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GCH and Ballinasloe tops in Connacht Cross Country PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Tobin   
Tuesday, 24 October 2006

GCH athletes and teams followed closely by Ballinasloe led the medal board in the Connacht cross-country championships in Athlone at the weekend, where the juvenile uneven ages and the novice categories were held. For Ballinasloe & District AC, these championships provided a welcome return for the club to the helm of cross-country running in the province. It was a particularly successful day for the Burke family with no less than 7 members of the same family representing Ballinasloe on the day, taking home a haul of 9 medals between individual, club and county categories.


Running conditions were perfect, with dry underfoot conditions and a well laid out course that incorporated some challenging hills for most of the age groups. The same course will host the National finals for these age groups in December, which will benefit the Galway athletes and teams who qualified at the weekend. The competition got underway at noon with the U11 girls 800m. Claire Ryder from Craughwell AC put in a fine race to lead the field of 60+ runners as it entered its final stages, but faded slightly as the end approached with the Burke twins from Ballinasloe – Michelle and Veronica – finishing strongly to take the silver and bronze positions with Ryder 4th. Ballinasloe took the team silver with 27 pts and strong finishing from Anna May Bourne in 8th, Maedhbh Hurst 14th, Ciara Greene and Sinead Fahy. GCH took the bronze medals with 60 pts, led home by Laura Ann Costello in 5th place followed by Meabh Brannigan 13th, Adele Cadogan 15th, Alice Meagher 27th, Sorcha Minhan, Saoirse Joyce and Sinead Minhan. Craughwell AC finished in 4th place with 65 pts (4 C Ryder, 19 Sarah Molloy, 20 Ailbhe Greaney, 22 Ella Bryan, 23 Derbhla Maloney, 24 Sinead Treacy, 25 Gabrielle Tobin).



In the U11 boys 800m, GCH’s Colm Hughes had a splendid race to claim the gold medal, with Conor Payne from Ballinasloe taking the bronze medal. Conor Bohan from Border Ramblers finished 4th, leading his club to the team gold with 34 pts and finishers Dara Keane 8th, Simon O'Shaughnessy 10th, Cathal Reilly 12th,  Joseph  Burke 16th and Mark Kennedy. The Ballinasloe team took the silver medals in 45 pts with Conor Payne leading the team home in 3rd place, Ian Fletcher 6th, Donnchadh Reilly 15th, Jason Kenny 21st, Colin Cotton 23rd, Noel Cotton and Enda Donnelly. Craughwell AC finished in 4th place (11 Matthew Freaney, 14 Brian Concannon, 18 Cathal Reidy, 28 Aidan Conneely, Matthew Moran and David Kerse).


The remaining races included some tough hilly terrain that took up some 150m of the course, making it a difficult battle for the U13 girls 1000m who were the first to face the hills. Sive Brassil (Ballinasloe AC) put in a fine performance to retain her Connacht cross-country title in this age group. Linda Porter (Craughwell AC) took the bronze medal with a strong run, leading her club to silver medals in the team event with 44 pts (3 Linda Porter, 9 Laura Porter, 12 Orla McDaid, 20 Katie O’Donoghue, 22 Debbie Kenny, Muireann Maloney). GCH finished in 4th place with 68 pts (7 Ruth O’Sullivan, 16 Georgina Healy, 18 Emma Johnson, 27 Aedin Hannahoe). The U13 boys 1200m saw Richard Commins lead the GCH team to silver medals with 48 pts (4 R Commins, 6 Shane Fahey, 14 Ronan Dobey, 24 Evan McGuire), with Craughwell finishing in 4th place (15 David Concannon, 19 Paul Joyce, 21 David Farrell, 22 Brendan Gallagher, 23 Paul McGill, 27 James Greaney).



In the U15 girls 1500m, Ballinasloe took a double gold with Claire Burke and Maeve Brassil taking the top 2 places to lead their team to victory with 26 points. The scoring was completed by Lorna Payne in 9th and Chantal Muldoon in 14th, followed by team mates Ellen O'Beirne and Orlagh Fahy. Rachel Finnegan (Craughwell AC) was unlucky to stray slightly off the course when leading the race at the half-way point, but recovered well to finish in 8th place. The GCH team took the silver medals with 28 points, led home by Rachel Shaw in 4th place followed by 5 Eimear Hanahoe, 7 Niamh Walsh, 12 Lynsey Trainor,  22 Leona McGuire, 24 Kristine Carr and 27 Lisa Geraghty. The boys 2000m featured several National champions of track and cross-country. GCH’s Ronan Conlon took the individual silver medal to led his team to victory with 47 points (2 R Conlon, 7 Jack Larkin, 13 Alan Campbell , 15 Stephen Connolly, 17 Ryan Harrington). Athenry were 2nd with 70 points - 4 Conor Caulfield, 19 Kevin Madden, 23 Conor Kindregan, 24 Cathal Kelly). The U17 girls 2000m provided rich pickings for Galway athletes, taking the top 3 individual places and also the team gold. GCH’s Irene Gorman and Carol O’Donnell took individual gold and silver, with Loughrea’s Laura Shaughnessy in third place. GCH also took the team gold with the scoring completed by Anna Shelton 4th and Caoimhe Daniels 5th.



Athenry AC’s Seamus Gilhooley took the bronze medal in the U19 boys 5000m while in the Novice Women’s 3000m, Anne Burke (Ballinasloe) and Bernie Kelly (GCH) took silver and bronze. The final race of the day, the Novice Men’s 6000m, produced the most exciting finish of the day. Jason Broderick (Loughrea AC) took a strong lead in the early stages of the race and held this lead going around the final lap of the hilly course. As the final 100m came into sight, Patrick Brennan (North Sligo AC) produced an incredible finish to close the gap on Broderick and take the gold medal in the last 20 metres, with Broderick settling for silver. Loughrea club-mate Darragh O’Brien took the bronze and the team gold went to the Craughwell AC team (6 Michael Tobin, 7 Gerry Fahy, 9 Liam Nolan, 11 Diarmuid Quill).

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 October 2006 )
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