Cork county athletics board paid almost one million euro for a field near Kinsale during the boom times . It may sound a lot for an impoverished sport such as Athletics but today as a Nenagh Olympic supporter if you paid that for the entrance fee for the Munster cross country relays you would feel it was money well spent.
We have battled for a few years now to try and recreate the high level of running needed for consistent success at this level and beyond and it feels like we may just be getting there.
Our U14 boys are the embodiment of this new found confidence. A rival coach from Thurles said after today's race that he loves the way our boys go about their business in a quietly confident and humble manner. These boys have a very unassuming nature and take nothing for granted so going into today's race they knew that nothing less than 100% would be good enough on this extremely testing course. We were lead off on the first leg by our sultan of speed Tom Walshe. Toms runs his races in a swashbuckleing manner in total contrast to his quiet , unassuming personality. Show him a start line and he transforms into a colossus of the track. On an uphill start he started conservatively but then let rip and quickly opened a gap handing over to Cian Hodgins with a 25m gap. Cian is the king of cool in these situations. The reigning Munster U13 champ stretched the lead to 40m and handed over to Seán Hayes. Seán ran his best race to date despite a slight knee injury and handed over to Luke Purcell on the last leg with the 40m lead intact. Luke has upped his game this year in training and ran a very gutsy race and despite coming under attack from a very strong Bantry team he brought it home a clear winner. This is this teams second Munster title in three weeks and they now look forward to both All Irelands.
Our U10 team unlike our U14 cross country specialists are all track specialists but all put up a fantastic performance to finish 6th of 11 teams. This team of Ruairí Walshe , Michael Ryan and the Tucker brothers Aodhán & Eanna can now look forward to the indoor season with a lot of confidence.
Our U16 boys were our last competitors of the day and despite being U16 this is the first time that these four young men have ran together as a team. Great to see Josh Egan back after a lot of injury niggles . Running a very clever race he sat in second for 400m and then opened up a 20m lead in the last 100m. Ted Collins tore into the very difficult second leg in which the last 250 m was uphill and extremely mucky . He stretched the lead to 40m before handing over to Joe Cunningham on the third leg. Joe , running a year out of age is an all Ireland rowing champion with the Castleconnell club. He ran very solidly and gave the baton to Andre Barros with a 25m lead. Andre is a sprinter who emigrated to Ireland from Brazil with his mum Remata & dad Ailton and is unlikely to have come across these type of sporting conditions before. Despite this Andre ran very strongly and only got caught in the last 50m of this 500m course
to claim the silver medal.