Tuesday 16 January 2018

Popular event draws top-class athletes

Athletics: Carlingford Road Races

The 2017 Michael Fearon & Kevin Marron Race, held on Friday evening, drew 503 entries from top-class athletes from around the country, with the top 120 breaking the 20-minute mark.

It was a great night for athletics on this fast, flat course in the beautiful setting of Carlingford village, with the backdrop of Slieve Foye.

This race has become very popular from its inauguration in the early 1980s, when at that stage it was on a different course in Cooley, but with the hindsight of the Glenmore committee at the time, and the early stages of the Oyster Festival, it moved to Carlingford.

It was also renamed the Michael Fearon after the tragic death of one of the club's members and 30 years after his death his wife Susan and two sons Michael jnr and James were on hand to present the winning team North Belfast Harriers with the cup for the senior men's race.

The first 300 who registered received the new club buff and Fearon Developments were on board as sponsors this year. Weather conditions were ideal and the programme started with the juvenile races at 7pm where the spectators saw some of the finest performances in all the age categories.

Stewarding in all areas from the club members, the local Setanta club, John and Mary McGeown ensured races were run off successfully, further assisted by local man Donal McDonald on his set of wheels which led the juvenile athletes to the finishing line.

The Senior race at 8pm was started by Tommy Neary and it was a daunting sight to see these top-class athletes make their way out the Greenore road.

Frank Greally, editor of the Irish Runner magazine, was invited to the race and he travelled in the lead car and was very impressed by the professionalism of the race and the quality of athletes it attracted.

The race continued out the Greenore road, with Carlingford Lough to the left, making a return at the 2.5k mark and back to the village for the finish line at the Garda Barracks.

At this stage the top three finishers broke away from the group, resulting in a very exciting climax, where the race was won in a time of 14:42 by Freddy Kieron Stuk (a previous winner in 2013) from Raheny Shamrocks.

That meant that the course record of 14:26, set in 2014 by Martin Fagan Mullingar Harriers) remains.

Hot on Stuk's heels was Ben Branagh of St Malachy's AC (14.43) and third-placed Darragh Greene (15:03) from Dunleer AC, with Gabe Haughey (Ind) clocking 15:04 in fourth.

The first lady home in 28th position was Ciara Hickey (16:59) from Brothers Pearce AC, with Amy Bulman second (17:51) from Willowfield Harriers and Catherine O'Connor (17:57) from East Down AC beating Donna Mone (18:26) from Monaghan Town Runners into third.

The winning senior men's team was North Belfast Harriers on 57 points and second place went to Dromore AC on 95 points. The Kevin Marron Cup (former editor of the Sunday World) went to Drogheda & District on 95 points, closely followed by Dromore AC on 96.

In the Ladies Over-45 section Glenmore's Fiona McQuade clocked 21:44 for second place and received the Ciaran Gormley plaque, hand carved.

Ciaran, a very successful juvenile club member in the 80s, presented this to the first Glenmore AC female in the 5k.

In the Girls Under-17 sction Glenmore's Maeve White was second in 23:55, with clubmate Ciara Quinn (25:35) third.

Well done to all the Glenmore club runners who competed in the 5k. The first male across the line Martin Toner (19.43) received the Francis O'Reilly Plaque - Francis who has been with the club consistently since its foundation in 1969.

Glenmore athletes recorded the following times: Stephen O Connor (19.51), newcomer Sean Cumiskey (20.17), Ronan Callan (20.31), Michael McShane (20.49), Ciarain Flynn (20.47), newcomer Cronan O Shaughnessy (20.55), John Doyle (21.10), Tony Elmore (21.41), Fiona Mc Quade (21.44), Christopher Connolly (21.36), Lloyd Byrne (22.17), Paul Flanagan (22.31), Gavan White (22.25), Kevin Harnett (22.53), Kinga Byrne (23.35), Maeve White (23.55), Peter Hill (23.58), Ciara Quinn (25.35), Barry Woods (26.08), Anne McEvoy (30.45), Geraldine Cunningham (31.12), Elizabeth Rafferty (32.38), newcomer David O Reilly (32.47).

Thanks to all who helped organise this event - sponsors Fearon Developments, Ma Bakers Takeaway who supplied the water, Carlingford Redcross, those on registration, the stewards, Carlingford Parochial hall committee, club president Danny Ferguson, all the athletes who competed and those who supplied after race refreshments which were well received by all in the hall where the presentations were made.

The juvenile road races preceded the 5K and provided an entertaining warm-up for spectators, with entries from as far afield as Carrick, Newry, Lisburn and Armagh.

The top three in each race received trophies, with the next seven taking medals.

First up were the Girls U9 500m, with Zoe White third and fellow Glenmore duo Roisin Daly and Cliona Byrne also in the top 10.

In the Girls U11 750m Glenmore was very well represented, with a number of athletes finishing in the top 10, while the Girls U13 1,000m saw Lisa Conlon, Ava Brady and Ava Ashby of Glenmore all finish in the top 10.

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