Ballinasloe's Burke wins national walking title

Veronica Burke of Ballinasloe Athletic Club, Co Galway, with her winner's medal after the senior women's event at the Irish Life Health National 20k Race Walking Championships at St Anne's Park in Raheny, Dublin.          Photo by Sportsfile

Veronica Burke of Ballinasloe Athletic Club, Co Galway, with her winner's medal after the senior women's event at the Irish Life Health National 20k Race Walking Championships at St Anne's Park in Raheny, Dublin. Photo by Sportsfile

Veronica Burke, of Ballinasloe and District Athletic Club, secured a famous victory at the Irish Life Health National 20k Race Walking Championships,

The county Galway athlete clocked 1:47:10 for victory at St Anne's Park in Raheny, Dublin, last weekend - the reward for an arduous training schedule.

It is a huge achievement for Burke who pipped the hugely talented Irish international Kate Veale of West Waterford AC, who took second place.

Country Championships

The second major event of the cross country season, the National Juvenile Uneven Ages, and Novice Cross Country Championships, will be held in Waterford Institute of Technology this Sunday, on what is a hilly but fair course.

Several of Galway’s top juvenile clubs and athletes will look to secure national medals, including Tuam AC, whose U11 boys' team won silver last year. Individually, Sean Cotter of Craughwell AC will target a high placing at U15 level, as will Ben Ryan and William Fitzgerald, also of Craughwell, at U17 level. Their clubmate Caron Ryan will be fancied to run well in the U19 girls after a strong run at the National Juniors recently.

At senior level, GCH will have a strong novice squad with Andrew O Donnghaile, Joe Tannian, US student signing Talon Thompson, Neill Keane, Michael Kerrin and Niall Murphy all competing for the city team, and they will be in the hunt for team medals. Keith Fallon may return from the USA scholarship if commitments allow, while Kieran Staunton of Athenry AC will also run, after a strong 2.52 marathon in Dublin

International news

Athenry AC's Paul McNamara and Galway City Harriers' coach Matt Lockett formed a major part of the Irish team management at the European Cross Country Championships in Slovakia on Sunday. Lockett led the U20 men’s team to 10th team position, while McNamara in his first year as high performance director for Athletics Ireland, will be satisfied particularly with the senior men’s fifth placing, and some encouraging junior performances,

Positive year for Galway athletes

Craughwell AC and Loughrea AC are beneficiaries after the latest round of sports capital grants, allocated by the Department of Sport.

Craughwell AC received a grant of €72,000 towards an indoor athletics training hall and other facilities, which have been developed over the last three years, while Loughrea AC received a capital sum of €50,500 towards their facility at Bushfield which will assist improvements at the cross country running track.

County Board AGM

Brian Bruton of Galway City Harriers has been elected chairperson of the Galway Athletics County Board at its AGM in Craughwell. Other officers elected were: treasurer, James Lundon (Athenry ); and secretary, Gerry Carty (GCH ).

The 2017 season review was excellent for Galway, with individual international appearances for Alanna Lally, fourth at the European U23 800m, Cillin Greene of GCH at the European U20 championships, Sean Breathnach in the shot putt on the Irish senior team, and Laura Shaughnessy at the UK v Ireland 10k match and in mountain running.

The success of juvenile athletes was commended at the meeting, highlighted by the GCH U16s and juniors victories at the National Cross Country Championships, and the huge individual haul of medals by juvenile stars, such as Emma Moore, Cillin Greene, Jack Dempsey all of GCH, Loughrea’s Brendan Lynch, and Laura Cunningham and Chloe Casey of Craughwell.

Athletics club membership is now at almost 4,000 in the county, with nearly 20,000 taking part in road races across the county during the year.

Fixtures

Entries are now open for the famous Fields of Athenry 10k, which is hosted by Athenry AC on St Stephen’s Day at 11 am. Registration is open on athenryac.com

And the traditional Christmas Day Goal Mile continues. It takes place at Dangan from 10am to 1pm in aid of Goal.

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