Donore delight at the National Road Relays

IT WAS a momentous day for Donore Harriers at the National Road Relay Championships in Raheny on Sunday as the club recorded a first ever win for their Senior Women’s team, another team gold in the Master Men’s division and a superb runner-up finish for their Senior Men.

In the Senior Women’s contest, run over four miles (one-mile, two-miles and one-mile segments) Sinead Lambe (5.23) got Donore off to a solid start reaching the handover in fourth place, as Crusaders AC took an early lead.

Donore Harriers DHa Senior Women Gold Lambe Cleary Ni Dhomhnaill

Sinead Lambe, Barbara Cleary and Ide Ni Dhomhnaill recorded a first ever victory for thier club in this division of the National Road Relay Championships

After a pivotal tussle with Irish junior international Jodie McCann (10.56) of Dublin City Harriers (DCH) over two miles, 46-years-old Barbara Cleary (10.47) put Donore Harriers just two seconds behind leaders DCH heading into the final one-mile lap.

Final leg runner Ide Ni Dhomhnaill (5.15) soon sped into the lead, putting 21 seconds on her DCH rival to secure Donore (21.25) a historic win, with DCH (21.44) runners-up and North Down AC (22.10) third.

The Donore Harriers B team (23.53) of Karla Doran (5.30), Niamh O’Neill (12.13) and Florence Curley (6.10) finished up 11th.

In the Master M35 men’s race over the same distance, Tristan Druet (4.42) timed his run to perfection as he sprinted past Shane O’Neill (4.43) of Rathfarnham AC to put Ray Hynes in pole position.

Hynes (9.49) gained a six-seconds lead at the final changeover and a fine last lap run by Men’s Captain Rossa Hurley (4.42) ensured Donore retained their title with an overall Championship best time of 19.13 ahead of Rathfarnham AC (19.24) in second and St. Finbarr’s AC (19.41) in third. 

The Donore Harriers M35 B team of Gavin Keogh (5.04), Emmet O’Briain (10.29) and Donal Iremonger (5.18) finished ninth while the M35 C team (21.21) of Craig Scott (5.20), Des Tremble (10.42) and Alan Farrell (5.19) placed 14th.     

The Senior Men’s Race over eight miles (two, one, three and two-mile legs) proved an exciting tussle between reigning champions and host club Raheny Shamrocks AC and Donore, who last won that title in 2015.

Daragh Fitzgibbon (9.33) running laps of 9.47 and 9.46 challenged for the lead early on, but once Raheny’s Kieran Kelly (9.16) put the hammer down the lead group split and Fitzgibbon had to be content with fifth place at the changeover.

Seventeen-year-old Louis O’Loughlin (4.29) made an excellent debut in National Senior competition and gained one place to fourth over his one-mile leg.

And a record-breaking run by John Travers (13.55) over three miles turned a 21-seconds deficit into a two-second advantage for Donore heading into the final leg. 

The closing leg pitted the highly talented Brian Fay of Raheny against Donore’s Eric Keogh, who recently impressed with a 14.20 time and runner-up finish in the Kilkenny 5km.

However, this proved an unenviable task for Keogh (splits of 4.41 and 4.37), as Fay withheld his gutsy challenge to win team gold for Raheny (37.11) ahead of Donore (35.15) and Clonliffe Harriers in third.

The Donore Harriers B team of Michael Ryan (10.14), Javier Romero Ferrara (5.12), Alastair Brown (17.12) and Yugi Cusick (11.04) finished 20th.

Putting the A team’s performance into perspective the 2015 winning team ran 37.52 as per Lee Van Haeften (9.34), Daragh Fitzgibbon (4.31), John Travers (14.07) and Eric Keogh (9.40) whilst the 2019 team in second place ran 37.15.

In the W35 Master race the Donore A team (25.03) of Audrey Gahan (6.10), Barbara Murray (12.42) and Ariana Ball (6.11) took eighth, while the B team (26.22) of Julia Hackett (6.30), Claire Mulligan (13.15) and Cliodhna Carthy (6.37) were two places further back.

In the M50 Master Men’s division the Donore B squad (23.45) consisting of Tom Hickey (6.12), Peter Gaffney (11.45) and Ciaran O’Flaherty (5.48) crossed the line in seventh with the A team (25.11) consisting of Ken Cronin (6.24), Peter Nugent (12.37) and Tom Fagan (6.10) 13th.

Ciaran O’Flaherty, 15th and the fourth scoring man in the Donore team that last won the National Senior Cross-Country Team title back in 1993, was running in his first race in more than 10 years.  

Elsewhere Ken Norgrove ran a brilliant 2:36:22 in the London Marathon (28.04.2019) to take silver in the 50-55 age-category.

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