Euro XC and Novice/Juvenile XC Championships take place this weekend (8th – 9th December 2012):
Armagh AC’s Stephan Kerr will lead the Ireland junior men’s team alongside fellow Northern Ireland athlete Newcastle’s Eoghan Totten. Sean Tobin (Clonmel AC), Ian Guiden (Clonliffe Harriers) and Killian Mooney (Dundrum South Dublin) will join the pair as the strive for a medal at this weekend’s European XC Championships in Budapest
Kilcoole AC’s Finnuala Britton will be the Irish teams main medal hope, having won the title last year she will again be one of the main contenders this time around. The event will be covered live on RTE from 12-2pm on Sunday, 9th of December.
Meanwhile, closer to home…. The Woodie’s DIY National Novice and Juvenile Uneven Age Championships take place on Sunday 9th of December 2012 in Adamstown, Co Wexford. The women’s and men’s novice championship will provide a thrilling conclusion to the day’s action, while Ireland’s finest underage athletes will also battle it out for National titles in the juvenile uneven ages from U11 to U19.
Kerry’s Laura Crowe (An Riocht AC) will start as the firm favourite to take the women’s novice title. The 800m specialist has been in sparkling form as of late on both the roads and the country. Crowe produced the quickest two mile split at the Irish University Road Relay Championships. This was followed up by a remarkable eight place finish at the Woodie’s DIY Inter County Cross Country Championships held in Ratoath, Co Meath on the 25th of November. The shorter distance of 3,000m for the novice championship is likely to suit track specialist Crowe.
Of the other challengers for the title, Caroline Crowley (Crusaders AC) swept to an impressive victory at the Dublin novice championship in October and will look to reproduce that form at National level on Sunday. Munster champion Carol Finn (Leevale AC) is another athlete rounding into top form and is likely to challenge for a podium position. Meath’s Eimear O’Leary (MSB AC) and Donegal’s Natasha Adams (Lifford AC) all ran well at regional level and will aim for top positions in Wexford.
The novice men will run over 6,000m and with over 300 athletes entered the race is set to provide an exciting finale to the day’s action. Liam Brady (Tullamore Harriers AC) has had a terrific cross country season to date which included a 25th place finish at the National Inter Counties. The young Offaly athlete is making impressive inroads into the senior ranks and Sunday is likely to be the next step in the process.
An interesting entrant is current National Indoor 800m champion Brian Kelly (St. Abbans AC). Kelly won the Leinster novice title in October and along with club mate Steven Lawlor will lead the Leinster charge on Sunday. Luke Forde (Dunboyne AC) and Dermot McDermott (North Sligo AC) are two athletes coming into form at just the right time and both athletes will be in the hunt for top positions.
The Dublin Novice Championships witnessed a ferocious battle between Paul Stevenson (Rathfarnham WSAF), Demits Serjogins (Clonliffe Harriers AC) and Colm O’Connell (Raheny Shamrock AC). Stevenson won the title that occasion and all three athletes will look to transfer that form into a top finish on Sunday. Mark Hoy and Gerard Gallagher both of Finn Valley AC finished first and second at the Ulster Novice and will lead the Ulster charge for glory at national level.