Athletics: Quinn quality prevents clean sweep for DSD
RISING Waterford distance star Shane Quinn was the only person able to stop Dundrum South Dublin (DSD) completing a gold medal sweep at the Woodies AAI Inter-Club Cross-Country Championships in Santry.
The tall Ferrybank teenager, whose style is so reminiscent of his steeplechasing father Brendan, was a comfortable winner of the national junior title, which his dad also won back in 1978.
But the rest of the day's golds, including every team title, went to the dominant DSD.
The senior men's 12,000m was a romp for Joe Sweeney, who came home almost a full minute clear in 38:40, lapping many of the 124-strong field. As he had won the inter-counties before Christmas, Sweeney became the first man to complete a national cross-country double since Seamus Power in 2004.
"That's definitely the icing on the cake," said the rangy Dubliner, who has been rejuvenated this season after suffering from anaemia.
But he is turning down the opportunity to represent Ireland at the upcoming World Cross-Countries, saying he has been training non-stop since last August and badly needs a break before concentrating on his track times.
Galway's Gary Thornton was the only one who threw down the gauntlet to him but he was burnt off by the end of the first lap and it was Sweeney's DSD teammate Brendan O'Neill who came through to take silver; Mick Clohissey outsprinted Raheny team-mate Mark Kirwan in a great battle for bronze.
Mark Kenneally's enforced absence immediately lessened Clonliffe's chances of winning an eighth consecutive team title and they eventually finished third as Alan Fitzpatrick (eighth) and Peter Matthews (14th) led DSD to team victory ahead of Raheny.
DSD's Irish-born but British-based Ava Hutchinson was equally delighted to win her first Irish title in the senior women's events, coming home 33 seconds clear of Raheny's Eilish Kelly (a former Roscommon footballer who had already won the intermediate title this season), with Donegal veteran Gladys Ganiel-O'Neill (Abbey) taking bronze.
The boys' was the more competitive of the junior races and saw a fantastic battle behind Quinn for the minor medals, with Kevin Dooney (Raheny) just nicking the bronze from Tullamore Harriers' Liam Brady, another recent athletics convert and younger brother of Offaly hurlers Kevin and Joe.
Pocket-rocket Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner put in another stunning gun-to-tape dash to win the junior women's, making up for last year's heartbreak when she was similarly dominant but disqualified for being too young.
She won by almost half a minute from DSD team-mate Niamh Denny and bare-footed Shauna Moore took bronze for Dunshaughlin in a race once again marked by a disappointing entry of just 20 athletes.