The County Cross Country season finished on a high note in Goold’s Cross when the County Junior and Senior Cross Country titles for both Women and Men were decided. The County Board would like to thank Michael Ryan for the use of his land for these Championships. The County Chairman, Billy Purcell also thanked the Dundrum Club for organising a great day’s competition.
Conditions were good with a very good cross country course that tested the athletes all the way. Cliona Doyle of Clonmel won the County Junior title while we had no competitors for the Junior Men’s race, which was a pity as there are some very talented athletes at this level in the County.
The second race on the programme was the Senior Ladies and here Dymphna Ryan of Dundrum was going for her third County Senior title in a row and she didn’t disappoint her home club supporters as she took up the pace right from the start of the 2.5 lap route. She soon established a good lead and despite a strong challenge from Clare Annan of Carrick on Suir over the closing stages Dymphna held on to win the title convincingly in 20 mins 38 secs. She now joins Madeline Loughnane of Thurles Crokes as the only Lady athlete to have won 3 County Senior Cross Country titles in a row. Annan won the Silver medal in 22 mins and Catherine Kelly of Dundrum took Bronze in 21 mins 26 secs with Angela McCann of Clonmel 4th in 21 mins 39 secs.
Maire Fitzgibbon of Thurles Crokes was 5th 21 :53, Aine Roche of Clonmel 6th 22:50, Catherine Rice of Clonmel 7th 23:15 , Martina Ryan of Thurles Crokes 8th 23:33, Clare Devitt of Dundrum 9th 24:21 and Mary Keane of Dundrum 10th 26:11.
In the team event Dundrum were the winners on 13 points with Dymphna, Catherine and Clare. The Clonmel trio of Angela, Aine and Catherine won the Silver medal on 19 points. The Bronze medals were won by the Moyne trio of Breda McNamara 12th 27:36, Ashling Maher 13th 27:41 and Rosie Cleere 14th 28:46. The Sureprint Cup was presented to Dymphna Ryan the winning Captain by the County Chairman Billy Purcell.
The Men’s race also attracted a very good entry. Right from the start Kevin Maunsell of Clonmel who was 3rd last year moved into the lead and soon he was well clear of the chasing pack that included Kevin Moore of Dundrum and the Clonmel duo of Niall McCormack and William Maunsell. The pace was strong and over the demanding course there was many a tussle throughout the whole race as athletes were giving it everything for their Club team and every place was hard fought. While the top three positions were consolidated as the race unfolded there were many changes down through the rest of the field.
Going out on the final lap Kevin Maunsell had established a very commanding lead and was full of running as he made every stride a winning one to come home a very worthy and convincing Champion in 35 mins 15 secs. This was a great performance by Kevin and he can look forward with confidence to the Munster Senior Championship in mid January. Kevin Moore of Dundrum also ran very well and he won the Silver medal in 35:32. Niall McCormack of Clonmel moved into 3rd place midway through the race and he kept the tempo going to win the Bronze medal in 35:45. William Maunsell Clonmel was 4th 37:12, Tony Fogarty Thurles Crokes 5th 37:17, David Shelly Ballynonty 6th 37:20, Willie O’Dwyer Dundrum 7th 37:31, Donal Keane Dundrum 8th 37:42, Patrick Roche Carrick on Suir 9th 37:45 and Ross Alexander Coolquill 10th 38:04.
In the team event Clonmel with 3 in the top 4 finishers all eyes were on their 4th scorer and it was Paudie O’Keeffe who ran very well when 17th (40:18), that saw Clonmel win the County Senior Cross Country Men’s Club title for the first time since Athletic Ireland was formed in 2000 scoring 25 points. Defending champions Dundrum won Silver on 35 points with their team of Kevin, Willie, Donal and Pat Ryan who was 18th (40:27) and Thurles Crokes won the Bronze medals on 47 points. Thurles were led home by Tony Fogarty who ran a great last lap and the other members of the team were Denis Shanahan 12th (38:31), Declan Doherty 14th (38:58) and Shane Mullaney 16th (39:07). The Coolquill quartet of Ross Alexander 10th (38:04), Andrew Smyth 13th (38:34), John Russell 15th (39:01) and Dermot Logue 21st (41:20) were 4th. The Ballynonty team of David Shelly, Kenny Curran 11th (38:25), Owen Fanning 26th (42:49) and Jim McCormack 27th (43:00) were 5th.
This Championship also had a B Section, for Clubs that entered more than one team. Here the Dundrum trio of John Shanahan, James Ryan and Ruaidhri Devitt won the Gold medals. The Dundrum 3rd team of Michael Moore, Miceal Coen and Michael Ryan won the Silver medals while the Clonmel trio of Niall O Ceallaigh, Joe Whelan and Maurice Boland won the Bronze medals.
The County Chairman in his address at the Presentation of medals thanked all the Clubs for supporting all the Cross Country fixtures; he also thanked the many landowners who gave the Association the use of their facilities. He wished all the members the very best for Christmas and the New Year.