Neil Greaney powering to individual bronze
Jamie followed by Conor, Matthew, Nicholas, Damien and Keelan in the U17 Boys 5000m
In yet another glorious weekend of cross-country action at day 2 of the Connacht cross country championships in St Marys College in Galway city, Craughwell AC’s young athletes put in a series of fine performances to take home 2 individual Connacht titles, 1 silver and 3 bronze as well as 2 team titles, 2 team silver and a team bronze.The U11s were first into action with the girls taking to the field for their 1500m. The course was in perfect conditions on a fine sunny day. We were lucky with the weather at cross country this year, barring that awful day for the primary schools finals in Sligo.
The U11 girls put in a powerful performance with Niamh Niland leading the team to silver medals in a very competitive field. Niamh finished in 7th place with Jennifer Hughes hot on her heels in 8th place and Ailbhe Miskella close behind in 11th. Sarah Woods had a fine run to complete the scoring for the team in 29th place and was followed by Eva Kelly 49th, Bryna Milton 50th, Penny Wells 53rd and Ruth Dillon 78th. The performance was good enough to give the team silver medals with a score of 55 points.
Full results of the day are available at the end of the article below.
In the boys U11 1500m, Phelim McCann put in an incredible performance to take the individual bronze medal, a fantastic run which helped Craughwell to the team silver with a score of 53 points. Phelim was followed by Finbar McFadden in 10th place, David Lee 14th, Sean Cannon 26th, Kyle Moorhead 32nd and Conor Roberts 67th.
This was followed by a strong performance by our U13 girls in their 2500m. While I don’t have the final results yet of this race, the team put in a solid performance with Sinead Kennedy and Rachael Hughes leading the team home followed by Catherine Noonan, Tara Farrell, Fiona Commins and Shauna Tobin. It was the first time any of the girls would have raced this distance and all ran very well.
In the boys U13 2500, Oisin Lyons had another fantastic run to take individual 4th place despite having an ankle injury. In the process, Oisin led the team to a bronze medals with Patrick Noonan next in about 14th or 15th. I will have to update this article later with the finishing places but the rest of the team put in strong runs to help the team to bronze medals – Brian McKermitt, Conan McCann, Darragh O’Connor, Sean Noonan, Jerry Keary and Brendan O’Keeffe.
The U15 girls 3500m proved another tough race for the Craughwell girls with Aoife Greene and Grainne McDaid both struggling with stitches in the first half of the race. Aoife recovered to put in a strong second half but pride of place on this occasion went to Ciara O’Boyle who put in a great performance to finish as the leading Craughwell athlete home.
The boys U15 race saw an incredibly strong team take the Connacht title with a low score. The story of the day was Liam Moran’s fantastic victory after stepping up an age from the U14s. Placed in the leading group of runners after 1000m which included Craughwell’s James Cahalane, Oisin Doyle and Matthew Barrett, Liam made a big break around the 1200m mark to put 20 or 30m between him and the chasing pack, a distance he held to the end. Also running a fine race out of age, James Cahalane gave chase and took the individual bronze. Oisin Doyle and Matthew Barrett continued their strong return to top form with (subject to confirmation when results made available) a 7th and 8th place finish, while Brian Loughnane, Diarmuid Harvey, James Delaney and Andrew O’Boyle wrapped up a fine team performance.
Despite suffering from a severe tummy bug, Ciara Greene bravely took to the field in the U17 girls 4000m, with qualification as part of the Connacht team for the All-Irelands the target. Ciara ran a fine race to place 5th or 6th amongst the U17s, which was ran in conjunction with the U19 girls and intermediate women. The U17 boys 5000m race was up next where Craughwell had a strong team taking part and ran out easy victors. Jamie Spellman made a decisive break early in the race to put 20m between him and the pack, with Conor Gillen breaking out of the pack to give chase. Jamie took the Connacht title with Conor in 2nd, followed by great performances from Damien O’Boyle in 5th, Matthew Moran in 7th I think, Nicholas Sheehan 8th or 9th and Keelan Ryan 10th.
It was a bit of a mad dash for Keelan as he got to St Marys just in the nick of time for the race and had a fine run considering he had to race so soon after arriving. The 6 men also combined to win the team gold for County Galway in the team event – unusual to have a county team made up entirely from one club. Interestingly, this is the 4th year in a row that the club have won the Connacht title in the boys U17 age group. It is also 5-in-a-row for this particular team who have now got the U17, U16, U15, U14 and U13 Connacht titles to their name. The team placed 4th in 2006, followed this up with silver in 2007 before dominating since then with the 5-in-a-row.
As they say in Cana, they keep the best wine till last. A top-notch field had assembled for the final race of the day – the boys U19 6000m and intermediate men 8000m. Both races were run at the same time. Neil Greaney was the club’s sole participant in the U19 6k. Starting out conservatively, Neil allowed an early gap to develop with Ballina’s Hugh Armstrong, Sligo’s David Harper and the GCH trio of John Moroney, Cian Corcoran and Adrian Hardiman pulling away from the rest of the field by 20m or more.
As the race entered the 2nd 1500m lap, Neil unleashed a torrent of power to accelerate out of the chasing pack of intermediates and U18s and start to close down on the leading group. At this point, Armstrong and Harper had put some distance between them and the GCH team. Neil closed on the GCH squad and having caught them, set his sights on closing to Armstrong and Harper. It was not to be however and in the end Neil ran out of track (or grass!) to catch them and had to settle for bronze having narrowed the gap considerably by the time the chute arrived. It was a super race for Neil and a taste of the talent the man has in only his second season of running.
Full results of the day are available at :-