Hanrahan produces performance to savour

MARK HANRAHAN (Douglas Community School) turned in another power-packed performance to win the Kit Kat Munster Schools senior boys’ cross-country title at St Augustine’s College, Dungarvan, on Saturday and it was a performance to savour.

The serene surroundings of St Augustine’s, the spiritual home of cross-country running in Munster, are always testing whether lightning fast on a dry day or tough and sticky as they were on Saturday, but the manner in which the Cork lad floated over the mud on the back straight was spectacular.

He was challenged up to half way by another outstanding Cork athlete, Jamie McCarthy (Kinsale Community School), who had several of the top UK schoolboys behind him when he finished third in the Reebok international in Cardiff a couple of weeks earlier. He clung to his rival’s shoulder up to that point but when he took the lead on the top turn Hanrahan surged clear again and went on to stamp his authority with ever stride.

McCarthy was a clear second ahead of Colm Turner (Villiers School, Limerick) with Timmy O’Donoghue (Midleton CBS) next ahead of Thomas Maunsell (Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig) and Paul Stephenson (St Declan’s, Kilmacthomas).

Hanrahan is building up to a clash with Mark Christie of Mullingar in the national junior championships in Wicklow at the end of the month, but he appears to have a bright future ahead of him on the track as well. Last year was his first serious season and he turned in times of 8:44 for 3,000m at the Munster schools championships and broke four minutes for 1,500m at Cork City Sports as a 17 year old.

He finished fourth in the inter-counties championships in Donoughmore in December when he was coming off injury and was a runaway winner at the Celtic International in Belfast two weeks ago.

Cathal Dennehy (Ard Scoil Rís, Limerick) led all he way to win the intermediate boys’ title from Cillian O Lionard (DLS, Macroom) and Kevin Egan (St. Joseph’s, Kilkee).

“I like to get in front early on and then relax,” explained the Limerick lad who is coached by Bill Logan and finished second in the national championships in Donoughmore, while Cillian O Lionard, still on a course of antibiotics for a chest infection, admitted he was very happy to be second.

Damien Dunlea (Coláiste Chríost Ri) who would have been favourite to take the title had to opt out with ’flu symptoms.

Aoife McCarthy (Nagle Rice School, Doneraile) was third three times in the Munster schools championships but she finally swept to victory in the senior girls’ race ahead of Maria Jones (St Mary’s, Nenagh) and Maura Heffernan (Scoil Mhuire, Kanturk) with Ailish Geary (Presentation, Bandon), fourth.

Joyce Curtin (Colaiste Eoin, Youghal), a winner at the Celtic International in Belfast two weeks earlier, added another title to her list when she led all the way in the Intermediate girls’ race.

North Monastery continues to dominate the senior boys’ team competition and on Saturday they won the title for a sensational 15th successive year. The All Round Boys’ Trophy went to Midleton CBS and the Girls’ All Round Trophy was won by Ursuline, Thurles.

Elaine O’Donoghue (Riverstick-Kinsale) and Niall Bourke (UCC) were winners of the women’s and men’s individual titles at the Cork County Intermediate Cross-Country championships held at Skibbereen.

Miss O’Donoghue, came back after a two-year lay-off to demolish the field while Niall Bourke was pushed all the way by Tony Kelleher (Eagle) with local man, Billy Flaherty, third. Murphy (Youghal).

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