Monday, 5 March 2012

Ballycotton Countdown
364 Days To Go!

Evening Echo March 5th

By John Cashman

Two in-form athletes with Olympic Marathon qualification on their minds grabbed the headlines in yesterday’s Ballycotton ’10’ Mile Road Race. Thirty five years on from it’s line up of 31 runners, over 2,500 crossed the finish line on a day when a testing wind faced the athletes for much of the opening five miles. However, both race winner Sergiu Ciobanu and ladies winner Maria McCambridge proved to be class acts.

Cioabanu (49:20) who successfully defended his Ballycotton crown heads for the Rotterdam Marathon next month, whilst McCambridge will travel to the Rome Marathon two weeks from now, having smashed the ladies course record with a superb run of 54:48. It eclipses the standard set by former UK Olympian Marian Sutton in 1997 by all of 40 seconds.

Both winners were on something of a solo mission. Moldovian native Ciobanu who is targeting the Olympic ‘A’ standard of 2:15 set out his stall early and by the third mile had already opened a gap on runner up, Paddy Hamilton of Annadale Striders.
“I felt good from early on and by the half way mark was aware that I had opened a good advantage. On the way back with the aid of the wind, I was able to kick on, feeling strong particularly over the last few miles”, commented Ciobanu, who broke the tape 56 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

The Annadale club man from Belfast was a trifle disappointed with his overall display.
“Coming down here I thought I was capable of a better run. But it’s my first time in Ballycotton and it was a great experience and a great occasion, so I hope to return”.

Third placed James McCarthy (51:11) of East Cork A.C had every reason to be satisfied with his afternoon’s work, which represented his best finish in the marquee race.
“After my injury problems of last season, it was good to put in this performance early in the year. Maybe local knowledge helped a little but I was glad to be to edge out my closest challengers for third place, after we had been together in a bunch for quite a while.”

Maria McCambridge’s record breaking run was definitely the talk of the post race discussions. The Letterkenny lady came into the race in top form and was always in command despite a great effort by last year’s winner Lizzie Lee from Leevale. In fact Lizzie recorded a personal best for the distance, in the process running 90 seconds better than she did a year ago. “That was an outstanding run by Maria. I knew coming here today that she had a really big run in her. On a personal level, I’m really happy with my own run. Dick Hooper shouted to me at the 8 mile mark that there was a pb there to be got. To record it here in Ballycotton is really special. It’s all systems ahead now for the Rotterdam Marathon”.

Amongst the other notable Cork based achievers on the day were George Waugh of Bandon who finished in ninth place overall and Ann Marie Holland, whose seventh place ladies finish saw her top the Over 35 rankings. Cathal O’Connel was second man home Over 45, Eamonn McEvoy (St Finbarr’s) and Neilus Aherne (Midleton AC) were first and third respectively in the Over 55’s, Pat Twoemy (Eagle) was runner up over 60 whilst Michael Dunne, John J Cotter and John O’Leary also collected category prizes. Ann Moore (Leevale) and Maggie Dunne (Carraig na bhFear) were amongst the ladies honours, whilst once more the name of Mary Sweeney from St Finbarr’s was up in lights.

The very first ladies winner in Ballycotton back in 1979, yesterday smashed the Over 50’s ladies course record which she herself set only last year. A nett gain of 1 minute 13 seconds, means the remarkable lady from Youghal ran 3 minutes 50 seconds faster than she did on that ground breaking day in the late 70’s.

Finally it was also a special day for John Walshe and Willie O’Mahony the only 2 runners to have completed all 35 editions of this great race, which for many of us is now a way of life.


Overall1 S Ciobanu (Clonliffe) 49:20; 2 P Hamilton (Annadale) 50:24; 3 J McCarthy (East Cork) 51:11; 4 M Clough (Leeds City) 51:25; 5 M Hoey (Star of the Sea) 51:43; 6 S Ryan (Raheny) 51:53; 7 S Bralitis (West Waterford) 52:48; 8 M Doody (Limerick) 52:59; 9 G Waugh (Bandon) 53:01; 10 C O’Leary (Raheny) 53:11.

Mens CategoriesM40: 1 K Norgrove (Donore) 54:50; 2 C Conroy (Sli Cualann) 55:16; 3 P Hennessy (Donore) 55:53.M45: 1 C Burke (St Abbans) 54:19; 2 C O’Connell (St Finbarrs) 54:54; 3 D Carrie (Dunleer) 55:58.M50: 1 T Payne (Tinryland) 55:10; 2 J Stafford (Slaney Olympic) 58:13; 3 M McCarthy (West Waterford) 58:46.M55: 1 E McEvoy (St Finbarrs) 60:33; 2 J Gough (West Waterford) 61:09; 3 N Aherne (Midleton) 62:14.M60: 1 P O’Shea (Iveragh) 61:58; 2 P Twomey (Eagle) 66:28; 3 M Tobin (Grange-Fermoy) 67:17.M65: 1 S Clifford (Sli Cualann) 68:16; 2 M Dunne (St Finbarrs) 73:15; 3 J Cotter (unatt) 81:14.M70: 1 J McNamara (Donore) 71:43; 2 J O’Leary (Leevale) 80:03; 3 J O’Mahony (unatt) 80:11.M80: 1 P Clifford (unatt) 2:15:32; 2 J Collins (Limerick CC) 2:25:58.Team: 1 Raheny 33; 2 Donore 58; 3 West Waterford 98.

Ladies OverallWomen: 1 M McCambridge (Letterkenny, F35) 54:48; 2 L Lee (Leevale) 57:17; 3 R Ryan (Bilboa, F35) 59:16; 4 A McCann (Clonmel, F40) 59:46; 5 S O’Doherty (Borrisokane) 60:20; 6 A Curley (Donore, F40) 60:27.

Ladies CategoriesF35: 3 A-M Holland (Eagle) 61:24.F40: 3 C Murphy (Slaney Olympic) 63:27.F45: 1 T Guuilfoyle (Kilnaboy) 65:48; 2 A Moore (Leevale) 66:35; 3 I Henebry (KCH) 71:47.F50: 1 M Sweeney (St Finbarrs) 64:57; 2 N Thorpe (Sli Cualann) 74:25; 3 M Hurley (Bantry) 75:25.F55: 1 H Ingram (Rathfarnham-WSAF) 69:42; 2 N Reilly (Drogheda & Dist) 70:41; 3 C MacDomhnaill (West Limerick) 75:29.F60: 1 P Riggs (unatt) 93:21; 2 A O’Brien (Gneeveguilla) 96:41; 3 P O’Keeffe (Waterford) 1:41:35.F65: 1 M Dunne (Carriag na bhFear) 92:48; 2 K Farrell (unatt) 1:41:56; 3 T Blake (unatt) 1:56:23.Team: 1 Donore 31; 2 Eagle 46; 3 St Finbarrs 53.