NICOLE Cuskelly can be rightly proud of her first outing representing Ireland at the Celtic International Cross Country, on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon at the ALSAA facility in Dublin.
Nicole has been running now for five years and has proven herself again and again on a national stage and has a small mound of All Ireland medals at home to attest to these achievements.
So it was inevitable that a call up to pull on the green, white and orange for Ireland would eventually come.
The under 17 race was ran alongside the All Ireland Intermediate women’s competition and the under twenty grade in the Celtic International. This meant that almost a hundred a thirty girls and women toed the line and when the gun went set off at a frantic pace. Nicole quickly took up a position in the mid twenties which she held throughout the race.
The 4000m that had to be completed was over a challenging course which was mud all the way around and for long stretches the mud was seven to eight inches deep. Nicole fought hard and held her position right to the finish line. Now the difficult task of untangling the three competitions held in the same race had to take place.
Nicole was joined on the Irish team by Kilbeggan girl Linda Conroy who runs for Mullingar Harriers. Both had excellent performances with Nicole finishing fifth Irish scorer in the under 17 grade, only twenty seconds behind Linda who was third Irish girl home.
Amazingly Nicole (who is still only fourteen) beat almost half the field in the under twenty international and also was ahead of seventy of the eighty finishers in the Intermediate women’s All Ireland.