McCarthy rules in Rathfarnham
West Waterford star beats high-class 5km field
West Waterford's David McCarthy ran a smart race to win the New Ireland Rathfarnham 5km, held in perfect conditions last Sunday.
With a top-class field upfront, no-one was willing to make a move early on and with just over 800m to go Kevin Maunsell of Clonmel was leading a tightly packed bunch.
Behind him McCarthy was looking ominously fresh, and right behind him was Martin Fagan of Mullingar Harriers, who set the course record of 13 minutes 54 seconds in 2010.
Also looking strong were Donore's John Travers, third in 2010, and Conor Dooney of Raheny, third last year.
Only with the line in sight did McCarthy made his break, winning in 14 minutes 13 seconds - not bad for a course that has produced only two sub-14-minute winning times in its 17-year history.
Fagan was eight seconds behind for second, with Dooney passing Travers for third.
With 10 runners breaking 15 minutes and 123 of the 1,126 finishers under 20 minutes, this was a quality race.
Dunboyne's Sara Treacy, in her first outing after a three-week break, won the women's race in 16 minutes 15 seconds, with Orla Drumm of Crusaders a close second.
First master was Raheny's Annette Kealy. Treacy was also leading Dunboyne to team victory over Crusaders.
First master was Civil Service's Paul Cowhie, who was also first over-50 and showing the kind of form that won him a bronze medal for 5000m at the European Masters a month or so ago.
At the top end of the age scale, 87-year-old Brendan Earley, like Cowhie a long-time member of Civil Service Harriers, completed the course in 36 minutes 31 seconds.
Out in force were the men of St Abban's and with Stephen Lawlor, Brian Kelly, Cormac Kelly and Danny Lawlor finishing together in places 15 to 18, they duly nailed down the team prize, with Lawlor also first junior.
Crusaders were second and host club Rathfarnham WSAF just a point behind for third, with Louis McCarthy leading the team home in the absence of their top man, Seán Hehir, who is still recovering from his marathon run at the European Championships.
For a third year, the race entry soared over the 1,000 mark - testament to the excellent organisation and the speedy course.
Elsewhere, last year's Rathfarnham winner, Mark Christie of Mullingar, was testing out his fitness at a low-key 4-mile race in Blackrock, Co Louth. He duly won in 19 mins 07 secs, with Clonliffe's Gary O'Hanlon second in 19:44.
Another man on the comeback trail is Galway's Gary Thornton and he won a 5km in Moycullen in 15 mins 47, finishing more than two minutes clear of the field.