Jolene Byrne and Gary Murray Take Senior Titles at Intercounties

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Over 1000 athletes competed in events sponsored by McMahon and Galvin Insurance Brokers ranging from under 11 to Senior with a wide spread of winners countrywide. The focus on the Junior and Senior events was selection for the upcoming European Cross Country Championships and there was some very competitive running to gain places on the Tilburg bound squad.

Jolene Byrne confirmed her status as the woman in form and she lost no time in going to the front where she was joined by Rosemary Ryan , Maria McCambridge and Fionnuala Britton. The swithchback nature of the course made for some testing climbs particularly up to the stand side of the course but it did not hinder the fluent running Donore woman.

By the time 1500 metres had been reached Jolene had disposed of her challengers as she began to put some daylight between herself and her pursuers. Rosemary Ryan was being challenged by the former junior Champion Fionnuala Britton whose long loping stride was in stark contrast to the more choppy leg action of the Bilboa athlete.

By the halfway point the destination of the individual title was not in doubt as Jolene continued to pull away with the young Wicklow athlete Britton in second place.

Thats the way it continued to the finish with Jolene winning her first inter county title by ten seconds and Fionnuala Britton withstanding a late challenge by the 2000 Olympian Rosemary Ryan to hold down second. Aoife Byrne was the surprise of the race and she ran steadily throughout to leave some more established cross country runners in her wake and take fourth with National half Marathon Champion Orla O’Mahoney continuing her good season in fifth spot ahead of a fading Maria McCambridge. Dublin had six in the first eleven but only need four and Annette Kealy was their fourth scorer in 9th place.

Donegal’s 78 point total was four better than Limerick and saw them take 2nd place lead home by Noeleen Porter in 13th.

Gary Murray won the inter Club title in February the National 1500 Track title in July and on Sunday won his first inter counties title. 2005 has also seen him lead the 5000 rankings and beat four minutes for the mile. So when Mark Kenneally joined him on the first of the four laps the pattern of the race was settled. Cork Champion Mark Hanrahan joined the leaders briefly towards the end of the first lap but his challenge soon evaporated. Murray’s aggressive style of running brought him away from Kenneally who was joined by Rob Connolly, thought by many to be a title challenger after his fluent Dublin championship win. Connolly took over in second place for the next circuit but never looked like he was going to challenge the leader. One lap later as Murray continued to put daylight between himself and his pursuers the DSD mans challenge evaporated and Kenneally moved into a clear second.

Mark Christie for a period had looked like he was going to challenge for an automatic spot but as they went out on the last lap it was a battle between Gareth Turnbull and David Kelly. The Trinity Medical student Kelly had made steady progress throughout the race and was now enjoying his best position ever in a race of this caliber.

Thirty seconds separated Gary Murray from his pursuers as he broke the tape with Mark Kenneally second and Gareth Turnbull using his track speed and strength to good effect down the final straight to finish four seconds clear of the home athlete David Kelly who can be well pleased with his running.

Paul McNamara was the essence of steady running as he worked his way up to 5th ahead of Mark Christie. Dublin with six finishers in by 18th. had an easy team win ahead of Cork with Donegal 3rd.

Linda Byrne lead from start to finish in the Junior womens race with Breffni Twohig the only one to match her in the early stages She had 29 seconds to spare on Ashling Baker who overhauled her exhausted clubmate Breffni Twohig approaching the finish. Aoife Cooke was a close up third with Roseanne Galligan in 4th ahead of Azmera Gebrezgi.

Raheny’s Mick Clohissey was an impressive winner of the Junior mens race. Mick was one of the most improved juniors on the track over 5000 and 10000 has carried that running on to the country and once in front was never headed. Kevin Lawlor moved through well to take second ahead of Paul Pollock with Daire Birmingham next.

The first race of the day saw the diminutive Mullingar man Shane Fitzsimmons win the under 11 800 metres. Connaught were the best region with Mayo winning the inter county award.. Donegal’s Rebecca Ward won the girls under 11 . Ciara Cronin was an impressive winner of the girls under 15 1500 metres leading Munster, Waterford and Ferrybank to victory. DSD dominated the Girls under 17 where Suzanne Huet lead home Rebecca French O’Carroll with Ferrybank’s Niamh O’Carroll interrupting the DSD dominance in third spot.. Dublin won both regional and county team awards with DSD 1st,2nd.,4th. and 5th. ensuring them of team victory.

Nick Davis P.R.O.

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