Clarinbridge, Galway was the venue for this year’s Masters & Intermediate National Cross Country Championships. It was freezing cold, it was mucky and, if the cold got in on you, it was thoroughly miserable.
The programme opened with the Juvenile B National Championships (Uneven Age) along with the U12 and U14 Relay Races. The irrepressible U14 boys of United Striders AC won their relay race. As they have shown so often over the past year they really know how to raise their game for the big occasion. Well done to Myles and Cosmo Hewlett, Aidan Shannon, Darragh Flannelly and Eoin Shannon.
Éabha Keane, DMP AC, placed 5th in the U11 Girls race. Like Cinderella she lost a shoe en route – not the first time that has happened! Next over the line for the club was Layla Stafford in 20th followed by Aoife Walsh 31st, Sarah O’Mahony 75th. This left the team narrowly outside the medals in 4th place. Ellie Stafford, DMP, appears to have been the only Wexford representative in the U13 race. In the U15 race Erinn Shannon, United Striders, was 22nd. Conor Keane, DMP, was a battling 11th in the U17 Boys.
In the Masters race the Co Wexford men O50 won team Gold ahead of a more fancied Dublin team. Leading Wexford home was Jim Stafford who also won individual Gold O55, his first at national level. He was followed by David Kehoe, Ger Maloney, Padraig Moriarity, David Barron and Pat O’Callaghan.
The ground was well cut up by the time the Intermediate athletes lined up. Kilmore’s Fiona Kehoe battled her way through the muck to place a very respectable 5th in the Women’s 5km. In the men’s race, run over eight energy-sapping kilometres, Ger Forde, Slaney Olympic, stayed in touch with the leading group for much of the race. However, he found, to his cost, that should you fall off the pace, even by a couple of seconds, on a course such as this you will struggle to re-engage. Like Fiona he had to settle for a 5th place finish.