Munster Juvenile B Cross-Country Championships – Club Gold for U/15 Girls
Run in subzero temperatures, the Munster Juvenile B Cross Country Championships held on the grounds of Clarecastle GAA club on Sunday proved to be an outstanding day for the club. Following the postponement of this fixture earlier in the season, the club lost a couple of competing athletes but those that did travel certainly raised the temperatures a degree or two with some stunning performances. It has been a long time since the club was so competitive in an event and hats off to all twelve athletes who stole the show for the club.
The day began with the Girls U/9 race where Lily Murphy stormed to the front of the field closely followed by Annie Ely and Meadhb Hall. As the race unfolded and the closing stages approached, with a testing uphill finish, it was Annie who took up the mantle and pushed for home to cross the line in 4th place. Lily, having given it her all, held on very well to take 7th place with Meadhb following a great uphill sprint round the final corner finished 8th. What a way to start our day with three individual Munster medals. Our next involvement was the Boys U/11 race where Senan Phelan, Darragh Maher and Tom Renehan were part of the field of runners. Senan, having seen the powerful run of the young girls, set out his stall from the start and was just off the leaders while Darragh and Tom settled into the main field of runners. On the second lap of the two-lap race Darragh got into his stride and made-up great ground and both himself and Senan pushed each other on in the final stages with Darragh getting the nod in 24th place and Senan yards behind in 26th. Meanwhile Tom was well placed in the mid part of the race and crossed the line in 41st. Tipperary finished 3rd in the Inter-County Competition with Darragh filling the final place on the team to secure a Munster team bronze medal. At U/13 level Jack Renehan and Noah Murphy were our sole representatives but from a Tipperary point of view were two vital athletes. Both had strong starts and soon settled into the main body of the field. As the race unfolded Jack got into his stride and moved up a number of places to eventually finish in 24th place with Noah finishing strongly to take 29th. These two places, along with the those of the other four Tipperary athletes saw the County take third place in the Inter-County Competition and for Jack and Noah their first ever Munster medals.
Saving the best till last were the Girls U/15 team of Alana Spillane, Aisling O’Reilly, Emma Delaney, and Kate Delaney. These four girls won the County U/15 club title not so long ago and the momentum has continued to build since then with all four showing great commitment to training and competition. The distance on Sunday was 2,500mts and this suited the girls admirably as they set out to impose their authority from the start. Alana was to the fore early on and in what was a very fast opening lap which gradually settled down she was amongst the top three, eventually moving into second place midway through the race. Aisling was having a great run, inside the top ten with both Emma and Kate not far behind and running well in the top twenty. Heading out on the last lap Alana was still in second but the other athletes were closing fast as indeed was Aisling. Returning to the finish field and with less than 200mts left in the race Alana was 4th, a position she maintained to the finish despite strong opposition. Aisling made up great ground on the final lap and had closed the gap between herself and Alana to come home in a great 6th place. Kate and Emma continued running strongly throughout and though Kate lost a little momentum in the final yards of the race, Emma finished 17th with Kate in 18th. With a team score of 45pts the girls were convincing winners of the Munster U/15 club title and a very well-deserved award for their hard work. The four girls were also part of the Tipperary U/15 team that won the bronze medals.
Congratulations girls on your success and indeed to all the other nine athletes on their magnificent performances. Whilst the freezing conditions were prominent the performances of all the athletes certainly warmed the hearts of all the parents and coaches who made the journey to Clare.