Ennis Track’s senior men’s team scored their first ever team medals at the National Championships on Sunday. Competing against Ireland’s best athletes, Ennis Track’s team of Dara, Rory and Patrick Chesser, Karl Fitzmaurice and Damien Landers were always at the business end of the race throughout the 10,000 metre course. The course was exceptionally fast, much of it flat but with a few energy-sapping hills towards the end of the 2-km loop. They all finished with tremendous style giving every ounce of energy over the final pull up to the finish line. Then the long wait while numbers were crunched and breaths held before hearing the wonderful news. All-Ireland silver! A superb achievement for the team and a first for Ennis Track. Particular kudos to Karl Fitzmaurice who also won the under 23 individual title.
Germany beckons for Karl
On the back of that performance, Karl has been chosen to represent Ireland at the European Cross-Country Championships in Italy on December 11th. Great credit is due to these athletes and indeed to their coach Pat Hogan for their dedication and hard work. As heroes and role models to our younger athletes, their example will pave the way to many future triumphs.
The senior team were by no means the only success of the day for Ennis Track. Running in the U14 girls’ competition, 12-year-old Neasa Ní Ainféin produced a really special performance. She had held third place through most of the 3000 m race and was in 3rd as she turned into the home straight! Unfortunately she was pipped on the line and had to settle for 4th. Watch out for this girl in 2 weeks’ time when she contests the U13 all-Ireland XC! Teammates Ellie Pike, Aoife Anderson, Eva Carey, Roise Ní Lachtnain and Roisin Cahill gave it their all in a very competitive race and contributed to a fantastic 5th place for the team in Ireland.
Our U14 boys team proved their class yet again with team gold for both club and county. This was no surprise, as the same group of boys won gold in 2013 and 2014, and silver in 2015, before getting back to their favourite colour this year with a stormer of a race. Though only one of the team (Mark Hanrahan) medalled individually, the team’s close packing towards the front secured them the team title for the 3rd time in 4 years. The team on Sunday was made up of Mark Hanrahan, Dean and Dylan Casey, Matthew Power, Colin Ryan and Conor Shanahan. Well done to the boys and to their coaches Ger Casey and Marie Roche for all their hard work and their belief in these young stars of athletics.
Later in the day Leah O’Neill, running solo, had a very good run in the girls’ 4000 m U16 race, coming in in 20th place. Ben Deasy also had a superb run in the 4000 m U16 boys race, just missing out on an individual medal with his 13th place. Teammates James McGuire, Jamie Kelly, Padraig Cahill and Scott Cave also ran well, earning themselves a very creditable 6th place overall in the club team competition.
The boys U18 & junior race (6000 m) saw no less than 9 Ennis Track athletes toeing the line. They were Patrick O’Rourke, Conor Devane, Bakhit Khamis Barra, Donal Devane, James Whelan, Mark Fahy, Callum Blake and Ricky Mulcaire at U18 and Liam Naughton at Junior level. A superb race saw the boys pull off a big surprise to take team gold with an individual medal for Patrick O’Rourke in 12th place. In the Junior men’s race Liam Naughton had a good performance coming in 28th place.
At Under 12, our girls team, Ellen Mannion, Avril Lillis, Mollie Pike and Neasa Ní Lachtnain ran well, placing 9th in Ireland, and our boys, Thomas McGuire, Cian O’Dell and Daire Connolly, were very impressive in the individual race. No doubt the going was tough but they ran with great heart and did themselves and their club proud.
Well done to all the athletes, coaches and parents on a superb day for sport in Clare. There’ll be smiles all round at training this week and we’ll be looking forward to an equally good outing to Dundalk for the Uneven-Ages All-Ireland Cross-Country on the 11th December.
- Patrick O’Rourke, who led his U18 Ennis Track team to All-Ireland Gold.
- Ennis Track’s U18 team with Patrick O’Rourke, Conor Devane, Bakhit Khamis Barra, Donal Devane, James Whelan, Mark Fahy, Callum Blake and Ricky Mulcaire.
- Ennis Track’s Senior and U23 team with Damien Landers, Dara Chesser, Karl Fitzmaurice, Rory and Patrick Chesser.
- Neasa Ní Ainiféin, 4th place in U14 girls.
- Job well done – time to eat!
- Mark Hanrahan (12th at U14).