Thick fog made life tough for the athletes who travelled to Tullaroan for Sunday’s county intermediate championships and even age juvenile relays, but Gowran and Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) stayed on course to take the honours.
The men’s intermediate race was competitive right from the start. Dean Rowe (Gowran), Mossie Roantree (KCH), Jonathan Crowley (St Senan’s) Danny Shanahan (Thomastown) and Peter Barry (St Joseph’s) formed the leading pack from 500m after the start.
With five clubs represented it also made for an interesting race for the team competition, which was heating up nicely behind the leaders.
As the athletes rounded the first bend it was still the front five locked together with Shane Noonan (Gowran) and Michael Ryan (St Joseph’s) just 40 metres behind this group. Both tried to close the gap but failed to do so, leaving it looking like St Joseph’s and Gowran would battle for the top team honours.
Moving onto the next lap Dean Rowe looked very comfortable out in front. He shared the lead with Roantree and Crowley, but Shanahan and Barry were right on their shoulder.
Climbing the hill the fog took on a new turn and seemed to hang lower than it had previously. Shane Noonan and Michael Ryan could not see the leading pack as the fog had rapidly enveloped them into obscurity. It was hard to know who was on your shoulder in conditions like this.
With almost 3km of the race completed, the supporting crowd had virtually no visibility until the athletes happened upon them. More stewards were sent to man the course, giving directions at much-needed intervals.
With 5km completed Dean Rowe started to edge slightly ahead, precariously at first, as visibility was now down to 10m and rapidly decreasing. Another 500m and he too had faded from view. Behind the quartet, anxious to keep each other in sight, increased the pace as they chased Rowe down.
With 7km competed Rowe was by now a clear leader, with Crowley and Roantree battling it out for second and third spots. Down the field the team event had been given a shakeup, with Gowran and Thomastown now in contention for the honours.
Racing down the finishing straight to rapturous applause, Dean Rowe crossed the line to be crowned winner of the county intermediate title. Mossie Roantree was second with Jonathan Crowley third. The team title went to Gowran, with Thomastown second and St Joseph’s third.
The fog was also an ever-present for the women’s event, which proved to be an interesting competition.
Rumours were rife early in the day that St Senan’s were going to send Aoife Allen, while KCH were sending Annie Richardson to compete. This sparked off conversations about a KCH/St Senan’s head-on battle for the team event.
In the end neither athlete competed, as they were in training for the National Schools All-Irelands, leaving KCH and Thomastown as the main rivals for the event.
There was a great turnout for the race with plenty lining up for a shot at the county title. KCH duo Catriona Muldowney, Caoimhe Foley exploded from the line when the gun went off, with Thomastown’s O’Keeffe sisters, Sinead and Orla, also off to a great start.
The Harriers pair quickly formed an alliance and were edging out in front with Mary Steele (Kings River) now slipping into the third spot.
Caroline Mullally (St Joseph’s) also mounted a challenge, trying to keep the leading ladies within visibility.
In the end it was Catriona Muldowney who emerged ahead on the finishing straight, running on as the clear winner of the women’s 3km intermediate county title.
Her clubmate Caoimhe Foley was second with Mary Steele (Kings River) getting the better of Caroline Mullally (St Joseph’s) in the battle for bronze. The team event was won by KCH with Thomastown second.
The juvenile relays were a very exciting event, with some races featuring up to 12 teams. These are non-championship races designed to encourage children to participate in a hybrid of cross-country and track conditions.
For the younger ages, where indoor championships are still a little out of their reach, these relay races provide much-needed competition to fill that gap between cross-country and track and field.
Abigail Daly (Castlecomer) was the first winner of the day when she took the spoils in the girls’ under-8 200m, while Darragh O’Callaghan (KCH) just edged out local athlete Lory Hogan (Tullaroan) in the boys’ race.
The first relay event was the girls’ under-10 race, where Barrow Harriers took the gold. Barrow Harriers have a great batch of girls in this age group - in fact they had three teams in this race alone. Thomastown were second, fighting a great battle all the way.
Barrow Harriers almost made it a double when they challenged Gowran for top honours in the boys’ under-10 race. However Gowran proved a little too strong, edging ahead to take the gold.
KCH won both races at under-12 level, with Barrow Harriers having four teams in the girls’ race. KCH also took the girls’ titles at under-14 and under-16 levels. Castlecomer won the boys’ under-14 race with St Joseph’s winning the boys’ under-16 event.
Brow Rangers had some fantastic success at the Munster seniors and masters open championships, dominating the throwing events. The club brought home a fine haul of seven medals (four gold, one silver and two bronze).
Joe Kelly won a double gold in the over-50 shot and weight throw with his father Murty winning the over-70 shot and a silver in the weight throw.
This father and son combination are well known for their ability across multiple throwing events, a tradition that has now entered its fifth generation.
Sean Maher was the other gold medal winner when he won the senior men’s weight throwing event.
Two Kilkenny athletes performed with distinction in the USA.
Aoibhe Richardson ran 9.21 for 3km, taking 10 seconds off her 3km personal best, when she was second in group two of the Perri-Mountain Pacific Conference.
Aoife is in final few months of her sojourn at the University of Portland where she has been resident for almost three years now. She will compete over 3km and 5km over the coming few months before finally tackling the 10km track event again.
