Juvenile News

Juvenile News, 17 December 2018

 Cross Country Season Ends on a High Note with more success  at All Ireland Championships.
The final events of 2018 the Irish Life Health under 11, 13, 15, 17&19 cross country championships were held in Navan on Saturday last and it was another good day for West Waterford AC juvenile athletes with two athletes winning individual medals, four athletes scoring on medal winning Munster teams and  a second  and third placed club teams ensured nineteen All Ireland medals came home to Dungarvan. But it was not only about medals some of our athletes were competing in their first All Ireland championships and others showed a big improvement on their performances of last year. For the first time ever West Waterford AC had athletes qualified in every one of the ten juvenile races.
Weather conditions in Navan were challenging for cross country running. The day was wet and windy with the worst of the weather battering the older athletes. The course had a European feel to it with over and back sections sharp bends and the odd hill or two thrown in for good measure.  It certainly was not one for the fainthearted.
First All Ireland Medal for Sarah Gaffney
Sarah Gaffney was first in action in the girls under 11 and was the only Waterford athlete to qualify for this event. Three weeks ago Sarah competed in the girls under 12 and she had learned a lot from that experience as last Sunday she got out well at the start of the race and was always in the top twenty. In the latter part of the race she moved up a few places and ran strongly on the uphill final section to finish 12th and win an individual. Sarah was the 4th scoring member of the Munster team who won gold in the interprovincial contest.
In the boys under 11 Liam Broderick was the first Waterford athlete home in 45th place this was a big improvement on his 117th place last year. Eoin Prendergast was running a year out of age and put in a great performance to finish 48th.  Eoin Morrissey got his first taste of All Ireland competition and finished 131st with Conor Keane not far behind in 138th.
All Ireland Team Bronze for under 13 Boys
The under 13 boys put in a huge team performance on Saturday. Last month they won the Munster championships on their way to qualifying for the All Ireland but Ian Holmes who was one of the scoring four that day was out of action through illness so the rest of the team knew that a big performance from each of them would be needed if they were to be in the medals and they duly delivered. Each of the scoring four improved on their placings of last year. David Gaffney was first across the line passing two athletes on the uphill run to the finish and crossing the line in 13th place just missing out on an individual medal but nine places better than last year. Cal Tutty came with a very strong last 400m to ensure he was second man home for the team and finished 31st eleven places better than last year. Eoghan Lattimore showed a huge improvement from last year running strongly throughout the race to finish 36th a whopping fifty three places better than last year. Darragh O’Regan was the fourth scoring member of the team improving almost twenty places from last year to finish 88th. Ben Qualter who is still under 12 didn’t make the team last year but did this year and finished 138th. The team finished in third place behind Mullingar Harriers and St Coco’s AC. David Gaffney also won a gold medal as a scoring member of the Munster team that won the inter provincial contest.
We had just one girl competing in the under 13 race as Grainne Moore was a member of the Waterford team. Grainne finished 134th in her race which was an improvement of almost thirty places on last year’s performance.
Surprise Silver  for Girls under 15 Team
If the boys under 13 put in a big performance the girls under 15 went one better and literally ran out of their skins to take second place in the inter club contest. On the day of the Munster Championships the team were without Caoimhe Prendergast and just qualified finishing 4th but they had Caoimhe back in full flow last Saturday and the rest of the team really rose to the occasion and were rewarded with silver medals. Having missed the last month through illness Caoimhe showed she was back at her best with a superb run to finish in 16th place.  Next home was Sarah Nyhan in 28th place this was a huge improvement from her 99th place last year and shows the strides she has made this year. The Cunningham sisters Ally and Lia had a private battle up the final hill to see who would cross the line first and in the process both passed several athletes in the run in helping the team score. Ally who missed all of last year showed she is coming back into form to finish in 31st with Lia next in 41st over ninety places better than last year.  Angelina Chizhikova improved over forty places from last year to come home 77th. Aoibh Murphy was under the weather during the week but was determined to run in her first All Ireland was next home in 129th and a much better run from Cathy Ní Sheanlaoich saw her finish just one place behind in 130th. The team finished in 2nd place behind Munster champions Youghal AC but well ahead of both Dooneen and Leevale who had beaten them in Munster. West Waterford supplied five on the scoring six on the county team that finished just outside the medals in 4th place.
West Waterford had just one athlete in the under 15 boys Tommy Fennell who had a great run in the Munster championships but he did not look comfortable at any stage in the race on Saturday last and finished 57th.  With a good rest over Christmas Tommy should be back to himself for the schools cross country in January. 
Another Great Performance from Lucy Holmes
Lucy Holmes put in another top notch performance to underline her standing as one of the best cross country runners in the country when she finished 2nd in the girls under 17 race. The race set off in the rain with a big group running at a steady place. All the well known athlete in this age group were in this leading bunch as they made their way around the first 2000m. On lap two however the field began to string out as Aimee Hayde took the lead and pushed on the pace followed in close order by Lucy Holmes. The pair pushed the pace all the way to the finish line with Aimee a clear winner and Lucy not far behind in 2nd but well clear of the third placed athlete. Munster had a very strong team in this race and they took the gold medals in the inter provincial contest with Lucy the second scoring member of the team. Lucy has also been selected on the Irish Junior (under20) development team for the upcoming Celtic International in Belfast. Mary Kate Prendergast finished 58th which was twelve places better than last year.
Conor Mullany was back in action at his first All Ireland of the year and finished 65th. Oisin O’Riordan was never far behind and finished 72nd. Next home was Eoin Buenaventura in 85th with Robert Quinn 96th and Mark Blackwell 104th. The club team finished in 7th place with the county team finishing in 5th place. 
Much Improved Run from Cian O’Riordan
In the final girls race of the day the under 19 girls Sophie Landers showed how much she has improved this year as she was first home for WWAC finishing in 38th place. Next home was Sinead O’Brien in 43rd place and Dani Cunningham completed the team in 48th place. All three girls improved on their placings from last year.
A much improved Cian O’Riordan finished in 16th place in the boys under 18. Starting at a steady pace in the first lap Cian was in the mid twenties but he improved steadily in each lap to come home in 16th place. Cian was the first Waterford athlete home and was the third scoring member of the Munster team who finished 2nd in the inter provincial contest to round off a very successful day of cross country running.
A tired and hungry group of athletes and parents stopped off at the Newpark Hotel
for a well earned meal after which the athletes were presented with their medals
Well done to all our athletes who competed with great enthusiasm and success at county Munster and All Ireland championships all your hard work over the past few months has paid off. Well done to our coaches for all their continued mentoring our young athletes and to our loyal parents for their continued support. Enjoy a well earned break over Christmas and we will see you all back in action in Colligan on Sunday Jan 20th and at our Table Quiz in Minnies on Friday January 25th