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AAI Connacht Cross Country PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Tobin   
Saturday, 23 October 2004

With warnings of inclement weather conditions on Saturday last, athletes and spectators came well-equipped for the anticipated rain for the first day of the AAI Connacht Cross-Country in Sligo Racecourse. The umbrellas were not needed however as races were held beneath bright skies – making for an enjoyable day for both athletes and spectators alike. It was a successful day for the Galway athletic clubs – taking 4 individual Connacht titles, 3 team Connacht titles and a number of silver and bronze placings. Additionally, Galway won the inter-county titles in the following age groups – U11 girls, U13 boys, U15 girls.

The competition got underway at 1pm with the U11 girls 800m. Linda Porter from Craughwell AC ran a strong, tactical race to emerge from the leading group to put in a strong finish over the last 30 metres and win the race. She was followed in 2nd place by Roisin Cafferty from Swinford and by Letitia Collins from Athenry in 3rd place. In the team event, G.C.H. were led by Ruth O’Sullivan to take 3rd place with 57 points, behind Swinford (39 pts) and Ballinamore (42 pts).  The G.C.H. team was Ruth O’Sullivan (8), Nicola Conlon (12), Georgina Healy, Ailbhe Goulding, Deirdre Lally and Emma Johnson.

In the boys 800m, David Concannon from Craughwell AC led for most of the race but was beaten into 2nd place in the last 200m by Aaron McLoughlin from Swinford. Ronan Ellis from Ballinamore took 3rd place. A good performance by the Craughwell team saw them take 2nd place in the team event with 41 pts, with Swinford (30 pts) and Ballinamore (78 pts) taking the other team places. The Craughwell team was David Concannon (2), Jason Kennedy (4), Brendan Gallagher, Jack Raftery, Luke Cormican and Padraic Tobin.

Rachel Shaw from Athenry put in an impressive performance to win the 1000m U13 girls race in convincing style after leading the race from the start. Rachel Finnegan from Craughwell took 3rd place, being narrowly beaten by Sally Maughan from Castlebar. In the boys U13 1200m, Conor Caulfield of Athenry took 1st place, followed by Feidhlim McGowan from North Sligo and Barry Dolan from Ballinamore. Both team events in the U13 age group were dominated by Galway clubs, with Athenry and G.C.H. taking 1st and 2nd place in the boys’ race. The Athenry boys team was Conor Caulfield (1), Thomas Flynn (5), Kevin Madden (12), Liam Finnerty, Stephen Connolly and Conor Kindregan. The G.C.H. team was Alan Campbell (10), Ryan Harrington, Seamus O’Conghaile, Sean Disken, Eamonn O’Donnell and Paul Fahy.

In the U13 girls’ team event, the result could not have been tighter, with Craughwell and G.C.H. at the top with 45 pts each. In this situation, the winner is judged by the finishing position of their 4th runner – Craughwell’s 4th runner finished in 20th position and G.C.H.’s 4th runner took 21st position. The Craughwell team was Rachel Finnegan (3), Sarah Helebert (5), Rebecca Helebert (17), Cathriona Farrell (20), Sophie Ralston and Kate Bryan; while the G.C.H. team was Niamh Walsh (6), Amy Rohan (7), Lisa Geraghty (11), Kristine Carr, Eimear Hanahoe and Roisin Lally.

G.C.H. recorded an impressive result in the girls U15 1500m with their athletes taking 7 of the top 12 positions, including 1st and 3rd positions. The G.C.H. seven were Irene Gorman (1), Nicola O'Ceallaigh (3), Fiona Fitzgibbon (4), Caoimhe Daniels (8), Carol O’Donnell (9), Jennifer O’Donnell (11) and Anna Skelton (12). They were a comfortable winner in the team event with 16 pts. The U17 and U19 events did not yield much joy for the Galway clubs – but athletes from neighboring club Border Ramblers took 3rd place in both U19 events – Michael O’Malley in the boys 6000m and Michelle Naughton in the girls 3500m. In the Novice Men’s 6000m, Martin Corcoran from Loughrea put in a good performance to finish 4th.

The individual and team medal winners have qualified for the National Cross-Country finals in Dungarvan on Sunday 28th November, along with the first 12 runners in each age group who make up the provincial team. Additionally, 10 runners will make up the Co. Galway team to contest the National finals in Dungarvan.

Prior to that, day 2 of the Connacht cross-country takes place in Dangan on Sunday 7th November when athletes compete in the following age groups – U12, U14, U16 and U18.
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