Pounding along at the Palace Grounds

Pounding along at the Palace Grounds

Craughwell AC had a huge turnout in the juvenile cross-country races at the Palace Grounds in Tuam last Sunday. A pleasant day ensued with none of the heavy mucky ground one might normally associate with cross country running.

 The day got underway with the U10 girls 500m, in which Craughwell AC had a massive total of 17 runners. The girls had a tough uphill start amongst some tall trees. After 200m or so, the ground levelled out a little and it was mostly downhill from there to the finish. Tara McNally put in a super run to finish in 3rd position. With the top ten in this race getting medals, Grainne McDaid (6th), Grace Kelly (7th) and Ellen Treacy (10th) all put in fine runs to finish in the medals. There was no team event in the U10 races but if there had been, the club would have just shaded it for gold from GCH. The remaining Craughwell AC runners all finished strongly coming in the following order:- 

11 Emma Byrne
12 Ellen Fitzpatrick
15 Hannah Rabbitte
17 Orlaith Moloney
18 Andrea Tobin
19 Eimear Flaherty
21 Lisa Doran
22 Emma Gaffney
23 Ashling Keady
24 Ciara Kerse
26 Raine McCann
27 Ashleen Nee
29 Amy Hynes

Great performances from everyone, especially from the younger U9 runners. Hard luck to Sinead Treacy who had to pull up with a sore ankle. 

The U10 boys 500m kicked off immediately the girls finished and Aidan Conneely put in a super run to take 3rd position, with Brian Concannon (5th),  Jamie Spellman (6th) and Eddie Madden (10th) also getting into the medals. The club again had a huge number of runners in this race, all of whom did excellently on what was for many their first cross-country run. Finishing positions were:- 

11 Killian McDaid
14 Andrew Greaney
15 Christopher McDonnell
17 Conor O'Donoghue
18 Conor Gardiner
20 Gary Clay
21 Ian Connolly
22 Oisin Coppinger
23 Shane Finn
27 Dean McCann
31 Stephen Joyce
32 Andrew Monahan
33 Jack Reidy
35 Killian Kerse
38 Ciaran Nevin 

The U12 1000m races were up next. When walking the course, at first the U12s were quite pleased when they saw their starting position was at the top of the steep hill that the U10s had to run at the start of their 500m race. Unfortunately for the U12s, all this meant was that they had a lap and a half of the course to do, having to run the same steep hill on the last half of their race. The girls were off first. This age group has always been fiercely competitive in Galway, with many fine runners spread around the different clubs. This year was no different, with the competition intense. Laura Porter had a fantastic race to work herself into the leading bunch and pip Kate Burke from Ballinasloe for 3rd place on the line. Another fantastic finish saw Orla McDaid take 5th place. Ballinasloe and Athenry runners were packing well into the top 10, making it very difficult to get team medals here. But strong finishing from Sinead Gaffney and Caoimhe Quill in 12th and 14th positions put the team in bronze medal position with a score of 34 points. Craughwell AC’s 2nd team which was mainly an U11 team, had a splendid race to finish in 5th place overall led home by Claire Ryder in 13th place. Full details of the club’s finishing order were:-  

 3 Laura Porter
 5 Orla McDaid
12 Sinead Gaffney
13 Claire Ryder
14 Caoimhe Quill
17 Muireann Moloney
18 Siobhan Gardiner
22 Rosie Moran
24 Gabrielle Tobin
25 Ursula Curley
28 Ella Bryan
30 Lisa Hynes
35 Shauna Burke 

The boys’ race was a different affair. The club team had finished 2nd in the National finals last year and were quite confident of a good performance. As it turned out, no other teams contested the race, with a handful of individuals besides the club’s runners – leaving both gold and silver team medals to Craughwell AC. Jack Raftery and Paul Joyce put in super races to be within a hare’s breath of the leading two as they approached the final 100m of the race. Onto the last downhill and both Jack and Paul were really motoring, looking like they would challenge for silver and bronze medals. Jack got himself into the silver position but the engine ran out of fuel right on the line as the GCH athlete in 2nd place passed him at the end, with Jack taking bronze and Paul in 4th place. Super running. The rest of the club runners finished very strongly, dominating the top ten:- 

 3 Jack Raftery
 4 Paul Joyce
 5 Brendan Gallagher
 6 Peter Treacy
 7 PJ Kelly
 8 Cathal Coppinger
10 James Greaney
12 Paul Fitzpatrick
13 Padraic Hannon
14 Nigel  Kennedy
15 Oisin McNally
16 Patrick Phillips
18 Robert Kelly 

Well done to all the runners, especially to those that stepped up an age group – in particular to Robert Kelly who hadn’t raced this distance before and put in a fine effort to complete the course. 

In the U14 girls 1200m, again the club were up against strong athletes in particular from Ballinasloe. Ashley McDonnell showed a return to form by running strongly to take the bronze medal, with Linda Porter running a fantastic race to take 4th place just behind Ashley. Ardrahan duo Aoife Callanan and Noreen Murphy completed the team, coming into the chute in 7th and 12th position to give the team a score of 26 points and taking the silver team medal just 3 points behind Ballinasloe. 

The boys U14 1500m was a tough race, with 2 full laps of the hilly course been required. David Concannon and Micheál Hannon put in a very strong start to occupy 2nd and 3rd positions after 750m, closely shadowed by Richard Commins from GCH. As the metres raced by, the GCH athlete moved into 2nd, with Micheál taking over in 3rd from David. Further back, Tomás Keehan and Niall Rooney were putting in big efforts to fill the next 2 positions. The Craughwell team finished in this order, producing a low score of 18 points (3, 4, 5, 6) to take the team gold ahead of GCH. U13 athletes David Farrell (10th), Jason Kennedy (12th), Paul McGill (15th) and Padraic Tobin (16th) completed the finishers for the club. It was particularly impressive finishing from Jason who sprinted the final 100m and showed a welcome return to his cross-country form of 2 years ago. For Padraic, returning from a hamstring injury, it was a testing race but one which will benefit him immensely as he came through it without a recurrence of his injury. 

The U16 girls 2000m provided the club’s last juvenile competitors of the day, with Rachel Finnegan putting in a fine performance to take the silver medal. Sophie Ralston (16th) and Maeve Curley (17th) put in decent performances also to complete the runners for the club. With the addition of a 4th runner, the club would have a reasonably strong team and could possibly have taken club silver medals on the day. 

Final competitors of the day for the club were in the senior men’s 8000m. From the team listing for this race, it looks like you either have to be a parent of a juvenile runner in the club or the club’s bus driver in order to get a place on the team. For anyone reading this and who falls outside those strict criteria, we are willing to consider other qualifying criteria to make the club’s senior cross-country team! And of course, if there are any mothers of juvenile club members or female bus drivers out there, we’d love to be able to field a senior women’s cross-country team some day! The senior men’s team put in a good effort on the day to finish in 5th place out of 7 teams, with the team’s finishing order been:- 

19 Michael Tobin
26 Gerry Fahy
33 Tony Nevin
40 Diarmuid Quill
41 Tony Fitzpatrick

Well done to all and hopefully we can continue to build up our senior team for future cross-country and road races.

Full results of the juvenile races and senior races are at:-



Comments are closed.