Medal delight for Galway athletes at national cross country

GCH junior men's team, fourth place at the National Cross Country Championships:  L to R,  Aaron Brennan, Rian De Bairead, Jack Maher, Sean Forrest, Thomas McStay, Barry Murphy, Alvaro Gamiz, and Aidan Brock.

GCH junior men's team, fourth place at the National Cross Country Championships: L to R, Aaron Brennan, Rian De Bairead, Jack Maher, Sean Forrest, Thomas McStay, Barry Murphy, Alvaro Gamiz, and Aidan Brock.

Thomas McStay was the toast of Galway City Harriers when he won bronze at the National Cross-Country Championships in Abbottstown on Sunday.

The GCH junior athlete produced the race of his life to claim the podium finish over the muddy 6km race distance, finishing behind winner Darragh McIlhenny of UCD and Moy Valley’s Keelan Kilreehil.

McStay ran a tactically perfect race, running with the leaders for the bulk of the four laps, and then moved into the bronze position early on the last lap, from where he closed strongly to claim a well-deserved individual medal. The GCH junior men’s team impressed, led by McStay, placing fourth team, with Jack Maher, Rian De Bairead and Barry Murphy the scorers.

Some 1,500 athletes competed across the 10 event programme in this blue riband event of the domestic cross country season and once again Galway athletes and teams came away with great success on a testing course and a hugely competitive occasion.

In the juvenile races, Craughwell AC U12 boys' team was also hugely impressive, winning bronze medals in a competitive field. Individually, Oisin Maher of GCH ran a storming race, to place ninth overall, Mathys Bocquet showed his class to finish a fine fifth in the U14 event, also for Craughwell AC; and Gearoiod King of Castlegar AC was another who impressed with a 10th-place finish in the same race. Sean Cotter of Craughwell AC placed sixth overall in the U18 race

The Galway County Junior men’s team also won national bronze in the county competition, with the squad of McStay, William Fitzgerald of Craughwell AC, Maher, De Bairead, Murphy, and Patrick Noonan of Craughwell AC, in a great combined performance which showcased the current strong group of junior athletes in the county.

Damien Landers, competing for the Galway County team, ran a superb race to place sixth overall in the grand finale of the day, the men’s senior race over 10km. The result puts him in contention for a European selection for the upcoming European Cross Country championships in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Galway Senior Men’s team placed eighth, with the county team scorers being Damien Landers, John Moroney and Eanna Folan of GCH, Mark Davis of Craughwell, Vinnie McGuinness of Crusaders, and GCH athlete Naoise O Gibne. Caron Ryan of Craughwell AC placed 10th in the U23 section in the women's race over 8km, while in the junior women’s event, Aine O'Farrell finished in 38th place overall for Athenry AC.

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