Round up of Day 1 of the Connacht Cross Country Championships
GCH athletes enjoyed an exhilarating day of cross country running on Day 1 of the Connacht Cross Country Championships hosted by Leitrim Athletics in Calry , Sligo. Those who made the trip will reap the benefits of their efforts as the season progresses. Cross country running is excellent development for strength of both mind and body .
The U12 Girls were first to the line and put in a fine performance to take 8th place overall in the team competition. Elise Jaime Stapleton was the first GCH athlete home in 39th place and she was quickly followed by Eva Boo in 44th, Keilah Murray in 49th, Lauren Ward 56th, Emily Podmore 58th and Jessica Kay 65th . Jodie Quirke lost one of her spikes in the mud during the race but in true team spirit battled on to finish 66th overall and Sarah Jane O’Connor came home running excellently to finish in 68th place.
Next up the boys U12 and Oisin Maher,( younger brother of our U20’s Jack), showed experience way beyond his years to take second place overall behind Matthew Kelly of Castlebar. This was a very impressive run from Oisin and he will be one to watch for the Nationals in December.
The U14 Girls were next to the line and Mia Craughwell led the GCH team home as she finished 17th overall battling well over hills and mud. The rest of the team packed well behind her with Caitlin Podmore in 24th place, Clodagh Quirke in 30th and Saoirse Coleman in 34th position.
Senan McDonnell showed his talent over the distance winning a bronze medal in the U14 boys race. This was a terrific run by Senan who put up a great fight to make the podium just behind the eventual winner Pearse Gallahger of Swinford and Mathys Boucquet of Craughwell who took silver.
Not to be outdone by his younger brother, William McDonnell ran a well judged race to win the Connacht U16 boys title from Rian O’Callaghan of North Sligo. This was a major milestone for William as he looks forward to the National Championships in a few weeks time. James McDonnell also ran well to finish 11th overall and Brian O’Culain travelling all the way from the Aran Islands came in a fine 13th position overall. All three boys qualified as part of the Galway team for the upcoming All Irelands.
Barry Murphy continues to go from strength to strength this year and was the worthy winner of the U18 boys Connacht title from Luke Johnson of Moy Valley. This race was run with the U20 mens race and Barry finished impressively just behind the U20 winner , club mate Aaron Brennan.
It is great to see talented Sarah Gilhooley back from injury and she was certainly in flying form yesterday taking the U20 Girls Connacht title from Eva Delahunt from Sligo.
Aaron Brennan showed immense confidence and experience yesterday over the distance and took the U20 title from runners up Michael Kerins of North Sligo and team mate Jack Maher . The lads were quickly followed by Rian De Bairead in 4th, Aidan Brock 16th and Cian Coyne in 17th position.