Lough Key Forest Park, Boyle, Co. Roscommon was the very scenic venue for the last weekend’s Connacht Uneven Ages Cross Country. Day 2 of the Championships saw 20 juveniles from Longford AC competing in true cross country conditions of wind and rain, several hills and a lot of mud made for a genuine challenging course! No one went home as clean as when they had arrived.
Although there were no medals on the day it was a great occasion for the club to have such an enthusiastic turn out with many of the U11 juveniles running in their first race at this standard. Caoimhe Crossan, Rachel Mulligan and Alyssa Galligan all finished in the top half of their 1500m race and gave solid performances that they will surely build on. Tara Crossan, Jane O’Boyle, Saidh Nerney and Caitlin Maher can take this as a learning experience as the distance is nearly double the schools cross country races.
Seamus Walsh and Eoghan Carrigy were also making their U11 race debut in the blue Longford AC singlet. Both runners still had energy for sprinting towards the finish so they can go away with valuable insight into pacing themselves for middle distance.
Newtownforbes’ Kate Hagan was out for the second weekend in a row to get more practice before the Nationals in Santry at the end of the month. Kate finished 20th in the U13 Girls race, running a full year above her age category. She kept a great pace throughout and always looked like she would make the top 20. Cian McPhillips from Ardagh, was also using the race as a training exercise and he looked comfortable at every point on the 3500m course, running a year above his age in the U15 Boys race.
The U13 Boys 2500m race proved the most competitive of the day as the course was quite slippery with thick mud and the pace was fast. The Longford AC boys were thick in the middle of it all finishing quite close together in 22nd, 23rd, 30th, 31st, 35th, 42nd and 51st places. Their team score of 106 put them in a disappointing 5th place narrowly missing the last qualifying place for the Uneven Age National Finals in December. If each runner had only managed to pass one or two places forward they could have gained a lower score that would have clinched team 4th place. After such a race it is easier to see how each member has to give their best performance so that together they score well. Well done to Jim Crossan, Tadhg Nerney, Daniel Hayden, Christopher Conaty, James Galligan, Jack Gallagher, Cathal Farrell and Brendan Finnan.
The day ended with junior, novice, senior and master adults all taking to the starting line to try their skills in navigating the course. Niall Nerney, Mick O’Hara, Lorcan Gearty, Sean Crossan, Raymond Brogan, Michael Pilkington and Liz O’Reilly did themselves and the club proud marking another achievement for club in 2015.
Submitted by Leslie Finnan
Longford AC juveniles