Four members of the Craughwell senior XC team headed up to Boyle today for the Cross Country. Martin Corcoran and Peter O'Sullivan competed in the Veteran 7k race, which Mark Davis and Paul Keane toed the line representing Galway County in the Intermediate 10k event. The vets race kicked off first and it was one of the most exciting races I've ever watched. After the first lap I saw Peter in 4th place overall I thought it was brave but that he had lost the plot. The standard of runner in the veteran cross country is top-notch. As expected Ciaran Doherty the fisherman from Donegal was leading by quite a margin, but Peter was well in the mix with guys like Paraic McKinney, Mick Traynor, Pat Byrne, Gary Crossan, etc. Big names. I counted 3 winners of the Dublin marathon behind him! As the race went on he didn't fade as I feared but actually pushed on into second place, a position which he held for the next two of the 1.5k laps.
Just at the start of the last lap Paraic McKinney pushed ahead and extended a lead but Peter held on fearlessly to the end to score a historic M35 Silver and take 3rd overall – an amazing run and perhaps the best Cross Country result ever for Craughwell at Senior level. His story is pretty inspirational considering that just a few short years ago he was a 42 minute 10k runner struggling to break 20 minutes for 5k.
Martin Corcoran also had a fine race in the M45 category. Though he has medalled as an M45 before, it is a tough category to score in, when you consider that the winner of the category was 2nd overall, ahead of Peter. This is Martin's last year as an M45 so it's even tougher. He did exceptionally well to finish I think 5th in his category and 20th overall. Well done guys!
In the Intermediates I got the chance to try it out myself and perhaps inspired by Peter's run I headed out like a blue-bottomed fly and pushed myself into the top 10. The similarities ended there however and I had plenty of time to regret my start over the next 7 1.5k laps as I faded pretty badly. The conditions underfoot were extremely sloppy and sticky and it was heavy going. I haven't seen result but am guessing I finished about 40th and was Galway's 3rd scorer, well behind GCH's fast-improving Chris McGrath and Tuam's Enda Mannion. Brian Bruton was next Galway scorer close behind followed by Paul Keane and Brian O'Connor. All in all we enjoyed the race but wouldn't fancy doing it again any time soon!!
Special mention has to go to Loughrea's Laura Shaughnessy who won the Intermediate Women's in fantastic style – leading the Galway women to glory, and also to Craughwell 10 two time winner Pauline Curley who won the Veteran's race in a closer affair. From a Craughwell perspective though, the day belonged to Peter – well done mate!!