Clohisey pressure pays off as he takes first title
Raheny Shamrock's Mick Clohisey and Clonliffe Harriers' Sarah McCormack made it a Dublin double at the Woodie's DIY National Cross-Country Championships in Dundalk.
In the men's race, held over 12km, Clohisey and Gary Thornton of Galway City Harriers carved out an early lead, with defending champion Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe soon running on his own in third place and the pack following.
First Clohisey and then Thornton would take the lead on the rain-sodden 2km loop, which included two strength-sapping climbs. Only on the last lap did the Raheny man break away for his first senior win.
"My goal was to apply the pressure from the start, but it was hard work. I'm delighted with the victory – it's a race I've always wanted to win and I've got the hunger back," said Clohisey, who had taken a few years off athletics to travel and now divides his time between Austria and Ireland.
The team contest between Clonliffe Harriers and Dundrum South Dublin (DSD) proved epic, with the teams evenly matched throughout, and DSD only winning by a single point in the end.
It was their fifth title since 2000 and the victory deprived Clonliffe of their 10th triumph over the same period.
The women's race over 8km provided an enthralling battle between the veteran Maria McCambridge of DSD, Clonliffe's Sarah McCormack – who has been a constant on Irish teams over the past year or so – and newcomer Michelle McGee of Brothers Pearse, winner of the novice and intermediate in her first season as a club athlete.
McCambridge, still suffering from a bad bout of the flu, hoped to burn off the opposition in the early stages and went out hard, with McGee, McCormack and DSD's Sarah Mulligan on her shoulders.
Mulligan – in her first race after a niggling injury – soon dropped back, leaving the other three to battle it out right to the end.
First McGee and then McCormack took the lead, with McCambridge drawing on all her experience to keep in touch. With the line in sight, McCormack finally pulled away to take the honours.
With all four runners home in the top nine, DSD won the team title by five points from Raheny Shamrocks.
It was a good day for DSD who took all four team titles for the third time in their history.
First up were the junior women, with Sarah Myles the club's only individual winner on the day, dominating from the start.
Clodagh O'Reilly of Annalee finished second and, with DSD runners taking the next three places, they comfortably beat Clonliffe for the team title.
In the junior men's 7km, Kevin Mulcaire of Ennis TC was the only non- Dublin winner on the day.
Along with Clonliffe's Aaron Hanlon, he had forced the early pace and broke away only on the last lap to win by eight seconds.
Leading DSD to team victory were Liam Fitzpatrick and Patrick MacGabhann in fourth and fifth places.