ATHLETICS: Stephenson runs them all ragged at Avondale

by Aaron Dunne
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Dublin champion Paul Stephenson of Rathfarnham WSAF AC was a comfortable winner of the Leinster Masters Cross-County Championships held in Avondale Forest Park, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow on Sunday.

With gusting winds, driving rain and an undulating course, conditions were difficult to say the least.

Stephen’s time of 24:32 for the 6km course put him  over half a minute clear of  the field. A close third and first M40 in 25:14 was Mick Fogarty of Ferbane AC, while fourth and first M45 was David Kirwin of Raheny Shamrock AC nn 25:17. Third in the shorter M65 race was Michael Walsh of Brothers Pearse. Rathfarnham WSAF AC was second.

In a closely fought team competition, Raheny Shamrock  beat Rathfarnham WSAF  by a single point, avenging their defeat at the Dublin Championships a fortnight ago.  Raheny Shamrock also took the M50 team title, beating Metro St Brigid’s AC and Sportsworld AC. Dublin was a clear winner of the county team prize, also winning the M50 title.

Kate Purcell of Raheny Shamrock AC, runner-up in the Dublin Championships,  won the women’s race ahead of Laura McDonnell of Rathfarnham WSAF AC, who was third in Dublin.  Third in 15:56 was Fiona Roche of Raheny Shamrock, with Sorcha Loughnane of Donore  Harriers fourth and first W45 in 16:01. Fiona Byrne of Civil Service AC was first W60 ahead of Mary Browne of Lucan Harriers.

With Sharon Keilthy making up the scoring trio, Raheny Shamrock took the team title; Donore Harriers was fourth.  Rathfarnham WSAF was second W50 team, Dublin, with the minimum possible points, were first county team.

In the intermediate races, Dublin City Harriers pair Aislinn Moorehouse and Cristin Scollard finished second and third in 21:38 and 21.45 respectively.  Civil Service Harriers, led by Laura Cullen in fourth place, took the team title, with Dublin City Harriers second  and Liffey Valley AC third. Sportsworld AC was fourth.

In a closely fought men’s inter race, Oran O’Hare of Dublin City Harriers was just pipped for victory. With Liam Naughton third, Conor Murphy 14th and Mark Gilligan 15th, Dublin City Harriers won the team title by four points from Liffey Valley AC, led by David Carroll in fifth place. Sportsworld AC was seventh.

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