Sunday was a big day on the Athletics Calendar with the All Ireland Even Ages and Senior Cross Country in Kilkenny and the Schools Multi-Events All-Ireland in Athlone.
The Course Stole the Shoe as Declan shines!
It was all eyes on Gowran, Co.Kilkenny on Sunday for the National Even Ages and Senior Cross Country. After the heavy rain of recent weeks, the signs weren’t good for the footing and it was confirmed when we got there. Luckily the rain stayed off on the day but the course was very heavy, coated with thick gloopy mud for large sections and dozens of shoes were sucked from feet as the day went on.
The Craughwell AC performance of the day came from the supremely talented Declan O’Connell. Declan has had a choppy cross country season with niggles and even catching a cold this week, but he got full redemption in the muck of Gowran on Sunday with a famous victory over 4km. He worked his way into second and it was clear when he was checking his watch at half way that he was picking his moment to make a surge. When he did surge, several tried to go after him but he managed to hold off all-comers for another fantastic victory.
The Senior race was perhaps the most stacked field in recent memory. The deteriorating conditions underfoot dictated much of affairs, with many of the fancied athletes not finishing or falling well below expectations and less familiar names having huge breakthrough runs. Craughwell AC had a strong team of Jamie Fallon, Fergus Kelly, William Fitzgerald and Oisin Davis.
Jamie had a fine run to finish in 51st place and Fergus was 186th. The muck got the better of Davis and Fitzgerald on this occasion. Oisin lost a shoe to the gloop about 4km into his race and couldn’t face 5km one-footed so stepped aside. William had been sick during the week and tried to push through it but it caught up with him mid-way.
Craughwell AC had a full team in the mixed u18/u20 men’s race and it was led home by Mathys Bocquet in 19th place. Mathys was closely followed by Luke O’Sullivan 22nd, Anthony Boyle (minus one shoe) and Liam O’Connell (minus both shoes!), hauling the team to a very creditable 9th place.
The boys u14 team was led home by David Frazer with a smashing 17th placed finish. David was followed by Sean Cleare in 47th, Donal Coyle 81st and Oisin O’Donovan in 106th. Even without their injured talisman Alan Hallinan the team came an outstanding 4th, just 10 points from a medal.
The u12 girls got the action underway in fantastic fashion with a fine 9th place finish. Laoise Corban came an outstanding 39th, closely followed by a fast finishing Muireann Kelly 61st, Laoise Colleran 84th, Emma McGovern 91st, Aoife O’Connell 132nd and Abbey Clesham in 138th place. In the u12 boys, Donagh Cullinan had a fine run and scored on the Galway team that came 9th, finishing 101st.
In a stark contrast to mucky Kilkenny, the Irish Schools Multi-events finals took place in the pristine Athlone indoor arena also on Sunday. Craughwell AC had two competitors, Siofra Davis and Leonore Church. It was a great competition with Siofra coming 4th overall with 2497 points and Leonore 5th overall with 2206.
In the long jump, Siofra came 2nd with a leap of 4.54m and Leonore 5th with 4.28m. In the Shot Put, Siofra was 3rd with 6.88m and Leonore 4th with 6.73. In the High Jump Siofra was 5th with 1.41m and Leonore was 6th with the same height. In the 60mh, Siofra came 4th with a strong 10.33s and Leonore was 7th with 11.56s. In the 800m, Siofra was 3rd with a personal best of 2:41.40 with Leonore just behind in 2:42.68.