Connacht EVEN Ages Cross Country Championship

November 20th, 2014

report by Leslie Finnan

Held at Bushfield,  Loughrea, Co. Galway on 2nd  Nov 2014

The Connacht Even Ages Cross Country Championship was held recently at Bushfield, Loughrea on a rural grass course with rolling hills. Longford AC were represented by the U12 Boys team Brendan Finnan, James Galligan, Cathal Farrell & David McDonnell running the 2000m in biting wind and rain. They all found the fast pace of the 2 laps of the course combined with the harsh weather conditions tough going, finishing 6th place with a team score of 158. Best performance of the day goes to James Galligan, finishing 38th, showing continued improvement in speed and competitiveness after the Connacht schools cross country.

It was the first outing for new Longford AC juveniles Cian Belton and Karl McNerney running in the U14 Boys 3000m. Although only 33 contenders entered the race the lads were up against seasoned and accomplished Connacht runners on this challenging course. Both will have gained valuable experience from the competition which they can build on for the indoor track and field season in the new year.  Cian had the strategy to get out fast and keep at the front which worked very well for the first half of the race. He felt the pace over the final 1000m and gave his best to hold his ground. Although he did not make the cut off for individual medals, Cian can be reassured by his debut performance as he pushed hard for the finish line coming in 14th overall.

Luck was on Cian’s side as afew days after the race a spot opened up and he is going forward to compete in the U14 Boys 3000m race at the National Athletics Ireland Cross Country Finals on Sunday November 23 in Dundalk.

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Longford Schools Cross Country Oct 4th, 2014

October 29th, 2014

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Connacht Primary Schools Cross Country Championship

October 28th, 2014

Having qualified from the Longford race, over 80 athletes from schools throughout the county travelled to Summerhill College, Sligo on Saturday 18th October to compete in the Connacht Primary Schools Cross Country Championship which was run in very challenging conditions. The wind and rain combined with the narrow course and tight running spaces proved far too difficult with only 4 individual medals won by Longford students and unfortunately none of the teams from Fermoyle, Newtownforbes, Colehill, Stonepark, Ardagh or Killoe schools were successful in their quest for a set of Connacht medals.

In the 3rd & 4th class Junior Girls 800m race both Ella Duggan, Newtownforbes 10th place, and Aideen Mulligan, Killoe 11th place, gave extremely strong performances from the start in the field of 126 runners, each receiving a Connacht medal as they crossed the line. Stonepark’s Rosie Flanagan, 30th, and Tessa Tiernan, 40th, kept up with the fast pace but never had room to pass, their team placed 11th with a score of 307. Aisling Lane, Colehill, Kate Hagan, Newtownforbes, and Ardagh girls Sarah McPhillips and Laura Farrell were all hot on their heels finishing in the top 50 runners in the first race, and Ardagh’s girls’ team ranked 9th.

The medals proved too elusive in the Junior Boys race of 125 runners with no Longford athlete finishing in the top 30. Killoe’s team of Cormac Harte, Mark Rowley, David Moorehead & Seamus Walsh gave the strongest team performance of the day, score of 187, with their runners coming in 31, 37, 44 & 75th places. Newtownforbes’s team was led by Dan Crossan in 41st place with Mathew Carey, Mathew Flynn, Conor Smith & Mathew Donohoe running as a tight unit together to finish 9th in the team rankings.

In the Senior Girls 1000m race only 3 Longford girls finished in the top 40, all pushing themselves despite the restrictive course that gave no room for overtaking ; Anna Moorehead, Killoe, 21st, Alannah Flood,  Newtowncashel, 25th and Lauren McGurie, Colehill was 37th. The rest of the Killoe girls’ team found the course much too tough placing 14th.

The best results of the Championship were achieved in the final race of 110 5th & 6th class Boys with Cian McPhillips of Ardagh winning 1st place with a comfortable margin. Having watched the earlier races it was apparent that the only strategy was an explosive sprint start which suited Cian as he shot off the line from the starter’s gun. His Ardagh teammates found themselves squashed in the thick pack, Brendan Finnan, 44, and Jack Gallagher, 56 never got the opportunity to pass and had to settle for 7th place on a team score of 177.  Oisin Lane, Colehill, bravely held his own in the front of the race to cross the line 7th and bring home the 4th and final medal. Adam Shields from Melview had his sights firmly on the finish line coming in 32nd after experiencing a lot of pushing on the sharp corners.

