A powerful Raheny Shamrocks team landed the Dublin Senior Men’s Cross Country title and in turn the Padraig Keane Memorial Cup at a fresh and dry Santry Demesne yesterday. To say that Raheny were dominant is to say the least an understatement. From the starters gun Raheny had the title in the bag with a powerful front running trio of Rio Marathon Man Mick Clohessy chased hard by the Dooney Brothers, these three quickly opening a gap and pulling away from the chasing field, which at an early stage included lead Clonliffe man Ian Guiden making his return to the country for his first race in some eighteen months. The early pace hit Guiden hard and he slipped back down through the pack. The Raheny men, however, were dominant and took a comfortable win with a clean sweep and now look firm favourites to land their first National cross country on November 27th.
The Clonliffe team battled away led home by Guiden 16th, Conor Healy 19th, Conor McGuinness 24th, extraordinarily enough running his first club cross country race for Clonliffe since the European Junior Clubs back in 2010. Also competing for Clonliffe were Sean Doran 30th, fittingly Padraig Keane’s son Conor 39th, Fergal O’Shea 57th and Thomas Sherlock (35th). The team placed 5th.
Post race it was great to see a huge number of athletes and officials congregating in the Clonliffe clubhouse for the presentation, heeding the call of Dublin Athletics Board Chairman Pat Hooper. In addition to Padraig Keane being honoured that other great Irish athletics stalwart Jim McNamara of Donore was also honoured. Jim had passed away this year and the Jim McNamara Cup was presented to the winning ladies team of DSD. The Clonliffe Women’s team finished out of the medal positions, also in 5th, the team was led home by Eimear O’Brien 22nd and also featured Ailish Malone 28th, Lauren Begley 34th, Orna McGinley 35th, Maura Matthews 41st, Brid Beausang 47th and Emer Brennan 49th.
The Clonliffe Men’s Junior team put on a sterling display for the home crowd with Cathal Doyle playing a patient game up front and only kicking on for the win over the last 800 metres. Cathal led home a fine team performance which secured Dublin Junior gold with strong runs in particular from Sean O’Leary in 3rd place, Adam O’Brien in 6th and having possibly his best cross country race to date Alex Gibbons in 14th place. The rest of the team was made up of Joseph Hessian, Josh Stubbs, Greg Hosseney, Kevin McKenna and Thomas Ward. In the incorporated U/19 race Clonliffe placed 2nd.
There was a good run also from Alannah Cooley in the junior women`s race and also by Laura Tuite placing 5th and 8th.
Earlier in the programme the Dublin juvenile uneven age championships took place. There were some excellent team performances in this championship from the U/15 and U/17 boys and girls squads.
The girls U/15 team all ran very strong races with outstanding performances in particular from Vicky McDonnell who led home a tightly packed bunch of black and amber athletes consisting of Abby Sheehy, Ella Brown and Amy Hodson. These four were backed up excellently by Lea Brennan and Cara Beggs. The girls performance was rewarded with Dublin bronze (places 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th).
The boys U/15 squad also put in very strong efforts, the team being supported by their injured teammate Colin Sweeney. On the day the team was led home by Daragh Carter and again with very strong runs from Dermot Buckley, Sam Kowalczyk, Stephen ? and Dylan Foy. The boys taking Dublin silver (8, 11, 19, 20).
Dublin silver was also gathered in by the girls U/17 team racing over 4000 metres. This team featured two athletes who were stepping up an age group, both of whom ran very well, indeed Tess Loftus showed a welcome return to form as she led home the team with a very strong run in 12th place followed in by Hannah Browne, Aimee Warren and the fast finishing Cliona Cooley (team placings 12, 13, 15, 16). The girls were backed up by excellent performances from Kate Howlett and Lauren Cox.
The boys U/17 squad also took silver, narrowly missing out on gold to DSD. Again there were a number of the U/16 squad stepping up an age and these lads all put in excellent shifts. On the day the team was led home by Daniel Lacey, having a very strong run in 5th, and he was followed not far behind by the in form Arran Cullen 8th, then came Cian Bolger 10th, and Ben Guiden 13th, these latter three all stepping up from the U/16 squad. These guys were very well backed up by Jordan Byrne 15th and Stephen Cashin 16th, Shane Ferris 20th and Sam Baker-Gorman 23rd. Craig Giles, who had been quite ill during the week, started the race but illness got the better of him and he was sensible enough to pull out with a lap to go.
Also competing were the boys U/11 squad lead home by Cian O`Hara 8th, Christain Finn, Sean Cronin, Kharl Balaro and Oran McGowan, the team placing 4th. The boys U/13th also placed 4th with a team of Ronan Donohue 11th, Jonathan Fitzsimons 16th, Keith Burke 39th, Calum Maguire 44th and Jon Nyberg. The U/13 girls faught gamely the first home was Naoise Cullen in 21st, good runs also from Amy Sheehy, Lara Gallagher, Eimer O`Hara and Sinead Gallagher..
Finally a huge thank you to the Clonliffe volunteers who constructed the course so that the club could host the event and once again did the club proud by building a superb cross country course at Santry Demesne. The conditions were superb on the day and the course, as always, has held up excellently. Clonliffe would also like to thank Fingal County Council and Morton Stadium for their support and assistance with the successful running of the Dublins.
For photos click: https://www.flickr.com/photos/146364500@N04/albums/72157674817627821