St. Mary's Galway were hosts to the prestigious Irish Schools Cross Country Championships at the weekend where several Craughwell AC were in action while representing their schools.
High-light of the day was the fantastic team bronze medal which the Pres Athenry won. The team featured a combination of members from Craughwell AC and our friends and rivals Athenry AC. Craughwell's Gráinne McDaid (37th) and Leanne Freaney (64th) combined with Athenry's Shannon Lee (19th) and the Keane twins Eimear (28th) and Niamh (38th) to seal a magnificant medal for the school.
In the Minor Boys race, Matthew Barrett and Oisin Doyle (representing Calasantious Oranmore) had great runs to place 18th and 19th while their teammates James Delaney, Michael O'Dowd and Andrew O'Boyle finished 88th, 96th and 101st.
In the Junior Girls race, Ciara Greene (Bower Athlone) had a fine run to finish in 25th place while in the Intermediate Boys race, Conor Gillen (Athenry VS) contested strongly for a place amongst the leaders in the first half of the race, leading it for a stage but faded a little later in the race before taking a creditable 24th place overall.
In the same race, Jamie Spellman led his Calasanctious Oranmore team to 7th place in the team event. Jamie placed 46th individually despite a disgraceful shoulder charge from a member of an opposing team which left Jamie sprawled on the ground. The incident happened about 10 metres after the steep hill that separated the two fields around which the cross country took place – there was some slight contact on the hill and as both athletes rounded the next corner 10m after the hill with plenty of space, Jamie was hit by a shuddering shoulder charge that you might normally witness in a tight Gaelic football match. It was a totally unnecessary incident and I hope that the boy who commited the offence regretted his actions after the race. We made known our grievances to his school.
The rest of the Calasantious team placed strongly with Matthew Moran 48th, Neil Greaney 50th, Nicholas Sheehan 56th, John Cormican 76th, Damien O'Boyle 71st and Richard Noonan 99th. There is a silver lining to every cloud and on this day it was Matthew Moran fantastic finish over the last lap of the race to move up into 48th place and complete possibly his best ever cross-country race.
Finn Stoneman completed the performances from the club with a fine 46th place in the Senior Boys race and first scorer on his St Enda's team. And for senior readers of this article, just to put the standard of this race into perspective, the winner Kevin Dooney from Leinster is reputed to have a 31.x PB for a 10k!