fter the celebration of Friday night’s 10 year anniversary social Sunday morning dawned and this means cross country. However this was no ordinary cross country but the All Ireland Even Age, Junior and Senior cross country championships held in the National Sports Complex in Abbotstown. For any athlete to qualify to compete in a national championship takes months of dedication and training. These athletes finished in the top of their provincial championship to qualify.
St. Catherine’s a.c. had 8 athletes representing them last Sunday and so early Sunday the athletes, their families, and supporters left for Dublin in anticipation of a great days racing.
First up for the club was Charlotte Norman in the girls u12. This is Charlotte’s first year competing and to get to the All Ireland’s is a huge achievement in itself. Despite a slight hiccup on the journey up Charlotte arrived in plenty of time to warm up and join her Cork team on the starting line. The sight of 180 u12 girls sprinting off the starting line is a sight to behold and Charlotte in the middle of them. The course for this race was still in good condition but it deteriorated rapidly as the day went on. Charlotte made little of her inexperience and finished in 42nd place of the 178 finishers and 7th Cork finisher. Well done Charlotte.
Next up for St Catherine’s was Conor Hayes. This was Conors second time qualifying for the All Ireland’s. 3000m was the challenge awaiting him on a course where the surface was deteriorating badly. Despite getting hampered in the starting charge Conor battled through the race to finish in 50th position of the 164 finishers and 4th Cork finisher. Unfortunately the Cork team finished 4th, just outside the medals. A great run by Conor who also has the uneven ages to look forward to and prepare for.
After Conors race we had a chance to draw a breath before the girls u18 and junior race which was run as a single race. St. Catherine’s a.c. had a club team here of Laura Hayes, Natalie Nicholson, Sarah Mulcahy, Sara Barry, Caoimhe Hayes, and Meghan Carr. Laura, Natalie and Meghan were also on Cork teams. By now conditions on the course were tough and slippery and ankle deep in places but the 4000m that awaited our girls did not phase them in any way. The girls ran strongly throughout and fought for every position. The team was led home by Laura Hayes followed by Natalie, then Meghan and Sarah, Sara,and Caoimhe. Unfortunately a team prize eluded them again this year. The Cork junior team was also outside the medals but Meghan also on the Cork u18 team earned a bronze medal being 4th finisher on the Cork u18 team.
This group of girls have been a model of inspiration and example to all in St Catherine’s ac and as they begin to move up to the adult ranks they have many more years ahead of them with new challenges. 4 of the girls have been part of the club since it’s inception 10 years ago, with juveniles inspired on the night by Rob Heffernan and Steve Macklin. As a team they have won many team prizes over the years and individual as well. A great achievement by all. Best of luck to Meghan, Natalie and Sara in the uneven ages cross country on December 15th