Longford AC sends out a big thank you to all the children for taking part and to their families for travelling in such blustery conditions. Cross country demands endurance, speed and strength. Training for cross country races will help you improve throughout the rest of the year as you can see the benefit on the track in both sprints and middle distance.

- report by Leslie Finnan (19\10\2014)

CROSS COUNTRY – Change of dates

October 26th, 2014

Connacht Cross Country races for athletics club members will be held in November.

All athletes must be registered members of Longford AC and must wear a club singlet.

Athletes can enter as individuals and\or a team of 4-6 runners with the fastest 4 count for the score.

The Club must send in the entry list before the race so if any juveniles are interested in running in theCross Country races you must give you name to Paddy or Padraig ASAP.


Connacht Western Region Athletics Clubs EVEN Ages Sun 2nd Nov in Bushfield, Loughrea, Co. Galway at 1pm

This is for athletes born in 2004 and older: U12 (2000m), U14 (3000m) , U18 Boys (6000m)

The UNEVEN Ages race is on Sun 9th Nov at Westport House, Westport, Co. Mayo at 1pm

for athletes must be born in 2005 and older. U11 (1500m), U13 (2500m), U19 Boys (6000m).

All athletes should plan to arrive at the location 1 hour before start time to give enough time to walk the course and do some stretching before the races begin. GOOD LUCK to all the juveniles taking part.

Training Dates to Note

October 26th, 2014

NO training Wed 29 Oct & Friday 31 Oct due to Midterm Break.

Wednesday evening is always at St. Mel’s College 7-8pm. Please be prepared that training could be outdoor or indoors (weather dependant!) for the next few weeks as cross country training is still in progress and more can be done outside.

Friday evening OUTDOOR training sessions have now MOVED to St. Mel’s College at usual time of 7pm.

The next training at AIT indoor track is Fri 14 Nov, 7-8:30pm.

Co. Longford Primary Schools Cross Country Championship- report by Leslie Finnan

October 8th, 2014

The annual Co. Longford Primary Schools Cross Country Championship, hosted by Longford Athletic Club, was run in crisp autumn conditions at Moyne Community School last Saturday evening.  190 primary school students representing 15 schools from across the county took to the challenging course hoping to qualify for the Connacht Championship in Sligo in two weeks’ time. Cian McPhillips, Ardagh, won in the Boys race for the 4th consecutive year, an accomplishment that will be very hard to equal. As was expected the athletes from Ardagh and Killoe schools made a very strong showing and 4 other schools, Colehill, Fermoyle, Stonepark and Newtownforbes, all contended for individual and team medals reflecting the popularity of running throughout all corners of the county.

Aideen Mulligan, Killoe, won the first race, Junior Girls 800m, with Ardagh 3rd & 4th Class girls’ team claiming the set of gold medals on their score of 36 points. Ella Duggan and Rosie Flanagan finishing 2nd & 3rd, helped their classmates from Newtownforbes and Stonepark to secure their places in the Connacht Championships. The Boys race was dominated by Killoe with all 4 of their team finishing in the top 7 places for the day’s best score of 15 points.  Cormac Harte 1st, David Moorehead 3rd, Mark Rowley 4t and Adam Donnelly 7th will be very competitive when they travel to Sligo. Fermoyle and Newtownforbes Boys teams also qualify for the next round.

Aoife Nolan, 5th, and Eabha Healy, 8th place, lead the Fermoyle team to victory in the 5th & 6th Class Girls Senior 1000m race. Lauren McGuire went home with the gold individual medal and together with Kate Breslin, 9th, their team from Colehill qualify for Connacht. Alannah Flood from Newtowncashel never let up in an excellent run to win the 2nd place individual medal followed very closely by Anna Moorehead, Killoe, and Melissa O’Kane, Ardagh. The Killoe Girls Team took the set of bronze medals to round off the list of students to go forward to Connacht.

In the 5th & 6th Class Boys race Cian McPhillips, Ardagh, once again showed his fine form, leading from the start and winning with a comfortable margin. As this is only the start of the cross country season we can anticipate hearing more from the current National Champion over the coming weeks. With 3 of the Ardagh Boys team  coming in tight to the line, Brendan Finnan, 5th, and Jack Gallagher, 6th place, they clinched 1st place team medals on 25 points. Oisin Lane, Colehill, had great drive and gave a strong challenge from the whistle to the finish line, winning with an individual silver. Oisin together with his classmates Diarmuid Kelly 12th, Mark McCormack 14th and John McCormack 15th place, brought the second set of silver medals back to Colehill. Adam Shields from Melview and Eoighan Smith, Killoe, finished 3rd and 4th places in the most competitive race of the day. Newtownforbes built on the experience they gained competing last year with the team of James Galligan, Josh Sorohan, Jim Crossan & Elliot Keegan claiming 3rd place and completing the Longford schools list.

