Up and Running: Sligo AC secure second title in a row
There was good reason for celebration on Sunday for the Men's team from Sligo AC when they won their second straight title in the Woodie's DIY National Road Relays in Raheny. It was a special day too for the Leevale AC team who won the Senior Women's title.
Sligo were in the hot seat in the Men's race as defending champions and they came to the championships with a well-prepared team of Emmet Dunleavy, Dermott McDermott, Alberto Sanchez and David Harper.
Dunleavy ran a solid first leg where Ian Guiden of Clonliffe Harriers led the way and McDermott also stepped up to the plate on the second leg to hand over to Sanchez who ran the crucial three-mile leg for Sligo.
Sanchez battled hard all the way as Rory Chesser of Ennis Track Club chased him around the three one-mile circuits. But he stuck to his task and created a nice cushion for Harper, who took over for the two-mile anchor leg. He then brought the team home to a popular victory with a combined time of 38.08. Dunleavy posted 9.43 for the opening two miles and McDermott followed with a 4.27 mile. Sanchez recorded a 14.20 split for his three-mile leg and Harper achieved a 9.38 final two-mile effort.
Ennis won silver as Kevin Mulchaire, Darragh Lynch, Rory Cheshire and Kevin Cheshire combined to run an overall time of 38.36. Clonliffe Harriers (Ian Guiden, Khris Vaulters, Colm Rooney and Brian McMahon) had a dream start on the opening leg with a 9.36 effort by Guiden, and held on to take bronze with a combined time of 38.50.
This was another great day in the sun for Sligo AC, who made history last year by winning their first national road relay title. McDermott, the pivotal force, also coaches a number of young athletes including Harper and the talented sprinter Zak Irwin.
The Leevale AC team of Carol Finn, Sinead O'Connor and Clare McSweeney broke new ground by winning gold for the first time in this national championship. McSweeney anchored the team to victory in 21.24 and the Crusaders trio of Niamh Boland, Orla Drumm and Marie Hyland held on well to take silver. The DSD team of Grace O'Rourke, Sarah Morgan and Fiona Clinton took bronze.
Host club Raheny Shamrock AC's Master's teams won both the Men's and Women's titles. Des Kennedy, Mick Traynor and Brian Leahy combined to win the Men's Master title ahead of Donore Harriers (Emmet O'Briain, John Dunne and Henry English) and Newbridge AC (Paul Archbold, Paul Campbell and David Keenan), who won the respective silver and bronze medals.
Brid McConnell, Annette Kealy and Lorraine Byrne delivered the Women's title for Raheny.
Finn Valley AC (Catherine Dooher, Donna Evans and Kay Byrne) were second and the Rathfarnham/WSAF team of Derval Devanney, Donna Mahon and Vanessa Sailer won the bronze medals.