Crusaders take the cross at Bray Head
In later years, the small knoll standing prominent over the small marina town of Bray has served as the Leinster League opener and once again this year prospective finishers could get the first of the seven necessary counters at Bray Head, the shortest course in the league.
Success on the night came first to title holder Eoin Keith who was first to the cross marking the first summit of the day. The Boards AC man has stood alone to stem the so-called “Wave of Renewal” sweeping over the Irish hills this season and once again he did so today as he took victory in front of newcomer Tristian Drute, Sligo AC, who could have created a very tight finish if not for a wrong turn towards the end.
Next followed the hard-chasing Richard Healy, Crusaders, and Colm Hill, CNOC, both reckless descenders who would have enjoyed the steep tight downhill through the forest towards the promenade and the finish line. Just how tight proceedings were in the short 6k race can be seen from one glance at the results: 35 seconds separated the top-4. 8 seconds took you off the podium on this day.
There’s been renewal in the women’s ranks too and perhaps this has not received the publicity it deserves. Suzanne Kenny stormed to victory, a minute ahead of Tibradden winner Kate Cronin, Raheny, Rosalind Hussey took third.
In the club competition, Crusaders AC could celebrate a rare double-sweep of the honours. Richard Healy led the men (including his brother Rob in 5th) first ahead of Setanta and Boards while the women beat of perennial rivals and defending champions Sli Cualann.
In terms of numbers, this was another impressive start to the summer season: 236 on the long course and 9 on the short course bring Bray up among the absolute top scorers and race officials may be looking ahead to a busy summer.
Results and pictures at IMRA.