Connacht Athletics Awards

Connacht Athletics Awards

Eight awards were won by GCH at the inaugural Connacht Athletics Awards – great report below by Connacht P.R O. Pierce O’Callaghan, who made these awards a reality.

McPhillips & Diver win inaugural Connacht Athletes of the Year Awards.

European U20 1500m Champion Cian McPhillips (Longford) and Tokyo Olympic Marathon 10th placer Sinead Diver (Mayo) have been voted the Connacht Athletes of the Year 2021 by a panel of 15 experts.

McPhillips had an exceptional year making the semi-final of the European Indoor 800m and breaking his fellow Longford man Ray Flynn’s Irish U20 1500m record in the process.

He beat off strong opposition including two Tokyo Olympic relay finalists Chris O’Donnell (North Sligo) and Cillín Greene (Galway City Harriers) who had the consolation of sharing the Paul Hession award for the Connacht Sprinter of the Year.

Sinead Diver broke new ground for both Ireland and her adapted Australia when she took a magnificent top 10 placing in the Tokyo Olympic Marathon.

The Belmullet woman, who is based in Melbourne but still a proud member of Mayo AC was the unanimous choice ahead of World relay medallist Sarah Quinn (St Colman’s South Mayo) and Swinford’s throwing sensation Michaela Walsh.

Galway’s Robert McDonnell won the U20 Athlete of the Year category for his 5th place finish in the European U20 200m final while Sligo-woman Erin Taheny won the women’s equivalent for her National sprint double.

The U18 categories were also top notch and the men’s award went to Liam Shaw (Athenry) who at 16 became the youngest ever Irish U20 Shot Put Champion as well as winning International Schools bronze while teenage Galway jumps sensation Angela Cielecka won the women’s equivalent over a very competitive field.

Fresh from his top 6 placing and team gold at the European Cross Country Championships in Dublin last weekend Keelin Kilreehill was voted the Connacht Cross Country runner of the year while Freya Renton (Westport) who won two National underage Cross Country titles this year has never been beaten in a Cross Country race.

The Masters awards were won by two long serving stalwarts of the sport at National level – Kathryn Casserly from Castlegar who has won over 30 Irish titles took the women’s award and the ever young Sean Breathnach took the men’s award.

The Hall of Fame award for significant contribution to Connacht Athletics went to former Connacht Council Chairman Michael O’Brien (Carrick-on-Shannon) who has fulfilled numerous roles within the sport and was a founding member of the very successful Carrick-on-Shannon athletics club in Leitrim.

The John McDonnell Connacht Coach of the Year was perhaps the most competitive award of the night and in the end the judges couldn’t separate Philip Finnerty for his trojan successes for his native Moy Valley and Brendan Glynn for his major impact in raising the level of Connacht sprinting including a hand in two of the mixed relay team in Tokyo as well as coach to Sarah Quinn who won a World Relay medal.

The Fr Kevin Ryle award for the Connacht Official of the Year was shared between Connacht Council Secretary Amanda Hynes (Swinford) and Athenry’s Iain Shaw, without whom no Connacht Championships could take place.

The club of the Year was shared between Moy Valley and Craughwell as two outstanding clubs who hare operating at the highest level in terms of athlete numbers, organising events, national medals won, and facilities built.

The Development club of the Year went to the popular newcomer Loch Lurgan who were only established in 2018 but already have 150 members, the best dressed athletes in the province and numerous athletes qualified at National level.

The prestigious discipline awards named after legends of the sport in Connacht went to:

  • Paul Hession Medal to Connacht sprinter of the Year
  • Chris O’Donnell (North Sligo) & Cillín Greene (Galway City Harriers)
  • Mary Cullen Medal to the Connacht Distance Athlete of the Year
  • Cian McPhilipps (Longford)
  • Billy Glynn Medal to the Connacht Jumper of the Year
  • Evan Hallinan (Craughwell)
  • Martin Sheridan Medal to Connacht Thrower of the Year
  • Conor Cusack (Lake District)
  • Olive Loughnane Medal to Connacht Race Walker of the Year
  • Cian McManamon (Westport)
  • Mary Barrett Medal to the Connacht multi-eventer of the Year
  • Louise King (St. Colman’s South Mayo)

The Pride of Connacht Athletics Inspiration Award was shared by Jessica Burke (Galway City Harriers) and Craughwell’s Shauna Bocquet for their inspirational deeds in raising funds for a track and finishing a race with a bleeding nose against all the odds.

