Last week the County Senior and Junior Cross Country Championships fell foul to the weather. This week hopefully the County Under 23 and Master Cross Country Championships will go ahead in Thurles Crokes complex on the Nenagh road, starting at 12 noon with the County Juvenile Cross Country relays. The Juvenile programme is very short so the Under 23s and Master races should get underway close to 1 pm.
Eligibility for the under 23 races is as follows: Athletes must be over 20 and Under 23 on December 31 in the year of competition, the distance for Women is 3000m while the Men will compete over 6000m. It is three to score on both the Women and Men's teams.
In both the Master Women and Men the 0/35 category has been retained and this should make for two very good races, especially with the postponement of the County Senior, both races will be keenly contested.
In the Women's race Angela McCann of Clonmel will be favourite to win this race but she can expect a tough race from Denise Compton of Dundrum and Martina Ryan of Thurles Crokes. Other athletes that will have a say in the destination of the individual medals and team medals will be Nora Kennedy, Mary Moloney and Rebecca Power of Thurles Crokes as well as Nicola Maunsell of Clonmel.
In the Men's race the main contenders will be Pat Ryan, James Ryan and Michael Moore of Dundrum, Pat Grace and Mark Gleeson of Nenagh Olympic as well as Kenny Curran and Kevin Shelly of Ballynonty along with Declan Doherty of Thurles Crokes, Joe Keaney of Coolquill and Vasiliy Neumerzhitskily and Niall O Ceallaigh of Clonmel as well as Daragh Byrne and Tommy Falconer of Carrick on Suir.
There should be great competition in all the various categories while the team event will also be interesting. The defending Club Champions over 40 are Dundrum and they are having a brilliant season winning all the Club titles at both County and Munster level this year so far and with athletes like Tommy Byrnes, John Moore and Liam Butler to call upon they will be a formidable team to beat.
If Coolquill can get all their athletes out they will go close as they have athletes like Tadgh Vaughan and John Russell while Thurles Crokes will look to Pat Bracken, Billy Phillips and Denis Shanahan to win the title.
Clonmel will be looking to athletes like John Walsh and Valerin Thzcoin to get them among the medals. Ballynonty can also call upon such athletes as Noel O'Dwyer and Neillie Hall to get among the medals.
In the 0/50 category Coolquill will be the defending champions and they will once again look to Matt Alexander, Leslie Smyth, Jack Alexander and Martin Ivors to capture the Gold medals while Dundrum will be looking to John Moore, Liam Butler, Gerry Ralph and P J Holmes to win this title. Clonmel will be looking to Ned O'Brien, Maurice Boland, Joe Grinsell and T J O'Loughlin to carry their colours to glory.