Thursday 20 June 2019

Drogheda sprint specialists shine in Masters


Some of Drogheda & District AC's sprint specialists made a strong impression at the Leinster Masters Track & Field Championships in Tullamore on Sunday.

Despite the windy conditions, there were some fine performances, with three of them doubling up over the shorter distances.

In the 100m, Frank Cruise held his nerve and showed good form when winning his race in 13.88, and later in the day he completed the sprint double when taking gold in his 200m event in a lively 29.32.

Local firefighter Karl Carton blazed his way round the bend to take silver in his 200m in 27.09, which was good running as a few hours earlier he'd finished runner-up in the 100m in 13.26.

Mary Flanagan, the club's sole female competitor at these championships, ran well to take the silver medal in her 100m in 20.38.

In the 400m, which is one of the toughest races to run on the track, Brian Pentony delivered the goods in spades when claiming a category silver medal in 58.45, in a race that was packed full of quality athletes. Club coach Gerry O'Connor just missed out on a medal when finishing fourth in 1:02.14.

One of D&D's newer members, Paddy Kelly, gave a glimpse of his potential when doing the 800m/1500m middle distance double and he's one to watch out for in the future. Kelly ran a clever race to take the gold in his 800m in 2:09.41 and later on won his 1500m event in 4:20.83.

Closer to home, a large group of Drogheda & District members took to the road for last Tuesday's Michelle McKiernan 5K in Stamullen.

Conditions on the evening were pretty much perfect, with little or no wind, but the testing nature of this tricky little 5K meant that the runners had to use their head as well as their legs if they were to succeed on this course.

Pride of place had to go to Mary Leech who got the early pace spot on, and her sustained high-tempo running brought her home in second place in the Women's race in an eye-opening 18:27.

Thanks to some fine running from Pamela Howard, who finished in 20:12, and Yasmin Canning, who placed second in category with her run of 20:14, things were looking good in the team competition.

With team prizes being awarded on cumulative times every second counted, but her teammates needn't have worried as the strong-running Maureen Harbison soon came into view and wrapped up the team prize as she crossed the line in 21:22.

Also running well were Yvonne McMahon (22:39), Andrea McArdle (22:45) and Linda Cross (24:26).

In the Men's race, D&D's first finisher in eighth place overall - and second in his category - was Shane Larkin in a speedy 17:05.

Close behind and in quick succession came Brian Fitzpatrick (17:17), Ruaidhri Nolan (17:26) and David Walsh (17:29), with these four packing well to take second place in their team competition.

Others who ran well were John Cooper (37th in 19:02), David Birch (23:11) and Mike Staunton (23:54).

Meanwhile, on the same evening over in Dunboyne, Michelle Hughes was hot-footing it round the BHAA Government Services 5-mile road race and was rewarded for her aggressive running with a third-in-category prize in a sparkling new PB time of 34:08.

Close behind was Conor Cooney, affectionately known as 'The Fox'. Cooney used all his racing experience to work his way through the field to win his M65 category in a classy 34:33. Jackser Reilly had a solid run to finish in 36:27.

Meanwhile, Tadhg Donnelly had a great run in the 5,000m at the All-Ireland Schools Track & Field Championships in Tullamore last Saturday.

Tadhg placed fourth in a field made up of the best up and coming distance runners in the country in a time of 15:37.70.

Finishing fourth and missing out on a medal can be tough to take, but Donnelly is made of good stuff and will be able to run in these championships next year as he was running a year out of age.

At the mid-week Dublin Athletic Board graded meeting in Irishtown, there were some fine performances from the club's juniors.

In the Men's A1 800m Cormac Canning gave a strong display of running when finishing fifth in a noteworthy 2:02.95, while Hugh Callan was sixth in the B1 800m in 2:15.21.

In the B2 800m, Tom Cummins was third in 2:09.14, with Cillian Dyas sixth in 2:18.75, while in the C2 race Harry Caffrey finished seventh in 2:21.74.

Elsewhere, Stephen Kelly won the Balbriggan Summerfest 5K last Thursday evening with ease in a solid 16:17, while Stephen Hand was 104th in 27:31.

A number of Drogheda & District athletes took part in the Edinburgh Marathon and Half-Marathon recently. The club's first finisher was Carmel Keenan in a commendable 3:48.12, followed by David Birch and Niamh Matthews who both finished in 4:08.32, while James Keenan ran the course in 4:38.20.

In the half-marathon, Helga McDonnell finished in 1:50.16, with Linda Cruise Byrne crossing the line in 1:51.08.

At the weekly Oldbridge Parkrun, Stephen Kelly recorded his second win in two days when he sped round in 17:40. Kelly looks to have a real hunger for running again and on this form he's well capable of making the Masters cross-country team for the Home Internationals later in the year. Rodney Thornton was third in 18:33, with Conor Cooney 24th in 21:53.

Linda Bowe was D&D's first female finisher in 61st place in 26:57, followed by Mary Mulligan (104th in 35:16) and Sinead McGuinness (121st in 50:18).

Drogheda Independent