Saturday 17 August 2019

McCormack burns off Inter-Club rivals

Fionnuala McCormack finished in first place
Fionnuala McCormack finished in first place

David Hooper

Kilcoole's Fionnuala McCormack (née Britton) and Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock) reigned supreme at the GloHealth Inter-Club Cross-Country Championships in Santry Demesne.

The senior women's 8,000m race was the one that most of the big crowd came to watch, with a top-class field taking on McCormack, who ran 2:33.15 in the Chicago marathon in Chicago just six weeks ago.

The start of the race was a cagey affair as the diminutive McCormack nestled into the leading pack led by the effervescent Lizzie Lee.

Lee tried to take on McCormack but the teak-tough Wicklow woman proved untouchable as she built an insurmountable lead. Lee hung on gamely for second place, leading Leevale to a maiden team title, with surprise package Caroline Crowley (Crusaders) coming home third.

"I went for it," said Lee afterwards. "Nobody was sure of Fionnuala's form so I put myself out there and in the mix, but there was no beating her. I won the race amongst the rest. I'm ecstatic we won the team title."

McCormack, two-time European cross-country champion, was happy with her performance but was unsure of her form for the European Championships in Hyeres, France, on December 13.

"I've no idea what shape I'm in going into the Europeans," she said in terms of individual medal aspirations.

Clohisey was an impressive winner of the men's 10,000m with a front-running performance from the gun.

MSB's John Coghlan finished second and Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) third.

Clonliffe pipped Leevale (47-48), with Raheny Shamrock third on 51.

Hope Saunders (Clonliffe Harriers)and Kevin Mulcaire (Ennis Track Club) were impressive winners of the junior women's 4,000m and junior men's 6,000m respectively, while Amy Rose Farrell (Blackrock AC) and Darragh McElhinney (Bantry) shone in the juvenile races.

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