IUAA Cross Country Championships Preview
The Irish University Athletics Association Cross Country Championships will take place tomorrow, 4th March, hosted by the University of Limerick (UL) on the Maguires playing fields. Over 250 athletes across 13 universities will battle it out for team and individual prizes, with the women’s race kicking off at 14.00 followed by the men at 14.45.
Last year’s overall winners DCU will be looking to field strong teams as usual in both the men’s 8k and the women’s 5k races. However, NUIG’s men got a taste for glory last year when they brought home the men’s trophy, and they will be looking to follow this up with another success. Hosts UL and last year’s 4th place finishers Trinity College Dublin (TCD) will be battling out for the final spot on the men’s podium, with large teams also entered from Queens University Belfast (QUB), Technical University of Dublin (TUD) and University College Cork (UCC).
On the women’s side, TCD will be hoping to maintain their winning streak and make it 4 in a row with a victory in Limerick. They will face stiff competition from their close neighbours and rivals University College Dublin (UCD) and DCU’s ever strong women’s team.
NUIG’s Fiona Everard has been in flying form, clocking a blistering 09.23 on the road in the Armagh International 3k last month. Her competition will include Shona O’Brian (UCC) and Aoife O’Cuill (DCU), gold medallists in the 1500m and 3000m races at the IUAA indoors in January. The UL team will be spearheaded by Niamh Cunneen. Avril Deegan (DCU), fresh off the back of her win at the National Intermediate XC, will be throwing herself into the mix also. Others to keep an eye on include UCD’s Róisín O’Reilly and DCU’s Róise Roberts.
In the men’s race Keelan Kilrehill (DCU) will be aiming for the top spot once again, following up on his success as the first man home on Ireland’s silver winning European U23 XC team in Turin. NUIG’s Thomas McStay and UL’s Oisin Spillane and Jose Ignacio Gimenez Perez will also be fighting for the medal positions. Medal winners from IUAA indoors Philip Marron (TUD), Cathal O’Reilly (DCU), Mark Hanrahan (UL) and Sean Cotter (NUIG) will all be hoping to put their names on the scoreboard and earn vital points to push their teams over the line. Thomas Devaney (UL) will be another key asset to the UL team after his strong run at European U23 XC.