There was great excitement following the running of the two Novice “B races when it was announced that the club had done the double by winning both the ladies and men’s team titles something they hadn’t achieved before since the formation of Athletics Ireland. This was done against a background of dedication and commitment by all our athletes who have toiled over the years, particularly our men.
The ladies were first away and what a performance Bridget Gleeson gave with a front running display from the whistle to the tape. She set out her stall from the start and was never threatened thereafter to record a fabulous victory in a time of 13.35. Throughout the race Trish Campion tracked her opponents and ran a terrific race to move into fourth with a lap to go. Despite her best efforts over the remaining metres and whilst steadily closing the gap on those ahead of her she had to settle for fourth with a time of 13.55. By finishing in 7th place with a time of 15.24 Leah Brett was our final scorer on our first team and her determined run ensured that the club won the team competition for the third year in a row – something that has never been achieved by the club before.
Whilst the above three were the victorious team the eight ladies from the club who took to the field all played a massive part in this victory. Indeed with Breda McNamara in 8th in 15.28, Aisling Maher 9th in 15.33 and Catherine Dunne in 10th in 15.37 not to mention the exploits of Ber Spillane in 11th in 17.02 and Grainne Ralph 12th in 17.18 the club also won the team bronze medals. Well done to each and every one of the ladies on their magnificent performances on Sunday.
While over the past couple of years the ladies have had success at county level it has eluded the men through no fault of their making. Despite their best efforts success has not been there for them but Sunday changed all that. The team were short two of our regulars, Paddy Doyle and Richard Daly, through injury and this only made the other lads more determined. Rumour had it that they could be in with a shout for third team but it’s what happens on the day that counts and the three men put in a fabulous performance over the 6k distance to win the team competition for the very first time. The race was run over 4 laps of the course and saw three athletes break away from the rest of the field early on in the race. Both Liam Kelly and Jody Sweeney settled well into the next group of athletes with Patrick Bowe just behind them in the next group. While the race at the head of the field remained the same Liam Kelly was steadily making his way up through the field and by lap three had moved onto the shoulders of the third place athlete who had become detached from the leaders. Liam once again made a break and moved into third, a place he was to make his own over the remainder of the race despite closing in on the other two leaders. This was Liam’s first individual medal at senior level and very much deserved. His time over the 6k was 23.22. While Liam was making inroads on the leaders Jodie Sweeney was also making his move and this proved vital in regards to the team competition. Steadily and gradually overhaulinga number of athletes he made his way up to sixth place where he eventually finished in a time of 24.02. Patrick Bowe was also having a great run and being the vital cog on the team his placing was always going to be important but he didn’t let that pressure get to him, producing a great team performance to finish 12th overall in a time of 26.27. There was some nerve racking moments awaiting the results but great credit was due to the three athletes for their performances which saw them winning the team competition by 3 points for a first ever victory at this level. There was great excitement by all the supporters for the men who have finally broken the deadlock at county level.
Our thanks to everyone who supported the ladies and men on Sunday as support is a great incentive when competing with athletes upping their performances to match that support.