Westport AC U-12 athlete Malcolm McEvilly and the Westport AC Boys U-14 team won Golds in the GloHealth Inter-County Cross Country Even Ages Championships held in Dundalk on 23rd November. Overall, Westport secured two team medals and four individual medals.
On a day when Fionnuala Britton cemented her place as the top senior cross-country athlete in the country by winning her fifth All-Ireland title, the young athletes from Westport showed that they can compete with and beat the best runners in Ireland.
The races were run on a crisp clear day over a fairly flat course with tough energy-sapping conditions underfoot after a lot of rain in the days leading up to the races. Each race had a field ranging from 110 – 170 runners.
First up were the U12 Girls where Laura Moran and Roisin O’Brien, representing Mayo and Connacht over 2000m, ran really well (out of age) in a very competitive field.
Next to run were the U12 Boys over 2000m, where Malcolm McEvilly (Gold) ran from the front from start to finish in a remarkable display to successfully defend his U11 win last year. Shane O’Malley also ran well and finished very strongly to secure an individual medal for 12th place. Great runs from Conal Dawson(out of age), Harrison Quinn, Con McNamara and Ted Horan helped Westport to a team Bronze medal, also helping Mayo to secure Silver in the Inter-County competition.
In the U14 Girls 3000m race, Saoirse O’Brien (running out of age) held second place for much of the race before being pipped into third place for a Bronze medal. She was backed up with great runs from Anna O’Riain, Brianna Bruton(out of age), Kate Moran and Sarah Staunton.
Team Gold was won by the Westport U14 Boys. Anchored by Luke Dawson’s 8th place (individual medal), strength in depth paid off for Westport with four runners in the top 50. Securing the Team Gold (and helping Mayo to Bronze) were Dawson, Cillian Heaney(out of age), Thomas Devaney, Rossa McAllister(out of age) , Sean Doherty and Oisin Ryall(out of age).
Aoife O’Brien was the club’s only representative in the Girls U16 4000m, running strongly to a highly creditable 16th of a field of 120. Aoife was representing Mayo and Connacht and was the first Connacht athlete home.
In the U16 Boys 4000m, Aaron Doherty ran out of age for a top 15 finish, followed by his team-mates Cian McAllister(out of age), Sean O’Hanlon(out of age), Alex O’Riain and Eoghan McLaughlin.
Sorcha McAllister, although still U17, ran extremely well in the U18 / U20 joint race, which  should stand to her when she competes at U17 on 7th December.
The young athletes were able to witness a remarkable Men’s U20 race where two Westport natives, Con Doherty (running for UCD) and David Harper (running for Sligo AC), won Gold and Bronze respectively. Doherty secures an automatic place on the Irish team for the European Cross Country championships on 14th December in Bulgaria, while Harper’s run surely puts him firmly in the running for a spot. Click HERE to View Photos