It was an historic occasion for Enniskillen RC on Sunday at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown outside Dublin when their U14 Boys Cross Country team won a national silver medal. ERC has been celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and the club’s athletes have won a number of provincial titles both individually and as teams. ERC have claimed some individual national medals for the Clubs and with athletes running with their schools. So far a national team medal has eluded them until Sunday, when the young ERC boys made it to the podium for a well deserved silver medal.

Only the top Irish cross country athletes qualify to run in the nationals. All athletes have to make it through the four provinces and Dublin races. There are 12 individual qualifiers and three teams from each of the five regions, so the competition is tough for good places and fierce for medal positions.

It was a bright crisp Sunday morning and conditions were dry. However the recent rain meant that the ground began to cut up later in the day over the heavily trafficked 1.5k loop.

Young Daivs Tarvis had qualified for the packed U12 boys race and ran very well in his first nationals a year young. Although he tired late in the race, he can be proud of his efforts and will look forward to the shorter All Ireland U11 race in a few weeks time.

The ERC U14 boys qualified after winning silver medals in Antrim a few weeks back behind a strong Monaghan Phoenix team. They had trained well in the following weeks with ERC and many under the watchful eye for Mr. Shaw in St. Michael’s.

The boys knew they had the work done to compete at this level. Over 160 boys were lined up to race. Frank Buchanan raced out to be part of the lead group while Patrick Williams held back for his usual astute race. On the second lap Williams made his move through the field for a fine 21st place with Buchanan just behind in 27th. They were closely followed by Charlie Rehill, Tiernan McManus, running bravely out of age and Conal Rasdale who all had super runs. The team race was won well by the famous Mullingar Harriers AC with Enniskillen over 50 points ahead of West Waterford in third. Willowfield Harriers from Belfast were fifth and Monaghan sixth of the 16 teams in the finals. Williams also collected a national bronze medal for his run in the Ulster team.

The boys will enjoy a good block of winter training and will look forward to racing with their schools in the new year and hopefully further All Ireland success. The other ERC runner to qualify was Ava Thompson in the U18 girls race. Ava had a consistent race and she too will work towards the districts and senior Ulster school competition in February.

The only Fermanagh athlete taking part in the national seniors races at the weekend was young Edel Monaghan who has had a terrific cross country season to date. Monaghan has represented NI in the Bobby Rea Internationals followed by selection for the NI and Ulster U23 team for the Celtic Internationals XC race in Stirling in the new year. She will be content with a ninth place finish in the U23 nationals. However, this was her sixth consecutive weekend racing for Club and Province and together with the heavy ground it seemed to take its toll on her normal speed.