There was a real energy in Castlecomer Athletic Club as the County Cross Country Championships returned to the now familiar course at Dysart.
Local athletes celebrated the event when they turned out in strength from U9 to U17 in the colours of Castlecomer and indeed the U19 race champion is also a familiar face.
Starting with Girls’ U9 there were eight Castlecomer competitors whose earnest endeavour over 400m set the tone for the day.
In looking forward the hope would be that all the girls will continue to enjoy athletics as this would be a strong base for teams in Cross Country.
Soon enough the County B Championships will offer another chance to compete.
Rebecca Staunton, Aine Ring, Mia Bergin, Aisling Lacy, Katie Kenehan, Fiadh Coogan, Orlaith Ryan and Emily Tywang were the runners at this age.
There were four U9 boys – Ethan Renwick, Ciaran Quinn, Seán Dormer and Joe Crennan and for them too it was a good day out.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
Likewise here is the strength in numbers for a team and the B Championships beckon.
There is quite the jump in distance when athletes arrive at the U11 grade (1000m) – as Mairead Ring, Tommy Hickey, Diarmuid Quinn, Jack Gamble and Conor Holohan will attest to.
For them, it was one complete lap of this excellent course. For the young runner it presents distance without any harsh climbing.
Before halfway there is a stretch which is gently downhill just when the spirit might be challenged by the distance remaining.
This is followed by a largely flat run until the last 200m where, with the end in sight, the gradient makes a manageable demand before the run to the finish.
Most of this quintet is not absolute novices. They are growing in competence as they continue to train and can look forward to more enjoyable days.
The U13 runners have a challenge which is exactly twice as long and in completing this the girls and boys involved bore testimony to the progress they are making.
EMBRACE THE CHALLENGE
The less experienced demonstrated a willingness to embrace the challenge in the company of their team mates.
Aisling Phelan, fresh from last week’s U12 Championship title, led the girls (Catherin Scully, Roisin Holohan and Laura Gamble) home in fifth place.
Again there is the potential to challenge for a team medal in the B Championships.
Charlie Ryan was leading boys finisher followed home by Padraic Quinn, Conor Murphy, Liam and Cormac Lacy.
John Kennedy and Shane Stynes competed over 3,000m at U15, while at U17 Emma Lawlor and Jane Holohan covered 3,500m and Adam Lynch in the Boys’ Race completed 4,500m.
Castlecomer man Cathal O’Reilly (KCH) completed the 5,500m U19 race as U19 champion in this grade – the race running in tandem with the U17 with Cathal taking to the country for another lap as the U17 runners raced up the finishing chute.
Thanks went to all who helped on the day, land owners, course markers, traffic managers, course directors and coaches and parents who looked after the athletes.
Leinster Championships are on October 23 in Mountain View, Ballyhale.