The Awards will be presented in a glittering ceremony on zoom in early January with lots of special guests already confirmed.
The Connacht Council wish to congratulate all winners and nominations and wish all members a Happy Christmas.

National Novice, Junior, and Juvenile Uneven Age Cross Country Championships at Gowran Park in Kilkenny

Cross Country Championships

Great results of GCH athletes competing in the National Novices Cross Country Championships in Gowran.
Ellen Moran was a superb 4th in the Women’s race, cementing her stellar 2022 in real style.
Barbara Dunne, Maebh Brannigan and Aine O’Farrell completed the team points in 26th, 53rd and 62nd respectively for a brilliant 5th club placing.
We had an impressive 9 Novice women running in total, all high quality runners this year, with Olive Gleeson (77th), Niamh Hennelly (80th), Eleanor Whyte (109th), Deirdre Moran Smyth (119th) and Deirdre McCrae (121sts) all having excellent runs.
In the Men’s race David Carter and Aaron Brennan were 24th & 26th placed of a huge field, with Conor Byrne & David Mannion high up also.
At under 17 level, Isabella Burke can be well-pleased with a great 29th place, while our Juvenile club fielded 2 club teams and another six individuals who all did the club very proud; see GCH Juvenile page for details

Fantastic team photo from yesterday’s National XC of our Novice women’s team that featured Aine, Barbara, Deirdre, Deirdre, Eleanor, Ellen, Maebh, Niamh & Olive. Great turnout and great way to end our club’s Cross Country season and 2021 overall. Photo courtesy of Maebh Brannigan.

National Cross Country Uneven Ages

GCH travelled to sunny Gowran, Kilkenny with a large contingent for the National Uneven Ages Cross Country Championships.
Our Under 11s kicked off the day: these 3 representatives made it to the Nationals at the first time of asking, which is a great achievement. Emily Maloney placed 177th following a great season. Both Keelan Keady & Finn Lynagh were only just outside the Top 100 in the boys race.

Our u13 Boys were represented by Justin McCarthy who was just inside the top 100 in 95th.

Justin’s sister Jennifer was part of a strong GCH u13 Girls team that competed really well, spearheaded by Keilah Murray in 82nd and Caoimhe Lydon in 99nd. Jennifer, Laura Campion, Rachel Francis & Jessica Burke completed the squad that finished in 18th position. Keilah Murray was also part of the Galway team that came a creditable 7th in the Inter County competition.

The Under 15 Boys also had a team, led by Harry Keaney (85th), Odhran O’Driscoll (89th) inside the top 100 and followed closely by Dara Comer Byrne & Eamon Lydon. The Boys Team finished 15th in Ireland overall, a great achievement.

In other juvenile races, Caitlin Podmore and Sophie Foley were not far from too 100 in 120th & 130th respectively while last but not least at all, Isabella Burke had our highest finish if the day in the under 17 race when placing 29th.

Superb running all round, thanks to all parents & coaches for the driving, cheering, coaching and support. It brings a great 2021 cross country season to a close. well done to all our athletes who competed.
Finishing positions today in summary:

Emily Maloney 177th
Keelan Keady 105th
Finn Lynagh 106th

Keilah Murray 82nd
Caoimhe Lydon 99th
Jennifer McCarthy 115th
Laura Campion 135th
Rachel Francis 159th
Jessica Burke 160th
Girls Team 18th

U13 Boys
Justin McCarthy 95th

Caitlin Podmore 120th
Sophie Foley 130th
Harry Keaney 85th
Odhran O’Driscoll 89th
Dara Comer Byrne 129th
Eamon Lydon 135th
Boys Team 15th

29th Isabella Burke

Congrats to all who ran so well and did their club proud.

