Laura Shaughnessy of Loughrea AC ran the race of her life to win the National Intermediate Women’s Cross Country in tough conditions in Boyle County Roscommon on Sunday.
Shaughnessy finished in 18:33 ahead of Martina Kiely of St Finbarr’s and Marie Carey, (Ennis Track Club ). This was 21-years-old Shaughnessy’s second race of the weekend as the Galway woman had won the bronze medal in the 3000m at the Inter Varsities Indoor championships in Nenagh on Saturday.
A second year geography student at UCD, where she is coached by former Olympian James Nolan, Shaughnessy left nothing to chance as she set a fast early pace that took her to her first national title.
“I went out hard because I would not be confident about my finishing speed,” Shaughnessy said. She also helped Galway County to gold in the intercounty event and was followed home by Irene Gorman, Caroline Whirskey, Nicola O’Cealligh, and Irene Head.
In the veteran men’s race Peter O’Sullivan of Craughwell AC delivered the defining performance of his career by taking third overall and second in his M35 age category. O’Sullivan, coached by Gerry Reilly of Loughrea, has been running on and off for years, but took to cross country running in 2009, culminating this year with wins at the Galway Senior XC championship, international team success with the Irish M35 team, and now national individual silver, making him the club’s most decorated athlete to date at senior level.
Galway City Harrier Martin McEvilly, who has had an iron grip on the National Veteran Cross Country championship in his age bracket for more than 10 years, did it again on Sunday, winning his M60 Gold in sublime style, while Tuam AC’s Roger Rushe glided his way to another M70 Irish title.
Deirdre Roche of Loughrea AC was the other Galway medallist, winning silver in the M60 in a tough field.
The u-12 boys’ Galway team won silver medals in the All Ireland Intercounty Cross Country 4x500mts relay. The four athletes Shane Jennings, Dylan Corr, Riain Dolan and Brandon Lee all ran strongly to finish a close second.
Galway athletes also enjoyed success at the recent National Juvenile Pentathlon Championships in Nenagh. Leading the way, Craughwell’s Katie O’Donoghue had a fine victory in the u-19 girls’ pentathlon in a contest that went down to the wire with second placed Karen Dunne from Bohermeen AC. A mere 18 points separated the two prior to the final event (800m ), with the Meath athlete needing to win by 1.7 seconds to secure victory. O’Donoghue, however, shadowed every move to finish second by 1.3 seconds to take the national title.
The u-19 boys was an even closer with GCH’s Anthony Hebron tying for the silver medal with a score of 2905 points – but having to settle for bronze behind Trim’s Shane Aston who had a higher score in three of the five events, while Craughwell’s Maria McNamara claimed silver in the u-18 girls’ event.
Three of the top four places in the boys’ u-14 event were won by Galway athletes. Athenry’s Matthew Treacy took the silver medal, followed by Craughwell duo Dylan Finn and Sam McArdle.
At the Irish Universities Indoor Track & Field Cathriona Farrell (DCU ) and Maeve Curley (UL ) won titles in the high jump and race walk. This was Farrell’s fifth university title in three years, while Curley was making her debut
Laura Shaughnessy took the bronze medal in the 3000m in a time of 10.35.75.