Dunshaughlin 10km 2009

Over 10 Sportsworld runners made the trip to county meath for the 30th annual Michael Manning Memorial 10km evening last Saturday evening. When we left Bushy Park at 6 o’clock it felt more like midday in Lanzarote than a June evening in South Dublin. Thankfully by the time we arrived, highly motivated thanks to Paul Duffy’s music choices it had cooled down.

With a slight delay to the start there was plenty of time for a good warm up. The atmosphere at the start on the new link road just off the N3 was to be savoured. Very often you’re not too excited before you get going, but you feel good after you’re done. It felt a bit different on Saturday with everyone enjoying the summer sun and great atmosphere.

The field headed off at a very fast pace in what was now slightly cooler conditions. If some runners were still feeling the heat, Paul O’Connell wasn’t showing any signs of distress, by the time the leading pack of runners reached the 1 mile mark in a blistering 4mins 41sces, a quartet of Brian Maher, Tommy Evans, Peter Matthews and Paul had emerged from the main field as serious contenders for the event.

Paul continued his progress going through the 5K marker in 15:32.56 a time that very few people in the club would get close to in a 5K. By the time the first 5K had been completed it became clear that Clonliffes Noel Cullen course record (29.21) which was set back in 2000 was safe. By now the eventual 1st and 2nd place finishers Brian Maher and Tommy Evans had pulled slightly ahead. Increasing the gap in the second half of the race Kilkenny man and Irish international cross country athlete Maher led home the field in a time of 30.17. The women’s race was won convincingly by Annette Kealy in just under 35 minutes.

Paul O’ Connell led a fast improving Sportsworld team home in an incredible 31:44 finishing 4th overall. He was follow by Phil Kilgannon 32:37, a bit further back was Paul Duffy 34:11, Michael Cunningham 34:44 and Gareth Murran 35:11. Joe Byrne 38:07 and Lucy Darcy 38:25 both came in around the 38 minute mark. Jakub Splawski went over the finish line in a fast 40:22 after completing somewhat of a mini triathlon on Saturday. Stephen Willoughby 40:49, Dave Clarke 41:39 and Eoin O’Brien 44:03 completed a strong Sportsworld line-up. Everyone seemed very happy with new PB’s for almost all the team. There was even a guest appear by Will now sporting a Limerick AC singlet.

Just before 10 o’clock the prize giving got underway. With a prize fund of over €2,000 for the top finishers in the various categories Sportsworld did extremely well with Paul O’Connell taking 4th place in the men’s, Lucy taking 1st in the women’s over 40 and the men’s team had a very convincing win with our top 4 Paul O’Connell, Phil Kilgannon, Paul Duffy and Michael Cunningham all running very fast times.

As in previous years, the organisation came together with military efficiency to ensure that the almost 500 runners taking part would leave with no cause for complaint. It seemed as though the whole of Dunsaughlin had come out to line the route, and their support, coupled with complete lack of traffic, put a spring in the step of the runners as they made their way round the wonderfully scenic course. It’s easy to see why the race has become one of Ireland favourite 10K road races.

Many Dunshaughlin virgins like me must have been delighted as they turned the first, second and then third corner to see the race followed a flat course. Despite changes in the town because of the M3 motorway, the course remains much the same, it still has a hill or two between the 7th and 9th kilometres but nothing too challenging.

The celebrations continued late into the night in McSorley’s of Ranelagh’s with the cup attracting lots of attention from the local talent. I think it’s safe to say we will be back to defend our title next year, hopefully with a full women’s team to complete the double. Pictures to follow.

Full list of finishing times:
1.Paul O’Connell 31:44.75
2.Phil Kilgannon 32:37.85
3.Paul Duffy 34:11.14
4.Michael Cunningham 34:44.47
5.Gareth Murran 35:11.41
6.Joe Byrne 38:07.76
7.Lucy Darcy 38:25.09
8.Jakub Splawski 40:22.18
9.Stephen Willoughby 40:49.07
10.Dave Clarke 41:39.92
11.Eoin O’Brien 44:03.79

Report by
Gareth Murran