Some 20,000 runners from across the country take on the 26.2-mile challenge in the National Marathon Championships in Dublin on Sunday, held in conjunction with the 39th edition of the Dublin Marathon.
Galway City Harriers’ women's squad will look to make it three team titles in a row in what would be a remarkable achievement, having won team gold in 2016 and 2017.
Grainne Ni Uallachain will look for her third team gold, with the GCH outfit boosted by new signing Jane Ann Meehan, who will aim for a sub 2.50 clocking.Tara Whyte and Michelle Egan Browne are also in great form and make the GCH team a solid bet to prevail again, although Leevale of Cork will be ones to watch.
Laura Shaughnessy of DSD and Brendan McDonnell of GCH were Galway’s first finishers at the prestigious Autumn Open Cross-Country event in Abbottstown in Dublin.
Shaughnessy placed sixth overall and was the third Irish woman home with a very strong run, while Aisling Joyce of GCH is back to her best, placing 24th in a high quality senior women's field packed with internationals. Emma Grimes and Niamh Hennelly also ran well, just behind Joyce.
McDonnell placed 27th in a similarly high-quality men’s race, with Keith Fallon also of GCH not far behind in 31st place. In the juniors Caron Ryan of Craughwell AC was impressive, placing fifth, while in the junior men’s event Tom McStay of GCH had a great run to place 12th overall, with Barry Murphy and Jack Maher also of GCH both placing well.
Galway City Harriers were led home by Roscahill man, the talented Gearoid Hynes, in a superb time of 2:45:11 in Sunday's Amsterdam Marathon.
The club's marathon squad travelled in numbers, and on a fast and flat course around the Dutch city, and Hyne finished just ahead of the strong running Culan O'Meara in 2:45:32, followed by Kieran Tierney 2:54:30, Jerome Debize 2:56:34, and Tony O'Connor 2:57:37 - all breaking three hours.
The first Galway woman home was Neasa de Burca in a super time of 3:00:03, a huge personal best, and very close to the magic three-hour barrier, while there were numerous personal bests from the rest of the 20-strong Galway contingent.
The evergreen Christine Kennedy of GCH ran a superb 1:30:28 half marathon held alongside the full marathon in Amsterdam , an incredible performance at 63 years of age.
Galway Cross Country championships
Day two of the 2018 County Galway Cross country competition was held on Sunday in the Bushfield in Loughrea with some 300 athletes competing in juvenile uneven ages races from U9 through to U19 age groups.
In the U9 Girls 800m, Eimear Fallon of Tuam AC had a superb run to take individual gold, while Craughwell AC took the team title. In the U9 Boys, Alan Hallinan (Craughwell ) won the title, adding to his U10 gold two weeks ago, with Tuam AC taking team gold.
At U11 level, Declan O'Connell of Craughwell AC was first home over 1500m, with his Craughwell AC squad also winning team gold. Aisling Geaney from South Galway stormed home to take gold in an impressive performance, while Tuam AC won the team title.
In the U13 girls, Mia Craughwell of GCH sprinted home to victory after a great battle with Aoibheann Fitzpatrick of Ballinasloe and District AC, and South Galway AC took a great team gold medal . Mathys Bocquet of Craughwell AC looked strong in claiming the boys' honours, also adding to his U14 win recently, with East Galway AC taking the team title.
The U15 races saw the talented Emma Moore of GCH take a well-deserved victory, becoming another double winner after her U16 county victory in Tuam, with GCH also winning team gold. Ross McGuinness of Craughwell AC won the boys' race after a great tussle with Oisin Keane of East Galway, while GCH won team gold.
The U17 boys' race was dominated by Craughwell AC athlete Sean Cotter who powered clear on the last lap, and claimed the county title, with Craughwell AC also winning team gold. At U19 level Patrick Noonan of Craughwell helped his team to victory with first place, while Aine O Farrell of Athenry won the girls' race, with Ailbhe Miskella of Craughwell AC winning a second country gold at U17 level, adding to her U18 title win in Tuam.