Canning plan works a treat for Drogheda
Athletics: Ras Na Heireann
Yasmin Canning and her team produced the star performance of the day from the Drogheda & District contingent in Sunday's 50th running of the Ràs na hEireann, held in near perfect conditions at Oldbridge.
Canning's top-class run saw her finish 10th overall and first in category in the Women's 4k race, and she anchored the team of Maureen Harbison, Ieva Ofmane and Nuala Reilly - who picked up a third-in-category prize - to third place in the team event.
In the Men's 6k race, which was run over four demanding laps, the D&D team could only manage to finish eighth on this occasion.
Nevertheless, there were some fine individual runs as Pat O'Grady won his category and John Reilly picked up a second-in-category prize for his strong running. Paddy Murphy continued his run of good form to place fourth in his Men's 50 category.
In the Junior Men's race, young Liam Mulligan showed most of his rivals a clean pair of heels to finish seventh in a very competitive race.
In the Juvenile races, first up was Daniele Nolan in the Girls U-9 500m and a really fine performance saw this promising young athlete finishing in the top 10 in a packed field.
Sam McGinn, competing in the Boys U-9 event, also ran a solid race throughout.
In the Girls U-11 race D&D had Aine Carroll and Caoillin Smith toeing the line and both girls acquitting themselves very well over the 1k distance, with lots more to come from these fast-improving young ladies.
Rory Browne, who has been showing great improvement of late, was Drogheda & District's sole entrant in the Boys U-11 event and ran a fine race from start to finish.
The Girls U-13 race saw a quintet of D&D youngsters toeing the line, led home by Ava Rose Matthews in only her second outing for the club. Also running well were Aoibhe Smith, Niamh Carroll, Maebh McCabe and Ciara Wall.
The Boys U-13 race had no fewer than six D&D runners line up, with Oliver Adamiak - in only his first race for the club - leading the team home in 14th overall. There were also fine performances from Tadgh Gogarty, Jack McGinn, Christian Kelly, Cormac Russell and Jamie O'Reilly, all of these boys showing their promise but narrowly missing out on a team medal.
In the Girls U-15 event Sophie Kinsella suffered an early stitch but showed her steel by running well all the way to the finish of the 2.5k course, while Liam McGreehan O'Grady ran a solid race in the Boys equivalent, finishing 17th.
Meanwhile, a number of D&D club athletes competed at the Leinster Schools CC in Santry last Wednesday. Abi Tegart (St Oliver's CC) had her best schools performance to date in the Intermediate Girls, placing in the top 20, but was just run out of a qualifier spot for the All-Ireland finals.
Also competing was Harry Delaney (St Joseph's) who took part in the Minor race, while Liam Mulligan (Ballymakenny College) ran in the Intermediate Boys 4.5k and placed 27th against some good opposition.
In the Senior Boys 6k, Tadgh Donnelly (St Joseph's CC) finished seventh which qualifies him for a trip to Clane for the All-Irelands, while Cormac Canning (St Mary's DS) had a solid run, finishing in 29th place.
At the mid-week Armagh Road Races, which are now regarded as probably the best in-depth standard worldwide, an incredible 197 runners broke the 16-minute mark for the Men's 5K race.
D&D's very own Mary Leech was really up against it in the Women's 3K event, but the mark of a good athlete is producing the goods when it counts and Leech delivered in spades with a blistering run which saw her place sixth in the W40 category in a fast 10:23.
This really was top-class running by Leech and such was the standard that the overall winner of the Women's race broke the nine-minute barrier which is rarely seen in Irish athletics.
Elsewhere, running indoors at the National Indoor Senior Championships last weekend were track specialists Mark O'Shea and Orla O'Connor.
O'Shea gave a spirited performance against some much younger opposition when finishing eighth in his heat in a noteworthy 4:13:06, and he's in flying form at the moment.
O'Connor, running in the 800m, had one of those races where she never really got into the race, but her time of 2:22:18 would be the envy of most good club runners and she'll go better later in the season.
The ALSAA Winter League continues to attract D&D members and at last Wednesday's meeting Gerard Fay had a solid run to record 6:18 for the Mile and Christy Duffy ran 6:48 for the classic distance over four laps of the track.
Closer to home, at the weekly Oldbridge Parkrun, Brian Martin gave a strong display of front running to win the challenging 5K race in a fast 17:31. D&D's second finisher in sixth place was Paul Reilly, who ran a useful 19:36, with Barry O'Sullivan in 25th spot in 23:18.
Ieva Ofmane continues to impress over this distance and she was 23rd overall in 22:50, followed by Michele McCullough who was 50th in 26:31. Paul McCardle ran a new PB time of 23:20 when finishing 26th, while Regina Dunne was 76th in 29:55.