Clodagh O'Callaghan (Kilkenny City Harriers) leads the way in the girls under-11 race
What an exciting cross-country season it has been for the athletics clubs of Kilkenny!
With the juvenile county cross-country shield already decided, the race is now on for the senior section of the county’s athletics fraternity to claim their spoils.
Three clubs - Gowran, Thomastown and St Joseph’s - are locked together, with virtually nothing between them. It sets things up nicely for a big showdown between the trio with the county novice proving a decider.
The Castle Park will provide a scenic setting for the novice race on Sunday at 11am. Big crowds are expected, with Gowran, St Joseph’s and Thomastown expected to field strong teams.
County senior women’s champions St Senan’s are evolving into the senior ranks and will watch with interest as to how the established senior clubs perform.
St Senan’s will field teams in both the men’s and women’s events while Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) should be involved also - don’t be surprised if Castlecomer arrive with a trick or two up their sleeve.
The baby of all clubs, Kings River, have featured strongly in all senior and masters events this year. They could well be the cat amongst the pigeons for all the clubs yet.
All brought together it should make for some exciting racing in both the men’s and women’s events, with a fabulous location for the showdown.
Gowran put on a great event for the county ‘B’ and over-50s championships last weekend.
There was a big turnout in the men’s over-50s race as well as the younger age juvenile events.
These ‘B’ races are important in the evolution of a child’s athletic career. And with competition being so strong in cross-country at the moment, there is ample time for these youngsters to move through the ranks and compete in the Leinsters and All-Ireland championships.
The women’s over-50 race was won by Cathy Millet who has featured well in many of the masters races this season.
Cathy was never in danger of being beaten and looked very comfortable indeed when she stormed to victory in the 3,000m event.
Frances Mullally (St Joseph’s) is well used to cross-country, having taken to it at juvenile level. With her children all doing well this year that left her with no option but to join them! The move worked, producing positive results in the process.
Mags Kirwan (Kings River) is another parent who was left with no choice but to join the cross-country running brigade as all her brood are dab hands at it. Husband Ger is expected to make an appearance at next week’s novice.
This is the first time the event has been held in the county for women over 50. As the county’s master ladies come of age it should become a very popular race indeed.
The men’s over 50 race has always been a competitive event, featuring many athletes who competed with the best at national level in their heyday. These days the love of running and the availability of the masters categories has ensured they can still compete and remain competitive.
Paul Deegan (Gowran) won the event with Pat Bookle (St Joseph’s) second and John Davis (Thomastown) third. Michael O’Keeffe, the Thomastown juvenile coach, had his annual outing and finished fifth.
Deegan and Bookle hit the front after 10 metres and gave each other a great race all the way. After 2km it looked like Deegan was going to pull away but Bookle came back again to stay level with him for a bit longer.
In the final lap Deegan looked the stronger of the two and remained so right to the end. It was appropriate that Gowran, St Joseph’s and Thomastown were the first three clubs home - they are in the running for the overall club shield. It is all building up to what should be an exciting novice event on Sunday.
With 31 girls and 36 boys starting the under-9 races the competition was intense. The girls’ race was won by Aisling Phelan of Castlecomer, but not without a battle from Katie Byrne from Barrow Harriers.
Katie has been one of the most prolific silver medallists in the county, having gained silver medals in several of the county events this year.
There was a great race back in third spot between Mia Brennan (Thomastown) and Olivia Mullally (St Joseph’s) with Brennan just edging out Mullally for the bronze medal.
In the boys’ race Gowran proved to be very strong when their athletes took the top four spots. The winner was Sam Corr with Darragh Carroll second and Evan Ryan third from David Timmins in fourth.
The girls’ under-11 race was won by Clodagh O’Callaghan (KCH) with Lily Ryan (St Joseph’s) second. Third spot went to Eimear Cormack (KCH).
Thomastown were very strong in this race, with five athletes in the top 10 - there could be an emerging team within the county. The team competition produced no surprises when Thomastown A and B were first and second respectively with St Joseph’s third.
The boys’ under-11 race was an exciting battle between Luke Vereker (St Joseph’s) and Charlie Ryan (Castlecomer), with the St Joseph’s athlete emerging as the eventual winner. Jamie Cahalan (Castlecomer) was third while ’Comer won the team event from Thomastown and Gowran.
The girls’ under-13 race was won by the ever-improving Laura Challoner (Thomastown).
