Not since 1995 has the club had a winner at Novice “A” Road level but a new champion was born on Sunday when Lorraine Healy was crowned County Novice Road Champion 2016. Not alone did Lorraine capture the title but she also ran the fastest novice 3k on record – 11.11.
In one of the biggest ladies novice races seen in quite a number of years with 44 athletes on the start line including an incredible 22 from the club itself, the winner is always hard to predict as so many athletes are in with a chance to claim that Novice title. Right from the start of the 3k race Lorraine Healy set out her game plan to lead from the front, which is always a hard thing to contemplate as you never know how it will work out until the day, but on Sunday this plan duly delivered as despite the best efforts of the rest of the field, she drew clear to lead from gun to tape and had over 40mts to spare at the finish to be crowned 2016 County Novice Road Champion. Well done Lorraine on a fantastic victory. Our next two athletes Louise and Angela Fogarty were in battles of their own. Louise and Claire Devitt, Dundrum were having a mighty battle for the third spot with first one then the other in that individual medal position but the stronger finish from Louise saw her draw clear at the line to win that coveted bronze medal. With three to score in the team event Angela’s position at the finish line was going to be so important in the destination of the team title. And so it proved as she fought it out with Suzanne Shine of Clonmel. Both athletes pushed themselves to the limit throughout the race, pulling each other along with Suzanne eventually getting the nod on the line for 5th with Angela in that all important position of 6th. With a great team score of 10pts, it all now came down to how the other clubs scored but with such large numbers in the race it was always going to be hard to keep the total down and thus it proved with the three girls winning the team competition for the second year in a row with nine points to spare. Well done girls on a terrific performance.
While the above was happening at the head of the field we had Susan Fogarty, Brigid Gleeson, Sarah Healy and Kate Harrison ensuring the other clubs had to push hard for their medals as they finished in 12th, 17th, 18th and 19th respectively. Also in the mix were Frances Long, Edel Delaney, and Sharon Kiely who crossed the line in 24th, 25th and 26th while Edel Leahy, Sinead Tynan, Caroline Dunne, Bernadette Spillane, Michelle Percy, Deirdre Kearney and Sharon Cantwell all had each other to feed off when finishing 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, 35th, and 36th. Not be content with that also competing were Breda McNamara, Helena Loughnane, Anita Gleeson, Catherine Dunne and Liz Power who came through to take 38th, 39th, 40th, 42nd and 44th. Without this truly great back up from all the ladies the team result could have been in doubt but credit to the 19 others for a truly remarkable performance. All of the above combined to 5th, 7th, 8th 10th, 11th and 12th teams in the club competition and again outstanding performances from all involved. At least four of the above had never competed at this level before or indeed competitively so hats off to them for their support of the club and hopefully this will be the start of great things for them.
The great thing about the Novice is that there is a “B” competition and with the top five individuals ineligible to compete the next day out the club can still call on 20 of the 22 athletes who competed on Sunday and who knows they may match last year’s result.