Celtic International for Kilkenny Athletes

A great weekend at the Celtic International in Antrim for Kilkenny athletes. With three athletes on Irish teams and others who raced in the open events – there were some good performances.
International athletes
Our international athletes first. It is a great honour to represent your country and putting on that green singlet – albiet in sub zero temperatures, just after your fill of Christmas goodies – it still makes all the lonely miles, evenings of speed sessions and trudges up never ending hills worth it. That euphoric moment when someone tells you that you have won your place on an Irish team, just does not sink in until you are wrapped in green, staying at the team hotel and then on the startling line with foreign athletes – most of whom you have never seen before.

Lauren Dearmody of Castlecomer was selected to represent Ireland on the u/23 Irish Celtic Team. She finished 5th in the u/23 International race. The race was won by Annabel Simpson of Scotland and Lauren was the 2nd Irish girl home. Brilliant race for this young Castlecomer girl who keeps improving. Lauren will now focus on the National Intermediate Championships in Tuam in February.

Tom O’Keeffe of KCH also finished 5th in the mens u/23 race –
the first Irish athlete home. Again the race was won by a Scottish athlete – Aidan Thompson. With a European u/23 race under his belt and more good races to come – this was a great result from Knocktopher native Tom. Again he will be a firm podium favourite for the National Intermediate in Tuam.

At just 15 years of age Hannah O’Keeffe of Thomastown was selected for the Celtic u/17 Irish Development team. This Knocktopher native (sister of Tom) produced a stunning race to upset the odds at the Nationals in November and gain selection on the team. She finished 36th overall and 1st home for the Irish development team, moving up from 3rd on the team entering this race. A point worth noting is that she is also eligible for this race next year.

Open Races

Also competing this weekend in the open events were the Thomastown u/15 team, and the Kehoe family of Gowran.
In the girls u/15, Hannah Kehoe of Gowran finished 5th overall, with Aine Kirwan (Thomastown) 9th and a great run by Fiona Dillion of Thomastown to get up to 10th place. Orla O’Keeffe completed the Thomastown team in 33rd. Thomastown finished 2nd in the club section. It is worth noting here that both Aine and Fiona have had massive injuries this year – both are now right up there again. And of course Hannah Kehoe has been flying low all year – making her mark as a cross country runner of note on the Irish scene.
In the girls u/13 race Kilkenny athletics was represented by two athletes – Sara Kehoe of Gowran and Orlaith Kirwan of Thomastown. Sara finished 11th and Orlaith 13th. But we are not done with Kehoe’s just yet – Tom the youngest of the family raced in the primary school boys race and finished 13th – not a bad day out at all.
Well done to all and hope you get a well deserved rest now.

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