O’Keeffe clan comes out in force!

Pictured is proud grandfather Willie OKeeffe and his 11 grandchildren who competed for Thomastown AC in the recent Leinster Juvenile Cross-Country Championships in Adamstown. Back row (from left:) Back row: Ailis OShea, Sean Power, Willie OKeeffe, James Power, Niamh OShea. Middle row: Billy Power, Marie OKeeffe, Ciara OKeeffe, Sinead OKeeffe, Orla OKeeffe. Front row: Caoimhe Power, Billy OKeeffe.
While Kilkenny athletes put in some excellent performances at the regional championships, one club - and family - was especially delighted.

While Kilkenny athletes put in some excellent performances at the regional championships, one club - and family - was especially delighted.

Fiona Dillon was the pride of Thomastown AC when she finished first in the girls’ under-11 race, leading both her club and county to team gold.

There was further success when Aine Kirwan finished third place in the girls’ under-13 race, again leading club and county to team gold.

While these girls helped keep up the proud athletics tradition of Thomastown, they are just one part of the club’s success story. If you mention athletics to anyone in Thomastown, the first name that springs to mind in Willie O’Keeffe.

Willie has been involved in the sport of athletics for quite some time as an athlete, an official and a coach at club and county level but he had something extra to enjoy on Sunday at Adamstown.

Among the successful athletes taking part were 11 of Willie’s grandchildren, all contributing to a very successful day for Thomastown and Kilkenny teams.

National Championships

Louth is the destination for the national juvenile even age and senior inter-counties cross-country championships, which will be held at the Dundalk IT Sports Grounds on Sunday.

There were some excellent performances by Kilkenny athletes at the Regional Championships in Avondale, but they will face a much sterner test at national level.

In the senior race Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) athlete Brian Maher will be in action. Two years ago Brian, after an excellent performance in the same event, earned himself a place on the Irish team for the European Cross-Country Championships.

Stook 10 mile

Local runners will be on the road again this Sunday for the Stook Ten Mile Road Race, which will start from Dungarvan Church, Gowran.

The event, hosted by Gowran AC in association with Young Irelands GAA club, features an accurate course (jones counter measured), chip timing, online results and water stations.

There will be individual, category and team prizes on offer. Entry fee is €20.

The race starts from Dungarvan Church, three miles south of Gowran village. There will be changing facilities, refreshments, sandwiches and cake for all in the parish hall afterwards!

All proceeds from the race go to the juvenile members of Gowran AC and Young Irelands club.

The race also incorporates the county 10 mile road race championships for registered club athletes. Athletes are reminded to declare their club on entry. Team mentors are asked to declare their teams before the race start.

There will also be 5km dash/fun walk. Starting and finishing from the same place as the 10 mile race, the 5k loop takes in much the same beautiful scenery without the same steep hills.

The 5km dash/fun walk is a guaranteed enjoyable day out. Entry fee for the dash/walk is €10 (€5 for under-12s).

Race registration closes at 11.15am and the 10 mile race starts at 12 noon sharp, with the 5k start time set for 12.15pm.

Full race details on www.stook10.ie

Fixtures

Sunday - National Cross Country Championships (Juvenile Even Ages, Senior Intercounties) Venue Dundalk IT; Gowran AC Stook 10 incorporating County Kilkenny 10 mile Road championships,Dungarvan Co Kilkenny, 12 noon.

Sunday, November 30 - County Cross Country Championships (Juvenile B uneven ages, B Novice and Men over-50) Grennan, Thomastown, 11am.

Sunday, December 7 - National Cross-Country Championships (Juvenile uneven ages and Novice Men and Women), Santry Demesne.

Sunday, December 14 - Kilkenny Senior Cross-Country Championships, 12 noon.