Race Report courtesy of Dunshaughlin AC’s Pearse Fahy
Photos: Sweaty Snaps
According to the great Con Houlihan,
“The spirit of a place is intangible – but it is real. It is impossible to define – but impossible not to feel.”
Something special grows when a community comes together to steer an idea into a reality. Since 1979, the men and women of Dunshaughlin AC have been carefully working away developing the club, piece by piece. This year saw the opening of a new grass running track and a new 1km running pathway, looping the perimeter of a new facility at The Willows where pony racing once took place. Our 10kms over the years have given us the wherewithal to put this in place so new generations of boys and girls have the opportunity to discover the wonderful world of athletics. Now on our doorstep, let’s help them open the door.
On Saturday evening last we had our biggest entry to date, sold out signs went up a few weeks ago and 1,200 runners decided the Michael Manning Memorial Dunshaughlin 10km would feature in their race plans for the Summer. Sponsored by Kealy Construction it comes as race five of the brilliant Peugeot Race Series 2023 and it was time to get down to business.
We went up the old road, makes a change from the two lane each way laces that trace the country now. It’s progress we’re told and I suppose it is but for me days like this are not to be rushed. The vacant full stares through car windows over ditches, the chats, the what if’s and then we’re almost there. Traffic slows on the approach to the village and then the signs. Follow the signs, then follow the men in the high viz beside the signs with the pointed arms pointing to where you should go. Cars, walkers and runners are all heading for race HQ. The community centre would have been buzzing since early morning with tasks being ticked from lists in heads. A full car of lads slowly empties itself with the lad in the middle of the back seat doing the old man getting out of a car act. It’s clear he drew the short straw with the groans and ouuuus and argh’s coming from him. Drive into the school and around the side near the field of parked cars. Almost there now, park it up and out we get. Beside me, parked up, I count four women who are mad for road – no prizes for guessing where they came from, all decked out in full club gear from one of the great clubs in the country, Mullinger Harriers. The famous maroon and white wearers have been coming to Dunshaughlin since the early days and these women are in high spirits, fighting fit and raring to get going.
Some weather the past few weeks, a bit dicey today though with warning of thunderstorms and heavy showers forecast depending on what app you looked at. Better to look to the heavens and see what was really going on. More than a few dirty clouds looking to bully themselves into position right over the course had lots of us squinting skywards hoping it would hold off for another while at least. Is it too late for a little intervention from The Child of Prague I wonder?
Anyway, a Ballybay man in his prime also made the trip down the road to Dunshaughlin over the weekend. It wasn’t his first time to visit the village that comes together each year in the middle of June to welcome runners from the four corners of Ireland. Glaslough Harriers club singlet in the bag, race shoes in the bag, all his gear in the bag. One thing wasn’t in the bag though. The plan. This was tucked in and neatly stored in his head – Race the race and not the clock. Following from 2022, the year where all hell broke loose when it came to race records. Right across the board – like buses they all came at once, nine of them including the overall men and women. Age groupers didn’t let Efrem Gidey’s (Clonliffe Harriers) 28m 15 sec and Fionnuala McCormack’s (Kilcoole AC) 32m 08sec take all the limelight and so hijacked a clatter of course records themselves. Conor Duffy, the Ballybay man ran 29m 46sec in 2022 and finished fifth, a time that would have won a generation of previously raced 10k’s but not last year. Faster is not always the answer, run smart – race the race and not the clock was the plan and he would stick to the plan like glue.
Youngsters from the Treaty county have had plenty to shout about in recent years. Go a little deeper into the county though, from Limerick city and out past the racecourse where John Treacy bagged a world cross country title in the mud and rain, the N21 will bring you all the way to Tralee. When you get to Newcastle West you’re in West Limerick territory. Back in 1979, the year a few young lads from Dunshaughlin grabbed an idea to start their own running club, the same idea was being hatched by a few like-minded souls out in West Limerick and they formed West Limerick AC. It must have been the thing to do back then and thankfully it was! Youngsters being encouraged to run and jump is the lifeblood of sport and here it is no different. This is the spiritual home of the Nic Dhomhnaill sisters. Although now based in Dublin, running in the green and white of West Limerick AC is part of their DNA. Two of them went to Dunshaughlin at the weekend and not just to make up numbers. The race is the Michael Manning Memorial, Dunshaughlin 10km. Sponsored by Kealy Construction, it is race five of the brilliant Peugeot Race Series 2023.
Three, two, one and Go Go Go. Race starts bang on time, around the first roundabout heading for kilometre one and the race leaders are beginning to set their stalls out early. Conor Duffy, Ger Forde (Kilkenny City Harriers), Emmet Jennings (Dundrum South Dublin, DSD), Luke Johnston (Moy Valley), Kevin Moore (Dundrum AC) and Jamie Fallon (Craughwell AC) skipped through the first kilometre in 2:58. Past the Arch bar through the village Emmet Jennings pushed the pace with Conor Duffy by his side. Perhaps ten metres separated the front two from the chasers but Luke and Jamie pulled it back and two became four at the head of the race. Passing 3km in 9mins 03 secs, half way all together still in 15m 17secs it was clear there would not be a course record today. Today was about racing the race that presents on the day.
