Held 1st November 2015 at Moyne Community School, Co. Longford
The Connacht Even Ages Cross Country Championship attracted over 550 runners from throughout the Western Region to compete in Moyne on November 1st. Athletics clubs from the 6 counties sent their best to run on the challenging course with its deceptive steep hill finish in hopes of a qualifying place for the Athletics Ireland National Finals in Santry on November 22. Members of Longford AC spent nearly a week preparing for the event and were praised by Connacht officials for the very high standard of organisation that was evident in all aspects of the Championship.
In the Girls’ races Gold individual medals were won by Galway City Harriers, Westport AC and Athenry AC. The team medals were well split in the clubs from Mayo, Galway, Leitrim and Sligo. Kate Hagan, Newtownforbes, gave a very strong performance in her first race at this standard to finish 10th making her the only local girl to qualify for Nationals. Kate and the U12 Girls team of Avril and Tamara Cosgrove and Karen O’Bolye placed 6th overall.
Sarah Murphy, Dromard, didn’t have an ounce of energy left as she crossed the finish line in 21st place in the U14 Girls 3000m race showing the high standard expected at this competition.
Westport AC dominated the Boys’ races winning 3 sets of Gold team medals with nearly every scoring member of U12, U14 & U16 Boys’ teams coming in the top 10 finishers in their race. Longford AC athlete Cian McPhillips who is already a National Champion in U14 Boys 800m and 1500m from the summer outdoor season, did not disappoint as he won the U14 Boys 3000m race and led his team to capture the 4th place qualifying team spot for the Santry Finals. Cian together with Joe Reilly, Brendan Finnan, Cathal Farrell, James Galligan, Daniel Hayden also won silver medals for Longford in the County category. This is a new achievement for the club as they have never had enough entries to compete in the County standings. Tadhg Nerney narrowly missed out on this occasion as he was not a scoring member but he showed genuine effort in his performance.
Jack Gallagher put on the pressure as he fought for his spot in the U12 Boys race. He was the fastest Longford finisher in 20th place, with James Miney, Mark Rowley and Patrick Crossan rounding off the team. The clubs’ distance of 2000m was a real learning experience for this young team as it is double the primary schools cross country distance.
Niall Nerney, Stonepark, placed 4th in the 6000 Junior Boys race securing his place at the end of the month in the Nationals. Congratulations to 8 juveniles from Longford AC that gave excellent performances and go forward to the next level of competition. Credit is due to coaches in Longford, Kenagh and Dromard for the preparation of all the Longford participants in club and primary school cross country over the past two months.
Next Sunday the Connacht Uneven Ages Championship will see 4 teams from Longford AC compete in Lough Key Forrest Park with high expectations for another set of County medals.
Submitted by: Leslie Finnan, Longford AC juveniles PRO\coach