Hill leads the way at Maulin
Snow gave way to sunshine for the penultimate race of the IMRA Irish Winter League – Maulin, the shortest (7k or 4.3 miles) but steepest (474m ascent or 1555 ft.) in this five race series. The final run-in on the Wicklow Way fire-roads is explosive…
…but before that tough questions are asked on the hard ascents and quick feet and brave minds on the descents.
Irish internationals Peter O’Farrell and Ian Conroy dictated the pace coming over the first ascents but on the descent orienteer Colm Hill made his move, one that would prove decisive as he edged an inch-close finish to win in front of Peter and the likewise hard-chasing Brian Furey, Rathfarnham. Only nine seconds separated the three duelists in the end.
Niall Summers held off Raheny’s Ian Conroy to secure an overwhelming team victory for Rathfarnham. This was a frightening show of strength by the South Dublin club whose 4th, 5th, and 6th scorers together still managed a tally that would have taken them fourth behind only their team mates and the two clubs now in pole position for the title: UCD and Sli Cualann.
In the ladies Raheny Shamrocks could take their 2nd team victory in the League unopposed led home by fourth lady Denise Ryan. Individual victory went to Karen O’Hanlon, Maynooth: her second win in two races which put her out of reach of her rivals. Rosalind Hussey finished second and Louise Nolan third as the top-3 women arrived with daylight between them.
With Carrick Mountain coming up as the final race, the Winter League has seen an unprecedented 4 male winners in 4 races, none of which had previously claimed victory in IMRA races, certainly an unprecedented state of affairs. But if Irish champion Peter O’Farrell finishes first at Carrick he’ll pip current leader Eoin Brady to the post, claim the title, and restore a small sense of order to a season which has so far belonged to a new generation of hill runners.