Home News Hutchinson and Sweeney Win Senior Titles

Hutchinson and Sweeney Win Senior Titles


from the AAI The Woodie’s DIY National Inter County Cross Country Championships and Juvenile even age group championships took place today in Tattersalls, Ratoath, Co Meath. Most of the earlier races were held in bright sunshine, but heavy rainfall over the past week made for heavy underfoot conditions.

The senior men were tasked with the challenge of running five circuits of the 2km course. Michael Mulhare of Laois took an early lead on the first lap with defending champion Joe Sweeney of Dublin in hot pursuit. Sean Hehir, Brian Maher and Stephen Scullion made up the chasing pack. Sweeney then moved up a gear on the second lap and swept past Mulhare, with Hehir now establishing himself in a clear third. It was clear that Sweeney was on cruise control at this point as he pulled away from the field to take the title in a time of 33:27. Mulhare and Hehir battled it out for the podium positions with Mulhare having enough strength to hang on for second place (34:06), 10 seconds clear of Hehir in third (34:16).

Commenting afterwards Sweeney said “I ran that conservatively, I wanted to save myself for two weeks time. I am really looking forward to the Europeans now.”

The under 23 men’s race was run in conjunction with the senior race and Letterkenny’s Christopher Johnston stormed to the title in a time of 35:19

The senior women’s race produced a tremendous battle between Dublin’s Ava Hutchinson and Cork’s Lizzie Lee. Olympic marathon representative Hutchinson dueled with Lee for the majority of the 8k race. At one point it looked like Lee would break Hutchinson as she made a move on the final circuit. However it wasn’t to be and Hutchinson propelled herself to victory in a time of 31:06, ahead of second place Lee in a time of 31:10. On a good day for Dublin, Sarah McCormack finished an excellent third position (31:27), just ahead of Louth’s Fiona Roche (31:34).

Commenting afterwards Hutchinson said “That was really hard, it was one of the toughest races I have had in a long time. I am really looking forward to the European’s now and I believe we can do very well as a team there.”

Una Britton (Kilcoole AC), sister of Fionnuala Britton was triumphant in the U23 women’s race, holding off the challenge of Laura Behan (KCK AC). The tough conditions suited Britton as she clocked a time of 33:29, to comfortable see off the challenge of Behan who was second in a time of 33:57.

The combined Junior and U18 boy’s race saw a group of four athlete pull clear on the opening lap. The group consisted of Dublin trio Ian Guiden, Killian Mooney and Aaron Hanlon along with Armagh’s Stephen Kerr. On the second lap the group was down to three athletes as Hanlon started to drop back. Kerr proved the strongest and strode to victory in a time of 20:53, Guiden battled all the way to the line to secure second place in a time of 20:59. Mooney had the race of his life to place third overall (21:04) and first under 18 athlete across the line.

Defending champion Siofra Cleirigh Buttner was the decisive winner of the junior and under 18 girls 4k race. Buttner still only in the U18 category was the overall winner in a time of 15:54. Mullingar’s Linda Conroy surprised many with a second place finish (16:05), like Buttner she too is still in the U18 category. Mary Mulhare of Laois finished third overall and first under 20 in a time of 16:17.

Away from the action in Ratoath, Defending European Cross Country Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) placed an encouraging third place behind two Ethiopian athletes in the Cross de L’Acier in France.