Carraig na bhFear AC hit top form at Navan Racecourse!

December 05, 2023

The National Juvenile Uneven-Age and Novice cross-country championships took place in Proudstown, Navan Co. Meath on a course that was formerly a golf course adjacent to Navan Racecourse.

In a season that had been dominated by heavy, muddy courses it was a welcome respite for our Carraig na bhFear AC travelling athletes to run in near perfect conditions on scenic parkland with good underfoot conditions apart from some testing corners that required a little caution. The course clearly suited our athletes with big performances all-round. The trip to Navan clearly not deterring travelling competitors as the start was delayed due to heavy traffic on approach, however the races were soon underway and were quickly back on schedule in a well-organised competition.

Cathal Walsh was again our first competitor and talisman as he showed the way with a 36 th place finish overall from 178 finishers, winning a silver county team medal as 4th Cork scorer. Having medaled up in age last year it was Cathals’ first National competition at his own age and his overall placing is highly impressive for an athlete who continues to improve with each season, congratulations Cathal!
Our U17 girls’ team have had an excellent season so far and capped it with a good team performance finishing in 11th place overall with each girl looking stronger and gaining places as the race progressed. Faye O’Riordan (50th ) and Theresa Dorgan (74th ) both placed for the Cork team who were unfortunately outside the podium positions in 4th place in the county competition, great to see these athletes finishing the season so well. Caoimhe Gray-Walsh (86th) was also representing Cork which is a great showing for the county from our club and Laura Moore was just behind Caoimhe in 93rd spot. Very well done to the girls in what was a high-standard competition, 3 of the girls will be eligible for U17 again next year.

Carraig na bhFear AC members
Members of Carraig na bhFear ACs U17 team Theresa Dorgan, Faye O'Riordan, Caoimhe Gray-Walsh and Laura Moore.

In the U17 boys’ competition, also over 4500 meters, Brian Hawkins was a member of a very strong Cork team that ultimately secured the silver medal. Brian not scoring for Cork on this occasion but showed great running form in producing his best race of the season, finishing 89th overall in a fast time of 17:19. Brian has only begun focusing on running at a competitive level this year and has been a revelation both on the track and as a key member of the cross-country squad and is confident he can build on this excellent result next season.

The U19 boys’ race was the final Juvenile race of the day and was also a fitting end to the Juvenile careers of Timmy Hawkins and Rian O’Luasa. Aidan Maher, Timmy and Rian were part of a typically strong Cork team and their placings of 5th , 6th and 8th Cork respectively was again a key factor in securing a silver team medal for Cork in the county competition. It was a fast race from the outset and a fascinating battle for Cork places as the boys know each other so well from many previous battles.

Aidan Maher had a trademark sprint finish to secure his silver county medal in 31st place overall, Timmy had to overcome a slip in the closing laps to regain his position and dug deep to hold off late challenges in 37th place to win silver for both Cork and Munster in the provincial competition. Well done to Rian who was competing in his first cross-country race of the season due to Collegecommitments and can be proud of his appearance for club and county finishing in 65th place nationally.

Carraig na bhFear AC
Carraig ACs Aidan Maher in action at the National Cross Country Championships in Navan. Photo by Dave O'Riordan

In Summary, an excellent showing from our athletes, sincere thanks to the parents and coaches who made the trip to Navan such a success.

Look Ahead; Carraig na bhFear AC will host the Cork County Juvenile Relays and Masters Championships next Sunday 10th on the lands of club member John Aherne. We look forward to a good standard of competition before a well-earned break for Christmas!

Report by Richard Hawkins

Featured Image: Carraig ACs Timmy Hawkins in action at the National Cross Country Championships in Navan. Photo by Dave O'Riordan.

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