It was a lovely day in Tolerton for the Laois Senior Road Race on Sunday 30th March. Strong fields turned out for both the Male and Ladies races around the Turra Triangle.
In perfect racing conditions, the Ladies race off was the first to start. The field was made up by 23 of the counties finest female runners and they showed it on the day.
They started their 4ks quickly with Pippa Hackett of St Michaels leading a pack of around nine runners until the second lap. From here the group began to split and the gaps started to appear.
When the ladies went through to start their third and final lap the group had completely disintegrated and the eventual winners powered on. Grace McConnell (Ballyroan, Abbeyleix & D) beat Paula Grant (Portlaoise) for first, even with Paula taking 30secs off her time from last year. Local lady Theresa Agar came in third, four seconds down and was first scorer for the Ladies team winners, St Abban’s.
With a slightly larger field of 28 runners, the competition for the men’s crown was going to be fierce. The start of the race was a cagey affair with the first mile trundling along waiting for someone to make a move. With the first lap over them, thepace started to pick up and runners started to drop off the back of the pack.
This is the way it continued for the first three laps before the eventual group of 10 runners completely came apart and the first seven pushed on with James Hamm working hard to keep with them.
With everyone needing points for the team race, there was movement all the way through the field, but no one could touch veteran Colm Burke (St Abban’s) who controlled the race from start to finish and even took his hat off half way through. Tony Reilly (Ballyroan, Abbeyleix & D) and Brian Kelly (St Abban’s) came in second and third respectively. With St Abbans making up four of the top seven runners they couldn’t be touched for the team prize on what proved to be a very successful day for the home club.
1st - Grace McConnell (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District) 14:45; 2nd - Paula Grant (Portlaoise) 14:48; 3rd - Teresa Agar (St Abban’s) 14:52; 4th - Breda Mulcahy (St Abban’s) 15:05; 5th - Colette English (St Abban’s) 15:21
WOMEN’S TEAM RESULT
1st - St Abban’s (18) Teresa Agar, Breda Mulcahy, Colette English, Maire Griffith; 2nd - Ballyroan, Abbeyleix and District (29) Grace McConnell, Michelle Fitzpatrick, Breda McDonald, Sandra Fitzpatrick; 3rd - Portlaoise (54) Paula Grant, Amanda McDonald, Trish Cuddy, Maria Cuddy
1st - Colm Burrke (St Abban’s) 26:33; 2nd - Tony Reilly (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District) 27:04; 3rd - Brian Kelly (St Abban’s) 27:15; 4th - Liam Dunne (Ballyroan, Abbeyleix and District) 27:24; 5th - Aengus Burke Portlaoise 27:35
MEN’S TEAM RESULT
1st - St Abban’s (17) Colm Burke, Brian Kelly, James Griffin, Colm McEvoy; 2nd - Ballyroan, Abbeyleix and District (23) Tony Reilly, Liam Dunne, James Hamm, John Kirwan; 3rd - Portlaoise (53) Aengus Burke, Trevor McCormack, Cyril Cuddy, James Conroy