions are not to hand.
And then for the main event of the day. There was a lot of talk in the build up as to who was running on which team for which club across the country. With 5 successive National Senior Cross Country titles secured some weeks back, the challenge for Clonliffe today was to see if we could make it 3 in a row, having set a new course record in winning in 2006 and then repeating this feat in 2007. Two strong teams were selected. Aidan Bailey was first off for the A team, clocking 4.41 for his first lap, and 4.47 for his second for a 9.28 leg. Conor Healy (pictured) was on the second leg, the shortest, 1 mile leg. We knew he was up for it by the way he roared Aidan in. Not holding back, he made up massive ground and a few places in clocking an incredible 4.20. Rumours went around that it was a new lap record; we await confirmation. The race was set up nicely, with Colm starting his 3mile leg in second place just on Raheny’s Vinny Mulvey’s shoulder. They were still in the same positions at the end of the first lap (4.41), ditto at the end of the second lap (4.59). It was turning into a tactical affair. But at the end of the third lap, Colm was the first to come into view, putting in a 4.45 lap, for a 14.25 leg and a 9second lead over Raheny. With James Nolan taking over for the final 2 mile leg, things were looking good, and at the end of his first lap (4.40), it was evident he was pulling further clear, increasing his lead to about 17seconds. He completed his last lap in about 4.44 for a 9.24 leg and well clear in 1st place securing the gold medal and the three-in-a-row for Clonliffe. Further rumours abounded that the unofficial team time of 37.38 was a new course record, taking 4 seconds off last years time, but this has also to be confirmed. Well done to the boys.
The B team also had some good runs, Niall Sherlock starting off and handing over to Eoin Pearce. Next up was Brian McMahon, who made up a number of places and a lot of time with his impressive 14.47 3 mile leg. David Flynn battled hard in a competitive final 2 mile leg, the team finishing in 39.23.
A good day for Clonliffe. Nil desperandum.