Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for in life. The recent flavour of the month has been for continental style cross country courses which are mainly flattish parkland. This year we welcomed a return to more traditional style courses meaning hills, dales, bog, streams and lots of muck.
Well today’s course eclipsed them all. Elaine could hardly get out of the car without her Jimmy Choo red wellies. But in the end it was well she did as Elaine & Andy’s son Cian Hodgins put up a wonderful, tenacious performance when winning a bronze medal in the All Ireland U13 cross country championships. He didn’t get a wonderful start so had to work hard to get back in contention. Never one to panic he gadually eased himself back into a top six position. That’s where he was with 800m to go. With a sticky tough 300m climb in front of him, all his twice weekly hill sessions paid off handsomely. He went past three athletes and showing tremendous finishing speed, almost caught the Dublin athlete in second. So with a first top three all Ireland finish under his belt he will take beating in the schools cross country in the new year which will be on this same course in Waterford.
His teammates Tom & Ben Walshe also had great runs . Tom lost a spike but still finished a very credible 19th and was sixth Munster man home. Munster finished second in the provincial contest . His younger brother Ben finished in 26th after a not so great start. He was back in the forties in the early stage but showed great strength to get back up in the twenties and help Tipperary to a wonderful silver medal in the county championship. Their teammate Micheál Moylan had a tough introduction to national cross country racing but I know he will benefit from the experience and will help us challenge for the club team title next year in which we finished a very solid fifth today.
Ailbhe O’Neill, running in the U15 race, had a very good run to finish in 36th position out of 140 athletes. This track star runs cross country to get strength for her track campaign which starts with the indoors in February. On this showing she is well on course to add to her All Ireland bronze in the 1500m from last year.
So this brings our club's cross country campaign to an end for this year which left most people feeling a little sad as our weekly cross country fix is something we all look forward to. We did manage to finally debut our new flag as seen in the pics.
Thanks Andy it was well worth the wait !