Thirty-three clubs and 80 teams competed. Carol Finn got Leevale’s ladies off to a good start, with a 5:11 opening-mile leg, handing over to Lizzie Lee, who extended their advantage with a 10:53 two-mile leg. Next up was Michelle Finn, who took Leevale to victory with a 5:01 leg, giving them a 31-second margin over Crusaders, who edged Sli Cualann for second.
In the men’s race, a record-breaking three-mile leg, from Raheny’s Mick Clohisey, of 14:04, proved pivotal in helping them to gold for the first time in five years, with Mark Kirwan, Kieran Kelly, and Daire Bermingham also playing their parts. Raheny came home 18 seconds clear of Ennis Track, with Kilkenny City Harriers in third.
John Travers, of Donore Harriers, equalled Clohisey’s record on the three-mile leg, helping his team to fifth, while the Dublin club had cause for celebration in the masters events, winning the M35 race in 19:34. Raheny were victorious in both men’s and women’s over-50 races, while Wicklow club, Sli Cualann, edged a close race to win the W35.
Elsewhere over the weekend, Marcus Lawler was the star performer at the Irish Universities Championships, the Carlow IT student smashing the intervarsity record, running 20.98 in the men’s 200m. Lawler also took victory in the 100m, running 10.58 seconds, aided by a tailwind of 3.70 m/s.
Sisters Joan and Phil Healy, of UCC, also impressed. Joan narrowly beat Phil in the 100m, 11.64 to 11.66, while Phil proved a cut above the 200m field, winning in 23.93, ahead of DCU’s Sarah McCarthy (24.25). Phil closed the competition with a memorable anchor leg in the 4x400m, overcoming a huge deficit to hand UCC victory over UL.
UL’S Michelle Finn proved her Olympic preparations are on track. She set a record of 9:54.88 in the 3,000m steeplechase.