The coach never learns. He spends his life wishing for an old fashioned cross country course as were once fashioned by teak tough men and women of West Clare or South Kerry. Of course when one does arise as it did today in Limerick Racecourse the one person struggling to get around is of course the afore mentioned coach. The legendary Thurles runner, hurler and coach Patsy Dorney was grinning from ear to ear as we entered the course today so I should have known it was going to be tough. Patsy likes his cross country runners to be able to run straight through a thorny ditch with nothing for protection only an inate can do attitude. Being big, tall or small does not enter the equation just the fight and hearth of the athlete.
With this in mind it was always going to be a good day for our endurance squad.
The U16 boys squad go from strength to strength. Led today by schools international Tom Walshe and his U15 teammate Cian Hodgins in 2nd and 3rd positions despite both being a year out of age. They were ably supported by Luke Purcell having his best race ever in 9th and track star Sean Hayes in 23rd position.
Age is no barrier to bravery and right from the off today our youngest competitors Donnacha Browne U10 finishing 19th in his first Munster Cross country race and Lilly Duffy and Anna Paxman in the U12 girls showed huge resilience with fine battling performances.
Kevin Finn was another stand out today with a 2nd place finish in only his 2nd race for the club. In fact Kevin led the race out from the start and will surely be an endurance star of the future as the longer the distance the better. His U12 teammates Ruairí Walshe, Charlie Cairns and Dillon Bergin also ran well and were unlucky to finish just outside the team medals.
Our U14 boys were in good form also and Diarmuid Moloney was our first man home in 11th coming through very strongly late in the race. Ben Walshe was 13th in his first cross country race of the year after a short period out with injury. Both of those boys were on the Tipperary team that won the county title and will look forward to trying to do the same in the nationals on the 24th of November in Abbots Town. Thomas Bergin who is new to the group is showing great promise with a top 40 finish and will be a man to watch in the future.
We also had three U18 athletes running and firstly Ailbhe O'Neill who hasn't always enjoyed tough cross country courses but this international track star has added another string to her bow by showing great resilience to record a 7th place finish a year out of age. Her teammate Lucy Mulcahy also had a great race and both girls were on the Tipp team that finished 3rd in the county competition.
Ted Collins too showed great determination to finish top thirty over a gruelling 6000m course a little outside his normal 800m track distance.
Excellent performance from Aaron Quigley finishing 4th U23 in the Munster Xc and also helped the Tipp Senior men's novice team to the bronze medals.
The next outing for most of these athletes is the uneven age group Munsters in Conna, North Cork on November 10th.
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