Two First-time Senior Road Champions

The county road racing season culminated in Enniscorthy last Friday evening with the running of the Mr Oil Senior Road Championships. Hosted by Slaney Olympic, the races were run in glorious conditions around a loop centred on the Old Dublin Road. The same loop holds few surprises for Wexford athletes given the frequency of its use for championship events. Our on-the-spot reporter, 16 year old Luca O’Connor of United Striders, spoke of the febrile sense of “excitement and tension in the air” as athletes went through their pre-race warm-up routines.

Turning to the men’s race first. “Slaney Olympics’ David Mahon, the pre-race favourite,” was, says Luca, “sporting a new haircut for the race”. The newly-shorn Mahon has been the most consistently impressive male distance runner in the county over the past year. He combines a Zen-like calm with a quiet tenaciousness. One can tell that he has big engine built on a bedrock of both endurance and speed endurance. When he bolted away from the field, nobody was brave or fool enough to go with him. Paul Doran of United Striders made his own break mid-race to get clear of the peleton. SBR’s Myles Gibbons was pulled along in Paul’s slip-stream, albeit not closely enough to be a threat. The top three held their positions to the finish line at 10km. The new, and first time, county champion, David Mahon, had 44 seconds to spare on Doran with Gibbons a further 38 seconds back. Young Striders athlete Adam O’Connor in 4th place had the most impressive finish of the day, getting clear of his clubmate Scott James.

The manner of victory in the women’s 5km race was no less emphatic than in the men’s race. Croghan’s Clodagh Kelly, a former winner of county novice and intermediate road titles, pulled an early lead on the field and built on it through the race. Always light on her feet, she is poetry in motion when in top gear. She won with 25 seconds to spare on Clare Barrett of DMP, another former county novice champion. Sharon Cloney of Kilmore AC took the bronze, with two clubmates in her wake, the nearest, Sinéad O’Brien being just 7 seconds adrift and, a little further back, Elaine Cardiff.

United Striders won the men’s team title with 19 points (2nd Paul Doran, 4th Adam O’Connor, 5th Scott James, 8th Alan O’Connor). The club, with 11 athletes in the top 20, also took the runner up spot. The silver medal winning team, with 46 points, was led by Brendan Lyng in 10th place followed by, in 11th, Colin Carney, 12th Thomas Harrington, 13th David Larkin. David Mahon’s Slaney Olympic were 3rd with 53 points, Denis Whelan in 6th place being the club’s second scorer, Padraig Coone 20th and John Foley 26th.

Kilmore AC won the women’s team title with 25 points (3rd Sharon Cloney, 4th Sinead O’Brien, 5th Elaine Cardiff, 13th Helen Doyle). United Striders took silver with 32 points, four of their athletes finishing inside the top ten (6th Kate Reidy, 7th Sandra Young, 9th Beth O’Connor, 10th Katie Murphy). SBR were third with 45 points (8th Belinda Kehoe, 11th Claire Walsh, 12th Lisa Dempsey, 14th Lillian Lawless).

Results

Women
1 Clodagh Kelly (Croghan) 18.47; 2 Clare Barrett (DMP) 19.12; 3 Sharon Cloney (Kilmore) 19.43; 4 Sinéad O’Brien (Kilmore) 19.50; 5 Elaine Cardiff (Kilmore) 20.11; 6 Kate Reidy (United Striders) 20.23; 7 Sandra Young (US) 20.37; 8 Belinda Kehoe (SBR) 20.45; 9 Beth O’Connor (US) 20.48; 10 Katie Murphy (US) 21.05; 11 Claire Walsh (SBR) 21.17; 12 Lisa Dempsey (SBR) 21.20; 13 Helen Doyle (Kilmore) 21.37; 14 Lillian Lawless (SBR) 21.57; 15 Mary Sinnot (US) 22.11); 16 Katey Gregan (Slaney Olympic) 22.23; 17 Sian Law (SBR) 22.29; 18 Esther O’Leary (SO) 22.40; 19 Danielle Hennessy (SBR) 22.53; 20 Louise Cosgrave (SBR) 22.57. (Link to full results)
Teams: 1 Kilmore 25; 2 United Striders 32; 3 SBR 45.

Men
1 David Mahon (Slaney Olympic) 32.20; 2 Paul Doran (United Striders) 33.04; 3 Myles Gibbons (SBR) 33.42; 4 Adam O’Connor (US) 33.57; Scott James (US) 34.01; 6 Denis Whelan (SO) 34.21; 7 Mark Poole (Croghan) 34.32; 8 Alan O’Connor (US) 35.10; 9 Liam Collins (DMP) 35.15; 10 Brendan Lyng (US) 35.24; 11 Colin Carney (US) 35.47; 12 Thomas Harrington (US) 35.58; 13 David Larkin (US) 36.17; 14 John McGrath (US) 36.20; 15 Kevin Morris (Croghan) 36.25; 16 Thomas Moran (US) 36.44; 17 James Porter (Croghan) 36.47; 18 Pat Culleton (US) 36.57; 19 Niall O’Connor (SBR) 37.05; 20 Padraig Coone (SO) 37.07. (Link to full results)
Teams: 1 United Striders A 19; 2 United Striders B 46; 3 Slaney Olympic 53.