What a finish we had in the 2006 Irwin Memorial Cup held in Santry Demesne on Saturday the 18th of February as scratch man Gerry Brady relaxed coming to the finishing line only to have Philip O’Doherty pass him on the line.
For the first time the Irwin Cup came under the umbrella of the Grand Prix Series and provided a fantastic outing for the 19 or so competitors in the race. The course markers had managed to fit a 2.5K lap into Santry Demesne avoiding any usage of the National circuit. A fairly tough course lay ahead for the athletes featuring three jumps over fallen trees on each lap as well as a fairly substantial number of dips and sharp testing hills. The Irwin Cup is an open handicap meaning that the runners are sent away individually or in small groupings with the faster athletes going last. It was particularly pleasing to have Gerry Brady back running in a club race for the first time in many a long year, indeed the previous weeks National Masters Cross Country was Gerry’s first cross country race in some three or four years. Although a new comer to the Grand Prix Series Gerry has clearly come to grips with the rules very quickly and astutely played his joker in round 1 (each athlete is permitted to pay 1 joker during the course of the season and whatever points are scored in that race are doubled).
As the athletes were sent on their way Cork’s finest Jeremy Walsh was again showing his current good form in catching runners hand over fist, cutting through the field at a rate of knots. Similarly Tommy Griffin was making good progress as indeed were Messrs. O’Doherty and Brady.
Heading into the last lap the smart money was on Gerry Brady as he reeled in the runners in front eventually to overhaul Philip O’Doherty coming down the final straight and to open a fairly substantial gap however, Philip, who later commented “I thought to myself I don’t generally get an opportunity to win a race” put his head down, his foot on the gas and began catching Gerry, who at this stage was beginning to relax and amazingly Philip managed to overhaul Gerry literally with a meter or two to go, by the time he had hit the front it was too late for Gerry to react resulting in Philip O’Doherty taking a magnificent victory and 20 points in the Grand Prix Series. Second was Gerry Brady who gathers in 19 points however, as a result of playing of his joker that total doubles to 38 points, giving him a clear early lead and the yellow jersey for round 2. Jeremy Walsh continued his good progress to take 3rd place.
It was also good to see a return to the Grand Prix Series, after a year out, of our guest Terry Mee and also to welcome new Grand Prix competitors John Fay and Maurice Mullens.
The full result of the 2006 Irwin Cup was:
1. Philip O’Doherty (35:43) – 20 Pts.
2. Gerry Brady (35:04) – 19 Pts. (Joker Played) – 38 Pts. scored
3. Jeremy Walsh (36:35) – 18 Pts.
4. Shay Byrne (40:21) – 17 Pts.
5. Paddy Tuite (40:17) – 16 Pts.
6. Terry Mee (42:29) – 15 Pts.
7. Stephen Byrne (35:45) – 14 Pts.
8. Tommy Griffin (36:52) – 13 Pts.
9. Dave Brady (44:34) – 12 Pts.
10. Dylan Ahern * (41:18) – — Pts.
11. John Fay (44:51) – 11 Pts.
12. Alan Smeaton (42:01) – 10 Pts.
13. Colm Doran (39:44) – 9 Pts.
14. Eddie Harrison (42:45) – 8 Pts.
15. Noel Guiden (41:27) – 7 Pts.
16. Tony Kiernan (47:51) – 6 Pts.
17. Ray McConville (47:51) – 5 Pts.
18. Maurice Mullen (51:28) – 4 Pts.
19. Jim Cleary (49:13) – 3 Pts.
* Equals non entrant in Grand Prix Series.
Afterwards in the Club bar presentation of prizes made by race sponsor Paddy Tuite/Kinseally Motors to Philip O’Doherty as the race winner who was also presented with the Irwin Cup and to the fastest athlete Gerry Brady. The prize for second in the race went to Jeremy Walsh and for third to Shay Byrne.
Round 2 takes place on Saturday the 4th of March with the Farren Cup, unfortunately however the Farren Cup is still missing however the race will regardless take place this year over 6K rather than the traditional 6 Miles. This race will take place at 3.00 p.m. in Santry. Each lap will commence at the car park in Santry Demesne, the runners will then run cross country, or whatever suits them, to the bridge at the Crown Plaza Hotel, they will cross the bridge, turn right and head back to the Swords Road, right again down past the stadium and right again into Santry Demesne carpark. Quite clearly spikes are not an option!. We have no sponsor for this race so if anyone is interested ……….
There are currently plenty of places available for athletes to take part in the Grand Prix Series, entries will be taken once again over the next two Thursdays in the Club Bar from 9.00 p.m. Guests are of course more than welcome.