Saturday 16 December 2017

Athletics: McGinley seizes the day to capture national crown

Eddie McGinley showed commendable courage to score an excellent victory in the Woodies DIY National Cross-Country Championships at Santry Park yesterday.

The 29-year-old travelled from West Belfast with no plans except to run his best but he felt so good after a mile that he decided to take the bull by the horns and ran the field into the ground to win his first national title.

"I felt good and reckoned there was no point in hanging around and just went for it and the longer the race went, the stronger I felt," he said.

He had run in this race before but finished no better than 10th.

"Recent results were not all that encouraging but I prepared well and to win this title is a real thrill for me. At halfway, I still had a few around me but going into the last lap I felt I could do it with a bit more effort and so gave it my all," he said.

The pint-sized McGinley wore down his opponents one by one before seeing off his last challenger, Clonliffe's marathon man, Sergiu Ciobanu, with his club-mate Gary O'Hanlon in the bronze medal position, the pair setting a firm foundation to win another club title.

Neither of the last two winners, Joe Sweeney or Mark Kenneally, took part. Kenneally was afraid of injury that would wreck his Olympic marathon participation; Sweeney is preparing for the track season.

McGinley becomes the first runner from Belfast since John Ferrin in '99 to win the men's title.

Similar tactics front-running tactics were also successful for Kevin Dooney of Raheny in winning the junior men's gold by 25 seconds, Linda Byrne of DSD in the senior women's race and Sarah Collins from Finn Valley in the junior section.

Byrne and third-place finisher Ava Hutchinson have also qualified for London, but they decided to compete and so help DSD to the team title.

Irish Independent

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