A truly magnificent day of Cross Country running took place in Tuam on Sunday. Tuam AC were the host club for the 2014 Juvenile Uneven age groups County Championships and The Palace Park provided a stunning setting. Cross Country runners are used to slogging around wet fields in lashing rain so the perfect weather and underfoot conditions made it even more enjoyable.
There was a total of 10 races on the card and well over 300 juveniles arrived in Tuam ahead of the 1pm start and we are delighted to report that 23 Tuam athletes were among the participants.
The first race was the Girls U 9 race over 800m and there was a very strong field of 40 runners. The race was won by Aoibheann Fitzpatrick of Ballinasloe & District AC and Tuam had 3 athletes taking part. Ciara Ryan, Hazel Mahon and Maeve Harken were all competing in their first County Final but they took it all in their stride and didn’t put a foot wrong over the very challenging course. Parents and supporters were rightly very proud of the three Tuam girls as they passed the finish line and even though it was a very tough race they enjoyed every inch of it.
It was the boys U 9 up next and this race was won by Evan Moran of Craughwell AC but Tuam had a crack team of young lads in this race and some of them had stepped up from the U 8 age group as they were so eager to represent the club. After a superb effort the Tuam lads finished in 3rd place and will be awarded their medals at next Sunday’s training session. It was a great team effort with Oisin Phelan crossing the line first for Tuam and winning an individual medal for finishing in the top 10 and he was followed by Dara Kenny, Jack Heneghan, Cian Rafferty and Shane Coleman. Winning a County medal in your very first attempt is some achievement and they have a great future ahead of them.
We also had a very strong team in the Girls U 11 race who just missed out on medals when they finished in 5th place but we have to remember that some of these girls are only 9 years of age and they ran 1500m on a very tough and technical course. They were magnificent and the team included Sarah Cafferkey, Shauna Fallon, Aoibheann Phelan, Ciara Gorman and Ella Rafferty.
We could have had two complete teams in the Boys U 11 race as 8 young lads from Tuam AC stood on the start line and they also finished in 5th place with Conor Heneghan leading the way for Tuam followed by Ross Cosgrove, Conor Munnelly, Matthew Cafferkey, Jack Hession, Freddie Tuck, Danny Harken and Dara O’Brien. It was brilliant to see all of these Tuam lads running together and enjoying it and the hard work they have put in training all summer at our St Jarlath’s training centre has surely paid off.
The next few races were extremely tough as the distances were long and hard. Maeve Fallon ran in the U 13 Girls race over 2500m and gave one of the performances of the day as she ran around the course like an experienced athlete despite it being her first ever race and she finished very strongly.
Our final competitor of the day was Olivia Kenny who took part in the marathon 3500m Girls U 15 race. This distance is not for the faint hearted and especially when the sun is shining and you have to tackle the hill four times but it didn’t knock a stir out of Olivia and she had her trademark smile on throughout the race and finished like a train. It was a fitting ending for a truly wonderful day for the club.
We are immensely proud of all our juvenile athletes who are a credit to their families, the club and the whole North Galway area.
A few of our older members were also in action and we have to congratulate Derek Naughton who won the Aughrim 10k on Sunday, Padraic Burke who had a great run in Carna on Saturday and all of our members who took part in the Moylough 10k on Sunday. Well done to all.