Ava Mullally, who is also making continuous strides was second for St Joseph’s with Keelin Duggan (St Senan’s) home in third. The team event was won by St Senan’s.
The boys’ race was won by Matthew McAviney (Gowran) from his clubmate Ruairi Phelan. The Gowran duo were followed home in third place by Finn Beck (Thomastown). Gowran won the team competition.
The under-15 competitions produced a low turnout, but there was still double glory for Gowran. Pia O’Grady had a great win in the girls’ race while Luke Phelan took the spoils in the boys’ event.
Each year the Kilkenny Athletics Co Board run county training sessions for athletes running in the Leinster and All-Ireland cross-country events.
There has been massive turn-outs for these sessions in particular the first two, which targeted the Leinster competition.
Athletes from St Senan’s, Thomastown, Gowran, Barrow Harriers, Castlecomer and St Joseph’s gathered in Thomastown each Friday for a speed session, with groups divided based on age.
It has been a fantastic opportunity for all athletes to get together, to get to know each other off the race field and train as a group. The clubs involved all agree that these sessions were of an enormous benefit for their athletes.
Reps have all improved in speed since the start of these sessions and with some fine individual performances at Leinster and National level it is hoped to continue these sessions in 2019 These sessions are recommended for inclusion in the calendars of all coaches for 2019.
Results, county ‘B’ and over-50s championships (club code, BH = Barrow Harriers, CC = Castlecomer, G = Gowran, KCH = Kilkenny City Harriers, KR = Kings River, SJ = St Joseph’s, SS = St Senan’s, TT = Thomastown)
Women’s Over-50s: 1 Cathy Millett (KCH), 2 Frances Mullally (SJ), 3 Mags Kirwan (KR).
Men’s Over-50s: 1 Paul Deegan (G), 2 Pat Bookle (SJ), 3 John Davis (TT), 4 Muiris Bric (G), 5 Terry Brophy (TT), 6 Michael O’Keeffe (TT), 7 Mick Walsh (G). Teams, 1 Gowran, 2 Thomastown.
Girls’ Under-7: 1 Abigail Daly (CC), 2 Maeve Farrell (G), 3 Alison Ryan (TT), 4 Mia Kennedy (G), 5 Shannon O’Neill (BH), 6 Ella O’Flaherty (KCH), 7 Prya Lynch (BH), 8 Olivia O’Shea (TT), 9 Rachel Hogan (KCH).
Boys’ Under-7: 1 Darragh O’Callaghan (KCH), 2 Eddie Bolger (BH), 3 Joey Bolger (BH), 4 Ronan Slye (G), 5 Ronan Hogan (KCH), 6 Darragh Browne (KCH), 7 Liam Lavin (BH), 8 Tomas Hayden (BH), 9 Richie Mullally (SJ), 10 Luca Kinsella (SJ), 11 Calum Cuddihy (BH), 12 Ned Og Kelly (G), 13 Charlie Cullen (BH), 14 Tommy O’Hanlon (SS), 15 Bobby Coomey (G).
Girls’ Under-9: 1 Aisling Phelan (CC), 2 Katie Byrne (BH), 3 Mia Brennan (TT), 4 Olivia Mullally (SJ), 5 Sinead Cormack (KCH), 6 Grainne O’Shea (TT), 7 Ellen Cormack (KCH), 8 Orla Carroll (G), 9 Anna O’Shea (SS), 10 Lauren Phelan (G), 11 Saorla Mullally (SJ), 12 Ingrid Tierney (BH), 13 Chloe Byrne (BH), 14 Sophie Phelan (SS), 15 Emma Nicol (BH), 16 Anna Reddy (SS), 17 Lisa Ryan (TT), 18 Aoibhe Gilmartin (SS), 19 Hannah O’Reilly (TT), 20 Amy Hughes (TT), 21 Muireann Maher (CC), 22 Grainne Maher (CC), 23 Una O’Neill (BH), 24 Daisy Coomey (G), 25 Holly Bolger (G), 26 Lily Dunne (CC), 27 Emily O’Shea (SS), 28 Ciara Furlong (BH), 29 Mairead Barry (CC), 30. Muireann O’Shea (BH), 31 Jenny Walsh (BH).
