Galway athletes shine at national champs

The Irish performances at the European cross country championships in Slovenia were buoyed up by the historic victory of Wexford's Fionnuala Britton in the senior women's event, only the second time that an Irish woman has achieved the honour. Continuing his recovery from his marathon debut, Galway's Gary Thornton put in a solid run to take 54th position, helping the Irish team to sixth overall.

Closer to home, the second day of the juvenile even age and adult national novice championships took place in Kildare - the highlight of which was the Galway ladies’ team, which came second and won All Ireland novice county silver medals in a highly-competitive field. Laura Shaughnessy of Loughrea AC in fifth led the team home, coming close to an individual medal. Irene Gorman of GCH also had a stormer to come 12th with a really strong run, and these were ably supported by Caoimhe Daniels 34th, Helen Corbett 43rd, and Thelma McMahon 118th.

The men’s novice race, with more than 250 starters, saw Fintan Hyland GCH lead the team home in 61st place, with Barry Davey of GCH close behind. Other team scorers were Craughwell AC's Martin Corcoran, GCH's Gearoid Hynes, Chris McGrath and Craughwell's Johnny Lane. Galway were 11th team out of 16.

The juvenile events began in fine style with Shane Jennings of Ballinasloe taking silver in the u-11 1500m, closely followed by Brandon Lee of Athenry AC who finished in fifth.

Craughwell AC completed the finest cross country season in its history with some excellent performances, most notably from the u-13 boys who won the national title in their 2,500m with three runners in the top 15. James Cahalane led the team home in 11th place, followed by Matthew Barrett in 14th and Liam Moran in 15th. A strong team performance was completed by Brian Loughnane in 33rd, Ben Sharkey 43rd and Sam McArdle 88th to give a team score of 73 points and team victory by a substantial margin. Five of the team were also scorers for the Galway team which took the county’s only medal in the juvenile events with team silver in the inter-county event with 150 points. The sixth runner on the team was Brian Burke of Ballinasloe who finished in 34th position.

Craughwell u-17 boys finished in 4th place in the team event, while Jamie Spellman had an excellent race to finish ninth in the u-15 boys 3,500m. With GCH’s Padraic Creaven 17th and Craughwell’s Damien O’Boyle 52nd in the same race, these finishes were enough to help Connacht win provencial silver,

At the International Schools Combined Events in Glasgow, Galway’s Evan McGuire performed strongly to help the Irish intermediate boys take second place behind England, while Maria McNamara helped the Irish team take the silver medals behind England. McNamara got off a super start with a PB in the shot putt of 8.23cm, which was only a few cm off breaking the club record. She followed this up with another PB and an impressive time in the 60m hurdles - breaking 10 seconds for the first time in a time of 9.74.

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