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A small piece of  athletics history was made on Saturday (November 12)  when, for the very first time, Ireland was the overall winner of the British and Irish Masters’ Cross-Country International, held in perfect conditions at Santry Demesne, Dublin. Five nations compete in the competition - England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland - and for thirty-two of the thirty-three years since 1988 when it was first held, England has come out on top. Ireland had come close to an overall win in the past, notably in 2005 and 2010, when Santry was also the venue.
 
Ireland has also had a number of individual winners, usually in the W35 category and some of them from Dublin. One is Annette Kealy of Raheny Shamrock AC, overall winner in 2015, who was again a winner on Saturday, this time in the W50 age group, where she was leading the team to gold. Kealy had also won in this category pre-lockdown in 2019. Other Raheny Shamrock athletes taking team golds on Saturday were Mary Lynch W70 and Zoe Quinn W45.  In M45, where Ireland also took gold, David Kirwin was sixth placer for the team. Finishing fifth overall and helping the W35 team to victory was Laura O’Donnell  of Rathfarnham WSAF.   On a good day from Rathfarnham WSAF, Shane O’Neill, who was given a place on the team after missing out on the trial race, fully justified his selection when he won the M50 race  in some style. Now with Crusaders AC, Paul Cowhie was seventh M55 and  third Irishman, helping the team to silver, while Ciaran Diviney was sixth M50, with the team also taking silver. From Clonliffe Harriers, Karl Nolan, winning his first Irish vest, finished a solid fifth for the M35 team which finished second - just two points behind Northern Ireland. Kate O’Neill of Metro St Brigid’s AC was fourth placer for the second placed Irish W40 team, while Mary Browne of Lucan Harriers  was second for the third placed Irish W60 team. Overall, Ireland won the W35, W45,W50,W70, M40,M45 and M65 team categories and notched up a number of second places. It meant victory in both men and women’s categories  and an overall win over England by 31 points to 36 points. The full results are on the Myrunresults website. Roll on next year in Glasgow!
 
All-Ireland Cross-Country, Rosapenna Golf Club, Donegal, Sunday 20th November
 
Good luck to all Dublin teams competing in Sunday’s National Cross-Country Championships at Rosapenna Golf Club, Donegal.  Hiko Tonosa of Dundrum South Dublin is the defending men’s champion and DSD AC the defending men’s team champions. Since 1999, when Mullingar Harriers were the winners, Dublin clubs have dominated the men’s championships, with Clonliffe Harriers winning thirteen times up to 2019, DSD AC six times and Raheny Shamrock AC three times, most recently in 2018.  Dublin has won the men’s inter-county title every year since 2000, with the exception of 2002 when Cork won and 2016 when Galway was the winner. In the women’s competition, Letterkenny AC are the defending champions, with Leevale AC winners from 2015 to 2019 and DSD the last Dublin club to win. That was in 2015. Dublin has 36  women’s inter-country titles to its credit up to 2019, although Donegal won the title in 2021.
 
Lindie Naughton 
DSD AC
 
 

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