Letterkenny Athletic Club’s women’s highly successful cross country season continued in Sunday’s Donegal Senior Championship. The Finn Valley Centre course was a stamina sapping mudbath but the unseasonally mild, dry weather meant that runners enjoyed pleasant overhead conditions. Catriona Jennings certainly didn’t allow herself to be derailed by the mud and gave spectators a masterful exhibition of front running. Catriona, who picked up a Silver medal in the Irish Championship in the recent Dublin Marathon, led from start to finish. She clocked a superb time of 18.36 for the testing 5K course. Next across the line was another runner currently in a rich vein of form, Nakita Burke, who had won last week’s Ulster Novice cross country championship. It looked like being LAC 1-2-3 but Noeleen Scanlan, who had a tremendous run, was caught on the line by City of Derry Track Club’s Marina Murphy. The LAC scoring team was completed by 8th placed Irene McFadden, who had her best run of the season. The 15 points accumulated by Catriona, Nakita, Noeleen and Irene was enough to take the team prize from Finn Valley by a margin of 18 points.
All the women in the LAC team played their part and the 4 scorers were greated aided by Shauna McGeehan, Jane Toner, Siobhan Gallagher, Fionnuala Larkin and Niamh McDaid. Maria Mulligan unfortunately sustained an injury during the race.
Finn Valley’s Chris Johnston won the men’s 10K in exactly the same manner as Catriona. He also won after leading from the start. LAC’s Eoghain McGinley bravely pursued Chris Johnston but was unable to close the gap. Eoghain was followed by 4 Finn Valley runners who occupied 3rd-6th positions, Dermot McElchar, Mark Hoy, James McFadden and John McElhill. With 9th placed Mark McPaul making up Valley’s scoring half dozen, they notched up an unbeatable 28 points. LAC’s contingent battled bravely and gained Silver Medals, with some excellent perfomances. Darren McBrearty had a very strong run to come home in 7th place, with Karol Duggan earning a top 10 finish. LAC’s scoring team was completed by Danny Mooney, Raymond Birch and Pauric Breslin, who all packed well, to ensure Silver medals, with 78 points to spare over Inishowen AC, for whom ex LAC man, Pauric McKinney, had a phenomenal run. The 51 year old had led the Irish M50 team to Silver Medals in the Masters’ cross country International in Glasgow on Saturdayafternoon. He got a flight back from Glasgow after the race and gained a highly creditable 8th place finish on Sunday.
Sean McFadden, whose strength helped him to make the mud look easy, finished just behind Pauric Breslin. There were also fine runs from Mark Diver and Seanog Foody.
Fionnuala Diver had an excellent run in the 5 Nations Masters’ cross country International in Tollcross Park, Glasgow on Saturday afternoon. Fionnuala was one of the counters on the Irish F35 team, which won bronze medals. Speaking after the race, Fionnuala said that, “Conditions were good. It was a hilly course but not too muddy. The weather was dry and not too cold.”
Annmarie McGlynn travelled to the mountainous Atapuerca area of Northern Spain to run in the highly prestigous ‘Cross Internacional Atapuerca’ on Sunday. Annmarie had an excellent run over the tough course, where she was running for an Irish team managed by Teresa McDaid. The first Irish finisher was 5th placed Fionnuala McCormack, European cross country champion in 2011 and 2012. Kerry O’Flaherty was also on the Irish team. The winner of the star studded race was Ethiopian Senbere Teferi.
3 Letterkenny AC runners took part in Saturday morning’s Letterkenny parkrun 5K. Paul Lee’s time of 22.17 gave him 3rd place overall and 1st place in the M45-49 category. Cathal Roarty ran for the 3rd consecutive week. He clocked 24.31, to finish 5th overall and 2nd in the M50-54 group. Peter McLean finished in 29.42, which was the 29th time that Peter had competed in the event, which only began 9 months ago. Peter was 4th in the 55-59 age group.
Letterkenny Athletic Club’s annual dinner and awards night will take place on Friday November 18th at 8.00pm in Arena 7. The club will be honoured by the presence of a special guest, legendary Olympian Ronnie Delaney. Fittingly, the 60th anniversary of Ronnie’s greatest achievement is approaching. On December 1st 1956, Ronnie won the gold medal in the Melbourne Olympics when he won the 1500m in a time of 3.41.2. In the intervening 60 years, no other Irish person has won a gold medal in an athletics discipline. All of Ireland’s Olympics’ Gold medals since 1956 have come in either boxing or swimming. The Wicklow born legend was only 21 when he won Gold. He was also the Indoor Mile World Record holder between 1958-62. In addition, Ronnie won 40 straight Indoor victories between 1956-59 in the USA.
Letterkenny AC is very grateful to 2 generous sponsors, Diver’s Hyundai and The Radisson Blu Hotel, both Letterkenny businesses. Diver’s Hyundai are providing a courtesy car; the Radisson Blu Hotel is sponsoring Ronnie’s stay.
Letterkenny AC PRO.