Athletics: Club joy on the double for Dundrum and Clonliffe
DUNDRUM South Dublin and Clonliffe Harriers proved that they are the two strongest clubs in the country when they made it a Dublin double at the Glo Health National Track and Field League final held in Tullamore.
A strong all-round performance saw Dundrum South Dublin winning the women's premier title for a record equalling fifth consecutive time - but not until the final announcement were DSD sure that they had held off the challenge of the Leevale club from Cork.
Consistency counted and although Leevale had more wins, DSD had picked up a bigger number of third and fourth places.
On a day when collecting points for the club was far more important that times, marathon woman Maria McCambridge finished second in a tactical 3000m behind Leevale's Michelle Finn and later was third in the 800m.
Javelin thrower Anita White managed a surprise victory in the shot, as well as winning her specialist event, while Sinead Denny won the 200m, was second in the 400m and anchored the 4x400m to second place behind Leevale.
Team captain Fiona Clinton picked up vital points in the 1500m and the walk as did all-rounder Grainne Moggan in the triple jump - and everyone played their part.
For the Clonliffe men, regaining the premier title after a lapse of two years proved a lot easier than expected. Among the winners for the club were Chris Zibanda 200m, Timmy Crowe 400m, Declan Murray 800m, Ian Rogers pole vault, Antonio Fernandez 110m hurdles and Justin Jadluai javelin.
Clonliffe finished their day with a comprehensive victory in the 4x400m, where Brian Gregan had an easy job as anchor man. The night before, Gregan had run a season's best 45.85 secs for 400m in Ninova, Belgium.
Despite the chilly winds, and the chase for points rather than fast times, there were a number of good races.
Marcus Lawler for Carlow blazed to victory in the division 1 100m with a good time of 10.54 secs, while an absorbing men's steeplechase saw Rory Chesser of Ennis TC holding off DSD's Emmett Jennings for victory.
Later Chesser won the division 1 5000m, beating Brian Maher of Kilkenny City Harriers.
In the men's 400m hurdles, Paul Byrne of St Abban's, fresh from a 50.82 sec run in Belgium the night before, won the race with ease. Tipperary County were the winners of Division 1 women and Kilkenny City Harriers winners of Division 1 men.
The event, run off like clockwork, showed club athletics at its best, with athletes running for the honour and glory of their teams above all else - and clearly having a ball as they did so.