What a great day for the club at the County Novice “B” Cross Country Championships on Sunday in Dundrum. Our ladies completed an unique Novice double by winning the Novice “B” club title to add to the “A” title won earlier in the season while our Men’s team pulled out all the stops to finish in the silver medal position in the team event. To complete a great day Orla Healy and Stephen Flanagan raced to individual bronze and silver in their respective events.
Five club athletes faced the starter in the Ladies event over 3,000mts and right from the whistle the pace was strong with Louise Fogarty hot on the heels of the leading athlete. Orla Healy had settled into a nice pace in the next group of athletes with Susan Fogarty not far off nor indeed were Sharon Kiely or Catherine Dunne. As the race progressed the pace also progressed and it was Orla Healy who made the breakthrough for the club as she slowly moved up to within striking distance of the leaders. Heading out on the last lap Orla was closing the gap but despite her intense pressure she wound up in the bronze medal position and held this to the line to finish 3rd overall in 12.51. Following her earlier effort Louise kept the pace going to finish 5th in 13.10 with Susan running on very strongly to take 6th in 13.19. Sharon came through for 12th in 14.33 with Catherine 14th in 16.11. With a combined score of 14pts the girls secured the team title and cup for a record fifth time in a row and creating their own piece of club history as holders of both the “A” and “B” titles in the one year.
Over the past couple of seasons our men’s team has had to contend with serious opposition in their races but the effort shown on Sunday by all five athletes in what was probably one of the finest examples of cross country running we will see this year was truly magnificent. Stephen Flanagan, Liam Kelly and Jody Sweeney were part of the break-a-way group at the head of affairs and despite the hot pace they stayed with this group throughout the majority of the race. Richie Daly and Pakie Bowe were also having fine runs positioning themselves about mid-way in the field but showing great determination. The pace of the race never let up, in fact as it progressed the pace upped again and again and with two laps to go both Stephen and Liam were still hanging on to that lead group. Heading out on the final lap Stephen made his move and drew himself clear of his rivals to set off in pursuit of the leader but despite closing the gap the finish line came too soon and Stephen claimed the silver medal in a time of 21.54. Terrific running from Stephen. Liam was still battling it out with a number of other athletes and crossed the line in a magnificent 6th place in 22.14. Just a minute behind him was Jody who had his own battles to fight to keep the club in the hunt for medals but he did so in great style to finish 11th overall. Both Richie and Pakie ran very steadily throughout the entire race but had strong finishes to cross the line in 16th and 21st posting time of 24.13 and 25.14 respectively. A total of eight club teams finished the race and it was with great delight that with a score of 19pts the boys won the silver medals – their first set of medals in a couple of years. Having watched the race unfold it was a truly great performance from all five athletes and this success can only lead to more in the future.
Congratulations and well done to all 10 athletes on the day. Each one was a vital member of their team success and deserve great credit on their performances.