While most children can identify with watching their sporting heroes, be it running, cycling, football or perhaps tennis, and then going to bed later that evening dreaming they are the ones scoring the winning goal , or sinking a significant put for most. Among us, even brilliant people, this never happens.
The reality is that the standard in the modern day game is so high, that only a select few can truly reach the next level. For Liam Mulligan, last Sunday morning was a day to enjoy as he looked to turn his dream into reality by making his international debut for Ireland, pulling the iconic green singlet over his broad shoulders and getting his heart racing. was looking forward to. His club and country.
The previous day, Mulligan had traveled with her family and trusted coach Ian O’Reilly to the Belgian town of Hanut for the World Athletics Cross-Country Tour Gold meeting, where a strong Irish team of 24 athletes were taking the opportunity to gain experience . The state of the Belgian cross country ahead of next year’s European Cross-Country Championships in Brussels in December.
Making the Irish squad didn’t happen by accident, it has been the culmination of many years of hard training which is now paying off, and Mulligan’s progress has been an inspiration to his coaches, training partners and everyone at the club.
Together, O’Reilly and Mulligan chart a path forward with forensic precision, overcoming the inevitable problems along the way, and form a bond of friendship and trust rarely seen outside of athletics. Is.
Ahead of Mulligan lay 9km of what can only be described as hell on earth, with endless hills, sharp turns and man-made obstacles to negotiate if one survived the course which was like the devil’s game for runners. Could have been like a field. To make matters worse, the soft soil had severely dented the finish from the previous race which had taken place earlier in the day.
Once the starter’s pistol is sounded, the starting charge for the first turn of this three small and four large laps race must be considered, as getting a good racing line is all important, if not crucial seconds are lost as the pack bows down. With the leading pack moving forward at a breakneck pace, Mulligan deftly kept a cool head, and then began to move forward as the early pace diminished.
Displaying a wisdom rarely seen in someone who still had three years to race in his U23 age group, Mulligan executed the plan, and covered the treacherous course with remarkable consistency to finish 47th. Wale ended up against some of the best athletes. Europe has to offer.
To wade into a deep well of pain, as Mulligan did during this race, says a lot about his commitment to his chosen sport. Looking back at Mulligan’s remarkable run, one thing is very clear, this was no accident. The combination of Mulligan and Coach O’Reilly is a force to be reckoned with, and the only way is going for this talented duo.
closer to home
Some of our sprint group athletes were in action at the midweek NIA live meeting in Abbotstown. The evening started well when Mary McDonnell finished fourth in the 60m dash in a solid 10.16, while Mary Flanagan was fifth in 12.78, and should see her times drop further in a few more races.
Next up were our 400m specialists, where club coach Gerry O’Connor was runner-up in Heat 1 in 1:01:90, while training partner Pol O’Murchu finished fifth in 1:08:64. James English finished second in the second heat with a lively time of 56.91 and is currently on the upswing.
Also in the running was Paul Stuart who finished fourth in 59.98. Shane Smith ran brilliantly in heat four of the 400 metres, finishing third with a remarkable time of 52.86, despite running in three lanes of a tight track that is never easy for taller, more powerfully built athletes.
In the 800m event, run over four laps of this state-of-the-art track, Fiona Murphy finished seventh in 3:02:67 in Heat One, with Kerry O’Connor eighth in 3:18:97. In what turned out to be a terrific race to watch, Kieran McGrath ran a good race and still had to be content with seventh place in 2:03:95, in a race that was packed with quality runners.
McGrath is one of those runners who runs well on cross-country, road and track, and he seems to be hitting form and should do well in the coming season.