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UCD and DCU share spoils as Britton falters in France

It was a weekend of mixed emotions  in Irish athletics, and Irish sport in general with agonising  defeat in the rugby, with a fantastic University Road Relays in Maynooth punctured by Fionnuala Britton’s  7th place finish at the Cross de L’Acier in Northern France in Sunday.

We’ll take a further look at Britton on Monday and the podcast  on Tuesday. For  now we’ll have a brief recap on the relays which will also feature on Tuesday’s podcast. There is a link at the bottom of the page for  full IUAA results.

 

The picturesque setting of the old campus in Maynooth is the permanent spiritual home for the IUAA road relays and the regular backdrop which gives the Chariots of Fire feel didn’t disappoint with some excellent  performances by Irish students.

The battle was set between  UCD and DCU, the two Dublin powerhouses of  University athletics, for supremacy and it  ended  up being honours even.

UCD won the women’s  title  for the first time in 20 years – Ellie  Hartnett, Fiona  Roche, Meghan Ryan and  Ciara Everard can put that in their scrapbooks.  UCC got up for a good second ahead of  DCU.

As for the men, this was the real battle for the king of the jungle  and bragging  rights. UCD had usurped DCU last year and looked like taking a stranglehold on the event  from their North Dublin rivals – DCU dominance had become procession  like throughout the last decade.

Ultimately it  was DCU’s team of Darren McBrearty, John Coghlan, David McCarthy, Darragh Greene and Joe Warne who had the edge. AIT finished an historic second for their first medals  at this  event.

We’ll  have more analysis in the coming days. Here are a few afterthoughts

When is a student athlete just a student

Watching the event brought up the  topic of who should be able to compete – it  was brought up in the last podcast. The rules seem lax so everyone can compete but surely there will soon have to be a cap or a ruling put  in place  as to who can compete. It is a difficult one as there isn’t a huge net of athletes and they can contribute to bringing more competition.

Three is the key for men

While there was great interest to see Mark  English run the mile, the truth was it mattered little. The 3 mile leg  is  the deciding factor in the men’s relay and with a storming 3 mile  record run of 13:29 by David McCarthy for DCU, the event was settled. John Travers set AIT up for their surprise  while Joe  Sweeney clearly hasn’t fully recovered from the Dublin Marathon.

Athletes with a point to prove and deliver with top times

There was a host of male  and female athletes looking for redemption in Maynooth and the aggression was visible in their performances. David McCarthy summed it up best: “They weren’t even racing each other, they  were just running hard.” This hard  running produced some fast splits  and record runs.

Iconic venue

Iconic may be a strong word but the venue and setting in Maynooth is surely  one to be proud of. It provides a  great  setting and I  doubt if there are much better venues in the world for a university competition. It’s spectator friendly and has the ability to provide a great atmosphere. It’s one that all athletics fans and aficionados should put on their  calendar for next year.

 

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Feidhlim Kelly

Feidhlim Kelly

Con Houlihan once told me that tomorrow is now. In taking on this venture I’ve started to try and put his words into action.

I worked for Con from 2007 till his passing in 2012 taking down his copy and a whole lot more. I have a Con Houlihan section which will go in to more depth on that.

I’m a long-time contributor to the Irish Runner magazine and am also working for the Irish Examiner.

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