The O’Connor Cup – Dunwoody Whips Handicapper

David Dunwoody won the O’Connor Cup in fine style on Saturday the 1st of November.

This was the first cross country race of the 2003 winter season and was the penultimate round of the 2003 Grand Prix Series. Despite the torrential rain during the course of the week the Trinity playing fields in Santry Avenue were in superb condition, not a puddle or muddy patch to dirty the spikes of the twenty five athletes who lined up for the start.

The field was led out by Martin“keep it country” Treacy with David Dunwoody tucking in behind him, the lead pack at the early stage also included Michael McFadden, who began to fade and drift back through the field, Noel Guiden who quickly dropped out! (bad cold was his excuse), David Brennan, Paddy Berrigan, Paddy Tuite and Colm Doran who seemed to be joined at the hip for the majority of the race.

The lead two quickly established their domination as Martin Treacy led from the start to take the bell at the final lap, the four mile race being run over five and a half laps of the playing filed. Half way through the final lap however David used his superior speed to pull away coming home in 23:06 with Martin some seven seconds in arrears and Paddy Berrigan following them home in third place.

The amazing David Brennan, who only rediscovered the use of his legs that morning after a superb two hours forty eight minutes debut marathon five days previously, dug in deep to come home fourth in 25:07. Ten seconds in arrears Paddy Tuite managed to separate himself from Colm Doran by a slim two seconds.

Further back, Eddie Bishop took Pat Devitt over the final twenty yards and similarly race sponsor Sean Pender overhauled Jimmy Bennett in the closing stages.

The O’Connor Cup is a club handicap race, therefore for the purpose of the cup itself, club guests are not taken into the reckoning and when the results were worked out by the organisers it was revealed that the fastest man in the field had in fact also won the handicap in 21:06 – congratulations to David Dunwoody.

Congratulations are also clearly due to the handicapper as second in the O’Connor Cup was in fact the twentieth finisher by a deficit, believe it or believe it not, of one second, Declan Hetherington in 21:07. In third place was a tie between Jimmy Bennett and Martin Treacy in 21:13 and one second in arrears on them followed Eddie Bishop.

In the Grand Prix Series the winner of the handicap and the twenty points on offer was the race sponsor, Sean Pender (is there something significant in this one may ask?). Sean also astutely played his joker to double his points and catapult himself up the leader board. Second in the handicap was Declan Hetherington followed by Jimmy Bennett. The fastest time bonus on offer went to David Brennan who collected the five points, followed by Paddy Tuite and Colm Doran.

The race sponsor was most generous in his sponsorship and there was a vast array of prizes presented in the club bar afterwards over the course of some much-needed refreshment.

As we head into the final round on the 15th of November, the leader board has again been shaken up. Although David Brennan has now consolidated his lead with 168.5 points, after that who will finish where is anyone’s guess as Michael McFadden has now moved into second place on 141 points, followed by Shay Byrne on 138 with Richard Connolly slipping back to fourth on 135 points.

Roll on the Horan Cup – November 15th @ 1.00 p.m. in Malahide Castle – meet at car-park.