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Cooke and Lawlor cause a stir at GloHealth Novice and Uneven Ages

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Cooke and Lawlor cause a stir at GloHealth Novice and Uneven Ages

Aoife Cooke (Youghal) and Stephen Lawlor (St Abban’s) were surprise senior winners at the GloHealth Novice and Uneven Ages Cross Country Championships in St Augustine’s College in Dungarvan where the weather gods were on side.

Storm Desmond thankfully cleared for a calm day in Dungarvan with running conditions naturally muddy underfoot after the heavy rain. Full results of the day are HERE. 

Cooke was an unexpected winner in the women’s Novice 4,000m ahead of Rachael Smyth (St Coca's) in second and Adrianna Melia (Longford) in third.

“I didn’t know what to expect so I’m thrilled to be honest,” said Cooke afterwards. The 28-year-old Youghal athlete had been on a scholarship a number of years ago at Arkansas Tech and gave up for a few years due to injuries.

The Cork woman has made an impressive return under her coach, and auntie, Mary Sweeney of St Finnbarr’s AC.

“Aoife is my niece number one,” said a delighted Sweeney. “Aoife started running in small little village in Ballincollig. We started a club about 13 years ago. She started the greenest of athletes ever but was always so ambitious and so wanting to be a good runner. 

“She was in Arkansas on a scholarship. It didn’t work great over there for her. She got a lot of injuries and as a result fell away for a while. She came back to Cork and went back to College and then decided to get back running only two years ago.

“She came to me and said she was going to train for the Cork marathon. It was the only way she was going to get back running. She needed something totally different, totally no pressure. She didn’t want pressure again so soon.

“She struggled with the marathon and the distance but still ended up with 3:15 to be fair to her. She was 5th and I was 6th – niece and aunt.

“It was her own hard work. Today was a good day but it’s not going to be all good days. We’re here now and we’ll enjoy this. She’s a star, she’s a team runner.”

Cooke also led Youghal to the team title and Cork to the County title to boot.

Stephen Lawlor (St Abban’s) won a dramatic men’s 6,000m Novice race clawing back long-time leader Patrick Roche of Naas AC in the final 200m.

At one point Roche’s lead looked unassailable but he was unable to hold off the teak tough Laois man. Jason Broderick (Craughwell) got up for third.

Sophie Quinn (Ratoath) was the first winner of the day in the U11 girls with an impressive front-running performance. The Uneven Age All Irelands were the prelude to the senior Novice races with the buzzing energy of the juveniles and parents creating an electric atmosphere.

Aimee Hayde (Newport) impressed once more adding the U13 title over 1500m to the U12s she won in Santry two weeks ago.  Amy Rose Farrell (Blackrock) oozed class once more in the U17 girls easing to victory over 4,000m.   

On the boys side Louis O’Loughlin (Donore Harriers)  impressed in the U15 boys 3,500m with Craig McMeechan (North Down) a classy victor in the U17 boys.  

U11 Girls

1.       Sophie Quinn (Ratoath)

2.        Hannah Murray (Finn Valley)

3.       Gracie Brown (Dundrum South Dublin)

U11 Boys

1.       Sean Allen (St Peter’s AC)

2.       Padraic Spillane (St Laurence O’Toole)

3.       Ritchie Shelley (Ballina AC)

U13 Girls

1.       Aimee Hayde (Newport)

2.       Aine Kirwan (Thomastown)

3.       Sarah Morrison (St Nicholas)

U 13 Boys

1.       Colin Gargan (Shercock)

2.       Conor Leane (Dunboyne AC)

3.       Malcolm MacEvilly (Westport AC)

U15 Girls

1.       Sarah Healy (Blackrock AC)

2.       Saoirse O’Brien (Westport AC)

3.       Aoife Darby (Mullingar Harriers)

U15 Boys

1.       Louis O’Loughlin (Donore Harriers)

2.       Fathi Aden (Donore Harriers)

3.       Tim Scott (Lagan Valley)

U17 Girls

1.       Amy Rose Farrell (Blackrock AC)

2.       Niamh Carey (Dundrum South Dublin)

3.       Enya Haigney (Omagh Harriers)

U17 Boys

1.       Craig McMeechan (North Down)

2.       Eoin McCann (St Malachy’s)

3.       Sean O’Leary (Clonliffe Harriers)

Novice Women

1.       Aoife Cooke (Youghal AC)

2.       Rachael Smyth (St Coca’s)

3.       Adrianna Melia (Longford)

Novice Men

1.       Stephen Lawlor (St Abban’s)

2.       Patrick Roche (Naas)

3.       Jason Broderick (Craughwell)

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