Roberts and Murphy top individual podium as TCD and UL take team honours


It was DCU’s Róise Roberts and UL’s Niall Murphy that came away victorious at the Irish University Athletics Association Cross Country Championships on Saturday, 9th of March. Both recently graduated from the junior ranks, they showed maturity and astute racing tactics beyond their years to claim their first intervarsity titles on a brilliant day of athletics hosted by Queen’s University Belfast.

The women’s race got underway at 2pm and was tightly fought for the majority of the 5000m distance. Aoife McGreevy (UCD) led a lead group of 7 athletes through the first lap, the UCD athlete joined by teammate Amy Pollman-Daamen, while DCU packed 3 athletes into the lead pack in Amy Greene, Róise Roberts and Avril Millerick. 2023’s bronze medallist Hannah Gilliland (QUB) tracked every move made, as did previous silver medallist Celine Gavin (TCD). 7 became 6 through the 2nd lap, before Amy Greene (DCU) made what looked like a decisive move as the group approached the final mile. However, it was her DCU teammate and 2023 silver medallist Róise Roberts who led into the 2nd field, working hard to open a gap on Gilliland and Gavin which in the end, wouldn’t be narrowed. Roberts and Gilliland upgraded their podium positions from last year, while Celine Gavin (TCD) added another IUAA podium finish to her collection in 3rd. Behind Gavin, TCD’s women packed extremely well; Sophie Jackman (6th), Evelyn Coughlan (11th) and Joanne Loftus (14th) finished strongly to regain the team title after previously winning three-in-a-row from 2020-2022.

The men’s race followed suit at 2.35pm, with 123 athletes taking to the line. The rain and increasing muck coupled with the large number of entries made the 1st lap a technical challenge as athletes navigated tight bends and tricky terrain as the field spread out over the 8000m distance. Seasoned IUAA performer Pierre Murchan (TCD) led out proceedings, followed closely by a trio of DCU athletes in Cathal O’Reilly, Seán McGinley and Harry Colbert. UL’s Niall Murphy and Oisín Spillane were keen to repeat their team victory from last year and showed their intentions early on, as did Paul Hartnett (UCC) and Éanna Moynihan Ó Brádaigh (UCD). The leading group remained unchanged through the 2nd and 3rd lap, before whittling down to UL, DCU and TCD representation as the final lap approached. In a closely fought last lap, it was the 19 year old Niall Murphy (UL) who won out to take gold, with Seán McGinley (DCU) and Pierre Murchan (TCD) joining him on the podium in 2nd and 3rd.  While DCU packed 3 athletes into the top 6, it was the strength and depth of UL’s team that won out in the battle for intervarsity honours, their 6-scoring athletes placing in the top 22 to secure back-to-back men’s XC team titles for the Munster University. Intervarsity athletics returns to Belfast next month for the IUAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by University of Ulster on the 5th and 6th of April.

Results Summary

Women’s results

1st  Róise Roberts (DCU)

2nd Hannah Gilliland (QUB)

3rd Celine Gavin (TCD)

Team Results

1st TCD – Celine Gavin, Sophie Jackman, Evelyn Coughlan, Joanne Loftus

2nd UCD - Aoife McGreevy, Susie Nestor, Amy Pollman Daamen, Laura Cooney

3rd DCU - Róise Roberts, Avril Millerick, Niamh Brady, Ellen McLoughlin

Men’s Results

Men’s results

  1. Niall Murphy (UL)
  2. Sean McGinley (DCU)
  3. Pierre Murchan (TCD)

Team results

1st UL - Niall Murphy, Oisín Spillane, Mark Hanrahan, Barry Conway, Luke Purcell, Damien Madigan

2nd DCU - Seán McGinley, Cathal O’Reilly, Harry Colbert, Michael Murphy, Seamus Anderson, Jack McMahon

3rd UG - Oisín Murray, Aaron Brennan, Oisín Davis, Donal Farren, Luke Johnston, Gerard Dunne

Report provided by Donnchadh MacAodha IUAA

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