Clonmel's Kevin Maunsell on Irish team.
Clonmel AC has enjoyed many special moments in its history since established in 1971 but hopefully December 10th will go down in the club annuals as another historic event as it will have two club members representing Ireland at the European Senior Men’s Cross-Country Championships in Slovakia.
We must go back to 1989 when John Fitzgerald represented Ireland at the World Cross-Country Championships and to 2014 when Orlaith Moynihan represented Ireland at the European Junior Cross-Country Championships in Bulgaria as the only other club members to represent Ireland at a major Cross-Country Championships.
This is a fantastic honour for both Sean Tobin and Kevin Maunsel as it is the pinnacle of an athlete’s career to represent their country at a major Championship and both these athletes have come into the sport from different paths.
Sean Tobin has enjoyed a very successful athletics career to date. One of my first cuttings of Sean Tobin’s has won many awards at County, Munster and National level at underage. His progression at Senior level has also been phenomenal. In 2012 he represented Ireland at the European Junior Men Cross Country Championships in Slovenia where he was the 2nd scorer on the Irish team when finishing 46th.
In January 2014 he was awarded a scholarship to Ole Miss and he made an immediate impact in only his second race, by becoming the first College student to break 4 minutes for the mile when running 3 mins 59.91 secs. He also became the 39th and the youngest Irish athlete to achieve this honour.
This year in Santry he became the first Club athlete to win a National Track and Field title under Athletics Ireland when he won the Senior 1500m title very impressively in 3 mins 57.18 secs. He then went back to America and on November 18th he ran the race of his life when finishing 12th in the All-American NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Kevin Maunsell came into the sport after enjoying a very good spell at playing local soccer. His father, Kevin who also had a very good athletic career with the Club, always spoke about his two young sons, Kevin and William, running the socks off him any time they went running and we always encouraged him to get them to join the Club.
They did, and the first impact from was at the County Novice Cross Country Championships at the Turnpike October 2011, when he was part of the Club’s first historic County Novice Club title. Kevin improved as the season progressed and in 2012 he won the County Senior Cross Country Champion in Goold’s Cross and along with Niall McCormack, William Maunsell and Paudie O'Keeffe led the Club to our first County Senior Men Inter Club title under Athletics Ireland.
Earlier this year he ran a fantastic race in the National Senior 10,000m Track final when winning his first National Track and Field medal when capturing the Bronze medal in 29 mins 52.08 secs. He also has the honour of being the first Club athlete to win a National track medal for the Club under Athletics Ireland. Buoyed by this performance he set his sights on the Cross-Country season, winning the Munster Senior Cross-Country title impressively in Galbally in early November and then went on to run a fantastic race when finishing 5th at the National Senior Cross-Country Championships in Abbotstown last Sunday and earning his place on the Irish team for the upcoming European Cross-Country Championships.