Leech digs in to take silver
THE final event of the Louth Cross Country Championship season took place in Togher last Sunday morning and the weather God’s were more than kind to the runners with the day having an almost balmy feel to it and the ground in surprisingly good condition for some serious racing.
First up was the Women’s 3K race which was led every step of the way by Dunleer’s Karen Costello with DDAC’s Mary Leech soon stretching out the chasing pack as the pace quickened up considerably.
Leech dug in bravely when the serious questions were being asked towards the latter stages of the race and finished well to take home the silver medal in her category.
With some many different age categories taking part there were some fierce battles for club honours and county individual and team medals.
There were fine performances from Michelle Hughes and Nuala Reilly to win their categories while Helen Dillon and Mary McDonnell won silver medals.
Some strong running from Michelle Egan, Mary McGreehan, Andrea McCabe and Margaret McAuley saw this quartet take home individual bronze medals in their categories.
In the team award, the DDAC team of Leech, Hughes, Dillon and Yvonne McMahon packed well to take the silver medals against a strong Dunleer squad.
In the W50 category, Nuala Reilly, Andrea McCabe and Mary McDonnell combined well to take the team gold.
The Men’s race turned out to be an interesting affair with some great battles being waged for both individual and team medals over this tough 6K course which was run over four laps.
Brian Martin and Shane Larkin gave no quarter as they both forced the pace at every opportunity and it was only coming down the home strait that Martin opened some daylight on his opponent to take the silver medal with Larkin having to settle for the bronze on this occasion.
Paddy Murphy put the work in when the going got tough to win his M50 category as did Jackser Reilly and Giancarlo Orlandi in their respective age groups.
Silver medal winners were Kieran McGrath, Paul Reilly and Tony Corcoran while David Walsh picked up a bronze in his category.
Our Men’s team of Martin, Larkin, McGrath and Walsh packed well to take the silver team medals a mere two points behind a decent North East Runners squad.
Our M50 team of Murphy, Reilly and Jackser Reilly won the team gold on the count back rule having tied with North East Runners on 60 points each.
The Lure of a lightning fast course and the prospect of a new PB time was more than enough to tempt over 1,000 runners for the annual Jingle Bells 5K road race which takes place in the Phoenix Park.
Although this course has a fast downhill finish, the course still has to be run and the first mile run over an incline is a true test of ability and resolve before the course evens out and then starts to fall towards the finish.
Young Tadhg Donnelly who’s getting stronger by the week put the boot down right from the gun and was well up the field as he produced a storming run to finish 25th overall in a fast 15:47.
This was a real quality run from Donnelly as he was moving at about 5 minute mile pace and mixing it among some top class runners and it’s all about the learning that’s taking place for this talented young runner.
Pat O’Grady runs this race every year and this year’s event certainly gave him reason to smile as he won his category in a lively 17:12 and things look to be coming together for him in training.
The battle for the next man over the line was a titanic struggle with Colin Leonard who finished in 17:49 just holding off Liam Mulligan in 17:55 and Colm Reilly in 17:58.
Yasmin Canning was DDAC first woman across the line in 19:44 which gave her a category win and was followed by Orla O’Connor who ran 20:05.
Gillian Farrelly showed that she’s recovered well from her Dublin Marathon run when running a new PB time of 22:07, while Prolific racer Nuala Reilly ran well to claim a 2nd in category prize when finishing in 22:15.
Also running well were juveniles Abigail Tegart finishing in 20:35, just 2 seconds ahead of Liam McGreehan O’Grady in 20:37, while Kate O’Reilly ran a useful 21:28.
Others who ran included Anna Ryan (30:55) and Mary Guilfoyle who finished in 30:53.
Last Saturday’s Oldbridge Parkrun tempted a large group of DDAC members to take on this challenging 5K cross country race which is run over the hilly slopes of Donore.
Martin Russell certainly found the course to his liking as he sped round the fields in a sparkling new PB time of 19:32 when finishing 3rd overall.
Our next finisher in 8th spot was Stephen Geraghty who ran the course in 21:08 followed by Yann Mahuet who was 17th in 23:36.
Michele McCullough led the women across the line when finishing 39th in 27:23, with Linda Bowe next in 44th spot in 27:46.
Also running were Sharon Finn who was 45th in 28:48 and Laura Dowling who ran 29:29 when finishing 46th.
The DDAC mens team at the Louth Masters Cross Country Championships in Togher.
The DDAC ladies team at the Louth Masters Cross Country Championships in Togher.
Tadhg Donnelly who broke 16 minutes for the Jingle Bells 5K. RIGHT: Paddy Murphy (844) and Paul Reilly taking it easy after the Louth Masters Cross Country Championships in Togher.