We had ten women in contention for the top six places by the half way stage with just 90 seconds between the ten of them. Sisters, Ide and Aislnn Nic Dhomhnaill were getting themselves into gear with Ide already well clear and bounding along the road. As the current women’s leader of the Peugeot race series, Ide was already 28 seconds ahead of the chasers, running strong as her form of late suggested she would (she had a winning performance in the European B Cup a few weeks back in 33m 34 secs) and was in charge of this race from the off. Courtney Mc Guire (Clonmel AC), National Marathon Champion on her debut last October in 2h 32m 52secs was chasing hard along with Grace Lynch (DSD AC) with the Donegal duo of Teresa Doherty (Finn Valley AC) and Noeleen Scanlon (Letterkenny AC) just behind. Aislinn Nic Domhnaill, Norah Newcombe Pieterse (Mayo AC), Kate Purcell (Raheny AC) and Sarah Mulligan (DSD) were all together a half way in 17m 54 secs. A further 15 seconds back was Catherine Thornton (Galway City Harriers). This was turning out to be one of the closest ever women’s 10km races in Dunshaughlin.
Donnelly’s cross – turn right, down the short hill, over the small bridge at Greenhills right again and the road rises to greet you. This is the point where if you had sleeves you start to roll them up. Six kilometres of running done, four kilometres of racing to go. The do I don’t I, should I go or should I hold games begin. Conor Duffy runs the Drumlins of Monaghan for fun and knew that he could apply a little pressure to the three lads with him and see what happened. If they came with him well and good, he has speed in the legs for a fast finish if needed. Steps up a gear and makes his move. One metre, three metres, five becomes ten and then not long after out to twenty. Listens and hears the support on the run for home, counts the seconds to the cheers for the chasers and gets the sense that this could be his day. Heading for home and 8km though to 9km in 2m 56secs brought him within earshot of the crowded finishing straight. Seven hundred to go and it’s his for the taking. Four hundred and now he knows it. A hundred to go, the applause and cheers bring one the biggest of smiles to burst through Conor Duffy of Glaslough Harriers AC taking victory in 30m 19secs. Job done, what a result! Luke Johnston made second place his in 30m 31 secs with just three seconds to spare over 3rd place Jamie Fallon in 30m 34 secs.
As leading club runners throughout the country streamed across the line, the strong running leader of the women’s race came into view. Ide Ni Dhomhnaill worked hard for this victory and forceful run for home from the get-go rewarded her with the third fastest course ever time behind four time Olympian and course record holder Fionnuala Mc Cormack. Crossing the line in a PB time of 33m 10secs this was one hell of a run! This women’s race was another for the memory. The first ten women were all home and hosed quicker than any other year. Phenomenal running given the humid conditions on the night.
Grace Lynch dug into the reserves to push on and secure a new 2 second PB with 2nd place in 33m 46secs and 3rd place went to Courtney Mc Guire also managing to secure a PB in 33m 54secs.
Age group winners continued to come across the line with two particular highlights. Previous overall winners, Annette Kealy (Raheny AC) now in the O/55 category ran a superb National 10km record in 37m 27secs and Barbara Clery (Donore Harriers) also ran a cracking National O/50 record in 36m 17secs! The mens O50 course record now belongs to Declan Toal (North East Runners) clocking 32m 12 secs. A full list of prize winners and times is available on the popupraces web page ( https://www.popupraces.ie/…/micheal-manning…/…
Micheal Manning Memorial Dunshaughlin 10k 2023 – Pop Up Races
Dunshaughlin AC are delighted to welcome you to the 2023 Michael Manning Memorial 10km Road Race. This event is race 5 of this years PEUGEOT Race Series. PEUGEOT RACE SERIES ELITES **The leading 5 male & female participants after round 4 will be invited as guests to this event. There will be no additional complimentary …
Those dirty clouds that were loitering around the skies decided it was time let loose but thankfully they were only teasing us. It wasn’t the thunderous splashy kind of rain we were promised, instead it was the grand soft stuff that was welcomed by the hundreds of runners coming up the finishing straight after our leaders led them home.
Dundrum South Dublin were happy with their evenings performances and ended up taking home first place in both the men’s and women’s team competition. The men having bragging rights over Clonliffe Harriers by just 9 points who themselves were 9 points clear of Raheny Shamrocks. The women’s team were well clear of Sportsworld who were just 5 points clear of Galway City Harriers. Looking further into the women’s team results, just 19 points separated the 2nd to 6th place teams! With the West Limerick women taking first and sixth place, it’ll be some fun if another of the Nic Dhomhnaill sisters hops into the car next year!
As a club there are a few results we especially wish to acknowledge, Jack Kavanagh achieved a six-minute course PB on his hand bike while Eoin Sheehy ran with his visual aid for Civil Service in 51m 43 secs. Thank you for trusting us to help you achieve your goals. First Dunshaughlin woman home was Jessica O’Brien and first Dunshaughlin man was Finbar Smith.
Thank you to all our race sponsors, we really appreciate all your support not just for this race but throughout the year. Please support your local race sponsors wherever you race as what goes around comes around! Club volunteers, the community centre team, An Garda Siochana, Civil Defense and the wider community of the village. Thank you to everyone who laced up their shoes and decided to race The Michael Manning Memorial Dunshaughlin 10km 2023. See you all again next year