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Run For The Hills


……not a sign of Iron Maiden Down the years school books, tourist brochures and guide books have consistantly referred to the plains of Meath and the river Boyne meandering towards the sea through the flatlands of north Leinster. These descriptions imply that the citizens of Meath are about as familiar with hilly terrain as the people from Holland.
But as in the case of the many hardy Dutch cyclists who tamed Alpe D’Huez and its neighbours we have in our midst a mountain running giant in the form of Gerard Heery.

Gerard who retained his county senior cross country title in Trim recently has worn the Irish singlet on numerous occasions in international hill and mountain races. He and his colleagues at St Brigids AC have put their expert local knowledge and his event experience to great use in setting a hill running course to be reckoned within the largest beech plantation in Europe at Mullaghmeen. The course which straddles the boundary between Meath and Westmeath was in great condition for the time of year and was negotiated with gusto by runners of all ages despite the trepidations of an officer of a prominent cross country club who seemed to think that hills were an unwelcome feature of hill running.

The race took the runners along the northern edge of the wood overlooking Lough Sheelin and they sized each other up for the first two kilometers. The leading group of men included such stalwarts of the local cross country scene as the aforementioned Heery, Paddy Mangan, John Gill, Fechin Heery, Robbie Matthews, and Dermot Farrelly. The first steep decline saw the St Brigids man make a break and he stretched his advantage on the steep incline through the forest to the summit. He took nearly a minute out of his pursuers in the fourth kilometre to retain his Meath senior title on the hills ahead of his younger brother Fechin. A 25 point total gave Bohermeen the mens team prize.

John Gill and Paddy Mangan took the masters grades and eleven year old Gavin Maher from Dunshaughlin completed the challenging course in a great time of 24.37 to finish the top junior.

In the womens race Linda Gunning hit the front as early as the second kilometre and emerged as first woman past the post and winner of the over 45 grade ahead of Ann Tobin. Na Fianna were led to a team victory over Bohermeen by Brigid Clarke who was closely followed throughout by club colleagues Maggie Higgins, Ann Marie McCluskey and Maureen Lowther from Trim. Another emerging cross country talent from Dunshaughlin AC , Shauna Moore was the winner of the junior race ahead of Orla Timmons. Geraldine and Kathleen Gill were the best of the senior women.

Athletics Ireland President Michael Heery and his wife Brigid were on hand to dispense refreshments at the finish and the running fraternity of the county ended the year on a high note in the shadow of the legendary cairns of Loughcrew. What started last year as a novel event for the festive season has joined the Gormanston Beach Run as one of the must do events on the local athletics calendar.

Meath Hill Running 30/12/07

Men Results:

Senior Men:
1. Gerard Heery St Brigids 18.34
2. Fechin Heery St Brigids 19.31
3. Robbie Matthews Dunshaughlin 20.20
4. Derek Croal Bohermeen 20.42
5. Blaine Rennicks Bohermeen 21.26
6. Martin Heery St Brigids 25.10
7. Brendan Briody St Brigids 25.52

Junior Men:
1. Gavan Maher Dunshaughlin 24.37
2. Michael Flood St Brigids 26.50
3. Taigh Morrissey St Brigids 28.30
4. Ian Hunter Ratoath 29.40
5. Alex Hunter Ratoath 29.46
6. Ross Hunter Ratoath 33.16
7. Padraig Plunkett St Brigids 34.35

O/35 Men:
1. John Gill Bohermeen 19.56
2. Dermot Farrelly Bohermeen 21.39
3. Sean Kinnan Dunboyne 22.06
4. Tommy Maher Dunshaughlin 24.39

O/45 Men:
1. Paddy Mangan Dunshaughlin 19.20
2. Brian Cully Trim 23.34
3. Aidan Keegan Dunboyne 23.50
4. Ciaran Tobin Trim 26.33
5. Philip Cogavin Fr Murphys 38.39

Fun Runners:
1. Sean McDaid 21.47
2. Derek Hunter 33.16
3. Mick Kellett 34.59

1. Bohermeen 25
2. St Brigids 37
3. Dunshaughlin 38

Women Results:

Senior Ladies:
1. Geraldine Gill Bohermeen 25.38
2. Kathleen Gill Bohermeen 34.09

Junior Ladies:
1. Shauna Moore Dunshaughlin 23.22
2. Orla Timmins Star of the Sea 23.25
3. Elaine Plunkett St Brigids 25.27
4. Rachel Neary Na Fianna 27.26
5. Grainne Sheridan St Brigids 34.33

O/35 Ladies:
1. Brigid Clarke Na Fianna 25.23
2. Maggie Higgins Na Fianna 25.24
3. Ann Marie McCloskey Na Fianna 25.29
4. Maureen Lowther Trim 25.38
5. Margaret Neary Na Fianna 29.58

O/45 Ladies:
1. Linda Gunning Bohermeen 24.38
2. Ann Tobin Trim 26.35
3. Mary Morrissey St Brigids 28.59

Fun Runners:
1. Geraldine O’Shea 31.22
2. Jean O’Neill 31.51
3. Mary Donnelly 32.42

1. Na Fianna 16
2. Bohermeen 29
3. St Brigids 36