Louis blazes a trail to second national title

by Stephen Findlater

CLONDALKIN’S Louis O’Loughlin claimed his second national cross-country crown as he swept to the Under-16 Irish Life Health national championships title at the national sports campus in Abbotstown, adding to the Under-15 title he won a year ago in Dungarvan.
It continues his superb rise in formal racing having originally represented Clondalkin in the Community Games before joining Donor Harriers two years ago.
At Abbotstown, he got off to a great start and eventually burned off his two nearest rivals to take the tape in yet another fine performance.
“I was very happy with it being a fast start and we cut away from the pack,” he told GazetteSport. “Conor Maguire (from Monaghan) and Chris O’Reilly (Togher) kept with me but on the last lap I increased my speed and had about 30 metres in the gap with 300 metres to go and got it up to about 80 metres by the end.”
O’Loughlin added that he enjoyed the new purpose-built course which forms the new base for cross-country in Ireland.
“With cross-country, it’s all about the racing side of things and not so much the times. It’s about know when to go and to speed up. It’s a good course at Abbotstown; it’s a bit hilly and has sand in parts which, mixed with the muck, can be quite draining.”
He is back in action in two weeks’ time in the Under-17 national championships in Dundalk having won the Dublin county final over 4,000m.
There, he will come up against tough competitors in the form of Alan Fitzpatrick and Dan McElhenny from the older age group who will make things tough for him.
And he has an international call-up to look forward to with the Celtic International schools competition in Cardiff on January 20. After that, he will switch to the indoor circuit where he will look to defend his 800m and 1,500m titles.
O’Loughlin is pictured above with his grandmother Marie McDonald.
Picture: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

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