ECCC Albuferia and Campeonato Regional De Corta Mato Longo, 2024

Stephen Bateson reports: The club cross country season for 2023/24 finally came to an end this weekend
in Albuferia with the Junior men’s team taking on the best of Europe. Clonliffe’s
men had qualified by way of their 2 nd place team finish in the mucky and wet
fields of Gowran Demense last November. The rules of the competition allow
that 2 teams qualify and that a team of 6 can be registered – 4 run on the day
with the top 3 to score. The top 6 Clonliffe athletes from last November were
Tom Breslin, Sean Cronin, Cillian Keegan, Matei Ursachi, Rory Quill and Leon
The first 4 over the line in Gowran made the starting team. The race started at
blistering pace in warm muggy conditions with the field being strung out from
early on. The course in Albufeira is a traditional European course with a few turn
backs but it has everything including 2 sets of log obstacles, long and steady
climbs and even some open fast areas. The ground conditions are firm ground
with sandy areas, especially at the turns.
Sean Cronin led the team home in 17th (18.04), next in was Matei Ursachi 34th
(18.41), Tom Breslin in 56th (19.44) completed the scoring 3 with Cillian Keegan
placing 65th (20.40). The team placed 13th overall.
The club had also promoted sending a development squad to Albufeira to gain
experience and team building in the U20 grade. The Campeonato Regional De
Corta Mato Longo (Long Course Regional Cross Country Championships Race)
with 2 races after the ECCC event. Clonliffe were able to field a team for both
the Ladies and Mens races.
In the men’s race, over 7,450 m, we had the 2 members who were unfortunate
not to make the U20 ECCC race, Leon Brady and Rory Quill. Rory was unable to
race due to injury. The team were therefore Lorcan Benjacar, Oran McGowan,
Devan Morrissey and Finbarr Coughlan. The whole team ran excellent races
with Lorcan Benjacar coming home 1 st Junior and 9 th overall in 25:38, Leon

Brady was 21 st in 27:25 (3 rd Junior), Oran McGowan ran a very strong race in 25 th
in 27:48 (4 th Junior) , with Devan Morrissey 29 th in 28:32 (6 th Junior) and Finbarr
Coughlan in 39 th (7 th Junior) in a time of 29:44. The Clonliffe lads filled 7 of the
U20 places in the top 10.
The Clonliffe ladies ran over a distance of 5,620 m or 3 laps of the Albuferia
course. We had 6 ladies taken part Sorcha O’Connor, Hazel Kenny, Mya O’Reilly,
Ciara Sheedy, Hannah Walsh and Sarah McDonnell. From the start Sorcha
O’Connor was very strong and kept a consistent pace up to come home in 8 th
place overall and 1 st Junior in a time of 23:49, behind her was Hazel Kenny in 9 th
and 2 nd Junior in 24:06. Mya O’Reilly started conservatively but soon was in her
stride and placed 3 rd Junior and 14 th Overall in a time of 24:44, next home was
Ciara Sheedy in 16 th overall and 4 th Junior in a time 25:31, followed by the
youngest of the team Hannah Walsh 6 th Junior and 20 th Overall in 26:30 and
then Sarah McDonnell, who worked very hard throughout and with
determination to finish, and with huge encouragement from here team mates ,
in 8 th position in the Junior category and 40 th overall in a time of 30:47.
Overall it was an excellent weekend for the whole group with valuable
experience gained in race preparation, International Competition set-ups and
facilities, call rooms, physio, technical meetings. In terms of developing this
group of Junior Men and Women it was a valuable learning experience and gives
them focus and targets set for the year ahead. The weekend was also valuable
team building and all the groups mixed well.

It all starts again in the Autumn!

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