Craughwell juveniles to the fore in Dartfield

Craughwell juveniles to the fore in Dartfield

The equine slopes of Dartfield played host to day two of the Galway cross-country juvenile championships at the weekend. The normally peaceful Sunday afternoons enjoyed by the Dartfield horses was temporarily disturbed as the next generation of Galway athletics stars commenced their U11 800m race at 1pm. One wonders do the watching horses place wagers with each other on these events … I bet you that nice patch of grass over there that the Athenry athlete will win this one. Nay nay, the Craughwell athlete will win it! Anyway back to the race …

The U11 girls’ race got underway on the dot of 1pm under the efficient starter Oliver Geraghty. The course was challenging for these young runners, with a slight uphill on the first 200m, a nice downhill for the next 250m, level for next 250m and a very difficult last 100m. As the race progressed, it was clear that the team result was going to be very tight with 4 runners from Athenry and Craughwell featuring strongly in the leading groups. Katie Donoghue had a super race to lead the Craughwell team home, taking individual 6th place followed by

Ellen Fitzpatrick (8th)
Sinead Treacy (9th)
Ellen Treacy (11th)
Emma Byrne (12th)
Hannah Cahill (13th)
Holly Whirskey (16th)
Katie O’Toole (22nd)
Raine McCann (24th)

When the team results were announced, Craughwell’s A team took 2nd place with 34 pts, narrowly behind Athenry who won gold with 28 pts.

In the U11 boys 800m, Craughwell had a strong team out but Ballinasloe had an exceptional team in action taking the leading four places to easily win the gold medal with a score of 10 points. It was no embarrassment to take the silver medals behind this team as three of these Ballinasloe lads were part of their team who took 4th place in this race last year in the National finals. Craughwell’s team took the silver medals with a good score of 27 pts, taking 6 of the next 7 places after the leading Ballinasloe runners, coming in as follows:-

5 Jamie Spelman
6 Brian Concannon
7 Aidan Conneely
9 Conor Gardiner
10 Cillian McDaid
11 Eddie Madden
16 Gavin O'Toole
17 Conor O’Donoghue
18 Dean McCann
22 Ciaran Nevin 

Craughwell’s B team took 4th place in this race with a score of 66 pts. In the U13 girls 1000m, Craughwell had a strong team taking part but as with the U11 boys were up against an exceptional team – this time from Athenry AC which featured two National medal winners in Maria Touhy and Hayleigh Sommers. The Athenry team took the gold position with the top 4 places but Craughwell finished very strongly to take the silver, led home by a particularly strong run by Maria McNamara who is improving with every race this year. The Craughwell team came in as follows: 

6 Maria McNamara
9 Laura Porter
10 Claire Ryder
12 Orla McDaid
13 Muireann Maloney
18 Sineád Gaffney
22 Caoimhe Quill

Special mention of Sineád Gaffney who finished the race under extreme duress having had a very busy previous 2 days and encountering breathing difficulties with about 200m remaining, but with great strength of mind Sineád completed the race on the difficult slope up to the finish. 

The U13 boys’ 1200m race got underway next. Craughwell are normally very strong in this age group (National silver medallists in 2005) but the team was wiped out on this occasion by a clash with the U12 Division 3F Gaelic Football final which kicked off at 11am in Monivea. The football management had made valiant attempts to relocate the match to Loughrea at 11am to facilitate the cross-country, but alas it didn’t succeed. So Craughwell had 1 runner in the race – new recruit Gearoid Kelly who had a superb debut race for the club to finish in 5th place.

It was quickly followed by the girls U15 1500m where Linda Porter and Ashley McDonnell were in action. Linda had a fine race to shadow the leaders earlier on and hold on to take an excellent 3rd place in this older age group over what is probably her favourite distance. Having taken a break from middle-distance running since the exertions of the 800m finals in Mosney in August, Ashley ran a strong race to take 6th place on this occasion – a good start to the cross-country season.

The final juvenile race of the day in which the club had participants kicked off next with the boys U15 2000m. With three of the team stepping up an age group, the 2000m race posed a formidable distance to the young team. Running an incredible race, U14 David Concannon overcame a 30 metre gap as the race entered its closing stage to take the bronze medal on the line from Shane Conway of Athenry. His team-mates followed across the line in quick order with Ruairi Finnegan 6th, David Farrell 9th, Tomás Keehan 11th and Pádraic Tobin 12th to take the team gold with a score of 29 pts.


A separate report will follow from our senior correspondent Mark Davis on the senior race!

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