Clonoulty was the venue on Sunday for the County Road Relays and with the club entering one men’s and two ladies teams we travelled very much in anticipation of a close contest in both events. This was the way it turned out following great performances from all the teams that participated – 7 ladies teams and 12 Men’s teams.
Louise Fogarty and Brigid Gleeson were our starting 800mts legs for the ladies and what a performance from both athletes as Louise powered ahead from the start to hand over to Lorraine Healy in the lead for her 1,500mts leg while Brigid left many younger competitors in her wake to hand over to Liz Power for the next leg. Lorraine held her lead despite the best efforts of Jacqueline Hughes of Thurles Crokes and handed over to her sister Sara who continued to lead the chasing pack throughout her 800mts leg and again another great effort saw her hand over to Angela Fogarty with a lead of approx. 40mts. Angela had 3,000mts to cover and she did so with a great gutsy display putting everything into that final leg and it took a huge effort from master athlete Madeline Loughnane to overhaul Angela and keep ahead throughout those final four laps. Angela never faltered and crossed the line in second place just 20 seconds behind with a combined time of 23.21 from the four athletes securing the silver team medals. While all this was going on Liz had done her very best to keep our second team in contention and she passed to Ber Spillane who set out on her 800mts with determination, closing the gap on her nearest rivals to hand over to Sharon Kiely who started her 3,000mts leg much in the same fashion as Ber to overtake her Dundrum compatriot and move the team into sixth place. Sharon crossed the line in a combined time of 27.34 to earn third place in the “B” section and collect the bronze medals for their huge efforts. Congratulations and well done to all eight athletes on their tremendous performances.
It was now down to our men’s team and again another exceptional performance from the quartet saw them win the “B” section but not before they had given the more fancied clubs and teams a “run” for their money. Nathan Bowe showed his class over 800mts with an exceptional display. Lying in third place coming into the field from the road he summoned every ounce of strength he had to power through the final couple of hundred metres to hand over the lead to Stephen Flanagan. Stephen, with just a couple of weeks solid training behind him following injury, kept the more fancied 1,500mts runners in his wake with a powerful display to keep the club in the lead. Handing over to Brian Carroll for the 800mts leg, the club still held a slender lead. This was quickly swallowed up by the much younger athletes in the event but huge credit to Brian he did not let them get away from him and it was still all to play for as he handed over to Liam Kelly for the final 3,000mts. Again Liam pushed hard to bridge the gap and with five athletes vying for the top spot it made for a tremendous final leg, with nothing given. Liam continued to maintain his strong run and though adrift at one stage he made up the ground again to bring the team up to fourth spot. On the final lap he again closed the distance between himself and those in front to be just five seconds from third place. By finishing fourth the four men were winners of the “B” section with a combined time of 19.15 some 28 seconds clear of the team in second place. Huge congratulations to them on their gold medal winning performance.
The next outing for our men and ladies is the County Novice Road Championships on home ground on 18th February where we hope to field teams in both events.