The novice men’s and women’s races provided a thrilling conclusion to the twelve race programme at the Woodie’s DIY National Novice and Juvenile Uneven Age Cross Country Championships in Waterford on Sunday.
Sean Tobin (Clonmel AC) and Michelle McGee (Brother’s Pearse AC)were emphatic winners of the respective men’s and women’s national novice titles.
Tobin fresh from his ninth place finish at the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia bided his time over the 6,000m course before romping to an impressive victory. Cathal O’Donovan (St. Finbarrs AC) was the brave early leader as he forged ahead on the first lap with Tobin and local athlete Andrew Connick (Ferrybank AC) leading the chasing group. Connick then made his break for victory with a surge on the second lap; however Tobin was tracking every move as his strength began to tell.
Tobin continued to apply the pressure on the final lap and came home a comfortable winner in a time of 19.23. Connick had a superb race to finish second in a time of 19.32 with early leader O’Donovan third in a time of 9.44. Donore Harriers won the team competition with a score of 51 points and Dublin won the Inter County team title with a score of 78 points.
Newcomer to the sport Michelle McGee was equally as impressive in the novice women’s race. Longford native McGee has had a breakthrough year in 2013 which included a tenth place finish at the Woodie’s DIY Inter Counties last month. McGee dominated the race from the beginning with Kate Cronin (Raheny Shamrock AC) and Mary Mulhare (Portlaoise AC) for company. McGee’s confidence started to build as did her lead as she applied the pressure to the rest of the field.
McGee flowed effortlessly down the finishing straight to win the title in a time of 14.48. Cronin finished second in a time of 15.05 with Mulhare just behind in third in a time of 15.26. Cronin had the added bonus of leading her club Raheny Shamrock to victory in the senior women’s team category. Dublin won the Inter County team title with a score of 43 from Cork (51) and Laois third on 68 points.
In the earlier juvenile races Linda Conroy (Mullingar AC) and Con Doherty (Westport AC) won the U19 titles. Doherty in particular impressed with a powerful surge mid race to claim the victory. Kevin Mulcaire (Ennis Track AC) another of those who represented Ireland at the European cross country championships was a clear winner of the boy’s U17 title ahead of Cathal Doyle (Clonliffe Harriers AC) in second. Doyle led his club to team victory as Dublin also claimed the U17 inter county team title. Siobhra O’Flaherty (St Laurence O’Toole AC) was a class apart in the girl’s U17 race as Dundrum South Dublin AC won the girl’s U17 team title.