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The Club staged the County Novice “B” Road Championships on Sunday last and despite the windy conditions two great races took place with the club succeeding in placing teams in both the ladies and mens event for the first time in quite a number of years.
15 competitors took to the start line of the Ladies 3k event with seven representing the club. It was Frances Long and Bridget Gleeson who led the way in the early stages along with athletes from both Fethard and Clonmel. These four were still together at half way and facing into the wind on the way back it meant an even tougher race home but fair play to both Frances and Bridget they stuck to their opponents. With less than 1k left Bridget pushed for home with Frances taking the initiative from the other two athletes to move into second. Both athletes fought hard and with less than 300mts to go Frances drew level and both athletes pushed for home. It was the stronger finishing speed of Bridget over the final metres that allowed her to take the title just one second ahead of Frances. Bridget was timed at 12.48 with Frances finishing in 12.49. While the two ladies were battling it out at the head of the field our other athletes were putting in some great running back in the field. Rosie Cleere, Breda McNamara and Catherine Dunne were all pushing the pace with Aisling Maher and Liz Power equally as strong. It was Breda who finished the stronger to record a time of 14.15 to finish 7th and with a combined score of 10 points the Club captured the Inter Club title. Catherine had a tremendous second half of the race to finish 10th overall in 14.41 with Rosie coming through for 11th in 14.58. Aisling was just in behind in 12th in 15.04 while Liz finished 14th in 15.25. Catherine, Rosie and Aisling combined to win the bronze Inter Club medals. Well done to all our ladies for the effort put in and for such an outstanding display. Gold and Silver individual and Gold and Bronze medals is certainly something to savour for these ladies. Their commitment to training over the past couple of months has been exemplary and Sunday was their just reward. Our congratulations also to John Flynn for his commitment to the ladies and no doubt this success wouldn’t have been as sweet but for his involvement.
Following on from the success of the ladies a certain amount of pressure was on our men to produce something special on home ground and against all the odds that something special happened. Approx 30 athletes took part with 8 members of the club in action over 6k. A leading group of approx 10 athletes headed through the village and in this group was Damien McDonnell. He was being followed by Jody Sweeney and Richard Daly while Paddy Doyle, Patrick Bowe, JJ Fitzgerald, Thomas Moore and Ray Power all were in the main body of the field. Whilst the lead was being dictated by the strong clubs of Dundrum, Coolquill and Clonmel our men were quietly moving through the field. Jody was our first athlete home in an excellent 11th place in a time of 22.43. A superb sprint finish from Richard saw him finish in 14th in 22.56 just a second ahead of Damien 15th in 22.57. With a combined score of 40 points it put the club within striking distance of a medal. A few anxious minutes passed before the results were finalised and indeed this trio won the bronze medals. Such was the closeness of the competition that Clonmel in fourth were just a mere one point behind. While the above three deserve all the attention it was still all to play for the rest of the club members. Paddy Doyle ran on strongly to finish 20th in 24.02 with Patrick Bowe 23rd in 24.30 and JJ Fitzgerald 24th in 25.17 and this trio combined to finish 6th in the team competition. Thomas Moore finished in 25th in 25.29 with Ray Power 26th in 26.01. Being such a small club it was great to get amongst the medals – well done and congratulations to all our men for their achievement. Over the last couple of years they lads have stuck with it whether it is cross country or road without success but their perseverance has paid off – the medals on Sunday are something to savour.
Our thanks to all who helped out in any way with the running of the championships on Sunday. Events do not just happen – a lot of hard work goes in to make it a success and your contribution is acknowledged by the club.