BY JOHN WALSHE
THE change in date and distance for the annual Donough Coughlan Cup road race at Bandon proved to be a good one as an exciting race produced the first local winner in many years.
Normally held on New Year’s Day, this year the race was brought forward to the October bank holiday weekend and held over 5km instead of the usual five miles. Despite clashing with the Dublin Marathon, it still attracted a high-class field resulting in an impressive win for Naoise O’Flaitheartaigh of the promoting club.
The 19-year-old from Castle Road in the town was one of a four-man breakaway consisting of former winner Sean McGrath (East Cork), Eric Curran (Leevale) and Evan Fitzgerald (Clonmel).
On the downhill run to the finish, McGrath was first to make a move with Curran then going to the front but O’Flaitheartaigh bided his time before unleashing a strong sprint to cross the line first in a time of 15:57. The closeness of the finish can be seen from the times of the first four as just four seconds covered Curran (second), McGrath (third) and Fitzgerald (fourth).
‘I’m delighted to win, I just got away coming into the finish,’ said O’Flaiteartaigh, a first-year student at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.
‘I train at UL and my next race will probably be the universities road relay and then the national junior cross-country at the end of November.’
Michelle Finn, winner of the county cross-country two weeks before, is also targeting the national championships with hopes of again making the Irish team for the European Cross-Country in December.
The Leevale athlete, who ran in the steeplechase for Ireland at the recent World Championships in Doha, is just getting back after a well-deserved break. She easily won the women’s race in a time of 17:21 which placed her eight overall.
Carmel Crowley of the local club, now in the F50 category, showed she is still a force to be reckoned with when taking second in 20:15 with Linda O’Connor from Carrigaline third in 20:42.
Although the number of finishers at 99 may have been somewhat on the low size, once again the event was organised to the usual high standard and Bandon AC are to be congratulated on reviving the race in memory of the late Donough Coughlan whose wife, Nora, presented the cup to keep his memory alive.
1. N O’Flaitheartaigh (Bandon, MJ) 15:57; 2. E Curran (Leevale) 15:58; 3. S McGrath (East Cork) 15:58; 4. E Fitzgerald (Clonmel, MJ) 16:01; 5. J Meade (St Finbarr’s) 16:20; 6. C Murnane (unatt) 17:11; 7. G Lordan (Clonakilty) 17:14; 8. M Finn (Leevale, F) 17:21; 9. B O’Brien (Skibbereen, M40) 17:47; 10. W O’Donoghue (Mooreabbey, M55) 18:54.
M40: 2. A Tennyson (unatt) 21:01; 3. A Jarrett (unatt) 22:52.
M45: 1. D O’Donoghue (unatt) 22:57; 2. C O’Callaghan (unatt) 26:25; 3. C Bonar (unatt) 27:58.
M50: 1. D O’Donoghue (Wategrasshill) 23:51.
M55: 2. T Sheehan (Bandon) 18:59; 3. M Lynch (Ballincollig) 20:39.
M60: 1. D Carroll (Eagle) 22:11; 2. P Murphy (Eagle) 22:32; 3 J Hayes (Rising Sun) 24:37.
M65: 1. L Smyth (Coolquill) 23:09; 2. J Walshe (RRC) 25:13; 3 D Condon (unatt) 35:57.
M70: 1. K Higgs (Eagle) 23:21; 2. B Caball (Rising Sun) 32:33.
Women: 1. M Finn (Leevale) 17:21; 2. C Crowley (Bandon, F50) 20:15; 3. L O’Connor (unatt, F45) 20:42; 4. R Coveney (Bandon) 21:50; 5. E Guinane (Eagle, F40) 22:07; 6. A O’Neill (Doheny, F50) 22:13.
F40: 2. G Conroy (Watergrasshill) 22:19; 3. D Kiely (Bandon) 24:55.
F45: 2. D O’Donoghue (Bnadon) 24:36.
F50: 3. A Young (Bandon) 32:46.
F55: 1. A Murphy (unatt) 24:02.
F60: 1. M Ui Chonghaile (Donoughmore) 25:41; 2. B O’Riordan (unatt) 25:51; 3. F Dawson (unatt) 29:39.