ALTHOUGH the Cork senior and junior cross-country had to be postponed, the novice along with the U14 and U16 championships, managed to go ahead before the current restrictions came into place.
Held at the County Board’s grounds at Slieveroe, Riverstick, there was a good entry for both novice races which saw clear victories for Frank O’Brien and Emily Knox.
O’Brien, of the Midleton club, followed on from his father’s victory in the same championships at the start of a career which would eventually see him gain Olympic selection, along with 11 national steeplechase titles.
Since the limited return to competition at the end of August, the 19-year-old O’Brien has been successful over a number of distances on the track, road and cross-country.
Although failing by one place to qualify for the 800m final at the national seniors, he returned the following week to finish third (and first junior) in the 3000m steeplechase in a personal best of 10:06.64.
After winning East Cork cross-country titles at both junior and novice level, he then added the 800m South Munster Schools’ before his victory at Riverstick.
Over the three laps that made up the 6km distance, O’Brien finished 10 seconds clear of Ben Leen-Smith of Leevale with Denis Hegarty (Watergrasshill) in third.
Although Cork Track Club was originally deemed as winners, as one of their scorers was ineligible the team title went to Watergrasshill on 45 points, two ahead of Leevale with Midleton grabbing third by one point ahead of East Cork.
Emily Knox took control of the women’s race from the start for an easy victory. Irene Eighan of St Finbarr’s ran a brilliant second half, moving up from fifth to take the silver medal and lead St Finbarr’s to the team title ahead of Leevale for whom Joyce Wolfe was the leading scorer in third place.
U14 3km: 1 C Flannery (Skibbereen); 2 C Delaney (Skibbereen); 3 K Hennessy (Midleton).
Team: 1 Skibbereen 8; 2 West Muskerry 34; 3 St Catherines 49.
U16 4km: 1 A Millerick (Youghal); 2 K O’Keeffe (Leevale); 3 I Kellegher (Liscarroll).
Team: 1 Carraig na bhFear 28.
U14 4km: 1 A Coughlan (Doheny); 2 J O’Rourke (Blarney-Inniscarra); 3 D Dollard (Bandon).
U16 4km: 1 E Quirke (Carraig na bhFear); 2 S Lawton (Durrus); 3 F Harrington (Durrus).
Team: 1 Carraig na bhFear 16.
Novice Women 4km: 1 E Knox (Leevale) 15:53; 2 I Eighan (St Finbarrs) 16:32; 3 J Wolfe (Leevale) 16:35; 4 M Ahern (East Cork) 16:40; 5 J Preston (East Cork) 16:48; 6 K Hickson (St Finbarrs) 16:56.
U23: 1 K Walsh (Carraig na bhFear) 17:02; 2 E Bickerdike (Leevale) 17:51; 3 N O’Brien (East Cork) 18:12.
Team: 1 St Finbarrs (2, 6, 7, 8) 23; 2 Leevale (1, 3, 17, 25) 46; 3 East Cork (4, 5, 18, 20) 47.
Novice Men 6km: 1 F O’Brien (Midleton) 20:22; 2 B Leen-Smith (Leevale, U23) 20:32; 3 D Hegarty (Watergrasshill) 20:34; 4 M Wahbi (St Finbarrs) 20:39; 5 T Forristal (Midleton) 20:39; 6 A Marcotte (Cork TC) 20:49.
U23: 2 N O’Flaitheartaigh (Bandon) 21:46; 3 M Murnane (Leevale) 22:26.
Team: 1 Watergrasshill (3, 10, 13, 19) 45; 2 Leevale (2, 12, 15, 18) 47; 3 Midleton (1, 5, 14, 39) 59.