THIRTY four athletes from the club competed in the National Intermediate and Masters Cross Country Championships in a very wet and muddy ALSSA near Dublin Airport last Sunday.
The Celtic International Cross Country Championships also took place on the day and Liam Brady was determined to win an individual medal this year, having just missed out on a podium place in the U-20 race last year. On that occasion he was narrowly beaten for third place by the highly rated Ross Matheson of Scotland.
Underfoot conditions for the 5000m race were extremely mucky but this did not deter Brady as he went head to head with Matheson who ran a highly impressive 3.53 for 1500m indoors last week.
After the first 2000m of the race Liam Brady and Ross Matheson had broken clear of the chasing pack. Liam continued to force the pace and opened up a five meter gap before the Scotsman closed the gap and went into the lead with 1,000m to go. Liam showed huge determination and guts as he fought back to overtake Matheson again and forge a five metre lead with 600m to go.
He continued to pile on the pressure all the way to the finish and crossed the line 35 metres ahead of the Scotsman to huge applause from the home crowd. He led Ireland to second place in the team race just one point behind the Scots with Wales third and Northern Ireland fourth.
It was a great confidence boost for the Tullamore Harrier who will now look forward to the National Junior (U-20) Cross Country Championships in a little over two weeks time.
Next up were the Master Women running over 4000 metres. Pauline Curley was always up in the leading group before Annette Kealy (Raheny Shamrock AC) broke clear and she went on to win from Carmel Crowley (Bandon AC) with Pauline running on strong to claim the bronze medal just two seconds adrift of second place.
Pauline was well backed up by good runs from Rita Daly, Martina Conlon , Fiona Claffey and Una Mullen to give Tullamore sixth place and Offaly fifth county.
The Master Men were up next, competing over a distance of 7,000 metres on a rapidly deteriorating course where it became increasingly difficult to find any decent ground to run on. This did not seem to bother John Harkin who had the run of his life to come home in a magnificent third place and second in the over 40 category. Behind John another high mileage man Declan Madden had a great run, finishing in 24th place.
The men’s over 50 team of Martin Carroll, Pat Conlon, Tony McCormack, Johnny Feery, John Todd and Joe Wrafter combined to earn Offaly the bronze medals.
There was more reason to celebrate in the Women’s Intermediate 4000 metre race when Maire Triona O’Connor finally got the national medal that her talent deserves. Maire moved into second place early on and ran strong all the way to maintain this position and claim the silver medal. Michelle Mullaney also had a good run to finish in 25th place while Alma Ravenhill, Marlena Sznicer and Bernie Daly gave their all in the most demanding of conditions.
By the time the men lined up for the Intermediate race over 10,000 metres the course resembled a quagmire. Catch Grennan was our leading finisher in a fine 15th place followed by the ever improving David Fox in 35th position. Mark Serviss came next in 61st and was followed home by Richie Galvin, Mick Murphy, Ger Lynam and Ray Martin.
Under 20 Celtic International 5000 metres
1 Liam Brady 17.46.
Masters Men 7000 metres :
3 John Harkin 28.18 ; 24 Declan Madden 30.40 ; 68 Martin Carroll 32.48 ; 78 Brendan Abbott 33.08 ; 96 Pat Conlon 34.00 ; 108 Christy Donegan 34.37 ; 109 Tony McCormack 34.40 ; 111 Johnny Feery 34.47 ; 112 Liam Byrne 34.50 ; 115 John Todd 35.00 ; 133 Adrian Martin 35.44 ; 137 Fra Mollen 36.07 ; 142 Joe Wrafter 36.20 ; 148 Glen Finlay 36.36 ; 180 Brendan Kennedy 40.51 ; 189 Jim Langan 49.20.
Tullamore 7th Club ; Offaly 8th County. Oven 50 Tullamore 4th Club ; 3rd County.
Masters Women 4000 metres :
Pauline Curley 17.44 ; 35 Rita Daly 21.36 ; 46 Martina Conlon 22.40 ; 54 Fiona Claffey 23.16 ; 59 Una Mullen 24.10
Tullamore 6th Club ; 5th County.
Intermediate Men 10000 metres :
15 Catch Grennan 44.50 ; 35 David Fox 46.07 ; 61 Mark Serviss 47.24 ; 82 Richie Galvin 48.35 ; 96 Mick Murphy 50.21 ; 117 Ger Lynam 53.02 ; 134 Ray Martin 57.26.
Tullamore 7th Club : Offaly 6th County.
Intermediate Women 4000 metres :
2 Maire Triona O’Connor 18.50 ; 25 Michelle Mullaney 21.06 ; 73 Alma Ravenhill 24.33 ; 76 Marlena Sznicer 24.47 ; 80 Bernie Daly 25.52.
Tullamore 10th club ; Offaly 5th County.