Mark and Angie on song

Stun­ning up­land set­ting for cross-coun­try tests

Gorey Guardian - - SPORT -

SLIABH BUI Rovers A.C. hosted the Mr Oil In­ter­me­di­ate cross-coun­try cham­pi­onships on Sun­day. The event was held in a stun­ning up­land set­ting just out­side the vil­lage of Ferns in the town­land of New­town, the same course as was used for last year’s county Se­nior cham­pi­onships.

One had views of Car­rig Rue Hill off to one side, Sliabh Buí in the mid­dle, and over to­wards Kil­rush the haunted Cnoc na Croiche or Gib­bet Hill. Over to the west was the fa­mil­iar out­line of Mount Le­in­ster and the Black­stairs - God’s own coun­try.

The course, just un­der one mile around, was laid out on the side of a mod­er­ate-gra­di­ent hill, mean­ing that ath­letes started each lap with a fast down­hill and faced a cor­re­spond­ing up­hill stretch to­wards the end of each lap. Over­all, there were plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for fast run­ning, es­pe­cially as un­der­foot con­di­tions were very firm through­out.

There was a small field for the women’s 4k race. Beth O’Con­nor (United Striders), Lil­lian Law­less (S.B.R.) and Angela Red­mond (Slaney Olympic) got away from the rest of the field early and ran to­gether through the first lap of three.

Into the sec­ond lap and Angela waited un­til the hill be­fore push­ing the turbo but­ton and open­ing a ten-me­tre lead on the other two. Angela, the cur­rent Wex­ford Novice cham­pion, pushed ahead with good deter­mi­na­tion on the fi­nal lap although Beth, in get­ting ahead of Lil­lian on the fi­nal hill, tried valiantly to reel her back in.

At the end, how­ever, the Slaney Olympic run­ner ran on strongly and had a good 40-me­tre lead on Beth who had around the same again on Lil­lian.

Beth, backed up by Sonya Byrne, Anas­ta­sia Cash and Aine Cullen, had the plea­sure of lead­ing United Striders to the team ti­tle, the club scor­ing 20 points (2, 3, 5, 9) ahead of Slaney Olympic on 25 (1, 6, 8, 10).

A big field lined out for the men’s 8k race. The down­hill start and the flat stretch across the bot­tom of the course meant that the field was fairly well bunched to­gether for much of the first lap.

Once they hit the hill, how­ever, a group of eleven led by Bren­dan Lyng (U.S.) and Mark Poole (Croghan) opened a gap on the field, with Striders’ Paul Do­ran run­ning in the no-man’s land be­tween the two groups.

The next time they hit the hill, Lyng and Brian Ma­her (Croghan) were lead­ing it out with Poole tucked in be­hind them. A few paces back were Ge­orge De­laney (U.S.), the two D.M.P. ath­letes John Mur­phy and John Stone, Brian O’Shaugh­nessy of St. Kil­lian’s and, hang­ing on for dear life, Alex Wil­liams (Croghan). Then it was 20 me­tres back to Billy Reck (Slaney Olympic), and another five me­tres to Paul Do­ran, now in tenth place.

Into lap three and the top eight had tight­ened up again, with Lyng and Poole con­trol­ling the pace. Do­ran, still in no-man’s land, was now in ninth place, well clear of his pur­suers, led by Will Doyle (Slaney Olympic), and nib­bling away at the gap be­tween him­self and the lead­ing group.

On the fourth of the six laps, Bren­dan Lyng and Mark Poole fi­nally did what they had been threat­en­ing to do and pulled clear of the oth­ers, with D.M.P’s John Mur­phy just about stay­ing in touch 15 me­tres back and, ten me­tres be­hind him, a group of four: De­laney, O’Shaugh­nessy, and the Croghan duo Ma­her and Wil­liams.

There was a small gap then back to John Stone who was work­ing hard to keep in touch and could sense the re­lent­less Do­ran bear­ing down.

On the penul­ti­mate lap, the two lead­ers, each tak­ing turns in front, ex­tended their lead. Ge­orge De­laney, hav­ing over­taken John Mur­phy, was now on his own in third place.

