O’Flaherty makes Ireland EuroCross Team for Championships in December
Conditions in Santry Demesne in Dublin on Sunday were kind. After all the rain and wind, it was sunny and dry and the ground held up much better than expected – yes, there was mud but generally it was firmer than might have been expected. Three runners from Newcastle & District AC made it to the start line of the Irish Inter-Clubs Cross-Country Championships.
First up was the Women’s 8k race (coming after 8 ‘under-age’ races) and as well as being a National Championship doubled up as the trial for the European Cross-Country Championships that take place on 13th December in the south of France, near Toulon. Pre-race favourite Fionnuala McCormack (who as Fionnuala Britton has won the European Title on two occasions) was soon to the fore but a large group of 20 athletes – the greatest strength in depth ever in a domestic women’s cross-country race in Ireland – were tucked in behind. Kerry O’Flaherty and a re-juvenated Shalene McMurray were both in the top-20 in the early stages.
As well as Olympian McCormack, there was Cork’s Lizzie Lee, who race 2:32 in Berlin in September, a Rio Olympic Qualifying Time, the other two Irish Steeplechasers with Rio Qualifying Times, Michelle Finn from Cork and Sara Treacy from Dunboyne, Irish 800m Record Holder (2:00.58) Rose-Anne Galligan from Newbridge, Olympian Maria McCambridge, 2:01 800m runner from Kerry, Laura Crowe, Tipperary’s Siobhan O’Doherty, Skerries’ Ciara Durkan and Letterkenny’s Anne-Marie McGlynn, who all made the Irish Euro-Cross team in 2014 and Ciara Mageean from Portaferry.
With less than two laps of the five to go, O’Flaherty was in 10th place and making a move as the others started to come back towards her. McMurray was running her strongest race ever and afterwards admitted to being a bit disorientated in not being sure how many laps were still to go. McMurray came home in 16th place just ahead of Olympian and Rio hopeful for the marathon Maria McCambridge and should be delighted with her run. Meanwhile, O’Flaherty was scything through the field with a storming last lap to make it into 4th and European Qualification in 27:45.
In the Men’s 10k race, improving Seamy Lynch ran on the highest quality race of his life with massive strength in depth including Olympians out front. Lynch performed well to cover the distance in 33mins 40 seconds to come home in 46th place but such was the strength in depth, less than a minute improvement would see him well into the top-20 – well inside his potential in the years to come.
Women’s 5-miles Irish Inter-Clubs – Santry Demesne
|1||00:26:49||Fionnuala McCormack||Kilcoole A.C.|
|2||00:27:28||Lizzie Lee||Leevale A.C.|
|3||00:27:35||Caroline Crowley||Crusaders A.C.|
|4||00:27:45||Kerry O’Flaherty||Newcastle & District A.C.|
|5||00:27:49||Ciara Durkan||Skerries A.C.|
|6||00:27:56||Michelle Finn||Leevale A.C.|
|7||00:28:05||Laura Crowe||An Riocht A.C.|
|8||00:28:21||Shona Heaslip (U23)||An Riocht A.C.|
|9||00:28:24||Sara Treacy||Dunboyne A.C.|
|10||00:28:41||Emma Mitchell (U23)||Banbridge AC|
|11||00:28:49||Roseanne Galligan||Newbridge A.C.|
|12||00:28:50||Siobhan O’Doherty||Borrisokane A.C.|
|13||00:29:00||Claire Tarplee||St. Cocas A.C.|
|14||00:29:03||Fiona Clinton||Dundrum South Dublin A.C.|
|15||00:29:09||Maria O’Sullivan||Raheny Shamrock A.C.|
|16||00:29:13||Shalene McMurray||Newcastle & District A.C.|
|17||00:29:40||Maria McCambridge||Dundrum South Dublin A.C.|