Shona Heaslip of An Ríocht Athletic Club upset all pre race forecasts when racing to a sensational win in the Irish Life Health National Senior Cross Country Championships over 8km on the purpose built, cross-country course at Abbotstown in Dublin on Sunday.
To make it an even more memorable day for the club, 800 metre specialist Laura Crowe was an excellent fourth which sees the two An Ríocht women on the six strong Irish team for the European Cross Country Championships which will be held in Italy on December 11th.
Scale of Achievement
To underline the scale of the achievement it’s worth pointing out that the other three girls in the top five all represented Ireland at the recent Rio Olympics.
With great support running by Niamh O’Sullivan, Sharon Cahill, Suzanne Neilan, Mary O’Connor, Deirdre Enright and Catherine O’Sullivan, An Riocht won the bronze medals in the inter club section behind two powerful city clubs Dundrum South Dublin and Leevale.
Shona Shone in 5K Series
Locally, Tralee woman, Shona shone during the summer series of An Ríocht 5K races here in Castleisland and was sharing the top four spots in blistering paces with the best of the men.
“Shona, who won the U-23 title last year, has only been running seriously for a little over two years. She has now joined the elite of Irish athletes following this sensational win,” said the delighted An Ríocht AC manager, Kate McSweeney.
“Having progressed through the ranks very quickly her status is now very much that of a highly rated international athlete.
Coach and Mentor Niamh O’Sullivan
“Much of the credit for this must go to her coach and mentor Niamh O’Sullivan.
“Laura Crowe has been at the forefront of Irish track running winning national titles at 800m and 1500m but has moved up to the longer cross-country distances with ease and will relish the prospect of racing at the Europeans.
“All at Team Ríocht would like to wish the two girls the very best of luck,” said Ms. McSweeney.
Excellent Account in Irish Times
There’s an excellent account by Ian O’Riordan of Shona’s great win in yesterday’s Irish Times. If you can, at first, forgive and ignore the fact that they moved An Ríocht Athletic Club to Tralee, it’s a first rate report on the great win with the credits falling just where they ought to.
There’s also a telling action photograph, by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile, with the report showing Shona and Laura right up there with the race leaders.
You can read it with a click on the link here: http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/other-sports/shona-heaslip-breezes-past-olympians-to-win-cross-country-title-1.2884392
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