Tuesday 23 January 2018

Fleet-footed ladies lead way for Drogheda club

Erin McHugh crossing the line in the Seamie Weldon 5k in Ardee.
Erin McHugh crossing the line in the Seamie Weldon 5k in Ardee.

With many Drogheda & District members having run either a half-marathon or a 10-mile event in the last week, there weren't as many red vests as usual on the start line for last Saturday's Seamie Weldon 5k road race in Ardee.

Nevertheless, the club performed very strongly, particularly the ladies who picked up a few prizes during the day.

This very popular local road race is held in memory of Seamie Weldon who kept athletics alive in Ardee and was never found wanting when there was work to be done.

Conditions on the day were perfect for fast running, but the severe hill on the back stretch of the course would have slowed times somewhat.

Still, once the gun went Erin McHugh ran like a woman inspired and pushed hard as she made her way into the leading group of runners who quickly opened a gap on the rest of the field.

McHugh powered up the hilly back section of the course while keeping good running form and crossed the line third in the ladies race in 19:11 - second in her category.

Mary Leech was D&D's next finisher in 19:38 which also placed her second in her W40 category.

The club's first male finisher was Fintan Maher who's coming back from injury and crossed the line in 24th place overall in 19:44. Tony Corcoran was 70th in 23:18 and David Thornton 74th in 23:41.

The D&D ladies team of Erin McHugh, Mary Leech, Mary McDonnell (second in her category) and young Ellen O'Connor picked up the third-place team prize and also running were Ciara Byrne (29:04) and Ruth Dunne (29:35).

There were some fine performances at the recent Rossin Rovers Heritage 5k held near Slane. Shane Larkin showed most of the field a clean pair of heels as he ran hard and fast right from the gun to come home in second place in a fast 17:38.

Close behind in fourth place was Ruaidhri Nolan (17:59), with Paul Stuart further back in 12th place in 21:40. David Thornton, who's racing a lot these days, ran 23:45 to finish 23rd and Deirdre McFerran was 39th in 26:25. The club's second lady across the line - in 49th place - was Niamh O'Neill in 26:59 with Siobhan Redmond was 57th in 28:11.

With only 10 weeks to go until this year's county senior cross-country championships, the pressure is on big time for D&D athletes as they bid to catch the selectors' eye and nab one of the much cherished places on the club teams.

To that end the hilly slopes of Oldbridge Estate tempted some members to run last Saturday's Parkrun which was held in near perfect conditions.

Stephen Duggan, who could make the senior men's team, put down an early marker when he raced round this challenging course in 18:27 which saw him finish second overall.

One of the club's most promising newcomers is Martin Russell who finishedfifth in a fine 20:25 and will run quicker as he gains racing experience.

D&D's third finisher was Declan McMahon who had a solid run to place 14th in 22:15.

Deirdre McFerran was the club's first lady across the line in 48th place in 26:04, with Mary Toner next in 58th place in 27:58. Also running were Dolores Newman (76th in 31:20), Rose Dalton (89th in 34:28) and Theresa Woods (90th in 34:37).

Meanwhile, at the Ardgillan Parkrun which is run over a notoriously hilly course, Shane Larkin gave a fine display of strong front running to come home a clear winner in 19:09 and launch his cross-country season.

Drogheda Independent

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