The Irish under 17 teams had great success when they traveled to Cardiff last weekend taking both the girls and boys team golds .
On a difficult snow covered course, the Celtic International was incorporated in the U17 McCain Cross Challenge series. First race of the day was the girls over a distance of 4.290m, Siobhra O’Flaherty of SLOT AC took up the running from the start and was leading at the first bend. She held this position for the whole race despite a strong challenge at the start of the second lap from the top Scottish athlete Gillian Black who got to within a couple of meters of the Irish athlete.
Undeterred Siobhra upped the pace and put 10 meters between herself and the Scottish athlete within a hundred meters.
She extended this lead and finished 5 seconds ahead of her Scottish rival.
Next Irish girl home was Isabelle Odlum, DSD. Isabelle had only been called up to the team on the previous Thursday as Aoife Hamilton of West Waterford had to withdraw due to ill-health. Isabelle looked very comfortable over the distance and finished very strongly in 7th position followed home by her DSD team mate Eimear Fitzpatrick in 8th position. Aoife Mulroy, Swinford AC ran a strong race finishing well in 25th place.
Next up were the under 17 boys racing over a distance of 5.650m. Pierre Muchan Celtic DCH, and Kevin Muclaire, Ennis track took off with the leading group for the first lap but the superior class of Jac Hopkins from Wales soon came to the fore as he extended his lead away from the rest of the field, finishing 30 seconds ahead of his nearest rival. Kevin and Pierre had a great battle on the finishing straight with Kevin just getting the edge on the line to finish in 9th with Pierre in 10th position. Ferghal Curtin, Youghal AC ran an excellent race this being his first time over the longer distance and he is still only 14 years of age. Ferghal finished in 14th place and Luke Horgan, Leevale completed the team positions finishing in 24th.
With both the team honours and an individual golds, they travelled home on Sunday evening delighted with their performances in their first international competition. Well done to all involved.