At the Woodie’s DIY Senior Inter County Cross Country Championships, Joe Sweeney of Dublin was an impressive winner of the Men’s Senior Race on a challenging mucky course at the Sligo racecourse.
The Dublin man is guaranteed a place on the Irish team for the European Cross Country Championships in December as the first two across the line in each category will be automatically selected for the team. Coached by Gerry Kiernan he has been progressing steadily each season winning the Inter and Club Cross country championships for the first time last year. Sweeney who lead the race from the early stages was a clear winner in 32.07 from Andrew Ledwith of Meath in 32.53 with Paul Pollock third in32.58. Michael Mulhare (Laois) was fourth across the line and first in the U23 category in 33.21, with Emmet Jennings (Dublin) second in 34.39 and Liam Tremble (Dublin) third 35.05 in that age category.
In the Senior Women’s race Sarah Louise Treacy (Meath) was the first across the line in 31.10 to take her first Senior title and the U23 title for the third year in a row. Treacy who is studying medicine in the UK, ran a confident race and was part of the leading pack from the start with Aoife Culhane (nee Byrne), Claire McCarty (Cork), Kerry Harty (Down), Eilish Kelly (Roscommon) and Lizzie Lee (Cork). In the final lap Treacy and Culhane moved away from the rest of the field. Culhane however suffered a fall mid-way through that lap and didn’t regain her momentum. McCarty moved through to second crossing the line in 31.27 with Aoife Culhane third in 31.30. Una Britton (Wicklw) sister to Fionnuala was third for Wicklow in the U23 category in 32.27 and Lauren Scott (Derry) was third in 33.26.
In the Junior Men’s race Jake Byrne (Westmeath) won in 20.49 from Kevin Dooney (Dublin) second in 20.58 and Liam Brady (Offaly) third in 21.14. Byrne who competed in the NCAA’s on Monday flew home on Wednesday to take part in the championships and looked strong throughout the race.
In the Junior women’s race European Youth Olympic track medallist Siofra Clerigh Buttner (Dublin) was a convincing winner from her club-mate Clare McCarty in 16.15. World Youth Walk champion, Kate Veale (Waterford) showed her versatility by finishing third in 16.24.
Dublin won the Junior Men’s and Women’s and Senior Men’s County title while Cork took the Senior Women’s title.