The new 1000m race for First Year Secondary School students attracted a small but talented field. Sarah Murphy, Connacht squad bronze medallist at last year’s National Athletics Ireland Championship, set the pace dominating the entire course. Team mates Alannah Mulligan 3rd, Ciara Sutton 4th and Rhona Hourican 5th, completed the panel to win the team medals for Moyne Community School. Dearbhaile Rooney, with many years cross country experience on her side, gave challenge to break their line up and took the silver. Thomas Ivel, St. Mel’s College, took gold on a course he is familiar with from previous national school races. Moyne’s Karl McNerney and Shane Grimes won 2nd and 3rd place but didn’t have enough runners to take the set of team medals for the First Year Boys.

In a complete shake up this year Team medals were evenly spread at 2 sets a pieace to Colehill, Fermoyle, Killoe and Ardagh Schools. Newtownforbes emerged with 3 sets, 1 silver and 2 bronze, demonstrating the keen interest and commitment of children and parents in athletics. Killoe won the Harry Farrell Primary Schools Cross Country Perpetual Shield for Best School despite the best efforts by Ardagh to hold on to it for the second year.  Longford AC wishes all the children progressing on to the Connacht Primary Schools Cross Country Championships the best of luck.

Cross Country Autumn 2014

September 15th, 2014

Co. Longford Primary Schools races (3rd-6th classes, and new 1st yr secondary school race) Sat 4th Oct, at 5pm in Moyne, with qualifiers to go on to Connacht Primary Schools Championship on Sat 18th Oct in Sligo.

Connacht Athletics Clubs EVEN ages U12, U14, U16, U18 (starts with athletes born in 2004 and older) Sun 26th Oct in Loughrea, with qualifiers to go on to National Even Ages Championships on Sun 23rd Nov.

Connacht Athletics Clubs UNEVEN Ages Cross Country competitions start at U11, U13, U15, U17 (must be born 2005 and older), Sun 2nd Nov in Mayo and qualifiers go forward to National Uneven Ages Championships on Sun 7th Dec.




County Longford Primary Schools’ Cross Country Championships

September 15th, 2014

Longford Athletics Club will host this annual cross country race for all National School students in County Longford on Saturday 4th October at Moyne Community School. Registration starts at 3:30 pm and closes at 4:30pm SHARP, races starting at 5 pm. The races are as follows:

3rd/4th Class Girls – 800 meters

3rd/4th Class Boys – 800 meters

5th/6th Class Girls – 1000 meters

5th/6th Class Boys – 1000 meters

**new race for all 1st year Secondary School Students 1000 meters as well as mens\womens race as part of the Connacht Athletics Clubs Cross Country series.

Entry fee is €2 per child. Schools can enter as many athletes as they like in each race.  Children can run as individuals and if there are enough from the same class \same school they can also form a team.  A team consists of 4-6 athletes with the first 4 across the finish line to count for the score.

The top 10 finishers and top 3 teams from each race qualify for the Connacht Primary Schools’ Championships on Saturday 18th October, to be held in Sligo.

The Club is looking for additional volunteers on the day to help with car parking, race stewards and results. All hands are welcome and most appreciated in making a great day of competition. Any questions\need further information please contact Paddy McPhillips, Padraig Farrell or send message to

Cian Mc Phillips sets new Irish 600m record when winning National title in Tullamore

August 1st, 2014

Cian Mc Phillips set a new Irish record of 1minute 36.47 seconds on his way to winning the Boys Under 13 600m National title in Tullamore Stadium on Saturday last. This was the classic gun to tape run, with Cian taking the lead from the start and never looking in any trouble as the rest of the field fought it out for the minor medal positions. This is Cian’s fifth national title and he now turns his attention to the cross country season where he will defend his National cross country title in December.

Sarah Murphy running in her first National Outdoor track final also put in a fantastic performance to claim fifth place in the girls under 13 600m making it a great day for Longford AC in the middle distance events. Sarah’s time of 1 minute 47.21 was a new personal best knocking 2 seconds off her previous best time which is a giant step forward and marks her out as one to watch in the future.

