Summer's here as competition heats up in East Cork!

April 23, 2024

The Ballintotis 4-mile race signifies the official start of Summertime for many in the Cork running community. Guaranteed sunshine and large crowds socialising long after the race finish. Superbly executed, it has all the hallmarks of a big city race, complete with starting pens, bunting and music, scaled perfectly to the picturesque village in East Cork. This year’s race also incorporated the county Senior, Novice and Masters Championships and it was seamless, the 1166 finishers all playing their part in the excitement of the double race, with many well-known athletes competing in Ballintotis for the first time and many who had not competed in the County Championships previously making their debut in the event.

Carraig Na Bhfear AC were out in force with a record 22 athletes competing. Our Women’s team stole the show with Faye O’Riordan leading the way with an excellent time of 25:20 to finish as 6th female overall and win the Junior prize in the Ballintotis race. Our Novice ladies were an impressive 4 th place in the county novice race and 9 th from 21 teams in the Senior race. Great running by Siobhan Walsh, Cliona Lynch, Orlaith Merritt, Orla O’Gorman, Seanna Boyle, Megan Murphy, Anita Casey, Paula O’Riordan, Sinead O’Brien, Aisling O’Brien and Caroline O’Donovan.

Some impressive individual performances also from our men’s team, in a highly competitive Counties they finished as 7 th Novice Team and 8 th of 20 Senior teams. Timmy Hawkins was first home in a fast 21:50 and was 3 rd male Junior. Timmy was supported well in the team scoring with Joseph Daly, Brian Hawkins, Willie Walsh and Diarmuid Kiely reaping the benefits of consistent training with impressive times. Well done also to Peter Hawkins, Nicky Pike, Richard Hawkins (3 rd Masters M55), Dave Mullins, Liam Colbert and Dan Daly.

Glorious sunshine in Youghal marked the start of the summer surely with a wonderfully enjoyable day’s competition at the East Cork Athletics Division juvenile track and field day 2. Youghal AC were the hosts in their grass track grounds in Tower Park overlooking the town. Another small traveling band of Carraig Na BhFear AC athletes made the journey to the eastern edge of the division with long jump, javelin, shot putt, high jump , sprints and distance races all on the program. Our youngest training group the under 11’s and younger had a nice bunch travelling and took home some silverware with top performers on the day Zen Barry and Darragh Quinlan taking 1st & 3rd respectively in under 11 turbo javelin. Added to a great relay medal from Clonmel this group are starting to show promise for the future. Our middle group, under 12 to under 15 had another bumper day with Amelia O’Donovan continuing her great championships with two more silver medals in the under 13 track races over 300 & 800 meters. Our under 14 girls took a clean sweep of  the podium in the high jump with Mary Kate Dawson taking the top step for the win. For the boys in the group Cathal Walsh took a hard-fought bronze medal in the 300 and John Forde his first individual East Cork medal with bronze in the turbo Javelin. Both lads compete in a competitive under 12 age category. From our older junior training squad Caoimhe Grey Walsh took another two medals in shot putt and 200-meter sprint to cap off a fine championship haul of 5 medals over the two days in the under 17 to 19 age category. So, a great success over the two days of East Cork competition where we got to see our younger juveniles try as many events as possible and our developing athletes hone their craft and see what they might specialise in for the years ahead. From here we look forward to a limited county championships with the lack of a track in the
county seeing us traveling to Kerry of all places. The summer will hold many opportunities for competition in numerous open sports competitions throughout the county and Munster for our kids to get the exposure they need to develop.

With the ongoing issues in Cork with track availability, the Tipperary County Championships kindly facilitated guest athletes and Carraig Na BhFear had six athletes in Templemore on Sunday who took full advantage. There was a clean sweep in the Mens Junior 400m with Ruaidhri Boyle (51:38), Bobby O’Riordan (54:90) and Michael Mullins (1:00:60) the first 3 across the line. They were later joined by Aidan Maher to win the 4 x 400m Junior mens race in an impressive 3:50.6. Ruaidhri was 1 st in the 200m Junior men in 22:85. Aidan Maher ran his season-opener in the 2k Junior men’s steeplechase in 6:35 to take 1 st place.

In the womens’ events Lucy Lynch and Katie Walsh were also showing good form. Lucy was 1 st Junior woman in the 400m in 59:90 and was 2 nd in the Junior 200m in 27:44. Katie was 1 st Senior woman in the 400m in 59:98 and 2 nd in the Senior 800m in 2:15:7. Well done to the athletes and coaches on a very worthwhile trip to Templemore.

London Marathon: Congratulations to Fiona Holmes who completed the London Marathon in 4:22:36 on a warm and very windy day. A fantastic achievement by Fiona.

Great Railway Run 25K: Richard Hawkins was one of the 438 finishers in this annual charity race from the Monahan Road to Carrigaline which took place in beautiful sunshine on Sunday morning. Richard completed the course in 1:58:24.

Look Ahead: The East Cork Roads Championship over 5 miles will take place in Ballynoe on Thursday 25 th April. Carraig NaBhFear will hope to maintain the high standard of performances in recent years in what should be a great night of races.

Report by Richard Hawkins and Willie Walsh.

Featured Image: Members of Carraig na bhFear AC at the Ballintotis 4 mile race.

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