A RECORD-BREAKING performance from Brian Maher helped Kilkenny City Harriers finish their athletic year on a high.
The city club were to the fore at the county senior cross-country championships, which were hosted by Gowran AC on the lands of the O’Donnell family in Bramblestown on Sunday. The Harriers took individual gold in both the men’s and women’s races as well as winning the team events.
Donna Dowling was the clear winner of the women’s 3km race, showing her intent right from the starting gun. Gowran athlete Mary Ellen Doyle had yet another good run to claim the silver medal with Adele Walsh of St Senan’s taking bronze just ahead of her team-mate Aine Kinsella.
There was team gold also for the Harriers, with Catriona Muldowney (5), Esther Kennedy (6) and Kate Millea (7) completing the scoring for the city club. St Senan’s were second, pipping the KCH B to the silver by a single point while Thomastown squeezed in ahead of Gowran to finish fourth.
The Harriers and Gowran renewed rivalries in the battle for the men’s County Shield, a 10km event in which St Senan’s also field a strong side.
Individual honours went to Brian Maher (KCH). Fresh from his involvement in the European cross-country championships he was in control for long spells of the race, but still had to fight off an early challenge from clubmate Eoin Everard.
There was a good battle also for the bronze medal, with Niall Sheehan (Gowran) getting the better of Thos Hayes (KCH).
With three athletes in the top four positions KCH were in a strong position for team honours. Gowran’s scoring athletes all finished in the top 10 - Sheehan, Tommy Evans (6), Mick Kelly (8) and Jimmy Barcoe (10) - but they had to settle for silver as a brilliant run saw Ray Lonergan cross the line in 11th place and secure the title for KCH by nine points.
St Senan’s were led home by Eoin Gahan in fifth place. With good performances from Conor Rochford (7), Sean Caulfield (9) and Luke Morgan (20) their efforts were rewarded with team bronze medals.
Victory was both a record-equalling and a record-breaking performance for Maher. In winning the race for the eighth time he levelled the record held by Bill Lacey (St Senan’s) and Eddie Hartley (Clover AC) and Brian broke his own record of seven in a row which he set in 2011.
The win rounded off a very successful year in athletics for Brian. During the Summer he won the National Senior 10,000m track title. His fourth place finish in the national inter-counties cross-country earned his selection for the Irish men’s cross-country team at the European Championships in Budapest.
Results, county senior cross-country championships (club code: G = Gowran, KCH = Kilkenny City Harriers, SJ = St Joseph’s, SS = St Senan’s, TT = Thomastown)
Senior Women - 1 Donna Dowling (KCH), 1 Mary Ellen Doyle (G), 3 Adele Walsh (SS), 4 Aine Kinsella (SS), 5 Catriona Muldowney (KCH), 6 Esther Kennedy (KCH), 7 Kate Millea (KCH), 8 Maeve O’Connor (TT), 9 Sinead Foley (KCH), 10 Anne Marie O’Grady (KCH), 11 Sheila O’Callaghan (KCH), 12 Margaret Power (TT), 13 Laura Walpole (TT), 14 Anna Doyle (G), 15 Sarah Nolan (KCH), 16 Siobhan O’Dwyer (G), 17 Jo Rockett (SS), 18 Mary Anne Connolly (KCH), 19 Irma Moore (TT), 20 Kelly Irish (SS), 21 Martina Prendergast (G), 22 Lisa Hennessy (G). Teams: 1 KCH A, 19pts; 2 St Senan’s, 44pts; 3 KCH B, 45pts; 4 Thomastown, 52pts; 5 Gowran, 53pts.
Senior Men - 1 Brian Maher (KCH), 2 Eoin Everard (KCH), 3 Niall Sheehan (G), 4 Thos Hayes (KCH), 5 Eoin Gahan (SS) 6 Tommy Evans (G), 7 Conor Rochford (SS), 8 Mick Kelly (G), 9 Sean Caulfield (SS), 10 Jimmy Barcoe (G), 11 Ray Lonergan (KCH), 12 Paul Deegan (G), 13 David Farrell (G), 14 Philip Fennelly (TT), 15 Tom Brennan (G), 16 Ivan McMahon (KCH), 17 Roger Middleton (G), 18 Simon O’Dwyer (G), 19 Rocky Mernagh (SJ), 20 Luke Morgan (SS), 21 Larry Lacey (SJ), 22 Muiris Bric (G), 23 John Smithers (G), 24 Stephen Rossiter (SJ), 25 Trevor Corcoran (Gowran), 26 Bill Carroll (TT), 27 Marty Kelly (G), 28 P.J. Irish (SS), 29 Denis Cormack (G). Teams: 1 KCH, 18pts; 2 Gowran, 27pts; 3 St Senan’s, 41pts; 4 Gowran B, 57pts; 5 Gowran C, 88pts.
People looking for a bit of exercise on Christmas Morning might consider taking part in two charity runs. KCH and Gowran AC have organised two runs for charity on Christmas Day, both in aid of St Vincent de Paul.
The Harriers will start their run from the Kilkenny Design Workshops at 11am. The Gowran run leaves from outside Gowran Church at 11.15am. Both are open to all runners - all that is required is a donation to the chosen charity.