Over dale, on road and on the track, Leitrim athletes produced a series of fantastic performances at national and local level.
Leitrim athletes won six medals at the National Masters Indoors in Athlone while Lauren Reynolds produced a superb performance in the mud at the Irish Schools Cross-country. And on the road, Leitrim athletes produced a series of great performances at the Cara Bundoran races on Friday and Saturday.
Leitrim Sports Personality of the Year Special Achievement award winner Michael Cornyn showed that age is no barrier when he won his first ever National Senior title in Athlone last Saturday, his victory in the M55 800m his first ever time on the top step of the podium.
Michael had to work hard for the victory as his time of 2.20.93 beat North Belfast Harriers’ David Clarke by less than two tenths of a second to claim the gold. Michael also ran 65.05 for second in the 400m and 28.22 for bronze over 200m to complete his set of medals.
Carrick-on-Shannon AC collected a trio of medals in the distance events in Athlone with Ann Wynne running a superb 2.47.41 for the silver medal in the W50 category to take the silver medal behind Ann Gilshenan of Slaney Olympic and just ahead of Raheny Shamrock’s Adrienne Atkins who ran 2.48.00.
Michelle Lannon, not long after a brilliant performance in the Masters Cross-country, ran an impressive 11.13.97 to take the bronze medal in a high standard W45 3,000m, her time ranking 11th overall.
And Susanne O’Beirne completed the day’s medal haul with a third bronze for Carrick AC as she finished third in the W45 1,500m, her time of 6.03.33 ranking her 15th overall on the day.
ALL-IRELAND SCHOOLS CROSS-COUNTRY
Incredibly tough conditions and smaller fields greeted the runners at the Irish Life Health Irish Schools Cross-country in Waterford IT last Saturday. Only four Leitrim athletes made the journey south after the Connachts were cancelled for the third time earlier in the week.
Carrick Community School’s Lauren Reynolds produced her best ever National performance to finish 14th in the Junior Girls race. In very difficult conditions, Lauren showed good strength to come through strongly and was up in 12th before being passed on the run-in to the line.
Her time of 10.46 was just 11 seconds away from the International team and half a minute off the bronze medal as the Carrick AC runner continues to show huge potential.
Lauren’s schoolmates Iarlaith O’Brien, Emmet Regan and Cian Mollohan had a tougher time in the Junior Boys race, finishing 76th, 78th and 80th respectively in their first time to compete in the championship. O’Brien led the way throughout and had nine seconds to spare over Regan who just a second ahead of Mollohan.
A hard race was made all the harder for Cian who lost one of his shoes in the stampede to the first corner and ran almost the entire distance of an incredibly muddy course with one shoe.
CARA BUNDORAN RACES
There was a double victory for Leitrim in the prestigious Cara Bundoran 10 Mile and 10Km races last Saturday when Kinlough native Teresa Doherty won the Women’s 10 mile race while North Leitrim AC’s Marcus McGowan was first across the line in the 10K.
The Finn Valley AC runner, a cousin of Olympian Breege Connolly, was a comprehensive win of the race, covering the demanding 10 miles in a time of 59.40 which left her over two and a half minutes clear of second and 16th across the line.
There was further Kinlough interest in the Ladies 10 Mile with Melvin Walk, Run, Jog group members Kathy McBeth and Lorraine Arbuckle finished fifth and sixth overall in times of 68.26.
In the accompanying 10K, Marcus McGowan of North Leitrim AC was a clear winner of the race, covering the distance in 37.17 to win by 36 seconds.
In the Friday night 5Km race, there was another win for Leitrim when Niamh Carolan was first lady across the line. The North Leitrim AC runner ran 19.53 to take the Ladies title while clubmates Sarah Brady (21.00), Sarah Mulvaney-Kelly (22.39) and Rachel Keaney (23.17) filled the top three places in the Junior category.
NATIONAL JUVENILE INDOORS
The action turns to the National Juvenile Indoors next Sunday, March 11, in Athlone with the 60m, 400m, 1,500m, walks and a selection of field events featuring Leitrim athletes in action.