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Tuesday 6 December 2016

McCormack shows class

Fionnuala McCormack of Kilcoole AC, Wicklow on her way to winning the senior women’s race during the Autumn Open Cross Country Festival at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown. Pic: Sportsfile
Fionnuala McCormack of Kilcoole AC, Wicklow on her way to winning the senior women’s race during the Autumn Open Cross Country Festival at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown. Pic: Sportsfile

Double European champion Fionnuala McCormack of Kilcoole showed that she is still the best cross-country runner in the country when she won the Autumn Open Cross-Country over the newly-launched National Cross-Country Course at Abbotstown.

McCormack proved the class of the field in the women's 6000m, beating Polish visitor  Paulina Kaczynska by over half a minute.

Showing a welcome return to form to finish a fighting third place was Caroline Crowley of Crusaders, with strong runs also for Ann Marie McGlynn of Letterkenny and DSD's Laura Shaughnessy in fourth and fifth places.

In an exciting men's 8000m, Mark Christie of Mullingar Harriers shook off the challenge of Polish visitor Adam Nowicki. Christie's winning time of 24 minutes 59 seconds gave him a five second margin over the Pole, with Raheny's Freddy Sittuk four seconds behind again for third.

Adding spice to the races were the trials for the Irish masters team which will compete at the annual British and Irish Masters International in Glasgow next month.

First athlete over-35  to finish was Brian Maher of KCH in fifth place although he was not registered as a master.

That made Paddy Hamilton of Slieve Gullion, who finished 11th overall, the first official master, one place ahead of GCH's Gary Thornton, another M35 who had not registered as a master.

A clear winner of the M40 age group was Letterkenny's Ciarán Doherty. Aengus Burke of Portlaoise edged out Newbridge's Pat Malone to win the M50 class,  with Phelim Glynn of Dunboyne third and Raheny's Mick Traynor fourth.

In the M55 race, Tommy Payne and Jim Stafford battled it out right to the line, with Mick Byrne of Parnell AC third

When it came to the women, Anne Marie McGlynn, overall winner of the masters international last year when it was held in Santry, was first master.

Rio Olympian Kerry O'Flaherty marked her masters debut by finishing second W35 and sixth overall. First W40 was Farranfore's Maria McCarthy with Jackie Carty of Kilmore first W45.

Closest women's race was in the over-60 class, where many times world champion Carmel Parnell of Leevale beat Galway's Christine Kennedy, who was running with a broken arm. Kennedy finished just four seconds behind Parnell. Third was Mayo's Pauline Moran.

A definite winner was the Abbotstown course which will be used for the Glo Health National Cross-Country Championships at the end of November.

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