Veteran Triumphs at Cork and Beyond: Lindie Naughton’s Weekly Cross Country Roundup

October 02, 2023

Showing that age is no barrier to athletic success, two 43-year-olds took senior honors at the Cork County Cross-Country Championships, which took place under ideal conditions at Macroom, on Sunday (October 1), writes John Walshe.

Like he did last year at the same venue, Michael Harty — who turned 43 the day before and was the winner last week at the Rathfarnham 5km — led an East Cork AC clean sweep, finishing 21 seconds clear of his younger club-mate Paul Hartnett, who easily clinched the U23 title.

With Tim O'Donoghue coming in third and Tony Forristal in fifth, East Cork won the team title for the 22nd time, finishing 25 points clear of Leevale, with St Finbarr’s taking third.

A thrilling women’s race saw 2016 Olympian Lizzie Lee of Leevale AC and last year’s national novice champion Fiona Everard from Bandon AC run neck-and-neck for most of the 6km race. Halfway around the final lap, Lee's strength proved decisive, and at the finish line, she had ten seconds to spare over Everard. With Niamh Moore coming in third and Michelle Kenny in fifth, Leevale emerged as clear team winners ahead of St Finbarr’s and Togher.

This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Cork Cross-Country Championship, first held in 1923, and Denis McCarthy made his own contribution to that history by competing in this championship for a remarkable 41st time.

At the Meath Novice and Junior/U23 Championships in Navan, Karen Hayes of Ratoath AC won the novice women’s race in 17:16, with her clubmate Aine O'Connor coming in second at 17:52, and Karen Lavelle of Star of the Sea AC third and first W50 at 18:04. With three in the top four, Ratoath was the winning team ahead of Fr Murphy’s AC and Trim AC.

In the men’s race, Seamus Anderson of Trim AC clinched victory in 20:42, with Aaron Smith (Cilles AC) coming in second at 20:53, and Conor Leech (Na Fianna AC) third at 21:31. Trim AC took the top team spot ahead of Bohermeen AC and Na Fianna AC.

In the Junior/U18 races, the winners were Kayla Ryan and James Kelly, both from Ratoath AC.

At the Donegal Novice Championships held in Carndonagh, Shaun Kerrs (Tir Chonaill AC) and Amy Greene (Finn Valley AC) took home the titles. Finn Valley secured both team titles, while Philip McGee (Letterkenny AC) won the boys’ U18 title.

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