THERE should be a very exciting day’s athletics in Ballon on Sunday 6 January when the Carlow senior cross-country titles are contested.
The senior men’s event for the Odlum and John Jones cups will take place over 10km (1pm) and will be keenly contested between last year’s winner James McAssey of St Laurence O’Toole, Mick Kelly who was second last year and Villanova College-bound Eamonn Murphy.
Tinryland’s main challenge should come from Colin Payne, his father Tommy and Pat Byrne. Defending champion McAssey will be looking for his third title in a row to add to last year’s impressive win in Ballon. The main O’Toole’s challengers should be backed up by the likes of former runner-up Oran O’Flaherty and John Culhane as they also look to win their 24th Odlum Cup for best men’s team.
The in-form Colin Payne will lead the Tinryland team with support expected to come from multiple former winners Tommy Payne and Pat Byrne with other athletes in contention for scoring potentially including Larry Murphy, John Dillon, Cormac Kelly and Padraig Webb.
This year’s event should also include athletes from Ballon and Bagenalstown.
The senior women’s 5km event (12.15pm) for the Lambert Cup could feature the likes of 2017 champion Bronwen Kiernan, Emma Furey and Mary Clare Byrne from St Laurence O’Toole while Siofra O’Flaherty and Geraldine Hendricken should be in contention for the individual title based on recent performances. O’Toole’s will start as overwhelming favourites for the team event.
The events will be held on the land of James Hogan at the entrance to the village with the reception afterwards in Nolan’s Service Station.
ROLL OF HONOUR
32 Tinryland; 22 St Laurence O’Toole; 5 Carlow; 3 Ballyconnell; 3 Muinebheag; 3 Borris; 2 Ballinree; 1 Ballon; 1 Cosets (Irish Sugar)
Johnny Jones, Carlow (1946-1947) 2 titles
Pat Murphy, Ballyconnell (1948) 1 title
Thomas Murray, Muinebheag (1951, 1953, 1956) 3 titles
J J Lambert, Carlow (1949, 1950, 1952, 1955) 4 titles
Paddy Kennedy, Muinebheag (1954) 1 title
Mick Doyle, Borris (1957) 1 title
Bertie Murray, Ballinree (1958-1963) 6 titles
P J Brennan, St Laurence O’Toole (1964, 1965) 2 titles
J J Murphy, St Laurence O’Toole (1966, 1967) 2 titles
Oliver Jones, St Laurence O’Toole (1968, 1969, 1971, 1972) 4 titles
John Blanche, Ballon (1970) 1 title
Denis Shannon, Tinryland (1973- 1980) 8 titles
Tommy Payne, Tinryland (1981-1985,1990,1992-1993,1995-1999) 13 titles
Conor Boyle, St Laurence O’Toole (1986-1987) 2 titles
Pat Corcoran, Tinryland (1988-1989,1991,1994) 4 titles
Pat Byrne, Tinryland (2000-2011) 12 titles
Brian Kirwan, St Laurence O’Toole (2012-2016) 5 titles
James McAssey, St Laurence O’Toole (2017-18) 2 titles