Sarah Healy crowned SIAB’s champion in Falkirk (with photos)

Sarah Healy crowned SIAB’s champion in Falkirk (with photos)

Congratulations to Sarah Healy (Ireland) on clinching the SIAB’s/ Home Countries Intermediate XC Schools title in Falkirk yesterday. A stunning result with a full report below:

On what is surely one of her finest performances to date, Sarah Healy (Holy Child Killiney) was once again in imperious form as she dominated the Girls Intermediate race at Callendar Park, Falkirk yesterday. Her club colleague, AmyRose Farrell (Mount Anville), also put in a fine display finishing in 10th place, as both girls represented Ireland against teams from Wales, England and Scotland.

In glorious weather conditions, the tranquil Callendar Park played host to this year’s SIAB Schools XC international. The course was set up in real European Grand Prix style, with tight corners and steep inclines a strong feature in the first half whilst the athletes then ran parallel to the famous Antonine Wall ditch (a symbol of the Roman Empire’s presence and a major tourist attraction for the park) for a large part of the second half of this testing 2k loop.

Hopes were high for something special from the Irish squads and as the girls were completing their warm up and final preparations, the dominant Louis O’Loughlin (Moyle Park College) had scorched home to a fine win in the Boys Junior race. The scene was set for Sarah & AmyRose.

From the gun, both girls took on the first incline and within 90 secs  the race had a lead group of eleven athletes with Sarah tucked in behind the front runners and AmyRose nicely positioned in the pack. The top end of the course included one of the steepest inclines and all eleven athletes negotiated that as they made the long downhill run to complete the first lap. It was at this point that Sarah and Kathleen Faes (last year’s winner) were on the move!! the race was on!! The athletes negotiated three steep inclines in quick succession before the green vest of Sarah Healy emerged from the woods out on the furthest part of the course with a twenty metre lead and never looked back! As she stormed down the hill, in to the finish area she had opened a gap of 14 secs on the English athlete and was cheered on by fans and other Irish squad members for a truly magnificent victory in front of the picturesque Callendar House. Meanwhile, AmyRose was still in a strong position back in the pack, and whilst surrounded by English & Scottish athletes, she managed to hold her position, finishing in 10th place in another equally impressive performance.

A few great stats from yesterday’s race: they both improved on their individual performances from last year’s event, both girls smashed their previous PB’s over this distance and they were the leading Irish girls on the team that finished in third place yesterday. And finally, both girls will compete in this age group again next year!!

Congratulations to both athletes from all at Blackrock A.C. and in particular to Sarah Healy, who has added this prestigious title to her growing list of honours.

Some Photos Here