Santry was the venue last Sunday for the National Junior, Under 23 and Senior Cross-Country Championships. Conditions were ideal, firm ground ensured that all the races were very fast and with very big entries competitive as well. It was great to see the cream of Irish Athletics going to the start line in all of the races and any medals won were richly deserved.
In the Junior Women’s race, we saw some brilliant performances, none more so than Muireann Duffy of Clonmel AC who ran a brilliant race. She was always well positioned in a race that was fast from the start with great underfoot conditions. Then over the closing stages she found that extra kick that saw her finishing strongly in 8th place.
Then hot on her heels at the finish was Niamh Cunneen of Nenagh Olympic who also ran a great race when finishing 11th junior, brilliant running by both athletes. We also saw Eileen Cunneen of Nenagh Olympic running very well when finishing 29th overall. It was a pity that the County had not a team of four competing, for with these three great performances the team would have figured among the medals.
In the Junior Men’s race James Tanner of Nenagh Olympic was placed in the high 30s for most of the race and ran on well over the closing stages, in what was a very fast race, to finish a very creditable 32nd. Then we had Luke Purcell of Nenagh Olympic also running a very good race when finishing 35th. We also saw good performances from Cian Hodgins of Nenagh Olympic finishing 68th, Sean Hayes of Nenagh Olympic finishing 111th and Thomas Walsh also of Nenagh Olympic in 132nd place. Nenagh Olympic were 8th in the Inter Club race, while we were short one athlete on the County team.
The great news about this squad is that the majority of them are eligible again next year and they can look forward with great confidence.
In the Senor women’s race which was very competitive County athletes performed very well. Courtney McGuire of Clonmel AC and Dymphna Ryan of Dundrum AC were well placed throughout the race and were together going out on the last lap. Both athletes put in significant efforts over the closing stages with Courtney finishing 39th and 7th woman under 23 in 30 mins 19 secs with Dympna next in a time of 30 mins 24 secs, brilliant running. Then we had Hannah Steeds of Clonmel AC also running a great race, on her debut in this event, when finishing 57th in 31 mins 23 secs while the 4th scorer on the County team was Siobhan O Doherty of Borrisokane AC in 64th place (32:02).
Then we had Moya Whelan of Clonmel AC also running very well when finishing 95th on her debut in these Championships with her club mate Caroline Godard, another debutant also running a great race when finishing 98th. This is a relatively new team with three of them making their debuts at this level and it is something that can be built on going forward as it is a long time since the County had a team competing at this level. Hopefully, we can build on this in the years ahead. In the Club event Clonmel AC were 7th in what was their first time competing at this level since the early 1990s.
The last race of the day was the Senior Men’s 10k and here we had a top-class entry and with the very good underfoot conditions the pace was fast from the gun. Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers AC was well placed at the front of affairs in the large leading group of athletes, in the initial stages of the race. He maintained that strong pace throughout the race when finishing a very good 17th in 31 mins 46 secs.
Then we had David Mansfield of Clonmel AC also running a very good race when finishing 23rd in 31 mins 57 secs. Then we had Kevin Moore of Dundrum AC also running very well when finishing 46th in 32 mins 45 secs. William Maunsell of Clonmel AC also ran very well when finishing 92nd in 34 mins 22 secs. Due to a few late withdrawals the County hadn’t a team competing in this even
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