Mullingar Harriers Athletic Club

AAI Inter-Club & Juvenile Even Ages XC 2017 (Abbotstown)

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Success for Mullingar at All-Ireland XC

Updated Tues 28 Nov - u/18 & Junior team results published

We were very lucky on Sunday 26th November that the freezing cold weather on Saturday gave way to cold but bright and dry conditions for the AAI National Inter-Club and Juvenile Even Ages Cross Country Finals at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Dublin. In case anyone wonders why every year we warn to allow plenty of time to get to an All-Ireland venue because of the big crowds, last Sunday was a stark reminder and there were such long delays at the entrance that the first race had to be held back for half an hour. Arriving just in time and flustered is poor preparation for a race but thankfully everyone from Mullingar got there in plenty of time, so could relax and walk the course and get well settled before their races. While all our athletes got their in plenty of time, quite a number were not well on the day and between head colds, coughs, throat and chest infections, some of our underage teams were hit, some badly, but that’s sport and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

In the eight underage races, our athletes took Club team medals in three of them and County team medals in one, and we also had two fourth Club finishes and one fifth Club. Five juvenile Mullingar athletes won individual medals by finishing in the top twelve places and eight medals were won with Leinster teams. These are very good results by any standard and show that despite facing the adversity of illness and injury, our underage athletes have plenty of fighting spirit.

The day started with the 2,000m u/12 girls where we were able to field a full team. The two laps were run at a very fast pace and passed very quickly and first to finish from Mullingar was Aimee Wallace in an excellent ninth place, ahead of Adele Geoghegan, Caoimhe Kilmurray and Morgan Corcoran providing the vital team scores to finish 1st Club. Finishing strongly in support was Leah Geoghegan, Grace Byrne, Síofra O’Halloran, Jessica Cunningham, Ellen Daly and Robyn Bates and the girls were unlucky to finish 5th County, just of the medal places.

Having taken the top four places in Leinster in the 2,000m u/12 boys, all eyes were on the Mullingar team and they sure didn’t disappoint. Led home by Philip McCartan in eighth place, followed by Ryan Jenkins who recovered well from an early fall to finish twelfth, then Callum Costello on his heels in thirteenth, just missing an individual medal, and backed up by Luke O’Leary with his customary very fast finish, the team easily finished 1st Club. With great team support from Conor Liston, Daire McDonald, James Flynn, Rory McDonnell and Darragh Smith the boys also easily finished 1st County. Philip, Ryan, Callum and Luke also won gold medals with the Leinster team in the inter-Provincial competition, so they were well weighed down with medals going home! Jamie Wallace warmed up with the team but was too unwell to run though he stayed to cheer for his team mates from the sideline. We wish Jamie a speedy recovery and he’ll next compete in Waterford.

Our first team to be badly impacted by illness was in the 3,000m u/14 girls where despite great efforts from Amy Geoghegan, Phoebe Bate, Meghan Bates, Aoife McGouran, Eva Farrell and Anna McCartan the girls finished sixth Club, out of the medals places. With athletes of the calibre of Phoebe, Aoife and Anna clearly out of sorts due to illness, it was always going to be a big task to win team medals but they still tried their very best and showed great team spirit and ran anyway so as not to let their team mates down. A consolation for Amy was a silver medal with the Leinster team.

Third Club in Leinster meant that our team in the 3,000m u/14 boys was always going to be up against it to win All-Ireland team medals in the but you couldn’t fault the efforts of Diarmuid Fagan, Tadhg Sheridan, Ross Killalea, John Ryan, Adam Brady and Adam Smyth who left nothing on the track and were very unlucky to finish 4th Club, just out of the medals. These boys really deserved something from the race for their Trojan efforts! Diarmuid was happy to win a silver medal with the Leinster team and take something from the race.

Caoimhe O’Brien had the honour of leading the Mullingar team home in the 4,000m u/16 girls with a great eleventh place finish. With Meabh Killalea, Karla Cunningham, Bea Drummond, Ciara Smith and Francesca Walshe providing great team support the team finished 2nd Club so the girls were rewarded with silver medals for their efforts. Bravery marks must go to Bea who sustained a nasty spike injury during the race that required stitches after, but she ran on anyway, so as not to let the team down. Jennifer Fidgeon fell ill during the race and had to stop. Everyone at the Club wishes Bea and Jennifer speedy recoveries. The team finished out of the County medal places but not for lack of effort and commitment. Caoimhe also won a gold medal with the Leinster team.

The Mullingar team in the 4,000m u/16 boys gave it their best and despite strong performances by Andrew Shaw, Colin Smith, Rian Hogan, Sam Smyth, Eoin Quinn, Paul McCool, Paddy Rafferty, Ruairi Fagan and Colin McGee had to settle for places out of the Club and County medals in what was a typical highly competitive All-Ireland final.

The 4,000m u/18 girls and Junior Women was a combined race and athletes could declare on both teams, as well as score individually. Claire Fagan (junior) ran a very good race to lead the Mullingar team home, followed in by Aoife Darby (u/18), Andrea Brady (u/18), Lisa Gavin (Athlone IT, u/18), Laura Shaw (u/18), Catriona Kennedy (u/18) and Elysia Greene (u/18). When the junior and u/18 results were separated and calculated after the race, the Mullingar u/18 team of Aoife, Andrea, Laura, Catriona and Elysia finished 6th Club, and with Lisa they finished 6th County. Adding Claire, the junior team finished 5th Club and 5th County. Excellent team results against top class opposition. Aoife didn't go home empty handed though, as she won a silver medal with the Leinster team.

The 6,000m u/18 boys and Junior Men was also a combined race and again athletes could declare on both teams, as well as score individually. Pre-race hopes of a high enough place to earn selection for the Irish team at the European Junior Cross Country were dashed for Jamie Battle (u/18) as he was very unlucky to be ill on the day. He tried very hard though and he finished ninth overall (second u/18). Any hopes that Cormac Dalton (junior) had of Euro selection were dashed too when disaster struck at 2k as a competitor accidently caught Cormac's heel and he lost one of his spiked shoes. Cormac had to run the final two laps with just one spike, which obviously had a serious impact on his final place and though he still finished well up he must wonder what might have been if not for losing a spike. Cormac was followed in by Jack Moran (u/18), Aidan Daly (junior), Conor McHugh (u/18), Ciaran Nolan (junior), John Whitelaw (u/18) and Brian Martin (u/18). When the junior and u/18 results were separated and calculated after the race, the Mullingar u/18 team of Jamie, Jack, Conor, John and Brian were very unlucky to finish 4th Club, just out of the medal places. The junior team results initially showed the team of Jamie, Cormac, Jack, Aidan, Conor, Ciaran, John and Brian finished 4th Club and 5th County but on review it was noticed that some athletes were missed from Club team results, so the results were declared null and void and we don’t know at time of going to press if Mullingar stays in fourth or if they moved up into the medal places. We’ll find out during the week.

Moving to the senior races, in the 10,000m for Senior and u/23 Men, the Club’s sole representative was Ian McCormack who competed well over the tough five lap course to finish strongly and after the race he expressed great satisfaction with his performance and was delighted to have competed in such a top quality race.

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