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Athletics News - Thursday 3 Feb 2005

Payne Takes National Title

Tinryland athlete Tommy Payne ran his most outstanding race in recent years to win his section at the National Veterans Cross Country Championships in front of a large crowd in Tinryland on Sunday last. The ever-consistent Payne set out his intentions from the start of the 7km race and broke away from the 170 strong field along with Mick Traynor of Raheny, Peter Smith of North Belfast Harriers and Noel Berkeley of Dundrum South Dublin who were all making their debut at this level. The Carlow man was always in contention throughout and together with the aforementioned trio were well clear of the chasing pack which included former 3 time winners Tom O’Connor of Liffey Valley and Michael Hassett of St. Catherine’s, Tipperary. In the closing stages Traynor broke clear of Smith to take his first Veterans title with former Irish International Noel Berkeley taking the bronze. Payne was just out of the individual medals in 4th but in the process was also the first over 45 athlete home and duly won his first National Gold Medal. In 5th was last years bronze medal winner Cathal O’Connell of Cork with O’Connor in 6th. Great credit must go to Payne for the level of performance at these championships since 1998, having never been out of the top five and winning two silver and two bronze individual medals.
Other local athletes to run well were Jerry O’Sullivan who had a great run to finish 37th as did Joe Doheny in 83rd, Eddie Walsh 100th, Jimmy Morgan 110th, new boy Sean Doyle 131st and Kevin Cuddy 153rd.
Carlow were 8th County and Tinryland were 9th in the inter club section.
There were some very good races on the day with the Intermediate Mens Race proving to be particularly exciting with seven athletes running together for most of the 10km race. Ballymurphy native Mick Kelly running for Gowran gave the crowd much to shout about having being in contention at the front throughout and eventually finishing in 3rd position after a late surge from Emmet Dunleavy of Sligo. Tinryland athlete PJ Doyle had a solid run to finish 91st in what was a very competitive field.
Other impressive winners on the day were Pauline Curley in the Veteran Womens 4km and Niamh Devlin in the Intermediate Womens 4 km.

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