Leech digs in to take sil­ver

Drogheda Independent - - SPORT - Gil­lian Far­relly (263) on her way to a new PB time in the Jin­gle Bells 5K road race.

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.

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