Jackie and Niall master rivals
Raod race season ends
The Mr Oil Masters road race county championships were held in Our Lady's Island on Friday, hosted by local club St. Paul's A.C. The pattern of larger fields at the road championships continued with 53 in the men's 6k and 38 ladies racing over 4k.
First off were the ladies, led out from the start by the Senior county champion, Jackie Carthy from Kilmore, who held on to an early lead and crossed the line to claim yet another championships title in a time of 15 minutes and 19 seconds.
This year's Novice and Intermediate champion, Emily O'Connor of Slaney Olympic, came in behind Jackie in a time of 15.59 to claim a silver medal on this occasion. The bronze medallist was S.B.R's Lillian Lawless in a time of 16.11.
The team champions were S.B.R's trio of Lillian Lawless (third), Mary Doyle (fifth) and Ciara Bowe (ninth) with a total of 17 points. Slaney Olympic scored 25 points to take the silver with the scoring members being Emily O'Connor (second), Martina O'Sullivan (eleventh) and Mag Balfe (12th). Third team prize went to the ladies of Kilmore on 42 points, with Jackie Carthy (first), Sinéad O'Brien (eighth) and Mai Cardiff (33rd) scoring.
Age category prizes went to Sinéad O'Brien (Kilmore AC), first Over-40; Eilish Kehoe (S.B.R.), first Over-45; Mag Dunphy (Slaney Olympic), first Over-50, and Annis Kehoe (Slaney Olympic), first Over-55.
The large field of men took to their 6k directly following the ladies' race. Fresh from a great performance the previous Friday night in the Senior championship, Niall Sheil repeated his excellent run of form with victory from S.B.R's Myles Gibbons, who is also in fine fettle of late.
Niall was home in a time of 19.17 with Myles taking silver in 19.26. S.B.R. took yet another individual medal when Paul Lynch powered home in a time of 19.32 for the bronze, making it a close finish for the medallists, with only 15 seconds separating the top three.
The gold in the team event was always going the way of S.B.R. with these strong performances. Scoring for the Ferns club were Myles Gibbons (second), Paul Lynch (third), Paul Gibbons (fourth) and Tommy McElwaine (sixth) with 15 points between them.
The silver team medals went to the United Striders team of John McGrath (seventh), Ted Flannelly (ninth), Seán Murphy (eleventh) and Pat O'Callaghan (14th) with a total of 41 points. Slaney Olympic's team of Martin Monaghan (fifth), Billy Reck (12th), Jim Stafford (13th) and David Kehoe (15th) took the bronze team prize, scoring 45 points.
First man home Over-40 was Martin 'Farmer' Monaghan (Slaney Olympic). The Over-45 gold went to Tommy McElwaine (S.B.R.). First Over-50 was United Striders' Pat O'Callaghan. The Over-55 title went to Ger Maloney (St. Paul's).
First Over-60 was Menapians' Rick Burns. Tom Kavanagh from S.B.R. was first Over-65 and the final vets' prize went to Billy Harpur (S.B.R.) in the Over-70 category.
With the 2015 road race championship season now under wraps, we can look back on four extremely successful events in Wexford, with growth in all competitions, but most especially at Intermediate and Novice levels.
This year's growth in entries at ladies' Intermediate level was up a massive 78% on the 2014 figure, while the male Novice and Masters grades saw a 61% increase on the previous season's race entries. While the ladies' Novice figure was up 58%, this did not transfer to Senior level where the numbers of ladies competing dropped by 13%.
The county road and cross-country Secretary, John Moore, commented that the clubs should encourage their athletes to compete at Senior grade, as all are eligible and the competition standards would be similar apart from the front-runners.
The next Senior, Masters and Novice competitions will take place on the track at Enniscorthy Sports Hub on June 24 and July 1, with a full range of events for ages born 1999 or before. The full programme will be published soon.
The county throws night for Under-13 to Senior grades has been re-scheduled for Sunday, June 14, at the grounds of D.M.P. in Sinnottstown Lane, Drinagh.