IT WAS a West Cork U20 double at the Autumn Open International Cross-Country Festival at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus, in Abbotstown, Dublin.
Darragh McElhinney of Bantry AC has had a great year to date, and he continued his fine form with another victory. He won the All-Ireland Schools Cross-Country Championships in March of this year and the Schools International in July, after which he represented Ireland at the European U20 Championships.
He showed that he had lost none of his edge as he came in 18:48 for the 6000m race, eight seconds ahead of second-placed Jamie Battle of Mullingar Harriers with West Waterford’s Micheál Power third in 19:05. December’s European Cross-Country Championships are a forthcoming target for McElhinney, though November’s National Cross-Country Championships will also be on the agenda.
In the women’s U20, which was combined with the masters race, Laura Nicholson of Bandon AC came home in a time of 16:22 for the 4,500m distance, three laps of the 1,500m loop.
Siobhra O’Flaherty (SLOT) was second while Avril Deegan (Ballyroan Abbeyleix) came third, however another Bandon athlete, Fiona Everard, was leading but mistakenly embarked on another lap with the seniors before turning back and finishing in 12th place.