With Saturday seeming like someone had forgotten to turn off the shower, no one was particularly looking forward to a mucky wet Sunday for the Galway U10/12/14/16/18 cross country in Dangan. But amazingly the weekend was one of two extremes with the constant rain of Saturday replaced by a nice sunny day on Sunday. Check out www.accuweather.com sometime you get a chance - I had a look on Saturday evening and it predicted correctly that Sunday was going to have a lot of sunshine in Galway.

 Anyway back to the races ...

The races got underway with the U10 girls following quickly by the U10 boys. Craughwell didn't have as many taking part this year in these age groups for 2 reasons - we normally encourage the U9s to step up to U10s for this race but past experience has shown that maybe its not their best introduction to cross country as its a tough race against your own age and even tougher against kids a year older. Secondly, many of the U10 boys were involved in a hurling blitz that day also and were unable to take part in the cross country.

In the girls 500m race, Emma Gaffney and Aisling Keady put in a fine race to finish in 6th and 8th and claim individual medals. They were followed in by Michelle Duggan in 15th, Shonagh Gilligan 18th, Mary Dunphy 22nd, Emma Waters 28th and Daire Quill 30th.

In the boys 500m race, Ronan Nevin ran a fantastic race to led the field until about 100m to go when he was overtaken for the gold by GCH's Liam Costello with Ronan settling for the silver. Liam Costello was a bronze medal winner in the National 60m finals during the summer, so Ronan was in very good company here! Also running super races and finishing in the top 10 individual medal winners were Liam Moran (5th), Dylan Finn (8th) and Hugh Lane (10th). Neil Ralston followed in 12th, Oisin O'Brien in 16th and Brian Gillen in 24th.

In the U12 1000m races, Craughwell put in strong performances to take the silver medals in both girls and boys races with scores of 34 and 29 points. The girls finshed as follows - cousins Sinead and Ellen Treacy 7th and 8th, Grainne McDaid 9th, Katie Donoghue 10th, Leanne Freaney 12th, Caoimhe Reidy 15th and Andrea Tobin 20th. The boys finished as follows - Jamie Spellman 4th, Brian Concannon 5th, Aidan Conneely 8th, Liam Forde 11th, Cillian McDaid 12th, Ciaran Nevein 14th, Conor Duggan 15th and Shane Finn 17th. A fine run by all of these athletes.

In the U14 girls 1200m race, misfortune befell our team as there was some confusion at the start line and the race started while some of the team were still taking off their tracksuit tops. However, they quickly caught up to the departing pack of runners and slowly worked their way through the field. Orla McDaid was the leading runner for the club as she worked her way up to about 6th place after 100m. As the race progressed however, it took its toll on Orla and confused by whether a bad knee injury was reoccurring or whether it was general fatigue, Orla had to pull out of the race distraught about 3-quarters way through. The rest of the team did splendidly to work their way up after such a bad start with Muireann Maloney leading the team to bronze medals with an 8th place finish, followed by Laura Porter in 11th, Gabrielle Tobin in 14th and Caoimhe Quill in 17th.

In the boys 1500m race, the club had its best performance of the day with the 5 team members in the top 7 runners. The 1500m race went around a longer circuit which took in some mucky patches and some sharp uphills/downhills, so it was no easy race for the lads - but they stuck to their task diligently. As the race entered its final stages, Finn Stoneman had established a clear lead with Conor Gillen a clear 2nd. These two runners continued to push on to take individual gold and silver for the club, with Matthew Freaney running a super race to take 5th place, followed by Paul Fitzpatrick in 6th and Cathal Reidy in 7th - fantastic running and easy winners of the team gold with 14 points.

Onto the U16 girls 2000m where Linda Porter was the girls sole representative. Right from the start Linda and Ballinasloe's Sive Brassil went into a head-to-head battle as they pulled away from the other girls. Stride for stride they sped around the Dangan grass. On the first lap of a 1000m circuit, the two girls were unseperable - even their stride pattern was in sync as they ground out a substantial lead on the rest of the runners. After about 1300m, Linda opened a small gap of 4 or 5m and sensing her opportunity pushed hard to lengthen the gap to 20m. That was the decisive move of the race and the challenge from the Ballinasloe girl eased from there on, with Linda taking the gold in style. Linda was out of her age in this race (as was the Ballinasloe girl), so it was a fantastic result and also the first time that Linda had triumped against Sive - so a sweet victory on this occasion.

In the U16 boys 3000m, the club had 2 competitors Padraic Tobin and Brian Bermingham. The U18 girls 3000m was ran at the same time as the number of runners in both races was small. Craughwell had 2 competitors in the U18 girls also - Rachel Finnegan and Sophie Ralston. Padraic was the leading Craughwell runner in the race, finishing strongly in 5th position and just ahead of the leading U18 girl Rachel Shaw from GCH. Brian was next in, taking 6th place in the boys race. Rachel was next in taking 2nd place in the girls race, while Sophie took 6th place in the girls race.

So all in all it was a very successful race for the club - 42 participants, 6 medallists in the U10 races; 1 team gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze; 2 individual gold and 3 individual silver. Next up on the cross country agenda is the Connacht Primary School races in Sligo next Saturday and the Galway uneven ages cross country in Tuam the following weekend.

Full results of the Dangan event can be found on the Galway Athletics website.

Wednesday the 12th. .