Ciobanu and McCambridge give powerful performances

Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers) yesterday retained his Ballycotton 10 mile road race title with a powerful display in East Cork.

The Moldovan finished in 49:20 — 16 seconds faster than his winning time last year.

Fresh from his silver medal performance in Sunday’s Woodie’s National inter-clubs cross country championships in Santry, Ciobanu raced into an early lead, covering the first mile in 4:48.

Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders) attempted to match strides with Ciobanu in the first two miles but he was unable to live with the pace at the front.

Hamilton finished second in 50:24 with home favourite James McCarthy (East Cork AC) the first local runner to finish in the top three since John Kearney was third in 1999.

Ciobanu admitted: “I still had a little tiredness in my legs following on from the cross-country championships but I’m very pleased with my winning performance.

“There was a lot of support out on the course and event though it was a bit windy at times. I felt pretty strong throughout.”

Ciobanu, working in Ireland for the past six years, heads to next month’s Rotterdam marathon chasing an Olympic A qualifying standard of 2 hours 15 minutes. He said: “If I were to get the qualifying standard I would be running for Moldova, my home country.”

Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny AC) dominated the women’s race, winning in a personal best of 54:48, a course record. This was a huge morale boost for McCambridge who runs in the Rome marathon in a fortnight.

“I am thrilled with the time and the performance tells me that I am in with a chance of achieving the Olympic A qualifying standard for the marathon in Rome,” McCambridge said.

The course record also earned McCambridge a €500 bonus to add to her €500 winning prize. Last year’s winner, Lizzie Lee (Leevale AC) finished second in 57:17 while Rosemary Ryan (Bilboa AC) was third in 59:08.

There were over 2,500 finishers in yesterday’s Ballycotton race.

Meanwhile, Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers) raced to victory in yesterday’s Meath Spring Half Marathon in Bohermeen in 70:51 ahead of Peter Mooney, (Raheny Shamrock AC), 73:44 and Paul O’Connell, (Sportsworld), 74:02. Former Olympian Pauline Curley of Tullamore Harriers won the women’s race in 78:58 . Michael Shannon (Amphian King) won Saturday’s Saucony Rock and Road Half Marathon in Kinvara in 70:14.

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