"How many lessons of faith and beauty we would lose if there were no winter season in our year"
Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
Many a person who underestimates winter conditions have paid a heavy price. Just look at arguably the greatest military General in history Napoleon Bonaparte. His lack of respect for what winter can throw at you led to his armies ultimate demise. Not so in Nenagh Olympic. We have ultimate respect for what an Irish winter can throw at you. Nenagh are the only club in Europe not linked to a university or business with their very own indoor international spec running track. Even so our endurance squad train hail, rain or shine in the CBS as unlike Napoleon we like to be prepared for our winter conditions.
Being prepared stood to our squad today as it has since our first cross country race in October. We had high hopes for our U15 boys squad today and it proved to be well founded.
It been a tough year for Cian Hodgins. Growing 5/6 ins in the year can lead to all types of problems and so it proved.
He missed all of last years cross country season with growing pains in every joint and he was confined to the pool and bike to keep in some kind of shape. But his dedication paid off this weekend with a brilliant return to form with a 4th place finish in the cold, wet and very demanding mucky conditions of the U15 all Ireland cross country championship race in Dunboyne. His teammate Tom Walshe is never too far away and so it proved again today with Tom just one place behind Cian in 5th place. Tom is now looking very comfortable at this level and he will look forward to the upcoming indoor season.
They led the Munster squad to a fine win in the provincial competition over Leinster, Tipp to the bronze in the county competition and the Nenagh squad to second in the club battle. The Nenagh squad was completed by Ben Walshe in 22nd and Thomas Bergin in 63rd who were both a year out of age.
We had a very talented trio of U13 boys racing also and Diarmuid Moloney was our first home in 11th position with a strong second half of the race. Behind Diarmuid in 16th position was Kevin Finn. Kevin is inexperienced at this level and struggled at the start but got into his stride on the second lap and passed 28 athletes to come home in 16th position. The final member of our trio was Ruairí Walshe who like Kevin was running a year out of age but he can be very pleased with his 48th place finish.
Our only girl running this weekend was Jennifer O'Leary running in her first All Ireland cross country race and she also can be very satisfied with finishing 50th of the 130 U13 girls. Jennifer is an Irish Dancing star also and it shows with her lovely running style. The upcoming indoor season will surely show Jen's dancing feet off to perfect effect.
And so another cross country season ends. It ends as it started with a profound love of the sport. Our endeavours are always rewarded. Not always with medals, sometimes just with memories and friendships that will last a lifetime and transcend mountains, oceans and even time itself. So what are you waiting for put on those runners and get out to your local club or park run.
On A fine crisp 1st December we had one of our quieter cross country outings. This weekend we had Munster B championships in Two Mile Borris and we had only 3 athletes competing but the results showed we continue to make huge progress.
George O'Leary continues to impress and in the U17 race he went to the front with a Waterford athlete and showed great composure racing against more experienced competitors and finished in a fine second position which will surely spur him on to greater things.
His teammate Shaun Himli also ran well to finish 8th and well done to these two friends and colleagues.
Our only other athlete on the day was David Sheahan in the Senior intermediate race. David running as part of the Tipperary team ran very strongly and finished 8th overall and 4th Tipp man home. Tipperary easily took the county honors and David should be well pleased with his very strong showing.
So another good day for our athletes and we now look forward to two weeks time in Dunboyne for the All Ireland uneven ages cross country championships which will finish the cross country for the year.
Weekly Guardian Notes + More