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Sarah Healy and Darragh McElhinney, both still in the U23 age group, made it a UCD AC double at the All-Ireland Cross-Country Championships  hosted by Cranford AC at Rosapenna Golf Course, Downings, Donegal on Sunday (November 20). In women’s 8km race, Healy, who has a number of Irish track titles to her credit, was taking a first national cross-country title. On the final 1500m lap, Healy pulled away from Ciara Mageeaan of City of Lisburn AC  to win in 27 mins 5 secs. Mageean, the winner in  2018, was second in 27:20 and defending champion Michelle Finn third in 27:25. Finishing second in the U23 category was Danielle Donegan of UCD AC. In seventh place Lauren Tinkler led Dublin City Harriers to team victory by a single point over Letterkenny AC.  It was a first team victory  since 1992 for DCH.  Finishing third was UCD AC. Dublin, with four finishers in the top fifteen, was first county team ahead of Cork  and Donegal. 

Only in the final 800m was a thrilling men’s senior race decided when McElhinney pulled away from defending champion Hiko Tonosa of Dundrum South Dublin AC for victory. McElhinney, who led Ireland to U23 team victory at last year’s European Cross-Country Championships in Abbotstown, finished in 29 mins 59 secs. Tonosa was second in 30:03, while third in 30:06 was Peter Lynch of Kilkenny City Harriers.  Efrem Gidey of Clonliffe Harriers was fourth  and second U23 in 30:10. With a new generation of Irish distance runners clearly coming through, many of them Dublin based, it looks like Ireland will field another strong U23 team at the Europeans in three weeks’ time. In a closely fought team competition, Gidey was leading Clonliffe Harriers to a 33rd title since the Club’s first win in 1910. Dublin  proved best of the counties for a 36th time with six finishers from four clubs (Clonliffe, DSD, DCH and Rathfarnham WSAF) making the top fifteen.  Since 2000, Dublin has only twice lost this title - to Cork in 2002 and to Galway in 2016.

Best of the Dublin athletes in the combined junior and U18 men’s race  was Cormac Dixon of Tallaght AC who was tenth overall and second U18.  DSD AC took  the U18 team title, led by Jamie Byrne in 14th place.  In a Dublin clean sweep, Clonliffe Harriers was second and Tallaght AC third. No surprise then that Dublin was first county team ahead of Cork and Kilkenny. In the junior team competition, DSD AC was third behind Ennis TC and Nenagh Olympic. Clare was first county team ahead of Dublin.

Best Dublin result in the junior and U18  women’s race came from Isabella  Tomkin Beddy of DSD AC who led the county U18 team to second place behind Down. In the junior team competition, Dublin was third county behind Mayo and Wicklow.

In the Even Aged Juvenile Championships, Dublin took three intercounty titles - U16 boys and U16 girls and U12 girls. Lorraine O’Connor of Donore Harriers won the W16 title, with her clubmate Emily Bolton in fourth place. The Donore team took second place behind Lagan Valley. Matei  Ursechi of Clonliffe Harriers  finished third in the M16 race with Clonliffe second team  behind Nenagh Olympic.  Taking a narrow team victory in the M14 race was Templegue AC; Dublin was second county behind Cork. In the W14 race, Dublin  finished third team behind Cork aand Clare. The full results are on the Athletics Ireland website, with the Senior and Junior Results at


Brian Fay of Raheny Shamrock AC, who is a post-graduate student at Washington State university, finished best of the Irish in the men’s 10km race at the NCAA Cross-Country Championships, held in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Saturday (November 19). Fay finished 13th with a time of 29 mins 11 secs. Fay was Ireland’s top senior men’s finisher at the European Championships at Abbotstown last December in tenth place. He looks certain of his place on the Irish team for next month’s European  Championships  in Turin, Italy. Paul O’Donnell of Dundrum South Dublin AC, also a member of the men’s senior team at Abbotstown last December,  was 58th in 29:50.3.

Lindie Naughton