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Youghal AC's London Emer Casey 10k Exploits – Guest Article by John Walshe


Guest Article by John Walshe

 This article, by John Walshe appeared in The Echo, on Thursday December 5th 2019

youghal ac emer casey 10k brockwell park 2019

 The winning Youghal team: (back) Richella Bennett, Carol Murphy, Susan Casey, Keith Ansbro, Martin Drake, Sean Ahern. (front) Claire Kilgannon, Deirdre Ansbro, Louise O'Brien, Dave Kilgannon

Many Cork runners are familiar with the annual Emer Casey Memorial race held in Youghal for the past 12 years. The Emer Casey Foundation was set up in 2006 following the death, at a young age, of Emer Casey, a native of the town.

Not so well known is a similar race in London, organised by James Ward, a member of Herne Hill Harriers – a club that recently celebrated its 130th birthday. A number of Youghal athletes have travelled over for the past few years to take part in the 10km which is held in Brockwell Park.

Two years ago, to add a bit of spice to the race, local Youghal business man Ger Flanagan sponsored a cup to be contested annually between Herne Hill Harriers and a Youghal selection.

Flanagan Print sponsored the cup and the whole idea is to have a competition between the two clubs,” explained Ger. “It’s worked out on aggregate times, whatever number of athletes travel over that number is matched by Herne Hill. They won it last year but this time Youghal came out on top, the margin of two minutes was very close considering the numbers involved.”

Not alone did the seaside club bring back the Flanagan Print Cup, they also supplied the women’s winner in Deirdre Ansbro. Although Deirdre has achieved success at both the half-marathon and marathon distances in recent years, this was her first-ever individual race victory.


deirdre ansbro youghal ac emer casey 10k brockwell park 2019

Deirdre Ansbro on her way to victory in the women's race


“I was delighted to win the race as it has a special significance for me as I was a class-mate of the late Emer at school in Youghal,” said Deirdre. Over the undulating course which comprised of a number of laps around the park, she recorded a time of 42:16 which gave her a margin of 28 seconds over Nathaile Gaudillat from the Beckenham club.

To make it a memorable day for the visitors, third place went to Susan Casey, sister of Emer, who wasn’t too far behind with her time of 42:53.

The men’s race went to Andrew Inglis of Cambridge Harriers, his time of 33:20 an indicator of how tough the course was. Sean Ahern was the first of the Youghal contingent with an impressive seventh place in a time of 36:34.

The finishing order and times of the 10 Youghal runners were as follows: Sean Ahern (36:34); Deirdre Ansbro (42:16); Susan Casey (42:53); Louise O’Brien (45:20); Dave Kilgannon (44:12); Martin Drake (47:00); Richella Bennett (49:17); Carol Murphy (51:58); Keith Ansbro (52:52); Claire Kilgannon (52:53).

There was a jubilant reception for the Youghal team on their return with Brendan and Juliette Casey, parents of the late Emer, proudly pictured with the Flanagan Print Cup along with the athletes.

One person who was delighted with the success was Martin Drake, currently chairman of the East Cork Athletics Division. Martin has a long involvement with the sport in the seaside town and jubilant homecomings are nothing new to the man described as ‘Coach and Mr Motivator.’

Back in December of 1974, Martin won the All-Ireland U13 Cross-Country title up in Donegal. The reception on his return, when he was carried shoulder-high through the town behind the Youghal Pipe Band, is still fondly recalled all of 45 years later.


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