Middlepiece was the venue last Sunday for the County Intermediate Cross Country Championships. It had all the ingredients of Cross Country with wind and rain in plentiful supply while the underfoot conditions were very good for the majority of the course. Unperturbed by these conditions our members competed very well in such trying and challenging conditions.
The women’s race over 5k involved a three-lap course. Right from the starting whistle, it was Suzanne Shine who took on the pace of the race and moved into a lead role in front of the chasing pack. She set a strong pace and as they headed out on the second lap, she was part of the leading duo with the rest of the entry well spread out. Then midway through this lap and running into a strong wind she made her move and went back into the lead. Going out on the final lap she had opened up a commanding lead on the chasing pack and from here she made every stride a winning one, to come home a very worthy and convincing Champion in 20 mins 15 secs. This was a fantastic performance by Suzanne as she added this coveted title to the County Novice title won in Galbally last week. This was by far her best performance in the Club singlet for quite sometime as she was always in control of this event and showed great experience in carving out this Championship win. She joins a select group of Club members who have won this title since 2000, Athletes of the calibre of Donna Nagle (2000), Linda O Connor (2006), Angela McCann (2007), Kealey Tideswell (2008), Aine Roche (2015) and Moya Whelan (2021).
Back to the race and here we had Sarah Whelan also running a very good race when finishing 6th in 21 mins 17 secs. Then we had Sareen Walsh also running well when finishing 8th in 21 mins 51 secs and these three athletes combined very well to win the Inter Club title and thus retain the Cup for another year. We also had great performances from Michelle Doherty 9th in 22 mins 3 secs, Jessica Kennedy, making her club debut in Cross Country was 10th in 22 mins 10 secs, Jennifer Quinlan 12th in 22 mins 48 secs and Stephanie Byrne 17th in 24 mins 38 secs. These athletes combined very well when finishing 4th in a very competitive team event.
The men’s race over 8k also saw some great performances, like Barry Horgan ran very well when finishing 16th in 31:47, Michael McNamara 20th in 32 mins 12 secs and a much-improved performance on last week’s run and Niall O Ceallaigh 24th in 33 mins 39 secs.