The 6th edition of the Autumn Open International Cross-Country Festival in association with Fingal County Council will take place at the Sport Ireland Campus on Sunday 16th October 2022 - the venue which hosted last year’s hugely successful European Cross-Country Championships.

Memories of that historic December day, which saw Ireland claim three medals at the home European Championships, are sure to come flooding back to all those in attendance this weekend. No more so than UCD’s Darragh McElhinney who produced “the race of his life” to claim a superb silver medal in the men’s under-23 race at Fingal-Dublin 2021.

McElhinney’s performance lifted the U23’s to a team gold last December, readily backed up by teammates Keelan Kilrehill (Moy Valley AC), Jamie Battle (Mullingar Harriers) and Thomas Devaney (Castlebar AC) who are all set to take their places at this weekend’s Autumn Open International.

McElhinney (UCD AC) will be looking to retain his 2021 Autumn Open title in the senior men’s race at 3pm and will face some stiff competition from the aforementioned trio of Kilrehill, Battle, and Devaney.

Dean Casey (Ennis Track Club) was part of the Irish U20 team that claimed a European silver at this venue 11 months ago and he looks set to take his place on the start-line alongside Emmet Jennings (DSD AC) who was part of the Irish senior men’s team.  

Thomas McStay (Galway City Harriers) was unlucky to miss out on last year’s European Championships through injury and he will join Jack O’Leary (Mullingar Harriers) and Liam Brady (Tullamore Harriers) among the likely contenders for the podium places. Fan favourite John Travers (Donore Harriers) continues to return from injury and will be looking to use this weekend as another step back to his brilliant best.

The senior women’s title (2.15pm) is sure to be another competitive affair with Loughborough’s Abbie Donnelly and Kirsty Walker returning to the race which they dominated in 2021. Donnelly secured first-place last year and will likely be one of the leading contenders once more. The international entries will have to contend with a strong home representation, with double-Olympian and recent Great Scottish Run half marathon winner, Michelle Finn, set to lead the charge.

The consistent Aoife O’Cuill (St Cocas) and Fionnuala Ross (Armagh AC) will give their running, while Shona Heaslip (An Riocht AC) will bid to continue her rich vein of form following a few injury plagued seasons. Jodie McCann (Dublin City Harriers) and 1500m specialist Carla Sweeney (Rathfarnham WSAFAC) are sure to make it a real dash for position over the first 200 meters on Sunday.

Raheny Shamrock’s Kate Purcell is one of the likely favourites in the women’s O35 race following her brilliant winning display at the national half marathon in Ratoath last month. Sinead O’Connor (Leevale) secured the national 10k title on the road last April and is sure to also be right in the mix given her recent performances.

The men’s masters race look hard to call on the back of a bumper entry across the age categories. Ennis Track have enjoyed a stellar 12 months and Rory Cheeser looks set to lead out a strong Clare representation in the final races of the day.

Ennis Track look to have a strong hand in the junior men’s race and expect to see teammates Niall Murphy, Mark Hanrahan, and Dylan Casey right up with the contenders alongside Harry Colbert of Waterford AC who continues to impress. Sean McGinley of Finn Valley is one likely to be right on the shoulder of the leaders.

Róise Roberts (North Belfast Harriers) and Hannah Kehoe (Kilkenny City Harriers) showed superb form over last year’s cross country season and will look to impose a strong pace from the off in a junior women’s race which looks wide open in the battle for the podium places.

Autumn Open Timetable: HERE.

Entries are available: HERE.

  • Senior Men & Women: 1st: €500, 2nd: €400, 3rd: €300, 4th: €200, 5th: €100
  • Under 20 Men & Women: 1st: €150, 2nd: €100, 3rd: €50
  • Masters: Jim McNamara Perpetual Trophy: 1st Male & Female

The Autumn Open International Festival will welcome a new Inter-Club Cross Country relay competition which will start from 1pm on Sunday October 16th. This event provides an ideal opportunity to get young athletes out for their first National Cross-Country event as part of a club team.

Inter-Club Cross Country Timetable HERE

Entry to the Autumn Open International Cross Country Festival is free for spectators.

2021 Autumn Open Results:

Senior Men 7,500m

22:59 1 Darragh McElhinney U.C.D. A.C.

23:07 2 Tom Mortimer UK

23:08 3 Thomas Mc Stay Galway City Harriers A.C

Senior Women 6,000m

20:51 1 Abbie Donnelly UK

21:04 2 Kirsty Walker UK

21:15 3 Mary Mulhare Portlaoise A.C.

Junior Men 6,000m

18:26 1 Nicholas Griggs Mid Ulster A.C.

19:10 2 Scott Fagan Metro/St. Brigid's A.C.

19:15 3 Aaron Smith Cilles A.C.

Junior Women 4,500m

16:08 1 Jane Buckley Leevale A.C.

16:23 2 Celine Gavin Dublin City Harriers A.C.

16:41 3 Roisin O'reilly Menapians A.C.

Master Men O35 7500m

23.36 Tim O donoghue East Cork A.C. Masters Men O35

23:46 Sergiu Cibanu Clonliffe Harriers A.C. Masters Men O35

23:58 Paul Pollock Annadale Striders Masters Men O35

Master Women O35 6,000m

22:16 Jennifer Elvin Finn Valley A.C. Masters Women O35

22:16 Claire Mcguigan Lifford Strabane A.C. Masters Women O35

23:12 Helen Mccready Rosses A.C. Masters Women O35

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