There were two Galway men to the fore at today's AAI National Inter Club Cross Country Championships in Belfast and a further two playing a valuable supporting role. Athenry AC's Paul McNamara and Galway City Harrier Gary Thornton both ran superb races to finish well inside the top ten places and earned selection onto the Irish Team for the forthcoming World Cross Country Championships. Paul McNamara will be particularly pleased with this effort and this run represents another leap forward in form after a short while away from competitive action during summer 2007. A steady run at last autumn's Inter Counties Championships in the Curragh was followed by a better run in capturing the Galway Senior Cross Country title and today's run demonstrates another leap forward in his form.

Athenry AC's Alan Burke and Brian Bruton both ran well on the day and despite atrocious conditions finished well in such illustrious company in 79th and 65th positions respectively. The carried the club colours valiantly and far from home and for that much alone they deserve great credit.

The race was won by Cathal Lombard with Alastair Cragg in second place.

Well done Paul, Alan, Brian and Gary.


16 years 3 months ago

Athenry Fan

16 years 3 months ago

Well Done to the Galway lads, Like other fans, I am very disapointed to a former drug abuser taking the title. The silence of the spectators on the day spoke volumns and the result does a great dis-service to the great champions of the past , men whose success was built on years of dedication, talent and guts. I'm sorry to say, but this ranks as a sad day in the history of Irish athletics in my book.



16 years 3 months ago

Blood and guts in the mud in Belfast, well done the top boys Paul and Gary, shame no team entered from either Galway club, especially considering the level of talent available in the city, this should surely be rectified for next year and a concerted effort to organise a team or teams should be made?

Mick Rice

16 years 3 months ago

Athenry had a team entered this year but due to a late injury we only had three runners there.


16 years 3 months ago

Super stuff, Paul. A credit to the club.

As was "new" member, Alan Byrne, near the back of the field!


16 years 3 months ago

Some great photos on the AAI website showing the difficulty of the course and its effect on the athletes - bar Fionnuala Britton who put in an amazing run ...

Michael Tobin

16 years 3 months ago

Well done Paul and Gary! Delighted to see Paul back near the top where he belongs. Was afraid for a while that James Lundon was dragging you down to his level :-)

Lots of good photos at I saw Fionnuala Britton in action when winning the Senior Women Inter-county cross country in Dungarvan in 2006. It was a muddy day there also and she just seemed to glide over the course as if she wasn't touching the ground at all. Every one else was sinking into the mud ... she was practically walking on water!

Surprised to see Lombard winning the men's race. If he hangs up his spikes now and walks away from the sport as he suggested in a post-race interview, that will raise more questions than it answers.

Paul McN

16 years 3 months ago

Thanks to Mick and all posters for the congrats offered. Much appreciated. 'The National' is a special event and it's great to be part of it in an Athenry vest. Congrats also to the G Man, BB and AB - great running by all.