Heavy snow and white fields that once bore grass were the settings for the All Ireland Inter Counties Cross Country Championships, which were held in Gransha Park, Derry last Sunday. It was not a case of representing Sportsworld, but representing your county. This championship gathers the best handful of distance runners from each county throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland (athletics is an all-island sport like rugby). As a general rule, a top fifteen finish at your own county senior cross country championship (early November) leads you to being selected as a team member; though individual entries are welcome too regardless of whether you ran in your county senior championships.

The biggest incentive behind running in heavy snowfall against the island’s best is that the top three runners were guaranteed a spot on the Irish team for the upcoming European Cross Country Championships, due to be held in Albufeira PT on Sunday week. Nobody from our club actually made the international team, but some came pretty close.

Senior Women

We were lead home by a magnificent Eimear Power (representing Co Clare), whose husband finished in the leading bunch of the men’s race but declined an offer of a place on the plane to Portugal due to injury concerns. Eimear also won team gold with Clare in the B category (therefore the Clare women’s team will be re-classified as an A team for next year’s event). Catriona (Donegal) had a magnificent run, and thus put the ghost of a disappointing Dublin senior XC behind her. Our three Meath women were next in – the two Brady’s and Lucy. Well done girls.

Senior Men

Phil was the eight Dubliner past the post (six men to score), and he was followed home by Kildare man Paul.

Well done to everyone for making such a long trip away to Northern Ireland and for running in extremely uncomfortable conditions.

Senior Women, 8K

1          Britton, Fionnualla      Sli Cualann A.C. (IND)          27.44

2          Lee, Elizabeth             Cork                                        29.04

3          O’Doherty, Siobhain   Borrisokane A.C. (IND)         29.10

13        Power, Eimear             Clare                                        30.23

16        Jennings, Catriona       Donegal                                   30.47

22        Brady, Aoife               Meath                                      31.13

32        Brady, Crona              Meath                                      32.18

35        Darcy, Lucy                Meath                                      32.41

Senior Men, 10K

1          Sweeney, Joseph         Dublin                                     30.07

2          Christie, Mark             Mullingar Harriers A.C. (IND)30.40

3          O’Neill, Brendan (U.23)Dublin                                  30.45

57        Kilgannon, Phil           Dublin                                     34.38

71        O’Connell, Paul           Kildare                                    35.29