Craughwell's U16 boys team battled bravely at the National Cross Country Championships today in Sligo where they had their best ever team performance yet at this level to finish in 4th place in the team competition.
The team were led home by Conor Gillen in 25th, with Nicholas Sheehan close behind in 29th, Jamie Spellman 31st, Matthew Moran 47th followed by John Cormican 63rd, Damien O'Boyle 78th and Keelan Ryan 94th. The team have been edging closer to national silverware each year and their day will come soon. As U11s in 2006, they narrowly missed out on qualifying for the All-Irelands when placing 4th in Connacht, in 2007 they placed 10th in the All-Ireland U12s, in 2008 5th in the All-Ireland U13s, 2009 5th in the All-Ireland U14s, 2010 6th in the All-Irelands U15s and today 4th in the All-Ireland U16s. Their progress is fantastic and they are as dedicated a group of sportsmen as you can meet.
Even more impressive than finishing 4th in the clubs, the county team was comprised entirely of the above 7 athletes and also finished in 4th place out of the 9 counties who contested the inter-county event.
Earlier in the day, another up and coming team raced galliantly to take 7th place in the U14 boys race. James Cahalane led the team home in 32nd place, followed by Matthew Barrett 45th, Oisin Doyle 51st, Brian Loughnane 62nd and Diarmiud Harvey 87th. And in the U12 1500m, Conor Lee had a mighty race when finishing 35th – just missing out on a bronze medal as part of the Connacht team which finished 3rd, with Conor in 8th place for Connacht. Peadar Harvey also made a little bit of history for the club when becoming the first athlete from the club to compete in the Inter-Counties Junior 8k race where he finished 42nd.
In the girls races, Grainne McDaid continued her recent progress with a 61st place finish in the U14 race with Aoife Greene battling hard also and Dearbhaile Walshe unfortunately having to withdraw with fatigue. Ciara Greene had a fantastic race out of her age in the U16 girls 4000m to take 27th place. All eyes now turn to the Curragh in two weeks time for the National finals of the uneven age groups where most of todays participants will be running again.
Full results on on AAI's website.