|In the words of Caesar, we came we saw we conquered!! |
Craughwell AC had probably its best ever day at day 2 of the Connacht cross-country championships with team victories in the U11 boys, U13 boys, U15 boys and U17 boys and our girls teams battling hard but finishing outside the medals (not to mention taking the U19 boys and U15 boys individual Connacht titles, silver in the U15 boys, U13 boys and U11 boys, and bronze in the U13 boys!).
With 6 boys finishing in the top three, it was an awesome display of power running.
First race of the day was the girls U11 1500m. This was a tough tough race for the girls … we probably hadn’t enough work done for the longer distance, but nonetheless the girls put in trojan efforts. Jade Connolly was the teams leading runner with a 22nd place finish. Derbhla Cronin after a fantastic performance in the U12 race in Ballina was unlucky to take a tumble in today’s race and finished in 36th place. Ciana Reidy had a strong performance to take 38th place, with Sandra Greaney battling hard to 47th place, Caolin Milton with a good run in 52nd and Laura Cunningham finishing strongly in 54th. The team finished in 8th place with 132 pts amidst some tough opposition.
Next race to get going was the boys U11 1500m where we had a strong team taking part. With perhaps 70 or in the race, the Craughwell AC team had a remarkable performance with all 7 finishing in the top 21. The race got off to a very fast start with Brendan Commins battling hard at the front. As the race unfolded Hugh Mulryan started to progress through the field like an express train. As Hugh moved into the lead, a ding-dong battle ensued with a Sligo athlete with Hugh having to settle for 2nd place as the sprint finish concluded. Brendan followed closely behind taking a fine 6th place. Despite suffering from a bug earlier in the week, Conor Lee put in a hugely impressive performance to take 10th place, with Sean Delaney and Cillian Doyle sprinting to 13th and 14th place and Jerry Keary hot on their heels in 15th place. Peter Martyn completed a fine performance by the Craughwell squad when taking 21st place. When the numbers were crunched later on for the team scoring, Craughwell claimed the gold medals just ahead of a strong Westport team.
The U13 girls were next on the field for their 2500m race and put in a huge effort which was deserving of medals but alas that was not to be today when the team finished in 4th place, just 6 pts short of a medal. Grainne McDaid led the team home in 10th place, with Dearbhaile Walshe finishing in a strong 15th, followed by Leanne Freaney 23rd, Aoife Greene 32nd, Andrea Tobin 34th and Orlaith Maloney 39th. Next year will be another chance for the girls as they have a very good squad as evidenced last week when all of these girls medalled in the U12 and U14 Connachts. The course which the girls and subsequent ages ran extended beyond the 1500m loop ran by the U11s into a killer circuit of 2x500m loops of uphill and downhill – a very challenging course.
The U13 boys 2500m race provided another remarkable show of strength by the club with 3 runners in the top 5 over the distance. Oisin Doyle put in a brave performance at the front, battling hard and only overcome by Swinford’s William Hynes over the last 200m with Oisin settling for 2nd place. Matthew Barrett was close on Oisin’s heels throughout and took a splendid 3rd place. The first 3 runners took a slightly longer route to the finish line and had to hop the rope alongside the last 100m in order to finish in the chute as they had run on its outside instead of its inside after the final bend. Fortunately it did not affect the race result. James Cahalane was running a fine race just behind these runners, taking a splendid 5th place and with Liam Moran finishing in 13th place the team result was beyond doubt. Brian Loughnane was next in 24th place followed by Matthew McKiernan 27th, Mikey Bourke 31st, Diarmuid Harvey 34th, James Delaney 39th and Gearóid Treacy 41st. It was a fantastic team performance, one that led to a very convincing team victory with 23 points.
Next on the field was the U15 girls where we had a strong team taking part but so too had other Connacht clubs. The team put in an outstanding performance over the 3500m distance with Ciara Greene 12th, Derbhla Maloney 14th, Sinead Treacy 15th and Gabrielle Tobin 22nd. When the results were announced, we finished in 5th place, not far off the medal positions. A strong U15 boys team took to the field for their 3500m race. With the race led out hard by Conor Gillen and Nicholas Sheehan, the field quickly spread out. As the race unfolded, Conor and Nicholas had built up a substantial lead on the chasing bunch which was led by North Sligo’s talented U14 runners Cian McBride and William Crowe. For a while it looked like Nicholas would take Conor for the Connacht title but Conor held on for a fine victory with Nicholas 2nd. Running strongly, Damien O’Boyle had a fine performance to take 7th place with Jamie Spellman finishing strongly to take 13th, Matthew Moran 15th, Keelan Ryan 21st, Christopher O’Connor 25th and Cathal Reidy 27th. The team victory was achieved with a low score of 23 pts.
Next up the U17 girls 4500m where Muireann Maloney was the club’s only participant. Muireann is developing into a fine runner and over this distance will be well capable of battling it out with adults in the next few years. In fact her race today was 1500m further than what the adults ran as some successful negotiation on the start line reduced the adult race to 3k! Muireann put in a very solid performance over the distance to take 8th place overall. It would have secured county gold for Galway, however only 5 Galway runners completed the race so we lost out on team gold.
The U17 boys 5000m were next on the field where again we had a good team taking part. Unfortunately the remainder of the opposition was made up of individuals with Craughwell the only team. David Concannon is making a strong return to form and led the Craughwell team home in this race with a 7th place finish. Finn Stoneman was close behind when taking 10th place despite suffering a bad fall during the race. Pádraic Tobin was next in 13th place followed by Paul Fitzpatrick in 15th to give Craughwell the team gold.
Last performance of the day from the juveniles was Peadar Harvey in the U19 boys 7000m where he raced to a strong victory to wrap up a very satisfying day for Craughwell AC.
It was a day of total dominance in the boys races with 4 team victories, 2 individual victories, 3 individual silver and 1 individual bronze. I cannot finish this article without paying compliments to the fine academy of running that Oranmore Boys School has become – with 4 of these individual medallists and 7 other team-members from the school.
And for our girls teams, hard luck – we had a good day in Ballina and not as good here. We'll regroup for again and hopefully get more of a squad training system going with the girls as we have with the boys – to help the girls emulate the boys next year.
Full results of the day are at:- 2010connachtday2results.pdf.