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McGrath comes up short in gold rush

THE National Masters Track and Field Championships took place at a sun-drenched Morton Stadium in Santry on Sunday and in the first and shortest event of the day, the 100m, Drogheda & District AC’s Frank Cruise ran well against good opposition to finish 5th in his M55 race in 14:48.

ater in the day, Cruise ran a good bend in his M55 200m race where he narrowly missed out on a bronze medal when finishing fourth in 29:64.

Next up for Drogheda & District was Kieran McGrath who was competing in the M40 800m, run over two laps of the Mondo track.

Sitting on the shoulders of the leaders with just 150 metres to go, things were looking good for McGrath who was now up in third place as the hectic dash for the line began, but in the end he just couldn’t get there in a race where all three finishers were within 0.35 seconds of each other and he had to settle for the bronze medal.

Also running in the 800m event, but this time in the M65 category, was Conor Cooney.

Regarded as one of the craftiest racers in Irish Masters athletics, Cooney got the pace right and aimed for a minor medal as the race was always going to be won by world record holder Joe Gough from Waterford.

Cooney’s time of 3:04.23 for this tough two-lap race is lovely running and his consistency in training has paid off in spades for this popular runner.

Multiple European Masters medal winner Mary Leech had a solid run to finish runner-up to Maria McCambridge in the Women’s 3,000m race. Leech was never in danger of losing the silver medal with her run of 10:40.40 and her cabinet must be bulging at the seams at this stage.

Also running the 3,000m was Nuala Reilly, competing in her second race in 24 hours, Reilly’s run of 14:05 saw her finish runner-up to Brigid McCabe in the W65 category.

Closer to home, last Saturday saw some D&D members make the short journey to Ardee for the Seamie Weldon 5K, promoted by Ardee AC. Seamie was a real stalwart of Louth athletics who worked tirelessly to help grow the sport in the Ardee region and many athletes like to run this race in his honour. Conditions on the day were perfect for running, but the undulating nature of the course meant the next 20 minutes or so were going to be tough.

Nevertheless, once the starter’s pistol sounded Brian Martin lost no time in making his way into the leading pack, closely followed by two of D&D’s promising Junior athletes in Liam Mulligan and Tadhg Everitt Thompson.

The next 15 minutes were all about hard, sustained running as this trio held their positions and rounding the final bend towards the finishing straight it was clear that Martin would take third place. He crossed the line in 16:13, with Mulligan close behind in fourth spot in 16:22 which saw him win the Junior Men’s category.

Everitt Thompson faded a little but hung on well to finish eighth in a solid 17:05 and he’s developing into a fine athlete.

Also running were Luke Judge who was 35th in 19:02, while Jimmy English, who has recently joined the club, had a strong run to finish 54th in 20:39.

In the Women’s race Maureen Harbison went so close to dipping under the 20-minute barrier when finishing 47th in 20:06 and a flatter course would have seen her comfortably below that milestone time.

Next in was Ciara O’Reilly who had a decent run to place 68th in 21:15, while the evergreen Nuala Reilly was 135th in 24:00, leaving manyyounger rivals in her wake.

Also running were Conor Cooney who ran the course in 22:58, Mike Staunton who was 132nd in 23:53, and Alan Floyd who was 216th in 28:52.

Later in the day, Kieran McGrath had a terrific run to win his heat of the 400m in 54:32 but was just pipped for the gold by Ger Cremin who won the second heat in a marginally faster time.

The day finished with a gold medal for Gerry O’Connor who had a tremendous rum to win the Men’s M55 400m in 1:00.85.

O’Connor is the Sprint Group coach and let his feet do the talking as they sped round this state-of-the-art track at an incredible rate.

In the 1500m, Fintan Maher finished sixth in a competitive race in 4:30 and on this form he’ll go well in the cross-country season.

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