Ferrycarrig 5 win for Sergiu
The weather conditions were ideal on Sunday for the annual Arachas Ferrycarrig 5 mile race which began at Ferrycarrig Park at 12 noon with over 350 competitors in action.
This included the very serious athletes, the joggers and casual runners and also walkers, each pushing hard for their own goals and times. Once again it proved to a great success and in the process raised vital funds for the new Crossabeg-Ballymurn Community Centre project.
Organised by the local St. Killian's Athletic Club in conjunction with Athletics Ireland, the committed and dedicated committee was led by Pádraig Moriarty who had the support of the parish behind him.
The team of hard-working and dedicated men and women ensured the smooth running of the event, from those who stewarded the grounds and roads to those who provided and catered for the athletes afterwards.
The promise of a sizzling race was not unfounded with some of the best road runners in Ireland competing. From the start it was clear that the victory was going to be between Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers), fresh from competing for Ireland in the Senior European cross-country championships and with a qualifying time for the Rio Olympics; Seán Hehir (Rathfarnham), Irish marathon champion and also seeking a spot for the Rio Olympics; and Brian Maher from Kilkenny who on his day can win any race and also has the potential to get under the magic two hours, 19 seconds required for selection.
The three men were neck and neck past the first mile at which stage Sergiu and Seán pushed the pace from Brian. Coming into mile three, Sergui dug deep and made a decisive gap on Seán, and this was to remain the same to the finish with Sergui taking the win in 24 minutes, 19 seconds from Seán in 24 minutes, 36 seconds. Brian was in third place on 25 minutes, 26 seconds.
The battle for fourth was intriguing with different tactics at work. Brian Kirwan (St. Laurence O'Toole), fresh from his fifth consecutive Senior Carlow cross-country win the previous week, pushed the pace and made an 80-metre gap from Niall Sheil of St. Killian's.
Niall turned on the pace with a mile to go and entering the gate was in touching distance of Brian. Brian dug deep and this made for a thrilling finish as the two men went flat out down the avenue, with Brian crossing the line with two seconds to spare. A fifth place finish for Niall was a testament to the quality of the field of athletes.
The women's race was not shy of international pedigree either, with local Kilmore athlete Jackie Carthy competing. Jackie was always going to be the woman to beat and she ran a super race in defending her title in convincing manner in a time of 29 minutes, 44 seconds, just shy of her course record.
Her team-mate, Annaleigh Hore, is going from strength to strength and took second place in a time of 31 minutes, 15 seconds, with Catherine Murphy (Slaney Olympic) taking third place in a time of 32 minutes, 35 seconds.