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Efrem Gidey of  Clonliffe Harriers got the New Year off to a great start when he won the Tom Brennan New Year’s Day 5km in the Phoenix Park with a time of 13 mins 43 secs - over a minute faster than his winning time of a year earlier and initially thought to be a course record. Unfortunately it was revealed soon after that the two-lap course was about 100m short. A distant second in 13:59 was Abdel Laadjel of Donore Harriers, home from the USA, while third in 14:24 was Jack Moran of Mullingar Harriers. First woman in 16:10 was Ciara Wilson of DMP AC, improving on her time of a year earlier by over two minutes. Orla Duffy  of Dublin City Harriers was second in 16:34 and Eleanor Foot of Bray Runners third in 17:02. Other good runs came from Christopher Keenan seventh and first junior in 24:3,  Shane Healy of Metro St Brigid’s AC eighth and first master, although now in the M55 age group and Annette Kealy of Raheny Shamrock first W55 in 18:01. In the team categories, Clonliffe were clear winners of the Tom Brennan Trophy with Gidey backed up by Stephen Cashin sixth and Ed Tottenham ninth. Mullingar Harriers were second while for third place,  Raheny Shamrock, led by David Rooney,  beat Donore by a single point.  Host club Liffey Valley was another point adrift for fifth and Crusaders sixth of the eighteen teams entered. Best of the women’s teams were defending champions Dublin City Harriers, followed by Raheny Shamrock and Liffey Valley; fourteen teams finished. The race was a sell-out reaching its 800 limit  with two days to spare.

This race used to start at 12 noon - an appropriate time since so many stay up late to celebrate the incoming New Year.  Any chance the OPW could relax its rule on having all road races start at 9.30am for this one exceptional occasion? 


On Saturday, December 30, Robert Dowling of Clonliffe Harriers was the winner of the D15RC Suicide Awareness 5km in a time of 16 mins 45 secs at Sports Campus Ireland, Abbotstown also on Saturday. Lucy Barrett of Raheny Shamrock AC was fourth and first woman in 17:26. 

In Galbally, Co Limerick, Ben Coughlan  of Clonliffe Harriers was the winner at the Mooreabbey Milers Mile Challenge  with a time of 4 mins 25 secs. 

Earlier in the week, on Wednesday December 27,  Raheny Shamrock’s Kieran Kelly was the winner of the annual Rita and Robbie 6km in Navan. His time was 15 mins 7 secs. Second in 15:24 was Fintan Kerins of Clonliffe Harriers, with Clonliffe finishing third team.

On the same day in Sutton, Raheny athletes were out in force for the annual Fat Turkey 10km, run by Suttonians RFC, taking the top three places and also the women’s title.  Race winner in 34:27 was  David Kirwan, followed by Stephen Butler 34:47  and Ciaran McGrath 35:31. First woman in 40:15 was Carmel Ward. Ciara Brady of Sportsworld AC was second in 40:23 and Sive Durcan third in 42:36. 

A day earlier on St Stephen’s Day (Tuesday December 26) John Travers of Donore Harriers  AC was a clear winner of the Fields of Athenry 10km in Co Galway, leading home close to 1,500 finishers in a time of 30 minutes exactly? 

As usual, a large contingent of Dublin runners had travelled west for the race. Ieuan Hopkins  (Brothers Pearse) was sixth overall in 31:35, Cathal McHale (Clonliffe Harriers) tenth in 33:02, Mark Naylor (Liffey Valley) 11th in 3:23, Karol David Cronin (Sportsworld) 12th and second M40 in 33:36 and Robert Frewen (Raheny Shamrock)4th in 33:54. Caoimhe Kilroy (Metro St Brigid’s)was fourth woman and first W45 in 37.20. Other Dublin clubs in action included  Crusaders, Blackrock, Dublin Front Runners, Tallaght, Lusk and Civil Service. 

At  the Shane Brennan 5km, in Newtownforbes, Co Longford, also on St Stephen’s Day Rachel Yorke of Crusaders AC was first woman in 19:45, while at the Cavan Christmas 5km Dash, Caitriona Mullen of Metro St Brigid’s AC was fifth and first woman in 17:15.  


Angela Eustace, with a 33-minute handicap, ran a smart race to win the 127th Waterhouse-Byrne-Baird 10-mile handicap race held in the Phoenix Park on St Stephen’s Day. The Donore Harriers race dates back to 1896 and has the distinction of being the longest-running organised cross-country race in Europe. It takes place on a two-mile lap starting from the Dog Pond. Eustace ran a conservative first lap in 18.18, and with a lap remaining, still had a three-minute advantage. Her final lap time of 17.16 was good enough to hold off the challenge of Patrick Byrne off an eleven minute handicap and Ryan Aikins, off nine minutes,  who finished second  and third. Less than ten seconds separated the first three places.Ken Nugent, the 2021 winner, finished tenth with his time of 59 mins 29 secs the fastest of the day. Fastest women was ultra specialist Sorcha Loughnane  who clocked a time of 66:35 and finished eleventh. For a second year, Ian Fitzgerald was the ‘scratch’ athlete; he ran the second fastest time on the day of 60:49.Previous winners of this historic race include Eamonn Coghlan whose course record of 49 mins 56 from 1979 still stands, and Valerie McGovern the first female winner of the race in 1988. 

COMING UP: A record entry is expected for the  Dublin Masters Cross-Country Championships, St Anne’s Park, Raheny on Sunday next (January 7). Entries close at midnight on Thursday (January 4). Four races will take places starting with the over 50 women and over 65 men’s 3,000m at 12 noon.  Can Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock) make it three in a row in the M35 6,000m?  Will Raheny Shamrock retain the Pat Hooper Cup as best overall club? Spectators and supporters welcome to come along and find out! Full details elsewhere on this site.


1 Startline Tom Brennan 5km - Eventual winner Efrem Gidey (413); Abdel Laadjel (114).  Picture courtest MyRunResuls

2 Fat Turkey 10km - Raheny out in force! Picture by Noel Cuddy Photography

3 Waterhouse Byrne Baird Handicap - Angela Eustace receiving the trophy from Donore Harriers president  Florence Curley. Picture Donore Harriers