EVERARD AND DALTON GOLDEN IN GOWRAN
Fiona Everard (Bandon AC) and Cormac Dalton (Mullingar Harriers) claimed their first national senior titles at the 123.ie National Cross Country Championships in Gowran, Co Kilkenny this afternoon (Nov 19th).
Both Everard and Dalton coped best in the tough conditions with both athletes ultimately going on to claim impressive wins over the new 9,000m distance.
The women’s race saw the quartet of Everard, Mary Mulhare (Portlaoise AC), Danielle Donegan (Tullamore AC), and Fionnula Ross (Armagh AC) race clear of the field at the mid-way point before an injection of pace from Everard saw her stretch clear of the field to claim gold with almost 40 seconds to spare on second place Mulhare, and third placed Donegan.
It completes a remarkable twelve months for the Bandon athlete who only last year claimed the national novice cross country title in what were every bit as challenging as today’s muddy underfoot conditions.
Speaking after the race Everard said: “I’m still trying to let it sink in, I’m so thrilled with the win. I knew I could be competitive and hoped to make the plane to Euro Cross which I thought would be my ultimate goal in a best-case scenario, but I never thought I’d win it.”
Everard continued: “It was pretty tough out there but I do tend to run well when its like that so I told myself that I should like the mud and I was prepared. I couldn’t really enjoy the run in because I was waiting for someone to come past me, so I was just willing myself to get to the line”.
“I’ve had a lot of good people around me this year and I’m so happy it’s helped me achieve this today. I’m sure this will sink in at some stage and I’ll have to get over it pretty quick to focus on Euro Cross but I will enjoy it”.
Dublin City Harriers were led home by Edel Monaghan (9th) to claim the team title with an impressive showing which saw 4 athletes finish in the top 16.
The men’s race was one of the most anticipated in some time and all of the likely contenders took to the start line for what turned out to be an enthralling spectacle.
A slow opening lap had the field well packed before a surge from Hugh Armstrong (Ballina AC) and Kevin Mulcaire (Ennis Track) really spread open the field. A chasing pack including Cormac Dalton, Keelan Kilrehill (Moy Valley AC), Efrem Gidey (Clonliffe) and Darragh McElhinney (Bandon AC) soon found themselves in single file as the pace quickened up front. A race defining surge from Dalton saw him close in on the leading pair where he sat patiently before unleashing a race winning kick on the run for home.
Speaking after the race Dalton said: “This means everything to me and everyone who has supported me through the years. A few years ago I lost the novice with 20 metres to go so I haven’t stood up on the podium for twelve years but I always dreamed that the next time I did it would be for a big one”.
Dalton continued: “I knew I’d be there abouts but I really didn’t know how it would pan out. There was quality throughout the field, and it took me a bit by surprise with the Kevin and Hugh pushed the pace early on and made it really hard, but I said I’d hang on as long as I could. I thought I’d go for home on the last lap but then decided to wait as long as I could and it worked so I couldn’t be happier, it’s the stuff of dreams”.
Kevin Mulclaire would push Dalton all the way to the line to pick up silver, with a resurgent Hugh Armstrong getting his just rewards for his brave run with bronze.
Kilkenny’s Peter Lynch would lead home a super showing for Kilkenny City Harriers who claimed pipped North Belfast Harriers for the 2023 team title.
In the men’s U-20 race, Niall Murphy (Ennis Track) ran away from the field to back up his recent Autumn Open win in impressive fashion. Jonas Stafford (Ashford AC) continued his progress to stay on for silver while Harry Colbert took home bronze to Waterford AC.
Candour Track Club’s Nick Griggs had to unfortunately withdraw midrace through illness.
Anna Gardiner (East Down AC) claimed the U20 women’s title in one of the races of the day. Gardiner had a cat and mouse tussle with Finn Valley’s Amy Greene for much of the race before getting the better of her rival down the home straight in a thrilling finish.
There was no also shortage of drama and quality action during the morning session. Emer McKee (Willowfield Harriers) got the better of Emily Bolton (Donore Harriers AC) and Clara Casey (Foyle Valley) in a quality U16 race, while Frey Renton (Westport AC) continued to impress in the U14 category. Moy Valley AC had a day to remember with Roxane Sands and Daniel Gallagher claiming their respective U12 titles to open the day’s proceedings.
Senior Men 9,000m
2 Kevin MULCAIRE Ennis Track Club 00:31:10
3 Hugh ARMSTRONG Ballina AC 00:31:14
Senior Women 9,000m
1 Fiona EVERARD Bandon AC 00:36:32
2 Mary MULHARE Portlaoise AC 00:37:09
3 Danielle DONEGAN Tullamore AC 00:37:10 FU23
U23 Men 9,000m
1 Oisin SPILLANE Ennis Track Club 00:32:31 MU23
2 Callum MORGAN Candour Track Club 00:32:47 MU23
3 Matthew LAVERY North Belfast Harriers 00:32:53 MU23
U23 Women 9,000m
1 Danielle DONEGAN Tullamore AC 00:37:10 FU23
2 Aoife COFFEY Lucan Harriers 00:40:25 FU23
3 Eimear MAHER DSD AC 00:40:58 FU23
U20 Men 5,000m
1 Niall MURPHY 00:17:12 M U20 Ennis Track A.C.
2 Jonas STAFFORD 00:17:13 M U20 U.C.D. A.C.
3 Harry COLBERT 00:17:41 M U20 Waterford A.C.
U18 Boys 5,000m
1 Caolan MCFADDEN 00:18:18 Boys U18 Cranford A.C.
2 Cormac DIXON 00:18:28 Boys U18 Tallaght A.C.
3 Finn DIVER 00:18:33 Boys U18 Beechmount Harriers A.C.
U20 Women 5,000m
2 Amy GREENE 00:20:37 F U20 Finn Valley A.C.
3 Kirsty MAHER 00:21:06F U20 Moy Valley A.C.
U18 Girls 5,000m
1 Anna GARDINER 00:20:30 Girls U18 East Down A.C.
2 Lucy FOSTER 00:21:32 Girls U18 Willowfield Harriers
3 Annabel MORRISON 00:21:39 Girls U18 Enniskillen R.C.
1 Declan O'CONNELL Craughwell A.C. 14:33
2 Odhran MCBREARTY Finn Valley A.C. 14:37
3 Dáire MATHEWS Dunleer A.C. 14:38
1 Emer MCKEE Willowfield Harriers 16:07
2 Emily BOLTON Donore Harriers A.C. 16:27
3 Clara CASEY Foyle Valley A.C. 16:31
1 Ryan VICKERS 748 Farranfore Maine Valley A.C.
2 Ethan BRAMHILL 708 Greystones and District A.C.
3 Eoin MCGUIRK 648 Lusk A.C.
1 Freya RENTON 417 Westport A.C.
2 Madison WELBY 555 City of Lisburn A.C.
3 Holly RENTON 418 Westport A.C.
1 Daniel GALLAGHER 218 Moy Valley A.C.
2 Daniel GREENE 267 Kilkenny City Harriers A.C.
3 Danny DAVIS 242 Clongriffin A.C.
1 Roxane SANDS 29 Moy Valley A.C.
2 Ailbhe FINUCANE 68 Templeogue A.C.
3 Grace TIGHE 30 Moy Valley A.C.
- Full Results: Juvenile HERE - Senior, Junior, & U18 HERE
- Athletics Ireland would like to thank Gowran AC for hosting the 2023 123.ie National Cross Country Championships
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