Athletics: Kenneally's boost for Clonliffe celebrations
Last weekend was extra special for the members of Clonliffe Harriers, as the club celebrated its 125th anniversary with a dinner in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry on Saturday night -- an event that had an attendance of over 300.
Then, on Sunday, Clonliffe's Mark Kenneally turned in a strong performance in the Amsterdam Marathon to finish in 2:13.55, comfortably inside the Olympic 'A' qualifying standard of 2:15.
This was a rousing display by Kenneally -- a member of the Marathon Mission Team, which is a joint-venture organised by the Dublin Marathon and Athletics Ireland to help revive the great Irish marathon running tradition at elite level.
Kenneally had a nightmare experience early in Sunday's race when he discovered that he could not easily access his own drink at the feed stations. "I lost about 20 seconds at the 5km mark as I found that it was a free-for-all at the feed stations and our prepared bottles were not labelled as we had expected," Kenneally said. "It was particularly scary for me because I had a problem with hydration in my first marathon in Vienna earlier this year. However, it all worked out well in the end."
The Clonliffe Harriers 125th Celebration Dinner was a most enjoyable occasion and a rankings booklet produced by club member Killian Lonergan threw up many interesting facts about the Santry-based club.
The rankings for the mile reveal that Clonliffe have had seven members who have all broken four minutes for the distance: Niall Bruton (3:59.93), Dave Taylor (3:54.48), Alistair Cragg (3:55.04), Frank Murphy (3:58.1), Eugene Curran (3:58.54) and Jerry Kiernan (3:59.12).
Alistair Cragg is the latest member to break an Irish record, and his recent 13:03.53 for 5,000m is world class.
The legendary Lar Byrne, distance coach at Clonliffe Harriers for many years and Irish Olympic coach in 1984, was also fondly remembered on Saturday night by Athletics Ireland CEO John Foley. In his after-dinner address, Foley also pledged continuing financial support from the association to Clonliffe's annual Morton Mile Track & Field promotion, which carries on the great club tradition started by the Billy Morton.