Medals mined from Conna mud

In a complete contrast from Rosapenna a fortnight ago the underfoot conditions at Conna, Co. Cork for today’s national novice and juvenile uneven ages Championships were energy sapping gluey mud. The course was largely a 2k lap which had many switchbacks and also a section that was basically underwater and with the heavy rain of recent days it made for a very testing day. There was success for the Clonliffe contingent with the U/17 boys a class apart as they took national gold and also an excellent performance by the women’s team as they claimed thoroughly deserved team bronze.

After an early start the team bus arrived at the Co Cork venue, not too far from Castlelyons where February’s national intermediates had taken place, the club tent was quickly and efficiently erected and base camp secured for the day.

The first of the Clonliffe athletes in action was Ellen Morgan as part of the Dublin team in the U/15 girls race, Ellen had a solid run to finish 93rd.

Next in where the U/17 girls, this is a young squad with most running up an age, also due to pull out the team was down to the bare 4 starters, still all performed very well with Ciara Sheedy in particular impressing in 43rd after a very strong 2nd lap. Mya O’Reilly was 68, Sorcha O’Connor 73rd and Hazel Kenny 93rd. The team finished a very credible 5th place.

The U/17 boys team performed superbly and basically blitzed the opposition. Sean Cronin led the team home in 7th place, Tom Breslin was 9th, Matei Ursachi, third-place finisher in the U/16 in Donegal, well and truly stepped up to the mark in 16th and with Lorcan Benjacar 20th the team recorded total points of 52 over 100 points clear of second-place. Fine runs also by Oran McGowan 46th and Leon Brady 65th. Sean, Tom and Lorcan were also scorers on the Dublin team that took inter county gold. This really was a superb performance by the squad.

Unfortunately due to withdrawals there was an incomplete team in the U/19 boys race, however the 3 Clonliffe athletes all put in strong performances with Cillian Keegan a fine 20th, Ronan Donohue 26th and Erik Adam 46th.

The women’s team in the novice 4,000m were determined to make up for last year’s disappointment when they missed out on a medal by a single point. Today they made no mistakes. Laura Tuite had a fine run to 20th, Clodagh Galvin was 25th, a real battling run from Alannah Cooley in 26th and then 4th scorer Meghan O’Keeffe was 38th which saw the team claim bronze behind winners DCH and 2nd place Raheny. Capt Jenny Johnston endured a torrid race having lost a spike right at the start of the race and had to continue with only one shoe, Jenny placed 45th, 51st was Hannah Browne, Aisling Killelea was 62nd and Aoife O’Reilly 70th. Great credit must go to the team for their performances throughout the course of the season – the core group has basically ran every race from novice to senior.

The novice men were also somewhat weakened due to injuries and some late withdrawals and a team of 6 took to the start line. The youngster of the team Niall Carbery once again had another fine race to finish 19th, next in was Fintan Keirns, 58th, Sean Carrigg 78th and completing the scoring 4 Stephen Lyons in 94th. The team were well out of the reckoning finishing in 11th. Eoin Keating was 102nd and Oren Kenny 108th. All will benefit from the experience and with others hopefully to come back from injury it’s eyes ahead for the national intermediates in February.

It was another fine day for the club and all the athletes can be well satisfied with their contribution today and throughout the course of the season.