AFTER having been postponed the previous Sunday due to the adverse weather predicted, a bright and warm Saturday afternoon made conditions ideal for the annual East Cork senior and juvenile cross-country championships.
Excellently promoted by the St Catherine’s club, the venue just outside of Ballynoe proved to be a testing course but which was also ideal for spectator viewing.
With a number of the expected contenders absent for various reasons, two new senior champions were crowned with excellent victories going to Paul Hartnett (East Cork) and Avril Millerick (Youghal).
Second last year to club-mate Tim O’Donoghue, Hartnett had taken part that morning in his club’s traditional Saturday morning hill-session at nearby Walshtown Wood. Showing no ill-affects of his earlier exertions, the 20-year-old made his break on the second lap and pulled away from Daire O’Sullivan to eventually cross the line with 24 seconds in hand over the Carraig na bhFear athlete.
Frank O’Brien, like Hartnett, had also been out that morning, in his case for six miles on the road. Likewise only turning out to help his club, his third place along with that of Donal Gilinan (fifth) and Eric Meade (15th) gave East Cork an easy victory over Carraig na bhFear, 24 points to 42, with St Catherine’s taking third on 51 points.
Three of the outstanding Youghal junior girl’s team of last season made the step-up to the senior grade in style as Avril Millerick just edged out her team-mate Emma Landers by one second with Robyn Buckley taking third. As Youghal didn’t have a fourth scorer, Midleton took the team award ahead of Carraig na bhFear.
The East Cork Board (now Division) came into being all of 57 years ago and there was a nice continuation of that unbroken history as the first chairman – elected at the Scout Hall in Midleton on October 4, 1967 – was Paddy Hartnett of the Midleton club, grandfather of this year’s senior winner Paul.
The East Cork Division’s own archivist Denis McCarthy also made his own contribution in that regard when competing in the senior race for the 41st time – surely an achievement that will never be equalled or bettered.
1 P Hartnett (East Cork) 22:06; 2 D O’Sullivan (Carraig na bhFear) 22:30; 3 F O’Brien (East Cork) 22:46; 4 B Healy (Watergrasshill, M35) 22:47; 5 D Giltinan (East Cork, M35) 22:48; 6 S McSweeney (St Nicholas, M45) 23:03.
M35: 3 D O’Connor (St Catherines) 24:58.
M45: 2 J Hennessy (Midleton) 23:17; 3 G O’Regan (Midleton) 26:13.
Team: (Senior) 1 East Cork 24; 2 Carraig na bhFear 42; 3 St Catherines 51. (M45) 1 Carraig na bhFear 70; 2 Midleton; 3 St Catherines 55.
1 A Millerick (Youghal) 16:37; 2 E Landers (Youghal) 16:38; 3 R Buckley (Youghal) 17:17; 4 N O’Connor (East Cork, F35) 18:06; 5 E Leahy (Midleton) 18:11; 6 C Geary (Midleton, F45) 18:20.
F35: 2 S Walsh (Carraig na bhFear) 18:34; 3 C Kelly (East Cork) 19:08.
F45: 2 C Clancy (St Catherines) 21:42; 3 S Connolly (Carraig na bhFear) 23:24.
Team: (Senior) 1 Midleton 32; 2 Carraig na bhFear 47; 3 Youghal. (F35) 1 Midleton 27; 2 Carraig na bhFear 31.