We drove to Ballyhale, Kilkenny, to race in the Leinster Novice Cross Country Championships. This is farming country, hurling country, the county of Powers, Codys and Shefflin.
The venue was Mountain View Golf Club and while there were no big hills in sight the magnificent Golden Vale stretched out in front of us to the East through the damp mist. This was a tough but fair course which held up well all day. There were a few elevations along the way with plenty of good running on the dry racing line.
Our womens team travelled there for the first time since we won the title in 2014, great to see Aoife Ni and Aislinn, two of the remaining survivors of that great day there, supporting the newbees and learning the tricky art of the bagman. The mens team has not made an appearance in thesechampionships for almost 40 years. Having won the Dublin title earlier in the month our women toed the start line hoping for a high team position but we finished just out of the team medals in 4th place. Silje 5th, Ellen 12th, Aoife Ni 25th, Edel Mc 46th, Noelle 46th, Aoife D 71st and Fiona 80th.
In 797AD the Vikings came to Ireland to sack our monasteries, pillage our treasurers and carry off our women. Today 1200 years later Silje continued where they left off plundering much gold as a member of the winning Dublin team, here she was joined by Ellen having another fine run.Knocking on heaven’s door or what?
Pierre, slowly getting back to his best pillaged some gold of his own winning the individual race in a canter and leading the Dublin Team to victory. Daire also made the Dublin team finishing a brilliant 4th in his first race in over two years. There were very encouraging runs for the men with Ronan 46th, Evan 49th and Ciaran 108th combining to finish 4th club team.
All in all a very enjoyable day, great team spirit and we drive forward. Great praise to Leinster Athletics for magnificent organistaion.