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Irish Runner Magazine - Southern Scene - July 1986

Gallagher's Double

By Michael Joyce

Irish Runner Magazine, July 1986 - Vol 6, No 5, P54-55


billy gallagher cavan ac wins cork city marathon 1986

Number one againBilly Gallagher coasts to victory in the Adidas Cork City Marathon.

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Billy Gallagher, who competes with Cavan AC, and is a native of Ballaghadareen (Co. Roscommon), won the Adidas Cork City Marathon for the second year in a row, on May 25. His winning time of 2 hours 20 minutes 12 seconds was slower than last year, but, nevertheless, he finished over four minutes ahead of Tom Brouder (West Limerick) with Mick Carey (Leevale) a further minute behind in third.

From the gun, Gallagher went to the front with Brouder. They were chased by Carey, Seamus Cregan (Croom) and Eric Crockett (St. Finbarrs). The leading bunch went through three miles in 15:38.

Gallagher and Brouder were clear after five miles, and, at six miles, Brouder was dropped. Gallagher went through half way in 68:40. He had a long lead at 20 miles (1:45) and was able to coast home to an easy victory from Brouder, who always looked comfortable ahead of Mick Carey with Gerard Mullane from Doon, Co. Limerick, moving up late in the race to take fourth place ahead of 48-year-old Derry O’Driscoll (St. Finbarrs), so consistent in finishing fifth for the second year in a row in an excellent time of 2:34:27. Brouder won the Munster Championship.

I was delighted to see our good friend John Walshe (Ballycotton) record a personal best in ninth place (2:36:31), while another super vet performance came from Flor O’Leary (St. Finbarrs), who won the over-50 prize in a great time of 2:43.


marion lyons st finbarrs ac wins cork city marathon 1986Popular winner — Marian Lyons finishes strongly. Like Tim Buckley and Joe Murphy, she was agonisingly close to the three-hour barrier

Like the men’s race, the Ladies Race was won by a clear margin. Marian Lyons (St. Finbarr’s) was competing in her fourth marathon. She had finished third in this event last year and was the clear favourite to win in front of her home crowd. Marian, who is the mother of two young children, was an Irish international cross-country competitor at Chepstow back in the mid-seventies. Marian is the second eldest of a family of sixteen from the Northside of Cork and her victory here was not just very deserving but also very popular.

She was in control of the race from the very start, and, at six miles (38:40), was already four minutes ahead of Brigid McCabe (Mullingar). She was six minutes clear at half way, and kept increasing her lead up to 18 miles, when she appeared to run into some difficulties. The margin had been reduced to three minutes at 20 miles, when Brigid McCabe herself appeared to falter to leave Mrs. Lyons on course for victory, in 3:01:05.

Miss McCabe finished in 3:09:02, with Nora Joyce (no relation), who comes from Rathcormac, in Co. Cork, and now lives in Dublin, coming in a creditable third place, a further six minutes back.



This year’s Marathon was, once again, sponsored by Adidas. For the first time in the history of the race, the event was not held on Easter Sunday. Entries were down slightly, but I believe that this is because of the confusion surrounding the race. I feel that the attitude of B.L.E., in not arranging to have the National Championship held in conjunction with the Cork race, was a great mistake. The entry of about 90 in the National Championships, which were transferred to Portlaoise, and which, I believe, had no sponsor, reflected a mini-disaster on the part of B.L.E. To make matters even worse, eight of the top 11 in the National Marathon were from Munster.

There is no doubt that Michael O’Connell and Adidas have been exceptionally generous to the sport of athletics in Cork, but B.L.E., at National level, do very little to encourage Adidas to continue their sponsorship.



There may be a fall-off in the South in numbers competing in long distance road races, but it was most encouraging to see the huge entries for the first two legs of the St. Finbarr’s 4-Mile road series, which is sponsored by Classic Windows, in association with R.T.E. Cork Local Radio. The first leg was held over the Marina Circuit, in Blackrock, on May 8. The winner that night was not previously known to many of those present. He was Tony Duggan from St. Joseph’s Kilkenny, who had a clear victory over Eric Crockett of the host club. Over 400 athletes completed the course.

The second leg of this five-leg series was held on June 12, starting and finishing in Musgrave Park, more famous for it’s Rugby activities. The host club pinned their hopes on recently-married Ricky Burke, but Ricky could not prevent the Kilkenny man gaining his second victory; Eric Crockett was third. Lucy O’Donoghue (Leevale) showed that she was certainly on the way back, with a decisive win in the ladies race.

All finishers in each of these races get a very well designed wall plaque and there is a different design on each race plaque which will make it a very fine collection indeed.
The next race in the series, on Thursday July 10, is at Farranree; the fourth leg is in Mayfield on August 14; the final leg is back at the Marina on September 11.



This year’s showpiece of the Irish athletic calendar will once again take place at the U.C.C. Grounds, in the Mardyke, on Tuesday July 8. The Sports Committee do not have the benefit of the generous sponsorship of Quinnsworth, as in the past two years. Individual events will be sponsored by various companies, while the State grant for the sports has been increased this year, from £5,000 to £10,000.

Of course, one would like to know the answers to the question: ‘Why did Quinnsworth pull out?’ Is there truth in the rumour that it was because the actual cost was going through the roof? Some say that even the Russians, who have attended these sports in the last two years, were looking for exorbitant shopping expenses, and they weren’t doing all their shopping in a certain supermarket. The sports committee are so tight-lipped that we might never know the answer. In fairness to the committee, they put on a fine show every year, and I am certain this year will be no exception, even without full sponsorship.


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