The Connacht cross country action moved to Ballymote on Sunday with the turn of the juvenile uneven age group races taking place mostly under blue skies. Andrew Fitzpatrick was the club’s star performer winning a superb silver medal in the U11 boys 1500m. It was another close contest between Andrew and Philip Griffith (Claremorris AC) with Philip making his move on the second lap to take gold and both boys can look forward with confidence to next month’s All-Irelands in Navan.
Along with Andrew, racing strongly too were Oran O’Neill, Jamie McCaffrey and Aidan McDermott with the quartet placing an excellent fifth of sixteen teams. Ella Finnegan achieved a fantastic top-15 finish in the U11 girl’s event. With 97 finishers, it was a very good run by Ella in what was her first competition in the club colours.
The good performances continued with the U13 girls’ team of Julie Taitt, Hollie Smith, Jessica Neary, Sarah Taitt and Cara McDermott running very well over the 2500m distance. Unfortunately the team missed out on Nationals qualification by just one point, but it was more good racing experience for the girls most of whom were competing one year up in age. Performing well too were John Fitzpatrick and Conor Brennan with both placing in the top-20 of the boy’s race following good runs.
It was 3500m for the U15s with Sophia Carey again showing strongly to earn her place at December’s All-Irelands with a ninth-place finish in the girl’s race. Also running one year up in age, and pacing it well, were the boy’s trio of Rian McCaffrey, Daniel Higgins and Oisín Dillon. Making a welcome return to racing, Rian earned his spot for Navan with an excellent eighth.
Emma Brennan and Robin Og Murphy each secured their places at the Nationals with Emma claiming a brilliant bronze and Robin Og soon following in seventh. Just reward for the girls (both competing one year up) after their strong runs over the 4500m distance as the ground conditions began to cut up in parts and a brief heavy shower arrived.
The day’s racing wrapped up with the men’s 6000m as Michael O’Hara, Ciarán Madden and Barry Sheil each placed well in what was the final leg of the 3-race senior league series.
Our thanks to host club Corran AC, Sligo Co Board and Connacht Athletics for a very good event.