Mur­phy, mean­while, was now keep­ing com­pany with Ma­her, Wil­liams and O’Shaugh­nessy. And all the while Paul Do­ran was stick­ing doggedly to his task, eas­ing past a tir­ing John Stone on the down­hill into eighth place. On the team front, Croghan were pack­ing very well, but so too were United Striders.

The lead­ing two were still locked to­gether at the bell, with De­laney still their clos­est pur­suer. It was around this time that those not al­ready tuned into Paul Do­ran’s slow-burn strat­egy sat up and paid at­ten­tion as the Striders man gal­loped past the two Croghan lads, with De­laney in his sights.

Along the bot­tom stretch Poole stole a march on Lyng and put a sliver of day­light be­tween them. Hav­ing shown his hand, any­thing other than com­plete com­mit­ment and he was brown bread. Yet Lyng held the gap to a few me­tres.

Fi­nally, at the top of the hill and into the home straight, with both giv­ing it ev­ery­thing, Poole gained another cou­ple of me­tres. Again Lyng re­sponded and re­gained the lost me­tres.

The Croghan man kept it to­gether and held on for a hard­fought win, with Lyng tak­ing the sil­ver. Next came the mas­ter strate­gist him­self, Paul Do­ran, who got his tim­ing just right as he rel­e­gated his club­mate, Ge­orge De­laney, to fourth spot.

Alex Wil­liams fin­ish­ing in fifth place and Brian Ma­her in sixth meant that Croghan were def­i­nitely in the hunt for the team ti­tle, not­with­stand­ing favourites Striders fin­ish­ing with three in the top four.

D.M.P’s John Mur­phy stayed on for sev­enth ahead of Brian O’Shaugh­nessy in eighth and his fel­low club­man, John Stone, in ninth.

There was a gap then to Slaney duo Will Doyle in tenth and John Fo­ley eleventh. First ath­lete home for the host club, S.B.R., was De­nis Moyni­han in twelfth spot.

Striders’ next scorer was Seán Mur­phy in 14th place. That was good enough to give them 23 points, and the ti­tle, ahead of Croghan on 30 points. D.M.P. placed third with 50 points.

Full credit to S.B.R. for host­ing the races and to Vesty O’Neill for the use of his lands. If only all cross-coun­try cour­ses could be like this!

Women’s 4k: 1, Angie Red­mond (Slaney Olympic), 17.47; 2, Beth O’Con­nor (United Striders), 17.55; 3, Lil­lian Law­less (S.B.R.), 18.12; 4, Sonya Byrne (United Striders), 19.13; 5, Anas­ta­sia Cash (United Striders), 19.30; 6, Marie Kin­sella (Slaney Olympic), 21.25; 7, Ma­jella Boland (Croghan), 22.44; 8, An­nis Ke­hoe (Slaney Olympic), 22.38; 9, Aine Cullen (United Striders), 22.43; 10, Ester O’Leary (Slaney Olympic), 27.30.

Teams: 1, United Striders (2, 4, 5, 9), 20 points; 2, Slaney Olympic (1, 6, 8, 10), 25 points.

Men’s 8k: 1, Mark Poole (Croghan), 28.48; 2, Bren­dan Lyng (United Striders), 28.52; 3, Paul Do­ran (United Striders), 29.18; 4, Ge­orge De­laney (United Striders), 29.22; 5, Alex Wil­liams (Croghan), 29.24; 6, Brian Ma­her (Croghan), 29.30; 7, John Mur­phy (D.M.P.), 29.36; 8, Brian O’Shaugh­nessy (St. Kil­lian’s), 29.48; 9, John Stone (D.M.P.), 30.04; 10, Will Doyle (Slaney Olympic), 30.14; 11, John Fo­ley (Slaney Olympic), 30.19; 12, De­nis Moyni­han (S.B.R.), 30.26; 13, Liam Collins (D.M.P.), 30.30; 14, Seán Mur­phy (United Striders), 30.38; 15, Pat Mur­ray (United Striders), 30.42; 16, Billy Reck (Slaney Olympic), 30.49; 17, David Leonard (S.B.R.), 31.06; 18, Derek Malone (Croghan), 31.14; 19, Jessie O’Con­nor (Slaney Olympic), 31.28; 20, Dara Cloake (S.B.R.), 31.26; 21, Bren­dan Rad­ford (D.M.P.), 31.28; 22, Thomas Ka­vanagh (S.B.R.), 31.31; 23, Michael O’Fla­herty (Kilmore), 31.32; 24, Niall O’Con­nor (S.B.R.), 31.48; 25, Jim O’Mal­ley (S.B.R.), 32.13; 26, Fabian Flood (United Striders), 32.26; 27, Paul Brown (Slaney Olympic), 33.12; 28, Michael Quigley (Slaney Olympic), 35.33; 29, Adrian Reville (Kilmore), 37.05; 30, Em­met Malone (United Striders), 37.35; 31, Ger Mur­phy (Slaney Olympic), 42.44.

