Monday 23 October 2017

Clubs turn attention to cross-country season

WITH THE track and field season culminating in David Hynes' remarkable 100m victory at the Senior championships on July 28, attentions of the clubs in Co. Wexford have now switched to the impending cross-country season. Only a few athletes - those competing in the combined events and development events - have any track and field events until the 2014 indoor season.

The cross-country season of competitions runs from October into January and many clubs have turned to concentrate on distance and endurance from the start of the month of August. While national dates have been set, All-Irelands are scheduled for November 24 and December 15, Athletics Leinster have yet to set dates and Athletics Wexford can only anticipate when the provincial championships will take place as of yet. A meeting of the County Board will take place the first week of September to set fixtures, with Leinster dates most likely to be set at this stage.

In the meantime the Development committee of Athletics Wexford, led by John Joe Doyle, who is the County Development Officer, and the County Chairman, Paddy Morgan, have begun to work on a schedule of development events to strengthen Wexford's presence on the cross-country scene, especially in terms of county team performances.

While there were many fine individual performances, in particular at Leinster level, during the 2013 season, only the Wexford Senior men's team, who finished third in Leinster, went forward to nationals. Some notable results included at Senior level, Tom Hogan (S.B.R.) who took silver in the Leinster Senior championship and Catherine Murphy (Slaney Olympic) who took the Leinster women's Masters title.

At Juvenile level, only three athletes took Leinster medals: Lauren Kinsella in the girls' Under-18 (Enniscorthy A.C.), Michael Carroll in the boys' Under-13 (D.M.P.) and Luke Byrne in the boys' Under-11 and Under-12 (Adamstown A.C.).

Luke went on to win gold in the All-Ireland with the Leinster team and Michael finished just one place outside the individual medals at the national championships. This is in marked contrast to the huge medal haul across the disciplines and at all levels during the recent track and field season.

This year Athletics Wexford is looking at not only encouraging the clubs to get back training early, but also at organising a number of county training sessions, such as those organised by John Joe Doyle at the Raven Point last October and November. Some clubs have already commenced endurance training - Taghmon were back on July 31, and other clubs such as S.B.R., D.M.P. and Slaney Olympic ran summer leagues over the past few months, again with high levels of participation.

The successful Juvenile Winter League, a collaboration between United Striders, St. Paul's, Taghmon, Adamstown, Menapians and S.B.R., brought out huge numbers of Juveniles over the course of the middle distance events and it is hoped that the clubs will build on this as they approach the cross-country season. While championship distances are longer (they start at 1,500m for Under-11s) than the Winter League races, there is huge potential for these Juveniles to build on their performances and advance to the greater distances, given good pre-championship training and preparation.

The first local early season competitive event will be the Adamstown A.C. open cross-country on Sunday, September 15, to be held on the same course that hosted the National Novice and Uneven Age Juvenile Championships last December. Distances, starting at 500m for Under-9s, will be slightly down on championship distances as will those at the open cross-country in Kilmacow on September 29, hosted by St. Senan's A.C.

In addition to these competitions, there will be a number of training sessions open to all clubs across the county during September. Dates and venues will be confirmed shortly, but will most likely take place on Sunday mornings. Coupled with early season training facilitated by local club coaches, it is hoped to have a strong pool of athletes competing to wear the Wexford vest, going forward to Leinster following the county championships.

Anyone, Juvenile or Senior, interested in training and taking part in the cross-country championships, should contact their local athletics club, who will be receiving information such as fixture dates and venues following the next County Board meeting.

Wexford People

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