The club had possibly its largest number of athletes ever take part in the Irish Schools Cross Country finals in Dublin last weekend. The club is making huge strides in encouraging its athletes to continue the sport into secondary school and beyond and it was great to see many of our athletes represent their schools last Saturday.
The highlight of the day was Calasantius Oranmore's outstanding performance in the Junior Boys 3500m. This was the first time for a number of years that the school has participated in the schools cross country and the journey to Dublin was richly rewarded with a set of bronze medals in this race. The team was led home by strong running from Nicholas Sheehan in 18th place, followed closely by the ever-improving Jamie Spellman in 21st and Matthew Moran in 34th.
The multi-talented Damien O'Boyle would normally have placed up in the middle of Nicholas, Jamie and Matthew but developed a bad stitch in the early part of the race and had to ease off and heroically struggled around the course to finish in 95th place.
But it was recent recruit to the club John Cormican who upped his game to new levels to finish in a fantastic 61st place and fourth scorer for the team. Heads were down a little after the race, thinking that the points total of 134 would not make it into the medals. But high team scores are the norm at National level and when the numbers were crunched, the team were announced in 2nd place and only 3 places from the silver medal position. This was a fantastic achievement and is the first time that club members have featured in the medals at National level in the schools cross country.
Also in action, Conor Gillen (Athenry VS) had an exceptional run to take 17th place In the intermediate boys’ 5000m, with Finn Stoneman (St Enda’s) in 50th place. In the minor girls race, Sinead Treacy (St Raphael’s Loughrea) was the leading athlete in 29th place, with Ciara Greene (Bower Athlone) following closely in 31st and Emma Byrne (Loughrea VS) 48th. Derbhla Maloney (St Raphael’s Loughrea) took 55th place in the junior girls 2000m while older sister Muireann took 57th place in the intermediate girls 3500m. The action from the club’s perspective was wrapped up by a strong performance from Maeve Curley (Presentation Thurles) to take 35th place in the senior girls 2500m.