DCU placed first in the IUAA Cross Country Championships in Galway on the second of March. Three of the male competitors placed in the top five positions with three of the women grabbing the top three places.
DCU’s men’s team won their sixth consecutive title while the women’s team took home their third consecutive title.
The event took place in Saint Mary’s College on a stormy Saturday. Cathal Doyle, who placed 4th in the men’s event, described it as being “as cross country as you get with mud, hills, wind chill and more heavy winds.”
He went on to describe the event saying that the event was a real grind. “Head down and get through was a lot of people’s tactics really as you had no choice, nothing sexy about cross country.”
Emma O’Brien came first for the women and said, “DCU had a great win overall with the boys and girls both winning and that it was especially nice for the women finishing in a 1,2,3.”
Nadia Power, who placed third, explained the benefit of having such a strong team.
“It feels really good and it’s made easy by the fact we all train together so our race plan was to help each other during the race and run as a group.
“Running beside the other girls definitely helped me concentrate and stay high up in the race so and led to me entering the last 500m feeling stronger than expected and having a kick.”
The success wasn’t a big surprise for some with O’Brien saying “I wasn’t that surprised with the results. There is a great running group up here in DCU. Everyone works hard and pushes each other on. That showed on the day.”
The success of the club also stems from Enda Fitzpatrick and Anne Buckley according to many of the athletes with Avril Deegan who placed second saying, “I don’t think DCU athletics would be as successful as it is without Enda Fitzpatrick and Anne Buckley.
“The amount of work and time these two put into every athlete is second to none,” with O’Brien saying, “The coaching staff are really supportive to the athletes and are open to all levels coming to the trainings.
“They offer group training sessions, advice when needed and access to physios and physiological testing.”
Cathal also described Enda as a “very knowledgeable coach with some great times under his belt.”
While the event is the only IUAA meet of the year, many of the athletes will aim for the IFAM international meet in Belgium in May with others hopefully going on to represent Ireland in European U23 Championships in Sweden in July.
Image Credit: Kevin Clancy