Cross Country

Clohisey looks to retain Inter Club crown

Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock) returns from a warm weather training camp in Portugal to defend his GloHealth Inter Club Cross Country Championships in Kilbroney Park, Co. Down today.

Clohisey is building up for a marathon debut in Rotterdam in April and will be looking for a good performance over 12,000m.

A week after winning the 3,000m title at the national indoors Maria McCambridge will be confident of a good showing in the women’s 8,000m and lead her club DSD to the team title.

Senior Women

McCambridge will lead a strong contingent from DSD including Michelle McGee and Sarah Mulligan who finished second and sixth respectively at last year’s event.

Defending champion Sarah McCormack (Clonliffe Harriers AC) is back to defend her title and along with club mate Barbara Sanchez will pose a serious threat to the DSD stranglehold.

Senior Men

Defending champion Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock AC) is back to defend his title and will start as the slight favourite in the senior men’s event. Clohisey has excelled over the roads and the country over the last twelve months and will once again mount a serious challenge to win the title.

Clonliffe Harriers are fielding a strong team in the men’s event with Mark Kennelly and Sergei Ciobanu leading the charge. Both athletes more known for their marathon exploits will try to make their strength tell over the testing 12,000m course. Brendan O’Neill (Dundrum South Dublin AC) seems to be rounding into form at just the right time after a third place showing over 3,000m at the Senior Indoor Championships last weekend.

DSD AC won the team title last year after a close battle with Clonliffe Harriers.

Junior Men & Women

Ireland’s leading duo in the junior races at the European Cross Country Championships in December was Ennis Track’s Kevin Mulcaire (35th) and Clonliffe Harriers’ Hope Saunders (33rd). Both athletes are at home on the country and will start as favourites in their respective junior races.

Mulcaire will look to set a marker

It is unlikely Mullingar Harriers’ Jack O’Leary will be competing today as he looks to save himself for the All Ireland Schools on home territory in Clongowes Wood College in Clane, Co. Kildare. O’Leary ran an excellent 8:20 at the national indoors an it promises to be a great battle in Clane. You can read an interview with Jack here . Kevin Mulcaire has been the dominant endurance athlete in the junior ranks and he will be looking to lay down a marker ahead of their showdown next week. You can read all about Kevin here

Team Titles

Dundrum South Dublin AC dominated last year’s team events winning all four titles, a sterner task awaits in Kilbroney to see if they can reign supreme once again.

Inter clubs irrelevant in current format

In truth you could nearly label this championships as irrelevant. Even though it is, and should be, far from irrelevant. This should be the marquee event of the cross country season. There will be small fields, however, and will struggle to get a crowd of any significance. The seasons are changing with indoors and the world cross country being viewed as an impossible task. There will have to be a restructuring of the cross country season and ultimately the inter clubs takes far greater importance than the inter counties. So either it replaces the inter counties in December or there needs to be a radical overhaul of the season. How about making the national novice, intermediate and inter clubs one big race. Then you would have a huge cavalry charge, different colour numbers for each race and a spectacle to behold. A review is one thing but having the commitment to radical change is another. We can but hope.

Juvenile Inter County Relays

An exciting selection of relay races will begin the programme at 12pm with national titles up for grabs in the U12 and U14 age categories. Donegal, Cavan and Louth will be out in force as each club team will field four athletes to complete a 500m leg. The pictures from the event will be posted on the Athletics Ireland Facebook page on Monday, 2nd of March and there will also be live updates throughout the day via our twitter page: @irishathletics

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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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