Willie Neenan tribute as Martina Kiely earns fifth win at Millstreet

Willie Neenan tribute as Martina Kiely earns fifth win at Millstreet

Michael McMahon, winner of the Millstreet road race, receiving the Willie Neenan Memorial Cup from Marie Neenan. Also incided are Fr Paddy O’Byrne and Michael Casey. Picture: John Walshe

Martina Kiely paid a fitting tribute to her late coach Willie Neenan when winning the race held in his memory at Millstreet for the fifth time, with the men’s title going to Michael McMahon from the North Cork club.

Willie Neenan, who passed away 10 years ago, was one of the legends of Irish athletics. 

A winner at cross-country, track and road, he was versatile over all distances. 

At the World Masters championships held in Puerto Rico back in 1983, Willie took the silver medal in the M50 1500m, a year after he had recorded 2:39:45 in the Dublin Marathon.

“Willie started me off in the Ballydaly Sports so I owe him a lot,” said Martina who now runs with the St Finbarr’s club. 

She won the inaugural race back in 2014 when it was a 10km and her remarkable consistency can be seen from her times over the present five-mile route which each year have been in the 29/30 minute range. 

In actual fact, her time this year of 29:14 was her fastest at Millstreet.

Martina Kiely, winner of the women's race, receiving the Richard and Chris Kiely Cup from former American T&F Team Manager and Millstreet native, Fr Paddy O'Byrne. Also pictured are Marie Neenan, wife of the late Willie, and Michael Casey, Chairman of Millstreet AC. Picture: John Walshe
Martina Kiely, winner of the women's race, receiving the Richard and Chris Kiely Cup from former American T&F Team Manager and Millstreet native, Fr Paddy O'Byrne. Also pictured are Marie Neenan, wife of the late Willie, and Michael Casey, Chairman of Millstreet AC. Picture: John Walshe

Carol Finn of Leevale, who won the race when last held in 2019 which Kiely missed through illness, took second place in 30:56 with Nadiine Forde, also Leevale, finishing third in 32:30.

The men’s race saw a good win for Michael McMahon who got away from Nick O’Donoghue after four miles, although the East Cork man never gave up the chase with the margin at the finish just four seconds, 26:09 to 26:13.

McMahon, who now lives in Cork, previously ran with the Raheny Shamrock club during a stint in Dublin and had shown recent good form when finishing seventh in the Cork City Half-Marathon.

Margaret Twohig, Kenneth Kingston and Maire Murphy pictured at the Millstreet road race. Picture: John Walshe
Margaret Twohig, Kenneth Kingston and Maire Murphy pictured at the Millstreet road race. Picture: John Walshe

Another North Cork athlete, Michael Herlihy, took third spot in 26:25 with Aidan Noone from Leevale finishing fourth in 26:31.

Results:

Men: 

1 M McMahon (North Cork, M40) 26:09; 2 N O’Donoghue (East Cork) 26:13; 3 M Herlihy (North Cork, M40) 26:25; 4 A Noone (Leevale) 26:31; 5 B Twohig (St Finbarrs, M40) 26:48; 6 B Murphy (Iveragh, M40) 26:56.

M45: 1 M Corbett (St Finbarrs) 27:46; 2 D Collins (Bweeng TB) 31:17; 3 F Jaen (Leevale) 33:26.

M50: 1 J Kelly (Mallow) 31:29; 2 J O’Connell (Carrigaline) 32:40; 3 D Bourke (Millstreet) 34:37.

M55: 1 S Madigan (unatt) 29:23; 2 M Lynch (Ballincollig) 32:15; 3 K Twomey (unatt) 33:54.

M60: 1 K Griffin (Riocht) 33:07; 2 M Healy (Millstreet) 36:32; 3 D Browne (Eagle) 36:44.

M65: 1 S Kelleher (Mallow) 36:47; 2 M Mangan (Star of the Laune) 37:00; 3 B Kearney (Leevale) 43:48.

MJ: 1 I Buckley (North Cork) 30:17; 2 S Murphy (unatt) 37:15; 3 J Wall (Millstreet) 37:47.

Louise O'Donoghue and Rose Buckley who took part in the Millstreet road race. Picture: John Walshe
Louise O'Donoghue and Rose Buckley who took part in the Millstreet road race. Picture: John Walshe

Women:

 1 M Kiely (St Finbarrs, F40) 29:14; 2 C Finn (Leevale) 30:56; 3 N Forde (Leevale, F40) 32:30; 4 B McGinn (Donoughmore, F35) 32:33; 5 S Daly (Riocht, F40) 32:42; 6 P Collins (West Limerick, F50) 34:24.

F35: 2 S Vasili (unatt) 37:21; 3 R Buckley (Donoughmore) 43:10.

F45: 1 S Holland (Eagle) 35:07; 2 C O’Sullivan (Mount Hillary) 38:36; 3 N O’Shea (unatt) 38:47.

F50: 2 J Kelleher (Donoughmore) 35:54; 3 S Twohig (unatt) 40:03.

F55: 1 M Sweeney (St Finbarrs) 34:59; 2 S Mackie (New Zealand) 37:03; 3 M Buckley (Donoughmore) 37:10.

F60: 1 E Twohig (Mount Hillary) 52:37.

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