Three Clonliffe squads headed to Wales last weekend for the Cardiff Cross Country challenge, part of the McCain UK Cross Country Series: The Men’s Junior Cross Country Squad, Women’s Junior Cross Country Squad and a division of the Men’s Senior Cross Country Squad. By all accounts it proved to be an extremely worthwhile exercise presenting the athletes an excellent bonding opportunity and some top class athletics.
The guys reported on an excellent venue at Blackweir Fields which is situated in the centre of Cardiff. The course was flat, half of the lap was on parkland and half of the lap was on superb woodland trails running alongside the River Taffe. The first athletes in action were the junior men who ran over 6.8k. From a Clonliffe perspective the athletes all ran exceptionally well with Aaron Hanlon, guesting for the club, running strongly to finish in 17th place, there was a welcome return to form by Mark McKenzie in 25th with Liam Ashton also running strongly, Liam started off at a fast pace and held on grimly to finish in 34th place, Eoin McCullogh was 37th, Johnny Bradley-Ward 40th, John Buckley 48th and Mark Ring 49th. The squad were cheered on by two sidelined squad members Fintan Doherty and Ian Guiden.
Next up were the Senior Men which featured a travelling Clonliffe squad of four. This was a top class race run over 10.1k which was won by English international Frank Tickner in 32.10. First Clonliffe man home after an excellent run was Brian McMahon 19th in 34.21. Brian was chased all the way by Jayme Rossiter 21st in 34.30. Jayme continues to impress as he makes the transition from top junior athlete to the senior ranks. A very bright future in prospect. Next in was UK based James Kevan 33rd in 35.42 followed two places later by Dave Fitzmaurice 36.07.
The final batch of Clonliffe athletes in action were the Junior women running over 4.6k. Top of the pile from a Clonliffe perspective was Roisin Leahy who ran very well to finish 17th in 19.24. We also had two of the junior squad in the U/17 girls race, Amee Carron, guesting was 26th in 20.4 with Rachel Murray 36th in 21.12.
Well done to all the athletes who travelled and of course to the coaches Joe Cooper, Killian Lonergan, Brian McDonald and Gerry Carr.