Olympian shows class as UCD and Clonliffe Harriers claim National Road Relay TitlesPadraig Conlon 25 Apr 2022
(Pictured above: Efrem Gidey of Clonliffe Harriers AC, Dublin, celebrates with supporters after his team won the senior men’s race during the Irish Life Health AAI Road Relays in Raheny. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile)
It was a thrilling afternoon of athletics action yesterday for the 2022 Irish Life Health National Road Relay Championships hosted by Raheny Shamrock AC on the now familiar lap route starting on Wade’s Avenue in Raheny.
The senior races were stacked with star names, and they didn’t disappoint with Tokyo 2020 Olympian Sarah Healy playing a leading role for UCD AC on their way to claiming the gold and bronze medals in the senior women’s race.
Healy, who was joined on the UCD team by the impressive pair of Ellie Hartnett and Kate Nurse, took up her running in 5th place before eventually handing over for the final leg with a significant lead which would not be overturned.
The bronze-medal-winning UCD team contained the exciting trio of Danielle Donegan, Fiona Mckenna, and Alanna Lally, while the Rathfarnham W.S.A.F. A.C. team of Carla Sweeney, Louise Gaffney, and Laura Mc Donnell gelled perfectly to secure a brilliant silver for the Dublin club.
The senior men’s race was enthralling right from the gun with defending champions Raheny going out strong in a bid to retain their remarkable winning streak of road relay titles.
The race really took shape on the penultimate leg with European Cross Country medallists Darragh McElhinney (UCD AC) and Efrem Gidey (Clonliffe Harriers AC) going toe-to-toe as both athletes pulled away from a quality chasing pack which included John Travers (Donore Harriers) and Kieran Kelly (Raheny Shamrock).
McElhinney would ultimately hand over a narrow lead to Luke McCann (UCD AC) which didn’t prove enough thanks to a scintillating final leg from Clonliffe’s Ian Guiden.
The Clonliffe athlete produced a superb patient display to eventually cross the line in isolation, followed in by UCD for silver, and an exciting looking Ennis Track team for third which included Donal Devane, Dean Casey, Dylan Casey, and Niall Murphy.
The Harriers team of Sean O’Leary, Mark McDonald, Efrem Gidey, and Ian Guiden celebrated in style as the relay title returns to Clonliffe for the first time in 14 years.
The day’s action got underway at 2pm with the women’s O35/O50 race, and it was the Sportsworld Running Club who would get the day off to a flyer, taking the O35 gold from Finn Valley in second and Raheny Shamrock in third.
The F50 competition saw a dominate display from Raheny Shamrock who backed up their 2021 win in October. The team included the ultra-reliable Adrienne Atkins, Annette Kealy and Brid Nichonaill who finished one place ahead of Brothers Pearse for the second year in a row. The Lucan Harriers team took home bronze.
The men’s masters O35 title went the way of an impressive East Cork AC team in arguably the most dominant performance of the day.
Brothers Pearse AC would claim yet another club silver medal, while Clonliffe Harriers secured the bronze