DCU complete clean sweep at cross country championships

Ian Brennan

DCU's cross-country team. Image Credit: DCU Athletics Club/Facebook.

DCU retained all three of their Intervarsities Cross Country team titles last week at the Trinity Sports grounds in Santry.

The respective team victories for men and women ensured that DCU convincingly won their fifteenth Overall Best College title in the last sixteen years, an unprecedented level of success.

They finished ahead of UCD in second with hosts Trinity College Dublin in third.

DCU dominated the event, which was rescheduled due to Storm Emma, with 12 athletes finishing in the top 20 in the women’s race, with the men’s team, having been severely weakened with the loss of six senior members in the build up to the race due to both injury and travel arrangements, placing six athletes in the top 20.

The men’s team narrowly retained their title from last year by just four points from UCD with NUIG a good way behind in third place.

Meanwhile the women’s team were far more dominant, with UCC a long way back in second and Trinity rounding out the top three.

Una Britton led home the ladies team with an astounding second place finish, with Elizabeth Carr also coming in the top five. Close behind Carr was Avril Deegan in sixth, with fourth highest member of the team Niamh Kelly all but confirming the team title in eighth.

There was room for one more top ten result with Nadia Power sneaking in, the first in a series of five DCU athletes in a row, including Claire Fagan in eleventh, Niamh Corry finishing twelfth, Sinead Lambe coming in thirteenth and Lauren Tinkler fourteenth.

The college set a record number of athletes to finish in the top 20 of a race with Ciara Cummins 17th, Laura Whitelaw ending in 18th and Zoe Carruthers concluding the top twenty.

First year Cathal Doyle put in a stellar effort finishing fifth in the field in the men’s race, with Padraig Moran finishing a place behind. Team captain Michael Carey finished in ninth with Cormac Dalton closing out the top ten finishers, an impressive performance considering his recovery from injuries.

Adam O’Brien, Jonny Whan, and Garry Campbell finishing in 19th, 20th and 22nd rounded off the top six team members, confirming that the men’s title would return to DCU for the twelfth time in 16 years. This success was achieved without the services of established international athletes such as Eoin Strutt, Pierre Murchan, David Scanlon, and Brian Fay.

The women’s race was won by defending champion Shona Heaslip of IT Tralee by ten seconds ahead of Britton. Heaslip is also the national senior cross country champion and was the favourite going into the race for the top spot and duly delivered. Jessica Coyne finished in third for UCC.

Damien Launders of NUIG also had a ten second advantage over his nearest rival, Tom O’Keefe, of UCD who just managed to pip college mate Paul O’Donnell to the line by three seconds.

The next competition for the DCU Athletics team is the Intervarsities Outdoor Championships, taking place on April 13th and 14th with Queens University Belfast hosting the event at the Mary Peters Track.

Ian Brennan

Image Credit: DCU Athletics Club/Facebook