Leinster success for Drogheda athletes
The future of any Athletic Club depends on it's ability to recruit, develop and most importantly retain its Youths section as they're the people who will guide the club in the coming years.
The seeds of Drogheda & District AC's decision to expand its youth section bore fruit in abundance at last Saturday's Leinster Novice and Even Age Cross Country Championships which were held at Navan Racecourse when the DDAC Junior men took the Leinster team title for the first time.
With the Under 18's and the Junior Men's 6K races being run together this really was a hot bed of talent and the pace was ferocious right from the gun.
Tadhg Donnelly who's not afraid of the hard work needed to succeed at this level poured on the pace in spades right from the gun and was rewarded with a magnificent 2nd place finish in the Under 18 event and backed up by Cormac Canning who had a great run to finish 4th overall, things were looking good for the team prize.
Thanks to some strong finishing by Liam Mulligan and Sean Toner the club team secured the bronze medals in the club team category and made up the bulk of the County team which took gold against the best that the province had to offer when beating a strong Meath team by a single point.
In the Junior Men's event, James Nolan made a successful return to racing when finishing 7th overall and along with Donnelly, Canning and Mulligan were on the County team which took the gold medals.
For the Junior ladies, young Kate O'Reilly ran well to finish 44th overall and scored on the Louth team that qualified for the All Irelands later in the year.
In the Men's Novice race which was of a very high standard, Paul Smith ran well to be the first finisher in 26th place against some quality opposition over this tough course, while club mate Johnny Breen was having a terrific run to finish just a minute behind in 62nd spot.
Close behind the fast finishing Fintan Maher and Shane Larkin packed well and made up the quartet which finished 10th in the club team competition.
Also running were Cillian Dyas, David Walsh and Daragh Campbell.
Some of the finest road runners were taking on the daunting challenge of running 26 miles at last Sunday's Dublin City Marathon.
The weather God's were certainly smiling as the day dawned cold but dead calm which suited the runners as wind is always the enemy in distance running.
Our first finisher from last year was Stephen Kelly and he just managed to claim that spot again when finishing in 2:41:08 which is some running, a mere 9 seconds behind was Brian Martin who ran a fabulous 2:41:17.
Close behind was Ruaidhri Nolan who judged the pace to perfection to record 2:45:13 for the classic distance.
John Reilly went so close to cracking the elusive 3 hour mark when crossing the line in 3:00:41 and it wasn't for the lack of trying as every second takes it out of the legs at sub 3 hour pace.
Others who ran well were Colin Leonard (3:05:10), Stephen Floyd (3:05:18) and John Cooper (3:07:32).
Our first finisher in the Women's race was Rachel McCormack who ran an intelligent race to finish in 3:20:43 and she looks to have ability over this distance.
Karen Delaney was the second woman across the line in 3:50:02, while Niamh Matthews, Gillian Farrelly and Helen Dillon all finished in 3:56.
Also running that time were Barbara Byrne, and Carmel Keenan.
Perhaps the real winners on the day were the many thousands of people who were brave enough to take on the challenge of this pretty unforgiving event and in the process transformed themselves into budding athletes while developing a new sporting career.