All Ireland Successes for our Juveniles at All Ireland Cross Country Relays and All Ireland B Cross Country Championships

All Ireland Successes for our Juveniles at All Ireland Cross Country Relays and All Ireland B Cross Country Championships


Atrocious conditions faced the hardy bunch of 17 Juvenile athletes who made the long trip to Clarinbridge, Co Galway to contest the All Ireland Cross Country Relay Championships and All Ireland B Cross Country Championship yesterday, Sunday 11th February.

The journey down suggested it was going to be a tough day with freezing conditions and some heavy snow blizzards greeting the travelling contingent as we made our way from the royal county across the country to the west.

On arrival, it quickly became apparent that the recent inclement weather and snow coving the ground had made the underfoot conditions unbelievably testing.  The course was so muddy that it was a struggle to see any patches of green at all around the circuit.

After warming up in a blizzard the first of our athletes in action lined up for the U11 girls 1000m race.  Hannah Brown and Amy O’Reilly showed great determination and a positive attitude to get stuck into the race running very strongly as part of a Meath team.  They both finished well up the large field in incredibly difficult conditions where many running spikes were left in the mud.  The girls can be very proud of their performances being part of the Meath team that finished 4th on the day.  Well done girls.

Dylan Ryan swapped the warmth and comfort of Athlone’s Indoor Arena where he ran in the 60m on Saturday to put the longer spikes in and grit it out over the cross country course in his u11 1000m race.   Dylan, who has been under the weather of late, ran very well and battled through the mud and snow to finish well up the field as part of a Meath team that agonisingly finished in 4th place just 1 point off a Bronze medal. Well done Dylan on a good run here.

Liam Jennings was our sole representative in the 1,500m under 13 race and again after warming up with snow falling he settled into his task with inspiring determination and bravery as the race unfolded.  Liam, returning from injury, showed great strength and talent to get through the muddy surface and finish well up this talented field of athletes who were assembled from all over the country.  He can be very proud of this run.  Well done Liam.

A blizzard signalled the start of the girls U15 race over 2,500m but Holly Conlon didn’t seem to mind as she got in amongst the leading pack early and maintained an impressive pace throughout.  By now after 4 races the track had cut up even further (if that was possible) and athletes were having problems keeping their footing.  Holly showed great focus and concentration to continue with the leaders and finished a hugely impressive 7th place in this national event to collect a richly deserved individual national medal.  Well done on a fabulous run Holly.

Our final individual runner of the day was Ross Lyons in his U15 event over 2,500m.  Snow battered the boys as they made their way around what was once a cross country track but was now looking like a scene from the Battle of the Somme, with Ross on the shoulders of the leaders throughout.   He maintained his position and as the leading bunch thinned out he was with the top 4 in the final turn for home.  He maintained his pace up the straight easily holding off any runners coming from behind to collect a hugely impressive and deserved national medal finishing in 4th place.  Well done Ross on a super run.

After the individual races were completed, the All Ireland Cross Country Relay Championships commenced with the Boys under 12 4 x 500m event.  After the 8 previous races the track was now looking like a quagmire with underfoot conditions unbelievably difficult for relay teams who would be running at a quicker pace over this shorter distance.  Ciaran McCormack, Harry Doherty, Mathieu Kieffer and James McAvenue lined up with teams drawn from all four provinces.  In an extremely tight race, four teams pulled away from the remainder with Dunboyne among the leading four.  All 4 of our athletes battled bravely in the conditions to maintain their position in the hunt for a medal throughout.  Agonisingly they finished in 4th just outside the medals after a really strong team performance.  All four boys can be very proud of their 4th place in this national competition.

The Girls U12 team were up next and Kate Gormley, Sophie Brown, Elizabeth Comerford, (who was recovering from bout of illness) and Ciara O’Flaherty lined up with the best teams in the country for their 4 X 500m event.  With conditions worsening all the time, the girls really had to dig deep to compete and even stay on their feet.  Each of our girls fought extremely hard to battle around the course with Ciara showing a great willingness to continue for her team mates despite losing both spikes in the mud.  The girls finished outside the medals this time but 8th in a national competition in a large field of teams shows how talented this group are.   All four girls deserve great credit for their performances.  Well done girls.

Finally it was the turn of the U14 Girls team who lined up in a large field of teams for their 4 x 500m relay.  All four girls were focussed and positive beforehand, determined to not let the horrific conditions get the better of them.  Kayla Ryan, Aleah Kelly, Aoife McCormack and Sophie Dolan took their place amongst some very talented teams from all over Ireland.  As the race progressed it was clear that our team was right up with the best as 3 teams pulled away from the rest of the field.  After four very good legs the girls delivered a fantastic national Bronze medal in what was a great finale to our day.  Well done girls on a brilliant team performance.

It is very difficult to portray how horrific the underfoot conditions were, while snow and freezing conditions made it one of the most challenging day’s racing I can remember in many years.  All our young athletes deserve immense credit for the way they got on with their racing, giving their best and doing so with such good humour.  We are very privileged in the club to have athletes of this calibre who can compete at this high level but even more privileged to coach athletes with such courage and determination.    Well done to you all.  Also special thanks to all the parents who made the big commitment to travel to Galway yesterday and support all our athletes running.  As usual without your support we couldn’t do what we do.

That was the final club Cross Country event of the season (I hear a big sigh of relief!).  The focus will be on track events from now until late summer.

See photos here


All IRELAND XC Relays & B’s 2018

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