Brendan Finnan competed earlier in the day in the boys under 12 High Jump. This was the third different national event final that Brendan had competed in this summer adding to the long jump and a great fifth place finish in the Turbo Javelin final. He was disappointed with his high jump performance going out a full 10 centimetres below his personal best height but in such a technical event, with numerous different components, it is easy to get it wrong on the day. Brendan is a great all round athlete and will continue to win medals and represent the club with distinction in the years to come.

The final Longford AC competitor in the outdoor track season was Niall Nerney who ran a steady race in the under 18 boys 3000m and finished in a time of 10 minutes exactly which equates to 3.3 minutes per kilometre and all 5k runners will know just how fast that pace is.

Thus concluded the outdoor season for Longford AC juveniles: a season of many new personal bests, the largest haul ever of Connaught medals, a couple of agonising near misses in National Finals and eventually a National gold medal and a new Irish 600m record. It began in June with our youngest competitors in the National finals in the girls under 11 60m; Sarah Mc Phillips and Aideen Mulligan, and girls under 11 500m; Fumni Talabi and Anna Hayden doing the club proud and continued into July when the under 13 boys 4 X 100m relay team missed a national medal by five hundredths of a second. The following week end Daire Mc Manus missed a national medal by seven hundredths of a second in the boys under 13 80m and Brendan Finnan came fifth in the Turbo Javelin. Finally Cian Mc Phillips and Sarah Murphy delivered memorable performances in the 600m to see Longford AC finish the track season on a high. Attention will now turn to the cross country events but monthly indoor training in international arena in Athlone I T will see athletes getting ready for the indoors next year.


Longford AC U13 Boys Relay team place 4th

July 14th, 2014

Longford AC U13 Boys Relay team 4th Place in the Athletics Ireland National Juvenile Relay Championship held at Tullamore

Daire McManus, Brendan Finnan (sub), Cian McPhillips, Adam Shields & David McDonnell



Longford AC 4th place in National Relay Finals

Over 600 young athletes (U12-U19) from all across the country competed at the Athletics Ireland National Juvenile Relay Championships at the Tullamore Harrier’s Stadium on Saturday 5th July. All the teams had already qualified from Regional competitions, setting a high standard of competition with every club battling for a national title. As the reigning Connacht Champions Longford AC’s U13 Boys team of Adam Shields, David McDonnell, Daire McManus, Cian McPhillips and sub Brendan Finnan went into the championship strongly placed and had their sights set on bringing home All-Ireland medals.

The boys ran like clockwork in their heat finishing 1st and securing a place in the final 8. However a technical fault required re-running their heat which was an unexpected burden on the team. They rose to the occasion and again finished 1st in the re-run of their heat. The U13 Boys final was pushed back to give all the teams abit more recovery time. Longford ran well with all change over going smoothly and finished 4th in a time of 0:55.06 with only 0.05 second separating them from the Bronze medalists Letterkenny.

Young athletes from Longford AC will all be returning to Tullamore in the coming weeks to compete in individual events both on the track and in the field.

Day 2 of the prestigious Athletics Ireland National Juvenile Championships 2014 gave 4 young athletes from Longford AC the opportunity to experience competition at All-Ireland level. A total of 11 events were going on in both track and field throughout the day, including pole vault, hammer, discus, hurdles and steeplechase, giving a great display of all that athletics can achieve. Niall Moran and Brendan Finnan both competed in Long Jump. On this occasion they found it difficult to duplicate their winning Connacht jumps so they were content to take away some of the technical points from this field event. Brendan also achieved a new personal best in the turbo javelin, recording a throw of 25.15m to finish 5th in the U12 boys event. Yemi Talabi and Daire McManus represented Longford AC in the U13 80m sprints. Yemi ran well in the strongest heat finishing 6th at 11:41 seconds, just outside the time to qualify for the final. Daire led his heat with a time of 10:81 seconds and qualified for the final. There were problems with the starting gun throughout the sprint heats that led to many false starts and disqualifications which was very unnerving for athletes and supporters alike. This never phased Daire who finished 4th from a very strong field in the boys U13 final. Daire felt he didn’t get an optimal start in the final which highlighted how difficult the transition to using starting blocks during the U13 year can be for a young athlete. The athletes, coaches and parents can be very proud of their achievements to date in 2014 and bring away the finer points for improvement. There are still 2 more days of National competition and Longford AC will be competing again on July 26th.

U13 Boys Relay Team

U13 Boys Relay Team