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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Fast times by Drogheda's new blood is a great feat

Published 23/01/2013 | 14:10

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Mary Leech (second right) and Grace Kelly (right) receive the support of more seasoned campaigners in Pamela Howard (left) and Marion Doherty at the Leinster Senior Cross-Country Championships in Ballyroan at the weekend.

NEWCOMERS to the crosscountry scene, Mary Leech and Grace Kelly, learned at least one tough lesson during Sunday's Leinster Senior Championships at the muddy Blandsfort Estate in Co. Laois -- tie your laces securely before blast-off!

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Both Drogheda and District AC girls ran superb debut races over a mainly flat but chronically soggy course to help capture ninth place for the club and fourth spot for County Louth, but they did it semi-Cinderella style.

Mary came home in 22:26, allowing for two stops to reboot, while Grace did well to conquer the 5k course in 23:32 but could have been even faster had she not run the last lap wearing one spike and carrying the second.

Marion Doherty was first lady home for DDAC, fully shod in 21:34, with Pamela Howard just in her wake with 21:52. Sunday's race marked Pamela's return to competition after more than a year dogged by injury. A fine performer for Drogheda and District in the past, Pamela looks set to reclaim her previous form under coach Liam Reilly.

In a quality field, Tullyallen native Fiona Roche was crowned Leinster Senior Ladies CrossCountry champion floating home in 18:12, while Drogheda man Simon Ryan took the men's title in a masterly display of cross-country running. Both declare for Raheny Shamrocks AC these days.

Meanwhile, starting the new season as they ended the last, Drogheda and District's outgoing captains Nuala Reilly and Conor Cooney scooped age-group prizes on Saturday last at the beautifully organised Eircom Cross-Country at Cherryfield Park in Firhouse.

Nuala claimed 11th spot overall in a field of 54 runners and her time of 14:09 over two miles was easily adequate to claim O-55 gold and finish half a minute clear of arch nemesis Mary Jennings.

Conor polled well in a busy men's race where the going remained good underfoot, and after five miles he swept home in a very respectable 36:11 to take the O-60 accolade, just 10 seconds clear of DDAC clubmate Gerry Mullins.

Drogheda and District AC hold their next mile trials this week at the Lourdes Stadium. These tightly-organised, free and accurately timed trials are open to all and take place this Tuesday (22nd) at 8.10pm and Thursday at 7.10pm. Come 15 minutes early to register and warm up.

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