Teams: 1, United Striders (2, 3, 4, 14), 23 points; 2, Croghan (1, 5, 10, 18), 30 points; 3, D.M.P. (7, 9, 13, 21), 50 points .

The fi­nal leg of the Wex­ford win­ter league was held in En­nis­cor­thy Sportshub on Fri­day. On a fine, cool evening, ideal for fast run­ning, there was plenty at stake with a num­ber of ath­letes aim­ing to win their third of three races and re­ceive a cov­eted star award.

In the in­ter-club com­pe­ti­tion, United Striders were vy­ing to hold on to the best over­all club ti­tle, while the En­nis­cor­thy girls were aim­ing to win the best girls’ club ti­tle for the first time.

Al­most two hun­dred ath­letes took part, many no doubt mo­ti­vated by the prospect of be­ing re­warded with a medal for achiev­ing a one hun­dred per cent par­tic­i­pa­tion rate. Thir­teen ath­letes won Star Awards as fol­lows, with an im­pres­sive seven of those run­ning in the blue of Bree.

Girls: Un­der-8, Ava Wil­son (Bree); Un­der-10, Lea Bol­ger (Bree); Un­der-11, Emma McCarthy (St. Kil­lian’s); Un­der-12, Sarah Phy­lan (En­nis­cor­thy); Un­der-13, Ab­bie Doyle (Bree); Un­der-14, Or­laith Dee­gan (S.B.R.); Un­der-15, Eimear Halpin (Me­napi­ans).

Boys: Un­der-8, T.J. Mur­phy (United Striders); Un­der-9, Shane Laf­fan (Bree); Un­der-10, Jay­den Kenny (Bree); Un­der-11, Cian Dono­van (Bree); Un­der-12, Kevin O’Ma­hony (D.M.P.); Un­der-15, Conor Doyle (Bree).

United Striders re­tained the best over­all club ti­tle, with this achieve­ment very much un­der­pinned by some great per­for­mances by their boys. It was no sur­prise then that the Striders se­cured the best over­all boys’ team prize.

En­nis­cor­thy were the win­ners of the best over­all girls’ team award, their first time win­ning a club prize in the win­ter league.

Over one hun­dred ath­letes from eleven dif­fer­ent clubs took part in all three legs of the league, all of whom will re­ceive their medals in the next few weeks.

The Mr Oil Wex­ford sec­ondary schools cross-coun­try due to take place last week at Good Coun­sel Col­lege, New Ross, was post­poned due to poor weather. The event will now take place in Jan­uary.

The next big event on the Ir­ish cross-coun­try cal­en­dar is the Ir­ish Life Health Novice and Ju­ve­nile (un­even ages) cham­pi­onships in Na­van on De­cem­ber 15.

The A.A.I. 20k/30k walks cham­pi­onships take place in St. Anne’s Park, Ra­heny, on De­cem­ber 8.

The Euro­pean cross-coun­try cham­pi­onships are in Til­burg, Nether­lands, on De­cem­ber 9.

The first three men (from left): Bren­dan Lyng (sec­ond), Mark Poole (first), Paul Do­ran (third).

The first three women (from left): Beth O’Con­nor (sec­ond), Angie Red­mond (first), Lil­lian Law­less (third).

Jay­den Kenny (Bree) re­ceiv­ing his Star Award from John Joe Doyle.

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