Congratulations to the members of the new Galway Athletics county board

Galway Athletics county board

Our own Brian Bruton maintains his role as P.R.O., with Craughwell’s Marion McEvilly the new Chairperson. In the Secretary position will be Tuam’s Tamara O’Callaghan, who in a previous life was CEO of Cycling Ireland & held roles in the English FA and the International Olympic Committee.

Elsewhere, Andy Talbot is Treasurer and PJ Coyle is a delegate to Connacht board. Full committee listing in the attached link below
We are blessed in Galway (& Connacht) to have people of such calibre in these and other committee roles & wish them well in continuing the county’s great profile & success in athletics.

Pictured at the National Cross Country in Gowran last weekend were Connacht Council chairman Brian Bruton and secretary Amanda Hynes who are normally there before anyone arrives and last to leave….

Ballinderreen 10k

Galway County 10km championships hosted by the Ballinderreen 10km and South Galway AC on Sunday 28th November 2021.

The talented Hugh McCardle of Roscommon Harriers claimed the honours in a time of 32.58, Enda Marren second and Gary Higgins third. Stephen Casserly of Castlgar AC was first Galway club athlete home taking the Galway title

First lady home was Grainne Ni Uallachain of Galway City Harriers, in a fast time of 37.50 with the city club taking all the podium spots and Galway championship medals, via Neasa De Burca in second and Clare Rowe in third. Pictured here with Siobhan Kelleher Organiser of the BDN 10K. Photo credit John O Connor.

Well done to everyone who took part in the BDN 10K today. Many thanks to South Galway AC for hosting this great event.

National Cross Country Championship

Thomas McStay

Glorious conditions at Santry for today’s National Cross Country where the cream of Irish distance-running gathered. GCH enjoyed a Top Ten finish courtesy of Thomas McStay, a momentous 8th place in the hotly contested Senior Men’s race. And it was enough for a superb bronze at under 23 Level, a performance that had been touted but it takes something great to deliver the goods as Thomas did today.

Team mate Aaron Brennan (62nd) & David Carter were also inside the Top 100 Seniors, while David Bohan & Conor Byrne were not far behind. Aaron was a brilliant 21st in the u23 category.

Aine O’Farrell showed great form in the stacked-with-stars Senior Women’s race to place 86th. At u18 level, Isabella Burke stormed to a brilliant 32nd out of age, so will relish the u17 event in two weeks. She took the time afterwards to get a photo with hero Ciara Mageean! Eoin Killeen performed very well too with a 152nd place in the u18 Boys race.

Thomas McStay gave us more good news when he was annnounced as part of the Irish Under 23 Cross Country team for the forthcoming European Cross Country Championships on December 12th.
Congrats to Thomas and two fellow Connacht athletes Keelan Kilreehill (Moy Valley) and Thomas Devaney (Castlebar) on their selection: for Connacht to have half of the 6-man team is very encouraging for the province.

Another GCH connection at today’s announcement was AI’s National Endurance Co-ordinator, Matt Locket who spoke of the hard work put in by athletes and coaches to reach this milestone and of his confidence in the squads’ ability to compete with Europe’s best.



The following dates are known or suggested for important 2022 fixtures. This list will be updated as we know morethroughout the year… Schools events are relayed thru the schools so please keep them informed of your child’s interest.

January 2022

  • 8th/9th County Indoors, AIT
  • 15th/16th possible date for National Indoor Combined Events, TBC

February 2022

  • 19th Connacht Indoors Day 1 AIT
  • 20th Connacht Indoors Day 2 AIT

March 2022

  • 12th All Ireland Schools XC, Mullusk, Belfast
  • 13th National Junior & U/23 Indoor C’ships, Athlone
  • 19/20th National Juvenile Indoors Day 1 & Day 2, Athlone

April 2022

  • 2nd National Juvenile Indoor C’ships – Day 3, Athlone

May 2022

  • All TBC
  • County u9/10/11/12 Outdoor, Dangan
  • County u13-19 Outdoor, Dangan
  • County Relays Outdoor, Dangan
  • South Connacht Schools, Dangan (Minor & Junior)/AIT (Inter & Senior plus all hurdles)
  • Connacht Schools, AIT

