A: Grange, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland | E: info@mullingarharriers.com

Week ending Saturday 1st June


James and Sinead are local winners of Pat Finnerty Memorial 5k

At the conclusion of the final round of the Pat Finnerty Memorial 5k series last Wednesday evening, Mullingar Harriers James Keegan and Sinead Whitelaw emerged victorious in the men and women races and were very worthy recipients of the Pat Finnerty Memorial Trophies.

In contrast to the early rounds, it was cool and wet for the final night, which made it tough for spectators and officials but it better suited the runners. With more entries taken on the night, overall numbers were up again on previous weeks. Well over 200 registered to run over the three evenings, so the event continues to grow. Over the three nights we saw that entries were nearly evenly split between men and women, about two thirds came from Westmeath but a third came from neighbouring and nearby Counties including Longford, Cavan, Offaly, Meath, Kildare, Laois and Roscommon, and from further afield, adding an International flavour, were two visitors from France taking part. It’s great to see such interest far and wide in the event.

Just running the final night and therefore not eligible for the overall prize, Diarmuid Fagan raced to victory in 15 minutes 43 seconds, an impressive time on the tough Belvedere course. Following him in was James Keegan (16:10) in second and Timmy Murphy (16:36) in third. With the best two of three times to score in the league, Sinead Whitelaw could rest for the final night confident that she couldn’t be caught in the league, so we had a new first woman for the final night, Aine O’Reilly in 19 minutes 41 seconds, which guaranteed her a senior prize, followed by Jenny Algar (19:49) in second and Susan Glennon (19:53) on her heels in third. All through the field there were great battles for category prizes, so everyone raced hard for every place right to the finish. Full results of the race and final results in the league are available on www.myrunresults.com. After the race, everyone gathered in the Courtyard Café in Belvedere for some very welcome refreshments and lovely fresh food and the all-important prize giving.

The top three men in the league were James Keegan (Mullingar Harriers AC), Dan Morriss and John Whitelaw (Mullingar Harriers AC) and the top three women were Sinead Whitelaw (Mullingar Harriers AC), Emily Grennan (Tullamore Harriers AC) and Aine O’Reilly (Mullingar Harriers AC). The perpetual trophy for first man and for first woman were presented by Susan Finnerty to James Keegan and Sinead Whitelaw. This year the proceeds from the league will go to Tanzanian Heavenly Homes, a local non-profit charity organisation founded by John McCauley and before the presentations, John was invited to outline the origins of the charity and how the funds raised will be used to improve conditions for local people in Tanzania. As a thank you, John presented a beautiful photograph of the very large group from Mullingar Harriers AC that had participated in the Mullingar Half Marathon back in March, and the photograph will be displayed in a prominent place in the Clubhouse.

Sincere thanks to everyone who gave up their free time and helped out with car parking, registrations, course building, stewarding, start officials, finish line officials, Richard Ferris and Siobhan Farry who shared leading the race on a bike over the series to make sure no one went astray, Declan Costello for his photographs, most importantly to everyone who took part in the series, and finally, a big thank you to Westmeath Civil Defence for providing first aid and ambulance cover, to the staff of Belvedere House and Gardens, to Susan Finnerty for presenting the trophies, and finally to the Courtyard Café in Belvedere for hosting the prize giving [GD].

The category prize winners were:

Senior Women – 1. Sinead Whitelaw, 2. Emily Grennan (Tullamore Harriers AC), 3. Aine O’Reilly; Senior Men – 1. James Keegan, 2. Dan Morriss, 3. John Whitelaw; Junior Men – 1. Luke Greene; women o/40 – 1. Charlotte Kearney (Donadea AC), 2. Aeilish McGovern, 3. Aisling Corcoran; men o/40 – 1. Alan Crowley, 2. Eoin Clarke, 3. Enda O’Carolan; women o/50 – 1. Mary Stuart, 2. Criona Reid, 3. Caroline Mullen; men o/50 – 1. Gerard Gavin, Damien Hillard (Bohermeen AC), 3. Mick Fagan; women o/60 – 1. Vera McCool, 2. Pauline Troy, Irene Lynam (Na Fianna AC); men o/60 – 1. Mel Leahy (North Westmeath AC), 2. Jack O’Connell (Tullamore Harriers AC), 3. Brian O’Reilly (Laragh AC); women o/70 – 1. Breda McDonnell; men o/70 – 1. Michael Smith (Laragh AC), 2. John Waldron, 3. Sean Kelly.

Big personal best for Oisin Lane in Spain

Last Saturday week (18 May), the Northwest of Spain saw weather conditions very similar to those in Ireland. This was much to the delight of Oisín Lane who one of the more than 130 entrants for the Senior Men 20k walk in the famous La Coruna annual racewalking elite competition, a World Racewalking Tour Gold Event. It was the most competitive of the World Tour Gold events held this year so far, with 5 continents represented and very big teams from the racewalking superpowers of China, Japan, Mexico and Spain itself.

With his mind set on achieving a significant personal best, Oisín set off in determined pursuit of that target from the gun. With 10k reached in 40:58 he had to dig deep and battle hard for the second 10k and a final time of 83 minutes 14 seconds, a huge improvement of almost a minute on his previous best performance and a time which takes him nearer to World level standards. With limited time left in the qualification window he must now wait patiently to see if this performance will rank him among Europe’s elite who will be invited to Rome for this year’s European Senior T&F Championships to be held in early June [ML].