Boys’ Under-9: 1 Sam Corr (G), 2 Darragh Carroll (G), 3 Evan Ryan (G), 4 David Timmins (G), 5 Patrick Wall (KCH), 6 Daniel Bolger (BH), 7 James Vereker (SJ), 8 Michael Phelan (KCH), 9 David Hayden (BH), 10 Conor Henderson (KCH), 11 Calum King (BH), 12 Sean Lavin (BH), 13 Dara Leamy (G), 14 Darragh O’Flaherty (KCH), 15 M.J. Carroll (G), 16 Gearoid Farrell (G), 17 Daniel Bourne (KCH), 18 Matthew Cooke (G), 19 Tom Henderson (KCH), 20 Shay Molloy (KCH), 21 Conor Coogan (Brow), 22 Andy Ryan (CC), Ciaran Maher (CC), 23 Aidan Barry (SS), 24 Sam Ponce De Leon (SS), 25 Jack Gamble (CC), 26 Emmett Murphy (KCH), 27 Simon O’Hanlon (SS), 28 Michael Halpin (BH), 29 Andrew Forristal, 30 David Carroll (G), 31 David Slye (G), 32 Aaron Foley (BH), 33 Tom Malone (BH), 34 James Tallis (CC), 35 Paddy Gibbs (KCH), 36 Sean Malone (BH).
Girls’ Under-11: 1 Clodagh O’Callaghan (KCH), 2 Lily Ryan (SJ), 3 Eimear Cormack (KCH), 4 Moya O’Shea (TT), 5 Katie O’Shea (TT), 6 Megan O’Reilly (TT), 7 Amy O’Shea (TT), 8 Ashling Coverdale (TT), 9 Grace Gilmartin (SS), 10 Aoife Dillon (CC), 11 Mary Kate Ryan (TT), 12 Aisling Mullally (SJ), 13 Kathy Phelan (G), 14 Kate Hayden (G), 15 Eimhin Donohue (SS), 16 Rachel Browne (BH), 17 Nicole King (BH), 18 Una Cooper (SS), 19 Maeve O’Keeffe (SS), 20 Laura Gamble (CC), 21 Ceola Leamy (G), 22 Mia Barry (SJ), 23 Roisin Holohan (CC), 24 Orla O’Shea (BH), 25 Aoife Lavin (BH), 26 Lucy Kennedy (BH), 27 Anna Moylan (BH). Teams: 1 Thomastown, 2 Thomastown, 3 St Joseph’s, 4 St Senan’s, 5 Gowran, 6 Castlecomer, 7 Barrow Harriers, 8 Barrow Harriers
Boys’ Under-11: 1 Luke Vereker (SJ), 2 Charlie Ryan (CC), 3 Jamie Cahalan (CC), 4 Luke Browne (KCH), 5 Tom Challoner (TT), 6 Conor Duggan (TT), 7 Paddy Challoner (TT), 8 Charlie Ryan (G), 9 Alex Daly (CC), 10 Odhran Prendergast (G), 11 Jamie Kennedy (BH), 12 James O’Reilly (TT), 13 Rory Bollard (CC), 14 Conor Malone (G), 15 Darragh O’Flaherty (KCH), 16 Padraig Hayden (BH), 17 Luke Kelly (G), 18 Eoin O’Shea (SS), 19 Daniel Ponce De Leon (SS), 20 Richard Forristal (TT), 21 Cathal Maher (CC). Teams: 1 Castlecomer, 2 Thomastown, 3 Gowran.
Girls’ Under-13: 1 Laura Challoner (TT), 2 Eabha Mullally (SJ), 3 Keelan Duggan (SS), 4 Aoife O’Shea (TT), 5 Eimear Phelan (CC), 6 Moya O’Keeffe (SS), 7 Caoimhe Barry (SJ), 8 Jane Holohan (CC), 9 Kate Kelly (G), 10 Ella Wall (KCH), 11 Laoisigh Donohue (SS). Teams: 1 St Senan’s
Boys’ Under-13: 1 Matthew McAviney (G), 2 Ruairi Phelan (G), 3 Finn Beck (TT), 4 Michael Holland (G). Teams: 1 Gowran.
Girls’ Under-15: 1 Pia O’Grady (G).
Boys’ Under-15: 1 Luke Phelan (G), 2 Matthew Holland (G).
Sunday: County Novice, Castle Park Kilkenny 11am.
Saturday: December 15, All-Ireland juvenile and novice, Navan 11.30am.
Saturday: January 5, County Indoors, Athlone Indoor Arena, AIT.