Scores of families descended on the Palace Grounds in Tuam on Sunday to enjoy the fine weather and celebrate Mothers Day. Coincidentally, the Galway Community Games cross-country was taking place at the same venue and strangely many of the children had luckily packed their running shoes and shorts in the off-chance a race might be on when they were in the park.
Large numbers contested each age group, with upwards of 50 children competing in the U12 boys 600m – a fine achievement for Galway Community Games and in particular for the co-ordinator of the cross-country Vincent Conway. Mothers Day brought out the best in Craughwell’s athletes who were in action at the Palace Grounds. Athletes from the club featured strongly in all the races with 10 of the 34 qualifiers for Mosney being members of Craughwell AC – a fine day for the club. In fact, in several of the races the club also featured in 7th or 8th places, narrowly missing out on qualification.
First race of the day was the U12 girls 600m. Grainne McDaid had an outstanding race to finish 6th overall – an incredible achievement given that Grainne is only 9 and has still 2 more years in this age group (a feat previously achieved in 2003 by our National Community Games 600m Champion Ashley McDonnell when she was 9). In hard luck in the same race was Gabrielle Tobin in 8th place and Tara Keady in 10th place. Also running well but out of her age, Andrea Tobin finished in 23rd place in the field of over 40 runners.
Next off, the U12 boys 600m. A tough battle at the front ensued with Nicholas Sheehan (representing Oranmore/Maree) battling it out and taking 3rd place. The standard of running in this race was exceptional and Galway should have a great team for Mosney here. Keelan Ryan ran a huge race to take 6th place, just ahead of Liam Sheehan who demonstrated his potential yet again by taking 7th place. There were strong runs also from other current and former members of the club in this race including Jamie Spelman (8th, representing Oranmore/Maree) and Clarenbridge representatives Matthew Moran, David Byrne (10th), Darragh Greaney and Cian Greaney, Craughwell representatives Cillian McDaid (14th) and Christopher McDonnell, and Ardrahan representatives Liam Forde (13th), Eddie Madden and Conor Gardiner (20th).
Then for the toughest race of the Community Games – the U13 1200m. The route for this race took the athletes up the dreaded hill in the Palace Grounds twice. The girls were off first. Laura Porter and Niamh Hannify (representing Oranmore/Maree) ran fantastic races to take 4th and 5th places. Sarah Molloy was in very hard luck finishing in 7th place and just outside the qualifying places. Ailbhe Greaney, Claire Ryder and Rachel Mullins also ran super races but didn’t make the qualifying places. In the boys race, Paul Fitzpatrick had to settle for 6th place, just missing out on Mosney, with team-mate Cathal Reidy running a great race also to take 8th place.
The girls 800m had a very high quality field featuring 3 of the top 5 girls from last year’s National finals in the U13 1200m in Mosney – Ruth O’Sullivan, Hayleigh Summers and Linda Porter. Linda ran a blinder to take the gold medal followed by Ruth and then Hayleigh. Also with an exceptional run after a year thwarted by injury, Orla McDaid showed a welcome return to form by taking the final Mosney qualifying spot by finishing in 6th place. Caoimhe Quill also had a strong race but finished outside the qualifying places.
The boys 800m was the last race on the cards, again with a strong group running, 5 of whom had featured on the winning Galway U13 team from the Mosney finals last year. True to form, all five qualified again this year. The Craughwell representatives from last year’s victors were Paul Joyce who finished 5th this year and Pádraic Tobin who took 6th place. They were trumped on this occasion by Brendan Gallagher who took 4th place, looking like he has found his true distance. I was trying to think of a witty comment to pass on this race since Julie Gallagher, Sue Joyce and myself all coach this age group in Craughwell – but my mind had gone blank! I’m sure I’ll hear more about it from my fellow coaches!
All in all, it was another super cross country day out and we look forward with anticipation to Mosney on the 23rd/24th May. Results of the day can be seen on the Galway Community Games section of the website www.communitygames.ie.