PARISH RULE was to the fore as a number of the Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) went up against each other in the Community Games cross-country finals.
The finals, which were held in the Castle Park on Saturday, saw some fine performances in the under-12 and under-14 boys’ and under-12 girls’ races.
Sean Burke won gold in the under-12 600m boys’ race, while Rory MacGabhan claimed silver. Sean took an impressive lead from the start and held his position all through, but battled hard to hold on to first place when his KCH club-mate Rory put the pressure on with a great sprint in the last 100m.
In the under-12 girls’ race Eimear Leahy, who ran with KCH last season, also put in a great performance when taking the lead from the start. Eimear also had to battle for the finish line when KCH’s Ella Richardson changed gear in the last 60m and battled home to draw for first place.
Shane McGeary and Orla Leahy gave great performances to win the under-14 boys’ and girls’ races respectively. Sean, Eimear and Orla represented Urlingford, while Rory, Ella and Shane represented St John’s.
A number of other KCH athletes won medals in the under-8 and under-10 races. Girls’ under-8: 1 Siofra Ni Chasaide, 2 Niamh Phelan, 3 Sarah O’Gorman, 4 Meabh Richardson, 5 Anna Butler. Boys’ under-8: 1 Cormac Burke. Girls’ under-10: 1 Niamh O’Shaughnessy, 2 Sadhbh Ni Chasaide, 3 Molly O’Shea, 4 Ellen Fitzgerald, 5 Cait Whelan.
Club action resumes in Freshford on Sunday with round two of the cross-country relays and the short course cross-country races for men and women.
The programme for the day, which starts at 11am, will be individual races for boys and girls in the under-7 and under-9 categories, 3x250m relay races for boys and girls under-11 and under-13, 3x500m relay races for boys and girls under-15 and under-17, followed by the women’s 2km and men’s 4km races.
These races provide a great introduction to the sport of cross-country running. For juveniles, the team relay events provide great excitement for competitors and spectators alike.
A number of club athletes hit the roads for the annual Ballycotton 10 at the weekend. One of the best known open road races on the calendar, the event attracts a large number of entries to Cork each year. There is a carnival atmosphere, as all local roads are closed for an event which, this year, had a total of 2,609 finishers.
The winning time in the men’s race was 49 minutes 20 seconds and in the women’s race 54 minutes 48 seconds. The first Kilkenny athlete to cross the finish line was Gowran’s Val Gunner, who posted an excellent time of 58.54 to finish in 66th place. Others to post good times were KCH athletes Paul Moran (60.28), Johann Dewberry (62.41) and Davie Hogan (64.20). Seamus Murphy (KCH) will be pleased enough with his time of 69 minutes as he works his way back to full fitness.
There were some great performances from the county’s women, with Anne Marie O’Grady completing the distance in 69.05 to finish in 14th position. Irene Hennebry was third in the F45 section with a time of 71.11, Lisa Maher (KCH) was 30th in 1 hr 14 mins while Martina Prendergast (Gowran) ran 1 hr 23 mins to finish 25th at F45 level.
Irish 400m record holder Joanne Cuddihy (KCH) was the winner of the Melbourne Track Classic. Joanne took the gold when crossing the line in a time of 52.37 seconds.
Just for good measure, her sister Catriona set a new personal best of 55.83 at the same meeting.
The Kilkenny Fit4life Programme, which began in 2006, has had considerable success in furthering the fitness levels of many in the community. Additionally new friendships have been formed and various local charities have benefited from their fund-raising activities. This good work is set to continue as ten members of the club recently completed an Athletics Leader course organised by Athletics Ireland.
While most members are happy to meet and train a couple of times per week, others have become adventurous and are doing things they never dreamed of. Twenty-five club stalwarts, led by Karen Ryan, ran the Paris half-marathon on Sunday, recording some excellent times. Barbara Rossiter completed the course in 1.34.36, Donna Dowling 1.40.12, Anne-Marie Kavanagh 1.46.02, Jo Scobie 1.52.57 and Kathy Carter in 1.56.25. A few even managed to get tickets for the rescheduled rugby match. Fourteen other club members, with Irene Henebry at the helm, stayed a little closer to home as they headed South for the annual Ballycotton 10.
The next big event will be the staging of The St Patrick’s Weekend Dash. This is the third year of this 5km walk/jog/run, which this year starts at the Watershed at 11am on Sunday, March 18. Entry fee is E10 for adults, E5 for juveniles and E20 for families.
Participants can register at Scanlon Park during club training time on Tuesdays (7.30 to 9.30pm), Thursdays (6.30 to 8.30pm) and Saturday (9 to 10am). The final registrations on the day will close at 10.45am.
There will be prizes for first three men, first three women, first three junior boys and first three junior girls. There will also be many spot prizes and a prize for the best dressed. All proceeds from this year’s event will be divided between The O’Neill Centre and Kilkenny & Irish Sudden Infant Death Association (ISIDA).
The club will be in action on the charity route again at lunch-time on Monday, April 2 when it co-ordinates Ray Darcy’s Run with Ray over the same route and distance.