Week ending Saturday 27th November
International selections for Mullingar Harriers athletes
With the women and men races at the AAI Senior, Junior and Juvenile Even Ages Cross Country last Sunday at Santry Demesne, Dublin being trials for the European Cross Country Championships to be held in Dublin in December and the under 16 girls and boys races being trials for the Celtic International Cross Country in Belfast in January, there was a lot at stake for some Mullingar athletes, in addition to the chase for individual and team honours. By the end of the day, Conor Sherwin and Caoimhe Kilmurray earned selection for the Irish Development teams at the Celtic International and Jamie Battle put himself in the mix for selection for the European Cross Country. This was in addition to three sets of team medals for Mullingar underage teams, two top-12 finish places, and six medals won with Leinster teams, making for an excellent and thrilling day of competition for Mullingar Harriers.
Conditions on the day were ideal for running, cool but dry, and the course while challenging in places was perfect underfoot and therefore very fast. The first race with a Mullingar interest was the 2,000m for boys u/12, where Cillian Galvin, Darren Corcoran, Aaron Wallace, James O’Connor and Greg McDonnell battled hard but finished out of the team medals against quality opposition, but will benefit from competing at this level. It was the same for the Mullingar team in the 3,000m for girls u/14, led home by Tianna O’Leary and despite good support from Eleanor Kiernan, Lydia McDonnell, Muireann Reihill and Blathnaid Peters, the girls finished out of the medals. We got in the medals in the 3,000m for boys u/14 thanks to the brilliant efforts of Luke Greene, Cian Corcoran, Niall Brady, Conor Walsh, Matthew Molloy and Conor Geoghegan, combining to finish third Club and winning All-Ireland bronze medals.
Caoimhe Kilmurray battled all the way to finish ninth in the 4,000m for girls u/16. Her initial disappointment not to finish in the top eight and earn automatic selection for the Celtic International evaporated when she learned that one of the girls ahead of her is from Ulster and will compete on the Northern Ireland team, so Caoimhe will take her place in Belfast with the Irish Development team. With terrific support and team packing by Adele Geoghegan, Grace Byrne, Jessica Cunningham, Leah Geoghegan, Rachel Murphy, Caoimhe Donohue, Ellen Foran, Siofra O’Halloran and Muireann Donohue, the girls placed third Club to win All-Ireland bronze medals for their efforts. Caoimhe and Adele helped Leinster to second place in the Inter-Provincial competition to earn silver Inter-Provincial team medals in addition to their bronze Club team medals.
Seeing their dominance at Leinster, it was no surprise that the Mullingar team in the 4,000m for boys u/16 were easy winners and finished first Club. Led home by Conor Sherwin in eighth place to earn selection on the Irish Development team at the Celtic International, supported by David Burke having an absolutely huge race, his best race of the season by far, then Jamie Wallace fighting all the way despite feeling unwell but still running so as not to let the team down, and with Philip McCartan, Pablo Lozano and Donagh Carey finishing well up providing the vital team scores in spades, team victory was assured. Conor and Jamie also helped Leinster to third place to earn bronze Inter-Provincial team medals in addition to their gold Club team medals.
The 4,000m for junior women and u/18 girls was a combined race and while we had no teams, Phoebe Bate finished well up in the u/18 race and won a bronze medal with the Leinster team, followed home by Meabh Killalea (Junior) and Aisling Lane (u/18) finishing strongly and can look forward with confidence to their u/19 and u/17 races respectively in two weeks.
The final underage race was the 6,000m for junior men and u/18 boys where Ross Killalea and Andrew Glennon competed in the u/18 race, and joined Matthew Glennon, Lorcan Mullen and Oisin Lane on the junior team. Leading home for Mullingar was Matthew Glennon (Junior), supported by Lorcan Mullen (Junior), Ross Killalea (u/18), Oisin Lane (Junior) and Andrew Glennon (u/18), all running well but finishing out of the team prizes in an extremely competitive race because it was the trail for Junior Irish teams for the European Cross Country, so attracted the very best in Ireland. A good consolation for Ross was a silver medal with the Leinster u/18 team.
Moving to the senior programme, Jenny Algar and Michelle Bohan gave it their all and were pleased with their performances in the 8,000m for senior women against the cream of Irish women cross country talent. The day finished with the 10,000m for senior and under 23 men where Jamie Battle put in a great shift to finish an excellent fourteenth place overall, the sixth u/23 man. There will be a team of six u/23 men selected for the European Cross Country, but only the top three from Santry are guaranteed and the selectors may consider up to three US based student-athletes, so Jamie faces an anxious wait for the decision of the team selectors.
Attention turns to Gowran
Now that Santry is behind us, our attention turns to Gowran in Co. Kilkenny two weeks from now. We hope to field women and men Novice teams, but we know Mullingar will be fielding more than forty underage athletes on Club and County teams. In addition to representing Mullingar and Westmeath, twelve of our Juvenile athletes will also be on Leinster teams, the biggest representation from one Club. If for any reason you cannot compete, please let Club officials know as soon as possible.
As we learned in Santry, the All-Ireland finals are a big step up and everyone that has qualified for the uneven ages in Gowran needs to continue to apply themselves fully in training, at the Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays but especially in Belvedere this week-end.
Superb NCAA debut for Cormac Dalton
The NCAA Cross Country Championship took place last Saturday morning at the Apalachee Regional Park cross country course in Tallahassee, Florida, where the men competed over 10,000m. The very large field of over 250 runners kept the pressure on right from the gun to make it a very fast race. Building on his brilliant recent form, in his first appearance at the NCAA Championships, Cormac Dalton really dug deep and had a fantastic race to finish very strongly in 29 minutes 28.5 seconds to place an excellent thirty fourth place, leading the Tulsa team home to sixth place out of 31 teams, and earning himself an All-American honour into the bargain. With the European Cross Country taking place in Dublin in December, this performance comes at the perfect time for Cormac and should put him in the frame for selection on the Irish senior men team.
We are delighted to announce that the Mullingar Harriers online club shop is now live. We have partnered with local firm KC Sports and you can check the full range of club gear by clicking on the link on the homepage of the Mullingar Harriers website. So, get ordering and wear your club colours with pride. We have also sent the link to Santa, in case anyone wants Mullingar Harriers gear for Christmas.
It’s quite amazing to see the number of people running on the road on these dark nights without a stitch of reflective clothing on them; stupid doesn’t begin to describe them. We trust you aren’t one of them? Everyone running from the Clubhouse on the roads is reminded to take road safety seriously and wear reflective clothing. If you do not wear reflective clothing, how can you expect drivers to see you? It’s very simple, if not wearing a reflective bib, you should not be running on the road at night. There are spare bibs available in the Clubhouse to borrow if you forget to bring your own.
Dressing for the cold
We’re beginning to get a taste of the cold at training in the evenings, so it’s a good time to remind all athletes that they should wear appropriate running gear for the cold weather. Warm clothing is essential and that includes going to and from training and competition. A pair of lightweight gloves, a woolen hat and a few layers of warm clothing is all it takes. Having a warm sweat shirt, fleece or jacket for after training is especially important. Parents of younger juveniles should insist that they wear the proper clothing. Also, lightweight running tights or leggings are recommended and will give much needed protection against the cold. Athletes not properly dressed for the cold weather will not perform to their best.
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