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 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.