The Intervarsity Athletics Road Relay Championships were recently held on the campus of NUI Maynooth. This event is always one of the highlights of the university athletic calendar, and this year proved no different. The atmosphere was electric throughout, as many supporters from DCU travelled to Maynooth with the squads.
Both the men’s and the women’s teams representing DCU headed to Maynooth with high hopes of strong performances. The men were hoping to reclaim the trophy they had lost to UCD after some epic battles over the last two years. In 2012, the women had won the cup from a good UCC side and the aim was to retain the title once again this year. In this event, the women compete in a four leg relay over 1-2-2-1 miles, while the men compete in a five leg relay over 1-2-3-2-1 miles and the race is held on tree-lined avenues around the old part of Maynooth campus.
In the men’s competition, DCU Dragons had an impressive six full teams entered in this event, a record number for the college. The first team had an exciting battle with Athlone IT and UCD but managed to put in a fantastic team effort and take the victory for DCU. The team of Darren McBrearty, John Coghlan, David McCarthy, Daragh Greene and Joe Warne also became the first ever team to break 41 minutes for the event – they smashed the record with 40:26 for the nine miles. DCU’s latest recruit McCarthy, who has spent four years in Providence College, had the performance of the day, which saw him equal Joe Sweeney’s 2011 course record of 13.29 for the three miles.
The men’s B squad of Brian Kelly, Emmet Jennings, Jayme Rossiter, Michael Carey and Darragh Lynch recorded 42.06 for the nine miles. This was a great time for the second squad as it was a time that won the race in the past and was never outside the medals before. The C squad of Keith Fallon, Killian O’Connor, Stephen Lawler, Neil Greaney and Uchenna Uwechski (43.57) and the D team of Cormac Kelly, David Scanlon, Matt Horrigan, Kilian Gargan and Peter Gaffney (44.42) both managed top 10 team finishes.
Men’s captain Brian Kelly was proud of the performances of the DCU Dragons: “I’m glad that DCU are back on top form at the road relay event. It’s a very hard trophy to retain. With this year’s win, we have now equalled UCC for the record of the most times winning this cup since the first year of the event. It’s a great achievement to have also been the first university to break the 41-minute barrier.”
DCU had two teams competing in the women’s race which took place before the men’s. The A team consisted of Laura Behan, Deirdre Doyle, Mary Mulhare and Mary Ann O’Sullivan. They ran well as a team, and finished in third place behind two very competitive squads from UCD and UCC respectively. The DCU women’s B team put in a strong performance with Ciara Wilson, Emily Milner, Aislinn Moorhouse and Elizabeth Carr finishing a commendable 6th (35.31) and Niamh Moran running a lead of mile on her own.
The fastest mile of the day was run by Ellie Hartnett from UCD with an impressive 4.58 minutes. UCD had gone into the race as favourites, and their lead was never challenged. UCC took the silver medals as a result of a great run by Orla Drumm, in 10.30 minutes, which was fastest female two mile of the day. DCU women’s captain Behan was happy with the way the girls competed: “Although we were disappointed not to win, we were still happy with everyone’s performances on the day. All of our girls ran strong legs, and our overall time was 15 seconds faster than our time last year, which won us the gold medals. Clearly the competition is improving every year, and this can only be regarded as a positive for varsity athletics.”
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Image Credit: Simon Turnock