Craughwell AC wrapped up its finest cross country season in its history with some outstanding performances at the second day of the National finals at the army camp in The Curragh. Pride of place this year goes to the U13 Boys team who had an incredible performance in their 2500m with 3 runners in the top 15. James Cahalane led the team home in 11th place, followed swiftly by Matthew Barrett in 14th and Liam Moran in 15th. A strong team performance was completed by Brian Loughnane in 33rd, Ben Sharkey 43rd and Sam McArdle 88th to give a team score of 73 points and team victory by a substantial margin. Five of the team were also scorers for the Galway team who took the county’s only medal on the day with team silver in the inter-county event with 150 points.
The race got off to a lightening start as do all races at this level! James managed to get into the leading group from the gun and ran heroically to maintain a top position all the way through. Behind him, Matthew and Liam were in the 2nd group to form as the race got into its stride and put in a huge effort as the race progress to move up into the top 15. And behind them, yet another outstanding finish saw Brian Loughnane put in a storming finish over the last 500m to move up into 33rd place. Ben Sharkey and Sam McArdle also had outstanding runs, with Ben in particular improving his finishing place from the Connachts from the 20th Connacht runner to the 6th Connacht runner today and just nipping in as the 6th scorer on the Galway team which took silver medals, a single place ahead of East Galway’s Liam Boyle.
The club has medalled at this level on 3 previous occasions –
– in 2002 when the U11 girls took team gold in their 800m with 109 pts (6 Rachel Finnegan, 27 Cathriona Farrell, 36 Rebecca Helebert, 40 Sarah Helebert, 57 Ashley McDonnell)
– in 2005 when the U11 boys took team silver with 121 pts (21 Jack Raftery, 22 Brendan Gallagher, 45 PJ Kelly, 47 James Greaney, 58 Patrick Prendergast, 80 Padraic Hannon)
– in 2009 when the U13 boys took team bronze with 107 pts (11 Damien O’Boyle, 22 Oisin Doyle, 33 Jamie Spellman, 41 Gavin O’Toole, 56 Cillian McDaid)
Also in 2005, the U11 girls and U13 girls took 4th place –
– U11 girls (24 Laura Porter, 34 Orla McDaid, 35 Sinead Gaffney, 96 Sarah Molloy, 99 Ailbhe Greaney, 135 Claire Ryder)
– U13 girls (16 Ashley McDonnell, 23 Laura Mitchell, 47 Aoife Callanan, 54 Linda Porter, 77 Noreen Murphy, 98 Sarah Helebert)
The U13 performance at the weekend was almost matched by the U17 boys in their 5k, with exceptional running to finish in 4th place in the team event – only 17 points behind the bronze medallists. Neil Greaney was first home in 32nd place, a fine performance in his first race at National level, with Conor Gillen close behind in 34th, Finn Stoneman 50th, Paul Joyce 52nd, Matthew Moran 57th and Paul Fitzpatrick 91st. It’s only a matter of time before these lads medal as a team at National level – with outstanding runners across several age groups. Hopefully next year!
Best individual performance of the day went to Jamie Spellman who had an outstanding race to finish 9th in the U15 boys 3500m, with Damien O’Boyle 52nd in the same race. Dearbhaile Walsh was also in fine form to take 17th place in the U13 Girls 2500m, with her team taking 9th place (95 Erin Fitzpatrick, 114 Aoife Greene, 124 Grace Whirskey, 128 Ciara O’Boyle, 132 Alice Whirskey). In the U15 girls 3500m, Ciara Greene was first home from the club in 35th place with Sinead Treacy in 78th. In the U11 Girls 1500m races, a tough race saw the Craughwell girls take 14th place with Sarah McCartin 92nd, Ailbhe Miskella 98th, Roisin Hansbury 124th, Emma Urquhart 138th, Niamh Treacy 130th and Abigail McNally 145th; while in the boys 1500m, the team also finished 14th with Finbar McFadden 87th, Patrick Noonan 104th, Darren Lyons 124th, Darragh O’Connor 128th, Ryan Gallagher 139th and Conor Hughes 144th.
Our younger runners should take heart from older runner’s progress since they ran as U11s or U12s – you can check out results of previous years on www.athleticsireland.ie.