Track & Field

Cork City Sports in Review: Six Quick Thoughts

The Cork City Sports is one of the top events on the Irish Calendar. In Cork, we think it’s only just behind the Olympics in terms of stature. It’s now known just as the “Sports”, kind of like Madonna or Cher.

There have been some excellent performances over the years, and all the Irish greats have raced there at some point. Only 10 years ago Craig Mottram battled the wind for the win and a 7:40 clocking. It is a good meet, and one which has the potential to be a great one.

There were some great tussles last night; Gary Campbell and Cillian Kirwan got the night under way with a bang after a lacklustre women’s 1500m where just two were entered. They ran 3:54 and 3:55 respectively. The Women’s Junior 1500m should have surely been an 800m with the vast array of Junior 800m talent in Ireland at the moment.

Kelly Proper gave the crowd a lift with a lightning first 100m before fading slightly to second in the 200m. The field events were disappointing although the conditions put paid to any big jumps or throws. There was a great battle in the long jump with only 10cm between 1st and 3rd. Norris Frederick from the US took the win.

No 1 :The Weather

I stepped off the train at Kent Station and felt like turning around and getting back on. Cork is always windy but it really out-did itself this year. To be fair to the organisers, there is nothing that one can do but it certainly made for a poor atmosphere and slower times. The women’s 3000m field huddled together like penguins before their start and for most of the Americans in attendance, it was far too cold as tracksuits and tights were left on. The crowds were low again this year and the weather didn’t help the officials in their job either, with the meet running behind schedule by about 10-15 minutes.

No 2: The Blocks-Mens 100m

Blocks used at City Sports. See the massive bass speakers behind the athletes.

Blocks used at City Sports. See the massive bass speakers behind the athletes.

Michael Frater and Keymar Hyman were the two sub-10 second men in the race but unfortunately both ended up getting the dreaded disqualification. It took from the race hugely and even though the weather was not conducive to fast times anyway, it took the gloss off a very solid men’s 100m. Barbara Pierre, who has broken 11 seconds and Tawanna Meadows, also got the chop in the women’s race. Frater looked at the blocks with disgust pre-race but that may have been related to the fact that the stadium commentator only just stopped short of describing him as “a guy who met Usain Bolt once”. Twitter went mental, as only false starts in Ireland can make it go. Derval O’Rourke was unimpressed and Brian Murphy’s tweet below gave him so many retweets and favorites, he might start thinking he is popular. Championships usually use the blocks seen below but we use a more outdated method in Ireland.

Smaller speakers used at Major Championships

Smaller speakers used at Major Championships

No 3: Women’s 3000m

Top 4
1 A D’Agostino (USA) 8:58.39;
2 R Schneider (USA) 9:05.08;
3 M Cain (USA) 9:05.68
4 M Cullen (IRL) 9:08.49

Abbey D’Agostino was the dominant winner in the women’s 3,000. Fiona Kehoe as pacemaker took the field through in 3:03 although they were a little reluctant to follow her in windy conditions. She went through the 1,000m mark in 3:03. American starlet Mary Cain then took on the pace and brought the field to 2,000m in 6:06 before D’Agostino decided she had enough of the cold and just wanted to go home, so smashed the field with a 2:54 last km. She ended up winning in 8:58.39. Mary Cullen looked to be back to good form, running 9:08 in miserable conditions. Cullen had the fastest personal best in the race and will surely be looking at running over 5,000m again in the coming weeks. Highlights from this race include Mary Cullen refusing a piece of a Twirl from Kilkenny man Brian Maher and also the fact that the live stream cut to a rabbit on the infield at 2:16:48. There was about 500m to run in the 3000m at the time.

There you go, field eventers, you are now behind random animals in the pecking order.

No 4: Heffernan and English struggle

5,000m race walk

1 S Lebogang (RSA) 18:56.84;
2 A Alberto (ESP) 18:58.63;
3 A Wright (IRL) 19:00.15…
4 R Heffernan (IRL) 19:14.00.

Heffernan struggled a little to keep pace in this one but to be fair, it is 45 kilometres shorter than his goal race. He is clearly in great shape and in the midst of heavy training eight weeks out from Beijing. Lebogang, the South African record holder, set a massive personal best and also turned out to be top banter as he offered to come back with a car and a house and marry my sister. His words, not mine.

1 M Rutt (USA) 1:47.57;
2 A Bube (DEN) 1:47.73;
3 M English (IRL) 1:47.84
4 D Murray (IRL) 1:48.02…
5 N Tuohy (IRL) 1:48.09.

Mark English was one of the crowd favourites in this edition of the Cork City Sports. As Derval O Rourke found out on many occasions the City Sports is a hard one to win. A stellar field including Michael Rutt and Andreas Bube offered up a stern test for English and when he took the lead down the back straight it looked like he would run away from the field. The wind proved to be the two-time European medallist’s undoing as he struggled home as the Rutt and Bube queued up behind him and then came past down the home straight.

No 5: Mens Mile

1 W Geoghegan (USA) 3:59.09;
2 R Masters (USA) 4:01.33;
3 K Merber (USA) 4:01.43…
6 E Everard (IRL) 4:04.68.

Will Geoghegan ran like a man who had left the immersion on as he tore away from the field and had a massive gap of 50m or so with a lap to go. The rest of the field seemed paralysed by his move and were content instead to shuffle along in the hope he might run out of steam but Geoghegan is far too good an athlete for that. An excellent performance for Geoghegan. Eoin Everard was the best of the Irish with 4:04 on a night where the times just weren’t coming for our milers with the howling wind. One thing to note for the organisers is to put the Men’s Mile last on the programme; there is a significant drop-off post-mile in terms of the crowd and a sub-four-minute mile sends everyone home on a high.

No 6: Mens 3000m

1 B Robinson (AUS) 7:51.01;
2 J See (USA) 7:51.76;
3 J Stilin (USA) 7:54.78

Probably one of the strongest fields of the night with some top-class runners with six men under eight minutes with one more, Jonathan Peterson, just a shade outside it. Rory Chesser was the best of the Irish, running 8:17, which was a solid effort in the conditions. Definitely an event where we lacked Irish interest at the front of the field. This could not be helped, though, with the absence of the likes of John Travers at World Universities. Brett Robinson got his first professional win in 7:51 and had a stirring battle over the last 300m with Jeff See, former NCAA Indoor Mile champion.

The City Sports is still one of the best meets on the Irish Circuit but there are definitely issues that need to be improved. The 65th Games are next year; it needs to be a good one.

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Ronan Duggan

Ronan Duggan

Ronan Duggan is an athlete, coach, athletics fan and, most importantly, was once named Bandon AFC's under-12 Player of the Year. He was once a promising athlete but is now a promising coach, teacher and part-time athletics writer/broadcaster. While an 800m runner himself, Ronan has coached everything from pole vault to 10km with varying levels of bluffing. He has regularly been threatening to do something for years but is yet to deliver. He is regarded as our expert on the American running scene, though has yet, to prove his knowledge in this realm.

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