Galway athletes claimed an historic double when both the senior men and women's teams won titles at the National Inter-County Cross Country Championships in Tuam on Sunday.
It is the first time in 30 years the county has won a national senior cross country championship, and there weregreat celebrations in the Palace Grounds arena in Tuam as the races unfolded and victory for the home team was secured.
The men, led by captain Gerry Carty, were always in control in the team race, beating second-placed Donegal by a big margin. Sean Hehir of Clare pipped local favourite Gary Thornton for the individual title in an epic duel up front, with Brian McMahon of Dublin third. Thornton was well supported by John Moroney of GCH, Tuam man Brian Furey of Rathfarnham, Matt Bidwell and Michael O'Connor both of GCH, and Craughwell's Peadar Harvey. The top scoring six were supported by the remaining team members of Ruaidhri Geraghty, Gary Higgins, Damien Larkin and Carty.
Galway women’s squad had a much tougher battle for team honours, and just pipped a strong Kerry team by two points for overall victory. Shona Heaslip of Kerry, a current Irish international, showed her class in winning the race well, but former international Laura Shaughnessy of Galway proved she is back to top form by securing a national silver medal, ahead of Sligo’s Sarah Doohan. Kathryn Casserly of Castlegar AC produced a great display placing fourth, and GCH’s Niamh Hennelly and Athenry AC’s Deirdre Brophy both ran strongly to make the top four team scorers after a titanic team battle. They were ably supported by fellow squad members Grainne Ni Uallachain, Siobhan Egan, Jean O'Connor, Sinead Brody and Ann Marie Miskell.
The junior men’s team won silver, just pipped by Mayo, with Joe Tannian of GCH winning a superb bronze medal, and his teammates , Damien O'Boyle of Craughwell, Eanna Folan, and Gary Martyn of GCH, Jack Maher of Connemara AC, and Brian Burke of Ballinasloe AC all deserving great credit after a strong team performance . The junior women's team also won silver with Aoife King and Aoife Sheehy of GCH, and Shannen Lee and Sarah Gilhooley of Athenry, the four scorers.
Kenny Rogers of St John’s AC in Clare secured an easy win in the Gort 8k held on Sunday by South Galway AC, Rogers won by nearly three minutes from Leevales' Mark Walsh and Greg Lundon in second and third. Yvonne Fehily took the women's honours, from Loretto Duggan and Deirdre Devane second and third respectively.
Kilconieron five mile race
2016 will be the eighth year of the Kilconieron Charity Run five mile road race and each year all proceeds from the event are donated to a charity. This year's nominated charity is Athenry Cancer Care. The organisers look forward to welcoming a big crowd to Kilconieron on Sunday February 21. Walkers are very welcome. The entry fee is €10 for walkers and €15 for runners.