National Indoor Arena, Abbotstown

Craughwell AC’s senior women’s team had a strong performance in round 1 of the National Indoor League held at the National Sports Arena in Dublin. The team were placed 6th out of the 12 teams after round 1 with 36 points, just 5 points adrift from 3rd place.

Team captain Sarah Finnegan led by example with a blistering 9.85 to take 3rd place in the 60m hurdles. Sarah's time was just a fraction away from her own club senior record of 9.81 set all the way back in 2008, setting her up for a very promising season. Sinead Treacy placed 4th in the 60m sprint in a solid time of 8.04 while Sinead Gaffney had an impressive 2.21.52 run to place 7th in the 800m. In the field events Leanagh Gilligan leaped 4.85m to take 6th place in the long jump while Aoife Kelly took 9th place in the shot put with a good throw of 6.10 with the 4kg weight.

Jack Miskella competed as a guest in the men’s 1500m running a good early season time of 4.10.

Craughwell AC’s senior women’s team had a good performance in round 1 of the National Indoor League held at the National Sports Arena in Dublin. Team captain Sarah Finnegan led by example with a blistering 9.85 to take 3rd place in the 60m hurdles. Sinead Treacy placed 4th in the 60m sprint in a solid time of 8.04 while Sinead Gaffney had an impressive 2.21.52 run to place 7th in the 800m. In the field events Leanagh Gilligan leaped 4.85m to take 6th place in the long jump while Aoife Kelly took 9th place in the shot put with a good throw of 6.10 with the 4kg weight. Jack Miskella competed as a guest in the men’s 1500m running a good early season time of 4.10.

The craughwell 10 mile / 10k is set for Sunday March 22nd 2020.

Note: It has an earlier start time of 10.30 compared to other years.

Register online at:

More details to follow closer to the race.

After the heavy rains of late, the National Cross Country course in Abbotstown provided a challenging and muddy venue for the 2019 Even Age and Senior National Cross Country Championships.  The nationals represent a culmination of the year for many - a chance to show the fitness gains made in the long weeks and months of training since the Summer, but also tricky to be right on the day.  Coming from Connacht, the standard can be a shock to the system and medals are always rare.  Fortunately on this occasion almost all of the Craughwell Athletes managed to deliver season-best performances at the right time, and it made for a record-equalling best day for the club at this level in terms of success with no less than two individual medal winners, one club team medal, contributing athletes on a Galway team medal and several breakthrough performances which guarantee the athletes participation in the Connacht Endurance squads for 2020.

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The mini-rockets!  Bronze medal winning u12 Boys!!

In the second race of the day, Craughwell AC's under 12 boys team won team Bronze with an excellent score of 205 points in a ferocious race over two challenging 1km laps.  They were led home by Stephen Joyce, stepping up in age who was 22nd, followed by Keelan Moorehead in 36th with Declan O'Connell and Stephen Ruane working well together in 73rd and 74th.  This is a phenomenal result, and great credit goes to them and their coaches, led by the inimitable Ronnie.  The u12 girl's team of Emma O'Donovan (102), Katelyn Walsh (112), Keevagh Barry (127), Ciara O'Connor (143) Amelie Bocquet and Aeveen Kelly all ran strongly in the very challenging conditions.

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U12 Girls with Ronnie - all ran brilliantly!

Mathys Bocquet finished 5th in the u14 boys race in a razor tight photo-finish to win Bronze as Craughwell's highest individual finisher of the day.  There were just 5 seconds separating the first 6 athletes.  I have to confess on the day I was convinced Mathys was 4th and a few re-watches of the AAI live stream hasn't changed my mind!  It was as close as it gets!  Mathys had Galway company in Gearoid King of Castlegar who was 10th which is a great result for the county.

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Mathys finishes in the medals for two years running!

This is the second year in a row that Mathys has medalled at the nationals - last year he finished 6th - an amazing achievement!

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Sean battling for the line against an ambush!

Sean Cotter had a fantastic run, stepping up in age to come 6th in the hotly contested u18 Boys race, one of the most challenging categories and surely a contender for Craughwell performance of the day.  Sean is no stranger to the podium at national level - he looked fresh, fast and full of running. 

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Yet another national medal for Sean!

I think my vote, and that of many others I spoke to for performance of the day also came in that race.  Kyle Moorehead has been super-solid in training for the last few months but often walks away from XC races wondering why his training form isn't translating to race position as it should. 

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Kyle running one-footed!

Yesterday the 2019 international steeplechaser shook that monkey off his back as he went out fearlessly from the start and drove through the field tirelessly with the big guns.  About 3.5k into the 6km race disaster struck on the uphill as the mud sucked his shoe off him and he was left with one spike for the remainder of the slippery course.  Amazingly, Kyle didn't let that deter him and he only lost a few positions over the last 2.5k.  I have no doubt that the shoe cost Kyle about 20-30 seconds over the course so there is no telling where he might have ended up had is stayed on.  Regardless, it was a fantastic run from Kyle!  When looking for pics of the event, one of the AAI photographers had captured this artistic shot of a shoe hanging from a tree - yes, it's Kyles :D!!

