Great Performances at Day 1 of Connacht Cross Country

Great Performances at Day 1 of Connacht Cross Country

 

The grounds of Beleek Castle in Ballina played host to the first day of the Connacht cross country championships last Sunday. The course and organisation on the day was perfect – congratulations to Ballina AC’s Marian Mattimoe and her team on some great work.

The holiday season played havoc for Craughwell AC with fielding full strength teams in some ages groups but nevertheless the club had possibly its best day ever at a Connacht cross country championships with all 7 teams who took part finishing in the medals.

The longer distances posed a bit of a challenge to our athletes but overall I think it suited our teams. In the juvenile races, the highlights for the club were that for the first time ever the club fielded a team at this level in the U18 boys age group and the U16 girls age group.

First race to get underway was the U12 girls 2000m where Dearbhaile Walsh fought tooth and nail at the front to take individual 5th place. Strong finishing by Derbhla Cronin 17th, Erin Fitzpatrick 18th, Aoife Greene 21st and Shauna Tobin 40th saw the team take silver medals with 61 points just a solitary point behind the winners GCH. For Derbhla, this was a fantastic performance as she was running out of her age and over twice as far as she ever raced before. Caolin Milton put in a huge effort over the distance despite struggling with a stomach bug but had to withdraw in the latter stages as she was violently sick … huge credit to Caolin for running for the team under such a strain.

In the U12 boys 2000m, we had the minimum of 4 runners taking to the field so there was no room for injuries or fatigue causing anyone to drop out! James Cahalane demonstrated his power over the longer distance when taking an impressive individual silver medal and leading the team to bronze medals with 61 points with Brian Loughnane 11th, Mikey Bourke 16th and Gearoid Treacy 32nd.

The U14 girls were very convincing silver medallists in their 3000m race with a score of 46 points, led home by Ciara Greene in 7th place, Sinead Treacy 12th, Grainne McDaid 13th, Leanne Freaney 14th, Orlaith Maloney 27th and Andrea Tobin 28th. The girls found the longer distance tough – most adults in Craughwell would find racing 3k over hilly fields tough – but really stuck to their task for our best performance in the U14 girls age group since 2005.

In the U14 boys 3000m, the hard work which Jamie Spellman puts in is paying big dividends when he finished 5th overall, beating some notable runners in the process. This is great progress for Jamie who finished 24th in his age group in 2009 and 23rd in 2008, and great encouragement too for others in the club that hard work pays off. Jamie led the team to bronze medals with Brian Concannon 19th, Diarmuid Harvey 23rd and Shane Finn 28th.

The history-making U16 girls team were the next to take to the Ballina hills in their 4000m race. Again the distance proved daunting but all of the team stuck to the task to get around the course strongly. Muireann Maloney led the team home with a fine 7th place finish, followed by Sineád Gaffney close on her heels in 10th place, Dearbhla Maloney in 13th and Gabrielle Tobin in 20th. The girls combined score of 50 points took the bronze medals in the team event.  It was a very impressive performance, particularly since we have not done much preparation for this sort of distance. In the U16 boys 4000m, Finn Stoneman was the club’s only representative, with the team wiped out by the holiday weekend. Finn put in a fantastic effort to take the individual 4th place, unlucky not to feature amongst the medals.

Final juvenile race for the club was the U18 boys 6000m, where the race was combined with the senior race amidst mixed views on the benefits of this. Peadar Harvey went out hard with the seniors and suffered a lot later in the race for this early pace. But displaying huge strength of character, Peadar held on for a 9th place finish amongst the U18s, with teammates David Concannon 10th, Pádraic Tobin 12th and Brian Bermingham 16th, giving the team the silver medals behind GCH.

In the senior womens race, Muiriosa Holahan made her own piece of history on the day when becoming the first senior member of the club to run in the Connacht Cross Country Championships where she recorded a fine performance to take 10th place in the intermediate grade. While in the men’s 10k, the team were led home by Peter O’Sullivan in 2nd place to claim the Connacht Intermediate title with a solid team performance from Peter, Martin Corcoran 4th,  Jason Broderick 6th, Paddy Holohan 7th and Niall Callanan 8th. This capped a fine week for Peter in which he was also selected to represent Ireland in the international cross country race against Britain in 2 weeks time. Peter joins Jerry Ryan as the 2nd Craughwell athlete selected for this event – a fantastic achievement. Good luck to both athletes later in November when they don the Irish colours.

Full results of the day are at : 2010connachtday1results.pdf.

If you like statistics, I have put together a chart of performances of Craughwell juvenile teams in the Connacht cross country over the last few years. Its not 100% complete yet but if you like that sort of detail, check out:-

http://www.craughwellac.com/images/statistics/craughwellperformancesinconnachtcrosscountry.pdf

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