54 young athletes turned out to represent the club at the County Cross Country relays in Thurles on Sunday. In great running conditions they secured four sets of team medals – Gold Mixed U/16, Silver Girls U/12 and U/14 and Bronze Boys U/12 – in what was a very competitive event where upwards of 60 various club teams took part over the whole programme. While all athletes produced great performances two stood out with Cathy Hogan showing tremendous effort and power to hold off the strong challenge of All Ireland champion Aimee Hayde of Newport to earn second place in the Girls U/14 and Jack Hickey who made up huge ground on the final leg to catch and pass the Nenagh athlete on the finishing straight to claim victory in the U/16 event.
The Girls U/10 got the day underway and the club was represented by three teams in a 13 team competition – the largest of the day. Blathnaid Lloyd, Maebh Leahy, Dearbhla Gleeson and Orla Duggan ran their hearts out to finish 8th while Alanna Spillane, Martina Creedon, Realtin Morrissey and Sarah McGinley got the better of Ruth Phelan, Mary-Kate Ely, Abbey Davy, Isobel Jones and sub Leah Delahunty to finish 12th and 13th overall. Nine teams took to the start of the Boys U/10 race with again three teams representing the club. Against strong opposition the team of Jack Flanagan, Lorcan Burke, Frank Doyle and Adam Phelan finished a very creditable 5th while Jack Reddan, Fred Power, Jack Gleeson and Eamonn Hayden finished 7th with Mark O’Shea, Luke Walsh, Ben Moore, Sean Boland and sub John Delaney finishing 8th overall.
Many of these U/10 girls and boys were experiencing this type of competition for the very first time and it would have been very daunting for them but they all rose to the occasion to give the club followers something to cheer for.Just one team represented the club in the Girls U/12 event and with nine other teams to contend with it was always going to be a tough race but the girls showed their metal by claiming the silver medals with Amy Reddan, Louise Hickey, Tara Gleeson and Helen Cleere the winning quartet. Two teams from the club competed in the Boys event with again 10 club teams lining up at the start. The team of Jake Bowe, Aaron McLoughlin, Cathal Guilfoyle and David Doyle ran their hearts out to claim the bronze medals while Finn Jones, Liam Ryan, John Hayden and Jack Flanagan belied their young years to claim 10th overall.
The Girls U/14 team produced one of the best performances of the day. Whilst only four teams started the race all four teams had quality in abundance including All Ireland champion Aimee Hayde of Newport. Aoife Dwyer, Aine Duggan and Emma Gleeson ran their hearts out to put the team into a clear second place for the final leg where Cathy Hogan was the anchor. Cathy has just 7 secs to spare over Aimee Hayde but true to form she powered around the 500mts and though Aimee closed the gap considerably Cathy showed huge determination over the final few metres to hold her off and claim the silver medals for the team. The joy on the girls’ faces afterwards told its own tale. Gavin Ryan, Eanna Guilfoyle, Kian Dunne and Aaron McLoughlin represented the club in the Boys event and following four great hearted efforts they finished 5th overall.
At U/16 level the event is a mixture of Girls & Boys and two teams from the club were in action. Niamh Ryan, Dylan McLoughlin, Katie Bergin and Jack Hickey along with Charlie Tobin, Aisling Dwyer, Aoibheann Duggan and Brian O’Callaghan were the two team. The first four were to prove the stronger on the day with a huge effort put in by all of them particularly Jack Hickey who took the baton over on the final leg in second place with what seemed an insurmountable lead for the Nenagh team. Jack showed his power and leg speed over 500mts by closing the gap considerably by 400mts and with the finish line fast approaching he moved onto the shoulder of the Nenagh athlete and despite her best efforts at staying in front Jack finally reeled her in with inches to spare at the finish line. So for Niamh, Dylan, Katie and Jack it was gold medals and U/16 County champions. While all eyes were on this team our second team were also matching their counterparts and despite an equally good performance from all four Charlie, Aisling, Aoibheann and Brian they finished 6th overall.
This was a huge effort from all 54 athletes and the club must surely have had the best club representation at the event. Well done to everyone involved as you all played your part. Once again many thanks to all the parents for their support and to all who helped out with the teams on the day.