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Kyle's Spike is probably still decorating this tree in Abbotstown

Three Craughwell AC Athletes contested the Junior men's race. William Fitzgerald took his place as one of the top prospects in the country with a superb 17th place finishing position with Patrick Noonan in 58th of the 130 finishers.  This was a phenomenal performance for William in particular, to finish second Galway Junior on the day.  William and Patrick both scored in the Galway team which took national Bronze medals.  Ben Ryan is building back to running fitness and also ran in the race and acquitted himself very well.  

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Kyle and William after the race

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William powers home to a 17th place finish and Galway County Bronze!

One note of hindsight!  Afterwards we were informed that u18s could be entered as Juniors - had we thought of that we would have been 4th Junior team behind Ennis and very close to medalling as a team with the combined performances of Sean, William, Kyle and Patrick.  Doh!! Next year!!  It is FANTASTIC to see Galway Juniors medalling at the Nationals.  A phenomenal Galway result worth mentioning in the race was Thomas McStay of GCH's brilliant Bronze - great to see!  This current crop of Galway Juniors are all super-sound, supportive of each other and have an excellent attitude to the sport - I'm really optimistic about the future of Galway distance running!

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Patrick wins Galway County Bronze

In the u16 boys race, Ross McGuinness ran a phenomenally quick race 4000m to finish 32nd and first Connacht man home.  Ross managed to sustain a superb 3:28/km for the distance over atrocious muck.  Anthony Boyle, running his second ever cross country recovered well from a quick start to finish 97th in the very strong field.

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Ross and Anthony show great form!

Emily Miskella continued to improve as she finished 38th home and 2nd Connacht girl in the u16 girls race, which had a massive field - Killary sorted for next year!.  

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Emily delighted with her top-40 finish!

Emilie's clubmate and training partner Emma Boyle also had an excellent run in the u18 girls race to finish 47th and 3rd Connacht woman - a fantastic performance for Emma and marked step up from her last outing.

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Emma enjoying a well-deserved post-race Coffee

Caron Ryan is not a huge fan of the Abbotstown course but had a solid run among the u23 women to finish 10th overall - Caron is only 20 and has another two years in this category and still feels that she has more to prove on the Abbotstown course - I have no doubt that she will enjoy the feeling of banishing those Abbotstown demons next year!.  

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Caron showing great form

In the Senior men's race over 10km, I (Mark Davis) was first home for Craughwell in 97th place followed by Jack Miskella who came 16th u23 in the same race.  For anyone that might finish high up in their local road races or win the odd park run, the event is an eye opener and a good reality-check!!  To put in perspective, pretty much anyone in the top 140 would be a potential 5k series winner in Galway!  I actually think the standard has risen in my time involved in the sport and I feel this is the case in many age groups - it's great to see!

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10k XC is fun and all, but Jack and Mark happy that's over!!


Mark 3rd from left with the Irish M45 team

Mark Davis made his international debut at the weekend when representing Ireland in the British & Irish Masters Cross Country held in Aintree on Saturday. It was a fantastic achievement for Mark to be selected to represent our country and just reward for years of dedication to the sport. An impressive performance saw Mark place 9th overall and in the process help the Irish team to silver medals behind England and ahead of the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland teams. Results are here.

Also in action at the weekend, Caron Ryan put in a terrific first leg in the annual Universities Road Relays held in Maynooth to help her Trinity College to team gold in this prestigious event in a time of 34:10, just 12 seconds ahead of DCU in 34:22. The women’s race is a 4-leg relay over 1-2-2-1 miles, while the men compete in a 5-leg relay over 1-2-3-2-1 miles.

In the men’s event, Jack Miskella also had a fine performance when running the first leg of the relay for his NUIG team who went on to win the bronze medal – the first time in the 33-year history of the event that NUIG have medalled. Results are on the very impressive IUAA website which is an excellent resource for anyone with an interest in athletics. Check out also the legendary John O'Connor's 77edenhill website for photos of the road relays including the ones below.


Caron pictured 3rd from right with her Trinity College teammates


Jack 2nd from right on the start line for the men's road relay

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Mark racing to victory in the Headford 8k 2008 (photo nicked from Athenry AC website)

Best of luck to coach extraordinaire and cross country specialist Mark Davis who represents Ireland this Saturday in the British & Irish Masters Cross Country Championships on the fabled grounds of Aintree racecourse. There’s clearly something in the water in Cahercrin that helps its residents make the grade for Aintree or Cheltenham!

To my knowledge, Mark becomes the first coach from the club to be selected to represent Ireland – others have made it in the past, but prior to their coaching careers including Diarmuid Quill (high jump), Mark Gillen (1500m) and Noel Harvey (10k and xcountry).

Mark's contribution to the club is immense. One of the founding members of the senior section of the club back in 2005, Mark helped drive the senior circuit training sessions in the hall for many years - these predated fit4life and became the seed for the club’s very successful fit4life group in later years when AAI launched that initiative. And in parallel with all of that, Mark has been one of the key coaches in the juvenile club, helping many to great achievements particularly in middle distance and cross country.

One would wonder where Mark finds the time to do his own training, but find it he does and like a vintage wine, Mark keeps on getting better with age! He is on the cusp now of breaking personal bests in a range of distances that he set when 10 years younger – amazing stuff!

To be selected to represent Ireland is a massive achievement and honour for Mark. To have Mark in our club is a massive honour and privilege for the rest of us! Best of luck at the weekend Mark!

Friday the 24th. .