Joe Sweeney, the Dundrum South Dublin athlete, took the Senior Men’s title in style at the Woodies DIY Athletics Ireland Inter Club cross country championships at Santry Desmesne .
A good fresh sunny day made for pleasant conditions in Santry as the 6ft 4 inch Dubliner added this Inter Club title to the Inter County he won in snowbound Derry just before Christmas.
Sweeney found the early laps testing before settling into his stride and taking over from early leader Gary Thornton of Galway.
He has now opted to take a break from racing before starting his track build-up. Having just taken the Inter Club title Sweeney said he would not be going forward to running in the World Cross Country Championship as he felt he now needs a break before building up for the summer track season.
“I would like to have a crack at the standard for either the 5,000 metres or the 10,000 for the World Championships later in the year although I appreciate that the standards are difficult” said Sweeney, one of the most impressive winners of this title for some time.
Behind him there was a great battle for the silver and bronze medals, before the young Brendan O’Neill (Dundrum South Dublin AC) broke clear to take second, and Mick Clohissy got the better of his Raheny Shamrock’s club mate Mark Kirwan to take third and the final place on the podium.
Dundrum South Dublin AC won the team title with 25 points, from Raheny Shamrock AC on 47 and Clonliffe Harriers AC on 60.
Another Dundrum South Dublin AC athlete, Ava Hutchinson , took the lead at the halfway stage of the senior women’s race and then went clear to win her first senior title in convincing style.
Hutchinson who is based at Loughborough, in England’s East Midlands region, plans to run the London Marathon in April .
Eilish Kelly (Raheny Shamrock AC) came from well back to take second place ahead of Gladys Ganiel - O’Neill (Abbey AC) in third. Ganiel-O’Neill took a magnificent 4th place in the 2009 London Marathon.
Dundrum South Dublin AC won the team title with 27 points, ahead of Raheny Shamrock AC on 32 and Sportsworld AC on 79.
Shane Quinn (Ferrybank AC) was an impressive winner of the junior men’s race, with Kevin Dooney (Raheny Shamrock AC) second and Liam Brady (Tullamore Harriers AC) third after a tight finish between the latter two.
Quinn will next race in the AVIVA All Ireland schools cross country championships, before making a bid for a place on the Irish Team at the European Junior Championships over 5,000m this summer. Quinn said after the race that he is looking forward to taking up a scholarship at Providence College in August.
Dundrum South Dublin AC won the team title with 47 points, with Mullingar Harriers second on 55 and Ennis Track third on 58.
The young ‘star of the future’ , Siofra Cleirigh Buttner took control of the junior women’s race from the start and ran to another convincing win, with her team-mate Niamh Denny (Dundrum South Dublin AC) second and Shauna Moore (Dunshaughlin AC) third.
The victory will be a sweet one for Cleirigh Buttner after being disqualified last year for being under the minimum age limit for the event.
Dundrum South Dublin AC won the team title once more , with 17 points, to complete a clean sweep of the four team titles on the day, and seven of the eight titles up for grabs on the day; a fantastic achievement for long-standing Club Coach Eddie McDonagh. Raheny Shamrock AC were second with 33 and Clonliffe Harriers were third with 61.