from Donore Harriers website For the first time in six years, the Donore Ladies team won the National Novice team gold. The team ran out clear winners at the Curragh on Sunday with excellent team packing over an undulating and muddy 3000m course. There were fantastic runs all round from this team that has gone from strength to strength since the cross country season began in the October.
Orinta Donele went with the blistering early pace of this 3k race but with 151 runners competing, the race pace soon settled and Dervila Holmes came steadily through to the lead the Donore field. Aoife Rickard, Maura Kearns and Suzanne Rath then made their presence felt not that farther back, running in tandem for a while and Sinead McAuley followed. By the last lap Dervila was in the top 10 and stormed home to 9th (11.52). Aoife had a brilliant run to come 17th (12.11). With a great second lap, Maura passed about three runners in the last 150m to finish 19th (12.15) and Suzanne Rath had the race of her life in 23rd (12.17). Feeling the effects of the early pace but not giving up, Orinta was 41st (12.31) and Sinead finished strongly in 74th (12.57). There were 16 teams on the day so this was a hard won gold with a fantastic team effort. The team closed on 66 points – well ahead of Sportsworld (110 points) and Rathfarnham AFC (162 points). There was also Dublin team gold for Dervila.
There were a staggering 256 runners and 32 teams in the men’s 6k race. Despite carrying an injury, Gavin Keogh led out the Donore men. Ken Norgrove was next but Chris Kelly was also running strongly. Then there was Ian O’Leary (also running for Cork county), Feargal Whitty, Philip Hennessy, Henry English, Fred Kiernan, Gerry McDonald, Ronan Lambe and Des Gill. Gavin finished in 32nd place and won gold on the Dublin Team. This was surely the most competitive men’s Novice race in years and many of the team had their first experience of running at a national cross country level so well done to all.
Earlier in the day there were great runs at the 2nd leg of the Meet and Train cross country league in Fingallians Swords. Andrea Flanagan won the race (having also ran in the Aware 5 mile the day before!) with Aisling McDonagh 3rd, Karen Behan 5th and Michelle Rowley 11th. Following them were Eileen Walsh, Sara Ni Ruairc, Mary Kingston, Lisa McLoughlin, Michele Murphy, Angela Eustace, Michelle Dawson and Sue Lynch.
Nearly 1500 people ran the Aware 5 mile race in the Phoenix Park on Saturday – well done to Florence Curley 32.40, Andrea Flanagan 34.29, Joe Murphy 34.40, Jill Dempsey 35.40 and Ruth Tolan 37.