Mark Hanrahan prevails to equal Tony O’Leary record

After taking a commanding lead on the second lap, Mark Hanrahan won his seventh Cork County senior cross-country title, at Carrigadrohid. 
Mark Hanrahan prevails to equal Tony O’Leary record

He equalled the record number of victories, held by his club-mate, Tony O’Leary.

After the first of the five laps of the 10kms, a group of eight were bunched together, with East Cork’s Sean McGrath leading the way. However, Hanrahan surged clear and, at the end of the second circuit, held a lead of 26 seconds.

With a lap to go, he was almost a minute ahead, but, in the battle for second, Michael Harty (East Cork) pulled away from defending champion, Ben Thistlewood (Leevale), and, at the finish, had reduced Hanrahan’s margin to 35 seconds.

But there was no disputing the superiority of Hanrahan, who won his first senior title in 2005.

“I wanted to push it on after the first lap, and I felt comfortable enough after that,” said the 31-year-old, who now targets the national inter-clubs, at the end of November, where selection for the European Championships, in Italy, will be up for grabs.

Harty repeated his second-place of last year and was happy to finish ahead of defending champion, Thistlewood.

“I’m happy enough. This elusive title has evaded me for now, but, hopefully, my time will come.” With their four scoring runners in the top eight, Leevale were easy winners of the team title, for the 24th time, with East Cork finishing second and St Finbarr’s third.

Michelle Finn made it a good day for the Leevale club, with a hat-trick of wins in the senior women’s race, finishing around 250 metres clear of her team-mate, Sinead O’Connor, with Martina Kiely, of St Finbarr’s, in third.

Meanwhile Olympic oarswoman, Sinead Jennings, finished second in the annual St Michael’s Rowing club 10K, on the streets of Limerick yesterday, to raise club funds and to assist a number of charities. The men’s race was won by Julio Castro.

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