THE coronation last Sunday of Mick Clohisey as National Cross Country champion was for those who have followed his career over the years a highly charged emotive experience.
A consummate Cross Country man his is the style and gait of an artist. The long flowing hair, the goatee cropped chin and the laid back laconic impression thrown out through body language belies the hunger and the need hidden behind the exterior to show the Athletics world that this is no journeyman, this is the real deal.
Nobody deserves a title. It has to be earned. If apprenticeship is part of the price then Mick's title in Dundalk was most certainly earned. Consider this for consistency. In 9 consecutive years of competing in the National senior Inter Clubs Mick Clohisey has never been outside the first 10. Herewith the statistics to back it up :-
2006 Santry 8th
2007 Sligo 10th
2008 Belfast 4th
2009 Santry 9th
2010 Phoenix Park 7th
2011 Santry 3rd
2012 Santry 5th
2013 Tullamore 4th
2014 Dundalk 1st
From the time his father Vinny introduced him to running as a young teenager when the two of them would regularly be seen running around St Annes in company Mick Clohisey has loved to run. Back then he was seriously involved in both Soccer and GAA and it was not until his latter years in St Pauls Raheny that the running started to prioritise for him as a competitive part of his life. This co-incided with the arrival of Paddy Noonan in St Pauls as motivator in chief of Athletics in the school and The Nal and Mick became firm friends.
2003 was the Golden year of Cross Country in St Pauls, a traditional nursery to Raheny Shamrock when the school won the All Ireland Senior Schools CC Team title for the one and only time in their history. Mick was 3rd scorer on a team that included Richie Corcoran and Mark Kirwan. The class of this trio was copper fastened when Mick joined both Richie( Jnr & U23 1,500m and Snr Indoor 3,000m) and Mark( all at 3K S/Chase) as winners of National titles at Junior, U23 and Senior Level. Mick's Junior title was Inter Counties CC in 2005 and he also won an U23 Cross Country and two U23 5,000m titles on the track.
When he was eventually cajoled down to Raheny back in 2001/2002 in Dalgan Park a Raheny team made up of Richie Yeates, Mark Kirwan , Eoin King and Mick won an All Ireland u18 Team Title. Mick was 28th that day. A year later in Killybegs the title was retained with a squad of Richie Yeates, Daire Bermingham, Mick Clohisey (15th) and Paul McCormack.
Mick always scores on every club team cross country he competes. Someday he will have as many team medals as Mick Traynor.
He has competed in 6 European Cross Country Championships for Ireland ( 1 as a Junior, 3 as U23 and 2 as Senior). He has also competed in the World Cross Country Championship and The World Universities CC.
There has been something different about Mick this winter and it has been rivetting to watch. Its like somebody has switched on the light and he has started to believe in his own talent and strength. The way he attacked the race from the off on sunday alone was different. The aura he gave off was of someone who knew he was going to win. Belief has always moved mountains.
How wonderful it was that his two greatest supporters his father Vinny and mother Linda were there to see there son do what he has always threatened to do. There too were his Uncle John and his two proud cousins John and Vincent to whom cousin Mick is an icon.
And among the flowers that you should always stoop and smell along the way in the path of life were quite a few Shamrocks.
We thought it was great in 2006 when Vinny Mulvey won the title and it most certainly was. We longed for the feeling again almost as much as we crave the Team title. But Sunday 2nd March 2014 in Dundalk 2014 goes down as one that will live long in the memory bank. The Claw delivered.