THE East Cork Athletics Division concluded its track programme for 2021 with the senior men and women deciding the outcome of the 5000m at the MTU Track in Bishopstown.
This was a new venture as the Carraig na bhFear club kindly offered to stage the event in association with their weekly training night. A suggestion by club member Ger Foley to hold two 5000m races based on time standards was also well received and further added to the enjoyment of the night.
Race 1 was for those under 19 minutes and this saw a great battle between Midleton’s Frank O’Brien and Tim O’Donoghue (East Cork), the winner of the divisional five-mile championship in style the previous month. From the off, in very warm conditions, O’Brien took the lead and slowly whittled the field down to a three-way tussle between himself, O’Donoghue and former champion over a variety of distances, James McCarthy.
After McCarthy had finally given way it was down to a two-man battle with O’Brien’s superior speed proving decisive as he opened up a five-second gap to cross the line in a time of 15:32.2 in what was remarkably the first track 5000m for the 20-year-old.
McCarthy finished third in 16:10.2 with Youghal junior Ciaran McNamee taking fourth in 16:51.8, just ahead of his clubmate Keith Kelly.
“It was probably the first race that I’ve gone from gun to tape, but I felt good,” said O’Brien. “I’m not too sure when Midleton last had a winner so I’d like to think it means a lot to some of the club members. They’ve done a lot for me so over the years so it’s about time I paid them back a bit.”
The second race also saw a Midleton victory as Ger O’Regan led all the way to finish around 100 metres clear of Ollie Smiddy from East Cork in a time of 19:8.3. A third place overall in 19:45.6 gave Jen Preston the women’s title ahead of her East Cork clubmate Annelise Hutch who recorded 21:49.0 with Rhona Lynch (Carraig na bhFear) taking bronze in 21:52.3.