Meanwhile competing for Tulsa University in Oklahoma, Peter Lynch competed in the NCAA Indoor Conference meet in Birmingham, Alabama. He ran a new personal best for the 5000m when he finished in fourth place in 14.35.
Results, county intermediate championships and even age juvenile relays (club code: BH = Barrow Harriers, CC = Castlecomer, G = Gowran, KCH = Kilkenny City Harriers, KR = Kings River, SJ = St Joseph’s, SS = St Senan’s, TT = Thomastown:)
Girls’ Under-8: 1 Abigail Daly (CC), 2 Aoibheann Leahy (KCH), 3 Ella O’Flaherty (KCH), 4 Kate Cunningham (KCH), 5 Rachel Hogan (KCH).
Boys’ Under-8: 1 Darragh O’Callaghan (KCH), 2 Lory Hogan (TR), 3 David Hogan (KCH), 4 Richie Mullally (SJ), 5 Eddie Bolger (BH), 6 Joey Bolger (BH), 7 Adam O’Brien (BH), 8 Darragh Browne (KCH), 9 Charlie Cullen (BH), 10 Liam Lavin (BH), 11 Donnacha Burns (KCH), 12 Calum Cuddihy (BH), 13 Tommy O’Hanlon (SS), 14 Dylan Guilfoyle (KCH).
Girls’ Under-10 Relay: 1 Barrow Harriers, 2 Thomastown, 3 St Joseph’s, 4 Gowran, 5 KCH, 6 Castlecomer, 7 Gowran, 8 St Joseph’s, 9 Gowran, 10 KCH, 11 Barrow Harriers, 12 Barrow Harriers.
Boys’ Under-10 Relay: 1 Gowran, 2 Barrow Harriers, 3 KCH, 4 St Senan’s, 5 St Joseph’s, 6 Tullaroan, 7 KCH, 8 Castlecomer, 9 KCH, 10 Barrow Harriers, 11 St Senan’s, 12 Barrow Harriers.
Girls’ Under-12 Relay: 1 KCH, 2 KCH, 3 St Joseph’s, 4 Barrow Harriers, 5 KCH, 6 KCH, 7 Castlecomer, 8 Barrow Harriers, 9 Barrow Harriers, 10 St Joseph’s, 11 Barrow Harriers, 12 Castlecomer.
Boys’ Under-12 Relay: 1 KCH, 2 Gowran, 3 Barrow Harriers, 4 Castlecomer, 5 Tullaroan, 6 St Joseph’s, 7 Gowran, 8 Castlecomer.
Girls’ Under-14 Relay: 1 KCH, 2 St Joseph’s, 3 Castlecomer, 4 St Senan’s.
Boys’ Under-14 Relay: 1 Castlecomer.
Girls’ Under-16 Relay: 1 KCH.
Boys’ Under-16 Relay: 1 St Joseph’s.
Intermediate Women: 1 Catriona Muldowney (KCH), 2 Caoimhe Foley (KCH), 3 Mary Steed (KR), 4 Caroline Mullally (SJ), 5 Sinead O’Keeffe (TT), 6 Lisa Brennan (KCH), 7 Orla O’Keeffe (TT), 8 Maria Cormack (KCH), 9 Kathryn Kennedy (G), 10 Kate O’Brien (G), 11 Frances Mullally (SJ), 12 Sile O’Callaghan (KCH), 13 Kate Millea (KCH), 14 Gretta Kennedy (G), 15 Oonagh Guilfoyle (KCH), 16 Niamh O’Shea (TT), 17 Emer Lyng (SJ), 18 Claire McDonald (G), 19 Maggie Helen O’Connor (SJ), 20 Helen Horan (G), 21 Joya Burns (KCH), 22 Irma Moore (TT).
Teams: 1 KCH, 2 Thomastown, 3 Gowran, 4 St Joseph’s, 5 KCH.
Intermediate Men: 1 Dean Rowe (G), 2 Mossie Roantree (KCH), 3 Jonathan Crowley (SS), 4 Danny Shanahan (TT), 5 Peter Barry (SJ), 6 Shane Noonan (G), 7 Michael Ryan (SJ), 8 Johan Muller (G), 9 Neil Shanahan (TT), 10 Tom Walsh (TT), 11 Philip Fennelly (KR), 12 Joey Duggan (SJ), 13 Vivian Fennelly (KR), 14 John Davis (TT), 15 Adrian Cunningham (G), 16 Stephen O’Connor (SJ), 17 Tony Lauhoff (KCH), 18 Gerry Walsh (TT), 19 Bill Carroll (TT), 20 Richard Ryan (TT), 21 Jim Murray (KCH), 22 Declan Walsh (KCH).
Teams: 1 Gowran, 2 Thomastown, 3 St Joseph’s, 4 KCH.
Results, Munster seniors and masters championships:
Men’s Weight Throw: Senior - 1 Sean Maher. Under-23 - 2 Patrick Darcy, 3 Ciaran Coady. Over-50 - 1 Joe Kelly. Over-70 - 2 Murty Kelly.
Men’s Shot: Under-23 - 3 Patrick Darcy, 4 Ciaran Coady. Over-50 - 1 Joe Kelly. Over-70 - 1 Murty Kelly.
Women’s Weight throw: Senior - 3 Aoife Coady.
March 9: All-Ireland schools cross-country, Clane.
March 16: SIAB international schools cross-country, Santry, Dublin.
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.