Last weekend was a big day for the club as Aoife Brady stuck on the green jersey, sprinted down the wing, cut in and scored the winning goal for Ireland against France! What?…. oh sorry. …wrong weekend. Actually as it transpires it was something even bigger again, all Aoife’s hard work and commitment was rewarded with her selection to represent Ireland at an International Cross Country meet in Belgium last weekend.
And if there is one thing the Belgians like more then good chocolate, it’s a good beer…..and after that it’s a good cross country race. The Irish aren’t ones to disappoint and so last weekend they got their wish as the international Lotto CrossCup descended on the multiplicity of Mol, near Antwerp in Northern Belgium. It’s a country with a rich history and like our very good selves back in the 9th century Mol had to deal with the Vikings coming to town. Feeling at home with such a close bond a team of 28 junior and senior Irish athletes flew in last Friday to take on the best of them. The area is in Belgium’s lowlands and surrounded by the famous “Molse Meren” (Lakes of Mol), a series of natural sand lakes with white sandy beaches, so Aoife and the team had to master new terrain on the tough sandy course.
So after testing the course, building a few sand castles and burying the sleeping coach, the real business of racing began on Sunday the 8th. Reports have indicated that the field went off hard for the women’s race, something to be expected at this level but not for fainting hearted in a 6400m race. The locals are still to this day all commenting in their supermarket queues on how comfortable Aoife looked on the opening laps. After an uncompromising ding dong duel the race win went to Belgium’s Ethiopian athlete Almensch Belete who just piped Irelands Fionnuala Britton in 22.03. But the remarkable Irish didn’t stop there as about 20 seconds later Deirdre Byrne took 3rd and Linda Byrne settled 5th spot. To the roars and delight of the crowd Aoife finished strongly by easily out sprinting Belgian Vanja Cnops by six seconds to take 31st on the crisp sunny winter’s afternoon. The women’s junior race win was picked up by Irelands Sara Louise Treacy whilst in the men’s senior Michael Clohisey picked up 12th spot and David Flynn 6th in the junior men.
So again a big congratulation’s to Aoife from everyone at the club on a great international performance and year so far!