7 individual medals, one set of club silver medals and two members on a winning Tipperary team was the glorious result coming from Beaufort on Sunday afternoon after a tremendous day of action from our 18 athletes.
Right from the first race when Ruth Phelan set the tone for the day with a tremendous run for 11th place to the last race where Dylan McLoughlin raced to an impressive 6th place our athletes also visited the winners rostrum on another five occasions with Saoirse Doran, Alana Spillane, Helen Cleere, Aaron Moore and Aoibheann Duggan all individual medallists and with the addition of Dearbhla Gleeson, Blathnaid Lloyd, Orla Duggan and Aaron McLoughlin all involved in team victories, Kerry was a very happy hunting ground for the club.
We had just two club athletes in the Girls U/9 race and right from the gun both Ruth Phelan and Mairead Duggan made their presence known with Ruth in particular having a great run over the second half of the race to move through the field effortlessly to eventually cross the line in 11th – a place that earned her a Munster bronze medal for her tremendous effort, her first Munster individual medal. Mairead was battling hard and came through for 33rd overall for a great run from her.
Our next group of athletes to take to the field were the Girls U/11 team of Saoirse Doran, Alana Spillane, Dearbhla Gleeson, Blathnaid Lloyd and Orla Duggan and what an effort all five put in in what was surely one of the biggest fields of the day. Saoirse and Alana moved with ease towards the head of the field on the first of the two lap race and were very much in the hunt for individual medals even at this very early stage. As athletes tired both girls grew stronger and with over 200mts to go they found themselves in a royal battle for the title. On the long run in to the finish and despite their best efforts they couldn’t catch the winner with Saoirse battling hard throughout to finish a close 2nd and win her first Munster silver cross country medal. Alana was equally impressive in the run-in, digging deep and was only overtaken for third in the last few strides to finish 4th overall and again winning her first Munster individual bronze medal. While we all rejoiced in those two performances Dearbhla, Blathnaid and Orla were quietly going about their business and produced three tremendous runs to finish 39th, 45th and 74th respectively. These positions ensured that the club were very competitive in the inter-club competition and so it proved as they captured the silver team medals – a first for this young group of athletes.
In the Boys U/11 race we were represented by Jack Reddan and Adam Phelan and again both athletes produced top class performances finishing 33rd and 45th respectively.
At U/13 level Helen Cleere produced a huge performance to claim 10th spot and collect a Munster individual bronze medal for her efforts having battled hard throughout the race and holding off a strong finish from the athletes just behind her at the finish. Louise Hickey and Una Duggan also ran very strongly and smoothly to finish 28th and 65th respectively over the testing course. In the Boys event Aaron Moore ran the race of his life. Sitting in with the leaders in the early stages and more importantly keeping abreast of any change in tactics at the head of the field he soon found himself amongst the contenders for the title and despite the top two getting away over the final couple of hundred metres he stayed on very strongly to clinch 3rd place and take home that coveted Munster bronze medal. Aaron McLoughlin and Jake Bowe were amongst the mid-field group and with athletes finishing fast and furious, 26th and 36th were their final positions following equally good performances from both athletes. The two Aaron’s were vital members of the Tipperary County team that claimed the silver medals in the Inter-County competition.
With three further athletes participating at U/15 and U/17 level even more success came the club’s way. Aine Duggan was in action U/15 and ran an extremely competitive race to finish 39th overall. Her sister Aoibheann took to the field in the U/17 category and despite not feeling the best, ran a very intelligent race, to successfully finish in 11th overall to win her first Munster individual bronze medal. This was a pre-cursor to the Boys U/17 race where Dylan McLoughlin was our sole representative. Giving way to more powerful athletes in the field he ran an extremely efficient and well-judged race to finish 6th overall and claim yet another Munster bronze medal for the club.
A tremendous day of competition from all our athletes and the many happy smiling faces at the end of the day told its own story. Well done to each of the athletes who ran and a special thanks to all the parents for their support and encouragement of the athletes throughout the day. The journey home was certainly made shorter by the success on the day.