Saoirse O'Brien U14 Individual Gold

Westport AC athlete Saoirse O’Brien won the U14 girls individual gold and the boys U12, boys U14 and boys U16s all won team gold medals at the GloHealth National Inter Club and Juvenile Even Age Cross Country Championships held in Santry on November 22nd.  Overall, Westport AC had tremendous success, securing three team gold medals and five individual medals, together with numerous county and provincial medals on the day.

A memorable day of competition saw big fields and a large spectator crowd that needn't have worried about the after effects of storm Barney. A bright crisp day greeted the early arrivals of the U12 girls 2,000m race which saw Roisin O’Brien running nothing short of a brilliant race storming home to place 6th in a field of 149 athletes. Roisin was followed by her team mates Laura Moran, Katie O’Grady, Sophie Scahill, Niamh Reilly and Aoife Staunton all running a great race, resulting in the team coming in 7th place and also aiding a bronze medal for the Connaught team. 
The next race was the U12 boys 2,000m race in which there was a tidal wave for the top spot with Conal Dawson running his heart out to finish in 4th position and win his first All-Ireland medal. Conal was followed by Niall McLoughlin 19th and Sean Heaney 24th, Colin Hastings, James Marrey, Niall McGreal and Danny Brennan in a field of 161. These seven boys won the first of the team golds of the day with a total of 100 points, 56 points clear of second place.
The next race for Westport was the U14 girls 3,000m, where the individual performance of the day went to Saoirse O’Brien, running a marvellous race to sprint home to the gold in a field of 160 girls.  Saoirse has been a medal winner, both in and out of age, since she started athletics but this is her first national cross country title.
The U14 boys 3,000m race followed with Ethan Lloyd leading the Westport pack in a spectacular race coming home in 11th with an individual medal.  Ethan was followed by Rossa McAllister just missing out on a medal in 13th, Malcolm MacEvilly 15th (running out of age), Oisin Ryall 19th, Shane O’Malley (also running out of age), Ronan O’Donnell, Joshua Lally, Tim Campion, Joe Grady and Kian Moore all running excellent races in a field of 153, contributing to the second team gold of the day with a score of 58, a full 63 points ahead of the silver, an incredible performance.  These boys also contributed to a Mayo team silver and Connaught team bronze.
The U16 boys 4,000m race was next where, coming in as a pack, Aaron Doherty was 17th, Cian McAllister 18th and Patrick chambers 19th. Closely behind was Shane Ryall placing 27th,  Luke Dawson (running out of age) and John Keane all running fantastically in a race with 142 competitors to produce another team gold with a score of 81, 34 points ahead of second place.  These boys (with some slight variation in personnel each year) have won a team medal every year since they started cross country running. 
The last race for Westport was the U18 girls 6,000m race where Aoife O’Brien (running out of age) finished in 9th place and Sorcha McAllister in 18th both running brilliantly in a field of 78.  In fact the three O’Brien sisters took home an individual medal each, at these National finals – an extremely talented family.Click HERE for Photos
The National Uneven Age Cross Country Championships take place next Sunday December 6th in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.