Senior title relinguished as DSD sweep the boards

Feb 27, 2011 [Noel Guiden] After a seven year stretch as National Cross Country Champions from 2004 to 2010 the streak came to an end at home in Santry Demesne yesterday as the Clonliffe men`s team were well beaten by both DSD and Raheny Shamrocks. With the ovenight news of Mark Kenneally`s withdrawl from the race with a reoccurance of a back injury the writing was on the wall and the cause wasn`t helped when Gary O`Hanlon`s ankle went half was around the first lap forcing his to take the early bath. There was, however, an excellent battle for supremacy between old rivals Raheny and DSD with the southsiders prevailing thanks to the form of pre race favourite Joe Sweeney who ran away with the title and an excellent run from U/23 European Cross hero Brendan O`Neill in 2nd place. A great return to form also today from Mick Clohissey of Raheny in 3rd. In the end DSD were worthy winners on 25 points, Raheny 2nd on 47 and Clonliffe a distant 3rd on 60.

From a Clonliffe prespective there were very good performances on the day by Sergiu Ciobanu, who always does the business in the Nationals, in 6th place, Dave Flynn in his first senior National in 12th and John Heneghan 13th. Good runs also from Lorcan Cronin 29th, Paolo Dogilo 30th and Cian McLoughlin who was another injury victim. The B team also ran well further down the field in what was one of the biggest enteries in a number of years, Niall Sherlock 70th, Conor Delaney 91st, Philip O`Doherty 93rd, Mark Birmingham 96th and The Real Thing Eoin Murray 104th. It was also great to see Chris Cariss, another on the injury list, home supporting the lads.

The senior women`s race was won in convincing style by Ava Hutchinson (DSD) from Eilish Kelly (Raheny). With DSD also taking team honours from Raheny 2nd and Sportsworld 3rd. The sole Clonliffe athlete in this race was Becky Woods who unfortunately was force out at around two thirds distance.

Earlier in the day, the first race in fact, the Clonliffe Junior women`s team did very well indeed winning National bronze with Ashling Aherne 10th, a really good run, 16th Laura Brennan, 17th Denise O`Callaghan and 18th Roisin Leahy. The race was, as expected, won by the exceptional Siofra Clerigh Buttner leading home DSD to their first of four team titles today.

The junior men`s race was won in fine style by another pre race favourite Shane Quinn (Ferrybank). There was a great battle for 2nd place which was taken by Raheny`s Kevin Dooney with Liam Brady (Tullamore) 3rd. DSD again taking the team title from Mullingar and Ennis Track club. A great run in this race by Clonliffe`s Ian Guiden getting himself into the lead pack from the off and then battling gamely over the final lap to take 7th place. Fintan Doherty was 23rd, Mark McKenzie battled through the pain barrier to run an excellent final lap in 37th with Ronan Doyle 38th. Liam Ashton was stepping up in distance considerably as was young John Buckley and both stepped up to the mark placing 40th and 44th. Eoin McCullogh was 46th, Mark 50th and Johnny Bradley Ward 51st. The team placed 6th.

In the end it must be said it was a disappointing day for the club in our 125 celebrations, however, there are was a steely resolve post event to roll up our sleeves and work to get back up where we belong.

As regards the championships the club did put on an excellent event with an army of club men and women out on Friday and Saturday putting the whole show together. The club would like to thank everyone involved, and also Fingal County Council for use of the Park, the Morton Stadium for the facitites use and the Gardai in Santry.