You don’t have to go to ‘New England in the Fall’ to see every possible shade imaginable between dark brown and bright red. Behind my office window in Merrion Square for example the trees are putting on a great show. And yesterday at Newbridge House, a dozen or so miles north of Dublin city centre it was just gorgeous. The young Crusaders were there for cross country of course. The setting was magnificent. 350 acres of parkland all beautifully tended by the present owners Fingal CC – they ought to be proud of themselves.

As to the running, well the youngsters are getting the hang of it and generally produced steadier runs than in their first excited outing at Phoenix Park. But forget the results – everybody just had a great morning and are enjoying being part of a team. So keen were they to shout home their teammates that Alix and Amy had to sprint across in time for their race, thus doing their chances no good at all. And there were a few laughs. Sarah was complaining that her white Nike leggings were muddied by the girl in front of her tramping in puddles. When reasonably asked why she didn’t get in front of her rival she made us all laugh with her exasperated ‘I couldn’t!!’

And before all this, on Saturday, we had a good morning at Irishtown with 25 young athletes. A 60m time trial however went pear-shaped when I couldn’t work the recall on my stopwatch. Must practice.

Update on Viv. She has had keyhole surgery but fortunately there is only an infection to deal with. A couple of weeks out maybe.

But, with Birmingham City coming back from 1-2 down to beat Charlton, it was generally a very good weekend!