BY MARTIN WALSH
DOMINANT local athlete Carmel Crowley (Bandon AC) won the ladies’ event in the Courtmacsherry 10km road race for the ninth time in ten appearances.
Crowley had 40 seconds in hand over another West Cork athlete, Sinead O’Regan of the Rosscarbery Steam Runners, with St Finbarrs AC’s Niamh Cronin crossing the line just four seconds further behind.
Crowley, who has only ever missed two runs (2016 and 2017) since its inception in 2008, said: ‘I train on this road, I like it as it’s home really. I was comfortable all the time. I will race away and then it’s cross country for the winter.’
For Rosscarbery runner O’Regan, this was her best result since her comeback a year ago.
‘This was a PB for me, prior to this my best time was 42 minutes and 30 seconds so breaking the 40m barrier was great. It’s a flat course so maybe that is easier.
‘I am training for the Berlin marathon in September, I only ever did this race once before and this is certainly a whole lot faster. To be honest, I don’t really know Carmel but she was out of sight and it was always going to be a race for second and third and it was a sprint for the finish.’
O’Regan was four seconds ahead of a group of St Finbarr’s AC runners with Niamh Cronin taking third from Riina Kuuselo, Katie Hickson and Una Murphy-Plant of the Kinsale Tri Club.
Meanwhile, in the men’s race, having taken second and third in previous years, Carrigaline’s Alan O’Brien, running in the colours of Eagle AC, finally won the event with a very competitive performance that was some 30 seconds shy of the course record.
O’Brien finished 20 seconds ahead of Leevale AC man Alan Sheehan with St Finbarr’s AC runner Joe Cunningham taking third, 51 seconds further behind.
‘It’s a fabulous course, it can be fast if the wind doesn’t blow. I’m amazed that more people don’t travel down to it. It’s a well-organised event, the atmosphere is great and it’s a great fundraiser too,’ said O’Brien, who stopped the clock on a time of 31 minutes and 58 seconds.
A total of 279 runners from entry of 295 took to the start.
Results (top three): 1. Alan O’Brien (Eagle AC) 31m 58s; 2. A Sheehan (Leevale AC) 32m 18s; 3. Joe Cunningham (St Finbarr’s AC) 33m 09s. Ladies: 1. Carmel Crowley (Bandon AC) 39m 03s; 2. Sinead O’Regan (Rosscarbery Steam Runners) 39m 43s; 3. Niamh Cronin (St Finbarr’s AC) 39m 47s.