Surprise win for Aoife Cooke at National Cross Country Championships
Aoife Cooke of Youghal AC was a convincing winner of the novice title at yesterday’s GloHealth National Cross Country Championships in Dungarvan, the 29-year-old taking a surprise victory in 15:08 ahead of Rachael Smyth of St. Coca’s (15:19).
“I didn’t know what to expect so I’m thrilled,” said Cooke, who was previously a scholarship student at Arkansas Tech in the US, which she gave up due to chronic injury problems. However she has since bounced back to form under the guidance of coach – and aunt – Mary Sweeney.
“It didn’t work out for her in Arkansas,” said Sweeney, “but she came back to Cork and decided to get back running only two years ago. She’s a star.”
Cooke’s victory helped her club to victory in the team race, with Youghal taking a narrow victory over Dundrum South Dublin, 87 points to 89.
In the men’s novice event, Stephen Lawlor of St. Abban’s edged a close finish in 19:54 ahead of Naas’s Patrick Roche (19:56) in a race which saw 211 athletes toe the line. Ennis Track ran out convincing winners of the team event with a tally of just 45.
In the underage events, Craig McMeechan of North Down AC edged Ulster rival Eoin McCann of St. Malachy’s to take gold in the under-17 race. Amy Rose Farrell of Blackrock AC was first home in the girls under-17 race, adding to the under-16 title she won a fortnight ago in Santry.
An interested spectator in Dungarvan was race walker Rob Heffernan, whose daughter Meghan finished fourth in the under-13 girls race, which was won by Newport’s Aimee Hayde.
1. Sophie Quinn (Ratoath)
2. Hannah Murray (Finn Valley)
3. Gracie Brown (Dundrum South Dublin)
1. Sean Allen (St Peter’s AC)
2. Padraic Spillane (St Laurence O’Toole)
3. Ritchie Shelley (Ballina AC)
1. Aimee Hayde (Newport)
2. Aine Kirwan (Thomastown)
3. Sarah Morrison (St Nicholas)
U 13 Boys
1. Colin Gargan (Shercock)
2. Conor Leane (Dunboyne AC)
3. Malcolm MacEvilly (Westport AC)
1. Sarah Healy (Blackrock AC)
2. Saoirse O’Brien (Westport AC)
3. Aoife Darby (Mullingar Harriers)
1. Louis O’Loughlin (Donore Harriers)
2. Fathi Aden (Donore Harriers)
3. Tim Scott (Lagan Valley)
1. Amy Rose Farrell (Blackrock AC)
2. Niamh Carey (Dundrum South Dublin)
3. Enya Haigney (Omagh Harriers)
1. Craig McMeechan (North Down)
2. Eoin McCann (St Malachy’s)
3. Sean O’Leary (Clonliffe Harriers)
1. Aoife Cooke (Youghal AC)
2. Rachael Smyth (St Coca’s)
3. Adrianna Melia (Longford)
1. Stephen Lawlor (St Abban’s)
2. Patrick Roche (Naas)
3. Jason Broderick (Craughwell)