Dundrum was the venue for the County Junior and Senior Road Championships which were held in Mediterranean weather conditions and as such all four races were tough, great credit to all the athletes who competed today for their Clubs in such trying conditions. Once again, the host Club, Dundrum AC had everything well planned and organised.
The Junior Women’s and Men’s 3k got the programme underway with 6 athletes competing, two Women and four Men. As they came to the finishing line with one lap to go Ben Coughlan of Mooreabbey Milers was leading with the trio of Stephen McDonald of Dundrum and the Clonmel duo of Riain Patterson and Lorcan O'Keeffe in the chasing pack with Nuala Fitzgibbon of Thurles Crokes leading the women’s race from Courtney McGuire of Clonmel. As the leaders came back into view with 400m to go Ben had increased his lead to come home a very worthy and convincing Champion in 10 mins 33 secs with Stephen McDonald winning the Silver medal in 10 mins 45 sec and Riain Patterson the Bronze medal in 10 mins 55 secs. Nuala Fitzgibbon was also a very convincing winner in the Women’s race when finishing in 12 mins 8 secs with Courtney McGuire winning the Silver medal in 12 mins 45 secs.
The Senior Women’s 5k and the Senior Men’s 10K both started at the same time and once again we had some very good performances despite the very warm conditions. In the women’s race we had Madeline Loughnane of Thurles Crokes running very well when coming home a very convincing winner in 18 mins 37 secs. This was a brilliant performance by Madeline who was winning this title for the 6th time and bridging a gap of nine years to her last success, 2009, also in Dundrum. She won her first County Senior Road title also in Dundrum in 2003, brilliant consistency. Then we had local favourite, Linda Grogan running very well when winning the Silver medal in 19 mins 2 secs, great to see Linda back running well again after a lengthy lay off due to injury, Linda also won the Silver medal in last year’s race. The Bronze medal was won by Aine Roche of Clonmel AC in 19 mins 57 secs. For the record 4th was Aoife Courtney (Mooreabbey Milers AC) in 20:29, 5th Mary Louise Ryan (Mooreabbey Milers AC) in 20:41 and 6th was Emma Durand (Clonmel AC) in 21:02. In the team event Clonmel were convincing winners with Aine, Emma and Elaine Horgan who was 7th in 21:14 on 16 points. The Silver medals were won by the Thurles Crokes trio of Madeline, Martina Ryan 10th in 21:40 and Paula Mills 11th in 21:41, on 22 points. The Bronze medals were won by the host Club on 41 points and their team was Linda, Karen Coughlan 9th in 21:38 and Catherine Fogarty 12th in 21:55. We also had a B Section in this event and the Gold medals were won by the Clonmel trio of Anne Marie Halpin 8th 21:20, Nicola Maunsell 14th 22:02 and Anna Byrne 19th 23:30. The Dundrum team of Laura Armstrong McCarthy 13th 21:55, Mairead Julian 22:15 and Brid Quirke 17th 22:35 won the Silver medals. The Bronze medals were won by the Clonmel team of Eileen Hynes 22nd in 24:35, Donna Nagle 23rd in 25:08 and Bernie Hopkins 26th in 25:31.
The Men’s race was equally competitive and here we had a Thurles Crokes onslaught as they took hold of the race in the early stages with six athletes in the top eight, brilliant team effort. They maintained that stranglehold on the event with Denis Shanahan running a brilliant race to come home a very worthy and convincing winner, indeed a very popular winner in 34 mins 19 secs, in such trying conditions. Denis has been a brilliant supporter of this race over the year and it was brilliant to see him achieve his first win in this event, a well-deserved victory. His only other podium finishing position was in Borrisokane in 2015 when he won the Silver medal behind another popular winner, Danny Smith (Ballynonty). Back to the race and here the Silver medal was won by Kevin Coleman (Thurles Crokes) in 34 mins 38 secs, also winning his first Senior individual medal. The Bronze medal was won by John Treacy (Thurles Crokes) in 34 mins 52 secs who was also winning his first Senior individual medal, great to see new faces on the podium, it augurs well for the Sport. For the record John Fitzgibbon also of Thurles Crokes was 4th in 35:58 and these four athletes combined very well to win the Inter Club Gold medals on the lowest possible score of ten point, a feat never achieved before under Athletics Ireland, brilliant achievement and well done to all involved. The Silver medals were won by the Dundrum team of Dermot Hayes 5th 36:04, Gareth McGlinchey 7th 36:31, Eamon Morrissey 12th in 36:52 and Martin Keane 17th 39:03. The Clonmel team of Joey Feery 6th 36:19, Anthony Bowen 11th 37:46, Nigel O'Flaherty 15th 38:23 and Conor Fleming 19th 39:16 won the Bronze medals. Carrick on Suir were 4th on 66 points with Moycarkey Coolcroo 5th on 69 points. We also had a B Section with the Gold medals going to the Thurles Crokes trio of Declan Ryan 8th 36:37, Liam Shanahan 9th 36:52 and Shane Dorney 22nd 39:41. The Silver medals were won by the Dundrum team of Colm Bradshaw 26th 41:28, Jim Hally 28th 41:42 and Michael Moore 29th 41:59. The Bronze medals were won the Clonmel team of Barry Horgan 30th 42:53, Neil Proven 31st 43:07 and Corneilius McFadden 33rd 43:51.
At the presentation of prizes, the County Chairman, Billy Purcell, thanked Dundrum AC for promoting and organising two great races and he also thanked them for their post-race refreshments, which were enjoyed by all. He also thanked all the Clubs for supporting these Championship races.