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The All-Ireland Cross Country for the Juvenile Even Ages and Senior Championships took place in Gowran on Sunday as the programme of races, on already soft ground, led to much of the course becoming ankle-deep in sticky mud. The 1500+ participants just got on with it on what a great day of racing despite the challenging conditions.

Our club highlight came with an excellent top-20 placing for Sophia Carey in the U14 girls 3000m. Sophia’s very impressive run saw her the fifth Connacht athlete across the line as the province took first place in the Regional team standings. Congrats to Sophia on winning a National gold medal.
Also in the race was Darcey Brady who was running so well until one of her shoes came off unfortunately. Undeterred, Darcey kept going and finished strongly to place in the top half of the finishers. Well done Darcey.

The opening race of the day saw Julie Taitt and Hollie Smith have excellent runs with Julie claiming a top-25 finish of 167 girls in the U12 category. Both Julie and Hollie have shown superb progression over the cross-country season. Andrew Fitzpatrick, competing one year up in age, put in another good performance in the boys race over 2000m and the experience will benefit him for the Uneven Ages Championships in Navan next month.

Rian McCaffrey led home the boys U14 team with a typically determined showing as Oisín Dillon, Daniel Higgins and Timothy Sheridan all placed well too after the energy-sapping 3000m. The team ranked a very creditable 11th overall in the standings.

The senior men’s 9000m included Barry Sheil who was glad to see the finish line when it came!

Thanks to coach Donal for supporting all our athletes throughout the day and to the parents of our juveniles for their support on a tough course for running.