June 2022

  • 4th (Sat) All Ireland Schools Track & Field, Tullamore
  • 11th (Sat) Connacht Children’s Games and Under 12/13s TBC
  • 18th (Sat) Connacht u14-19 & Junior/Senior/Masters TBC

July 2022

  • 3rd National Juvenile T & F, Day 1, Tullamore
  • 9/10th National Juvenile T & F, Days 2 & 3, Tullamore
  • 17th National Junior T & F
  • 23/24th AAI Games & Combined Events

Strength & Conditioning Sessions

Strength & Conditioning Sessions

New Block of Strength & Conditioning Sessions with David Fitzpatrick – Monday the 8th of November at 6:30pm.

The block is 6 weeks long and will consist of only Monday sessions. However, it is not necessary to do all 6 weeks. There are are ticket sales for either individual days or for the entire block.

Mondays – 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of October, and 6th and 13th of December.

Each session will be approximately 45 minutes in length. Monday’s session will be starting at the slighltly earlier time of 6.30pm.

These sessions are open to anyone, not just runners, but the sessions will be tailored towards getting stronger, more robust for running and exercising and general injury prevention. If you own or have access to equipment then great bring it along. If not do not worry just bring with you anything at all you can that can add an extra challenge to the workout. Examples of this could be a bag pack full of clothes or books or a mixture, a bag of potatoes etc.

Connacht Cross Country Results

Results of the Connacht Cross Country for Senior/Novice/Masters & Juvenile Even Ages thanks to Connacht Athletic.

Ellen Moran continued her stellar season when she was first home in the Senior Women category, while David Bohan ran superby again to be the second-placed Novice male. Olive Gleeson & Niamh Hennelly were a very impressive 1st & 3rd respectively in their 35+ Masters category.

GCH’s top placed under 18 performers were William McDonnell (2nd) and Isabella Burke (3rd), while Eoin Killeen (4th) & Ella O’Connor (8th) placed in the top 10. Well done to the organisers on a very well-rated event with great feedback from far & wide.

The following is a list of the participants from the club & finishing positions:

Senior/Masters/Novice categories:

Ladies Senior
1st Ellen Moran

Women 35+
1st Olive Gleeson
3rd Niamh Hennelly

Novice Men
2nd David Bohan

Men 35+
6th Malcolm Lloyd

Men 50+
9th John Moran

Under 18 Girls
3rd Isabella Burke
8th Ella O’Connor

Under 18 Boys
2nd William McDonnell
4th Eoin Killeen

In the younger Juvenile age categories, the following competed:

Under 12 Girls
12th Emily Maloney
13th Lauren Foley
41st Sarah Donald

Emily & Lauren were scoring members of the Galway team that won team gold.

Under 14 Girls
32nd Caoimhe Lydon
51st Jessica Burke

Under 14 Boys
9th Oisin Maher
11th Odhran O’Driscoll
30th Eamon Lydon
38th James O’Connor
GCH team were 5th

Oisin was a scoring member of the Galway team that won gold in the team competition.

Under 16 Girls
15th Caitlin Podmore
19th Keela Loomes
25th Saoirse Coleman

Caitlin was a scoring member of the Galway County team that finished 2nd.

Congrats to our fellow Galway Athletics clubs who delivered many memorable performances across the programme. It is always a very nice feature of Connacht & National Cross Country that Galway athletes get to compete together as a team.

Ballinderreen 10km

Sunday, 28th November 2021

12:30: Race starts in Ballinderreen village (5 mins walk from the Community Centre/GAA pitch).

10.00-12.00: Race Number pick up for online registration (€20), & Day Registrations (€23), at Ballinderreen Community Centre
(Car parking close by in the GAA pitch).

The course is AAI certified measured, CHIP TIMED, & qualifies as a 2021 Galway County Championship 10k event.

  • Prizes for various categories.
  • Water station close to the 5k mark.
  • Race finishes at community centre.
  • Toilets available at the community centre and GAA grounds.

Event location: 53.182785, -8.906285

Juvenile 1km Race

(Age 8 to 16) at 12:00 pm

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