Leinster u/20, Senior & Masters T&F

The Leinster u/20, Senior & Masters T&F took place over two days last weekend in SETU Carlow. Saturday was cold and windy but thankfully remained dry for the day. Aidan O’Donoghue had a very busy schedule and opened his campaign with the 100m hurdles where he finished third in his master category and earned his first medal of the day. Moving to the 1,500m u/20, Jessica Cunningham ran an excellent race, keeping in contention throughout, and was rewarded for her efforts with a silver medal. Following her in was Ailbhe O’Farrell who also put in a great effort and finished a very creditable sixth place. Ailbhe is eligible for two more years, so will benefit greatly from the experience. In the master 1,500m Brigid McCabe was never troubled and won her master category with ease.

Odhran Cully contested the senior 100m where he ran well but didn’t advance from the very competitive heats. Aidan O’Donoghue finished out of the medal places in his master 100m, but Tom Walsh got us back in the medals again by taking silver in his master 100m. Patrick Leydon was simply too strong for the opposition in the senior 400m and was always in control, coming home comfortably clear to win in 49.74, a new personal best for the distance. Tom Walsh returned to action in his event of choice, the master 28 pound weight for distance, and showed why he holds the Irish record for his age group with a dominant display to win with a fine 7.65m effort, his second medal of the day. Aidan O’Donoghue made up for earlier sprint disappointment with victory in the master pole vault and silver in the master javelin to round off a busy but very rewarding day one for him and for Mullingar.

Sunday was a much better day for athletics as the wind was gone and conditions were very calm, though on and off showers in the afternoon disrupted proceedings a bit. The Mullingar race walkers were in excellent form and made a clean sweep of the men 5,000m walk titles – Matthew Glennon (senior), Andrew (u/20) and Colm Walsh (master). For Colm it was a particularly satisfying result as his time of 25 minutes 50.73 seconds was his fastest time for two years and took nearly a minute off the Championship Record for his master category that he set last year. Odhran Cully powered to a fine third place finish in the senior 200m and was very pleased to secure a Leinster senior bronze medal. In the field events, Paddy Boyhan was in excellent form and won his master category in the triple jump and high jump.

Eleven Mullingar athletes competed in 17 events across the two days and won a total of 14 medals between them, which are excellent results [GD].

Jack and Vinny impress at IFAM

Normally held in Oordegem, Belgium, due to track resurfacing works, the IFAM (International Flanders Athletic Meeting) had to move to Brussels last Saturday. This was a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze meeting, so it attracted some of the best athletes to compete in the prestigious event. It was great to see Jack O’Leary back racing after some time out and in the 5,000m he recorded an impressive time of 14 minutes 12.65 seconds. Vinny Connolly was always very competitive and worked extremely hard to stay with the pack and was rewarded with a massive track personal best by 13 seconds when he finished in 14 minutes 27.19 seconds. It’s still early in the season and both men will be looking to run faster times during the summer [IMcC].

Andrew Nevin wins the Newry Half Marathon

Taking the early lead in the Newry Half Marathon last Sunday morning, Andrew Nevin was very strong throughout and was delighted to record his second fastest time for the distance on Irish soil when finishing in 1 hour 11 minutes 18 seconds to win with distance to spare [IMcC].

Bob Heffernan & Mary Hanly 5k

The annual Na Fianna AC Bob Heffernan & Mary Hanly 5km took place last Tuesday evening. On a warm, clammy evening the fast course around the country roads adjacent to Johnstownbridge village were filled with 743 athletes. This was the fourth race in the Peugeot Series and Mullingar Harriers was again well represented for all the team and individual categories.

Our mixed team came home third Club, led by James Keegan in 15 minutes 34 seconds, followed by Ian McCormack (15:37), Kedagh Geoghegan (16:32), then Sinead Whitelaw in 18 minutes 4 seconds, Glenda Shaw (18:27) second in her master category and Joan Flynn (18:39). Our women’s team finished fourth Club with Sinead, Glenda and Joan making up the scoring three, while the men’s team of James, Ian and Kedagh finished fifth Club.

Mary Stuart was a master age category winner with a time of 19:46. Strong running also from Alan Crowley (16:43), Paul Forristal (17:04), Stephen Campbell (17:14), Enda O’Carolan (17:27), Susan Glennon (18:58), Dara O’Shea (19:00), Robin Jackson (19:57), Aelish McGovern (20:15), Padraig Beglin (20:19), Rachel Killalea (20:53), Niamh Doherty (21:36), Joe Doherty (21:37), Joan Hickson (21:41), Gemma Kelly (21:52), Mairtin Savage (21:56) and Colm Garvey (26:00) [SW].

Warning, don’t miss the closing date for Juvenile Leinster T&F

The Leinster Juvenile u/12 to u/19 T&F will take place in Tullamore on 15 and 16 June and the entries close next Friday week (7 June). There are no late entries, so don’t miss the deadline and as always, if anyone has any difficulty submitting their entries, please don’t hesitate to contact Greg.


Finally, the Executive and members of Mullingar Harriers wish to extend sincere sympathy to Colin Delaney and the entire Delaney family on the recent death of his father Michael, grandfather to Callum. May he rest in peace.

Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.