|Gerry Farnan XC 2009|
It wasn’t just autumn leaves falling from the Sky as the Gold Medals are raining down on the Sportsworld Ladies. Last weeks Dublin novice success was easily equaled and so within seven day’s that’s seen the autumn well and truly kick in another ladies team picked up a second team gold medal……and we are only two races in to the cross country season. The 2009 edition of the Gerry Farnan kicked off with the womens race at 2.15 on the overcast but more importantly dry October Sunday in the Phoenix Park. It was a demanding course as they set off at a ferocious pace along a straight to the magazine fort before turning and taking in some rolling hills before the athletes where then sent down through the woods before looping back to the long, long, long home straight.
The three mile distance involved three laps and three of our athletes mixed it with the best in the leading group. Mary Cullen of North Sligo dominated start to finish and ran away (no pun intended) with the win in 15:34 impressively unopposed. Aoife Brady coming off great track season, looked so comfortable and composed throughout it was as if she was on a cool down, stayed with the leaders and came home in 8th place in 17.11. Lucy D’Arcy who was warming up for the Dublin Marathon this Monday, decided to stretch the legs and flew across the line in 11th, picking up a Gold Medal for her age group just for the craic. Crona Brady who’s been having an outstanding year showed she plans on carrying that form into the cross country season. She has been so strong all year which I like to think was inspired by her trashing me at the Jingle Bells 5km last December to win a tenner. Anyway she stormed home in 13th in 17.44 and thus sealing a Gold Medal for the club in the team event….again! Helen White, after a summer of competitive mountain running, couldn’t believe how flat the course was, had a great race in 18.24 and was rewarded with 3rd place in her age group as was Carol Lynch in 23.41.
Even with the strange sight of Michael Cunningham dressed in Sunday casuals rather then a racing singlet (the man was taking a well earned rest), Sportsworld still managed to put out a strong men’s team. The race was five miles and so five laps of the course. At 3.00 the gun went and 158 of the countries finest men tore off like a herd of startled Buffalo. It was like something off National Geographic as they reached the magazine fort and turned and charged back towards the supporters. Mark Christie of Mullingar A.C. took a deserved victory in a really competitive fast race in 23.32. Paul O’Connell led the line for Sportsworld and like Lucy was warming up for the Dublin Marathon this Monday where he has one eye on the clubs marathon record I’m sure. No pressure. With that in mind he got to the tape in 35th ahead of Phil Kilgannon in 52nd. Phil’s had a summer of injury woes but ran a strong and solid race and showed good form having a blast up the home straight on the last lap. “Mr Cross Country” Paul Duffy finished close behind Phil in 91st. A great run from a man that hasn’t stopped since last years cross country season and bear in mind he raced last weeks Dublin novice to…..but show that man a muddy field and a race number. Another who was both returning from injury AND preparing for the marathon is Ed McEntee in 104th. Mr reliable took the race in his stride and ran strong consistent laps. There was no more Junior Races for Sean Wall. He tore home just behind Ed after stepping up the grades and running the full 5 miles. A great performance from him.
Also many thanks to everyone who showed up to cheer on the teams to. If no-one is looking pat yourselves on the back. I’m not going to list off everyone but there was a good turn out of red and white jackets and the athletes do appreciate it.