THE Munster uneven ages U-9 to U-19 plus the intermediate cross-country championships were held at Tralee Racecourse on Sunday in blustery weather and heavy underfoot conditions.
Clare athletes produced magnificent individual performances with Jean, Niamh and Micheal Clancy, St John’s, winning gold, while Marian Burke, St Mary’s, was the gold medal winner in the intermediate ladies.
Clare captured a total of 19 team awards between county and club, with Clare taking gold in the girls and boys’ U-15 and intermediate ladies, silver medals in the girls’ U-11, and U-17 girls and boys, and bronze team medals in the boys’ U-9, boys’ U-11 and girls’ U-13,
On the club front, gold went to St John’s in the girls’ U-11 and girls’ U-15 and they won bronze medals in the boys’ U-17. Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare won gold in the boys’ U-11 and bronze medals in the girls’ U-11. Ennis Track captured gold in the intermediate ladies and bronze medals in the boys’ U-11, boys’ U-15 and girls’ U-17, with the boys’ U-17 taking silver medals. St Cronan’s won silver medals in the boys’ U-11.
The first race of the afternoon was the girls’ U-9 500 metres and, over testing conditions, the best of the Clare athletes was Irene Neylon, Marian in 18th position, with Clare finishing fifth overall.
In the boys’ U-9, the star performance came from Jack Ward Murphy from Tulla, the Clare County champion, who won the silver medal. He was followed home by Ronan Donnellan, Kilmihil 19th; Darragh Miniter, St Mary’s, 29th; John Murphy, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare, 32nd; Pádraig Cahill, Ennis Track, 35th and Fionn O’Brien, Ennis Track, 36th, with Clare taking the bronze medals on 155 points.
The girls’ U-11 attracted a field of 130 competitors and again Clare athletes gave a mighty performance, with Sharon Egan Kilmihil, working hard in the heavy conditions to take the silver medal, with Caoimhie Harvey, St John’s, taking the bronze. Clare athletes packed well with Elaine Shannon, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare, finishing fast in 10th position followed by Sinéad Hogan, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare in 12th, Fidelma Marrinan, St John’s, 13th and Alex O’Neill, St Cronan’s, 15th, with Clare taking the silver medals on 55 points.
St John’s won the inter-club award with a total of 49 points and Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare took the bronze medals with 123 points.
In the boys’ U-11 there was a field of 150 athletes and Clare clubs were well represented from St Cronan’s, Ennis Track, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare, St Mary’s and Marian.
There was a fine performance from Aidan McCarthy, St Cronan’s, to finish eighth, with Thomas Clancy, St John’s, 13th; Jamie Roche, Ennis Track, 15th, Keith White, St Cronan’s, 16th, Patrick O’Rourke, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare 22nd and Harry McCarthy, St Cronan’s, 23rd, with Clare taking the bronze medals on 97 points.
Three Clare clubs dominated the inter-club competition. Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare captured the gold medals with 108 points; the silver medals went to St Cronan’s with 123 points and the bronze medals went to Ennis Track with 129 points.
The girls’ U-13 attracted another huge field of competitors and two St John’s athletes were the top performers, with Cliodhna Blake 13th and Rachel Clancy 14th. Clare finished sixth overall in the inter-county awards.
In the boys’ U-13s, Clare were again well represented and this was a race fought all the way to the finish line, with Micheal Clancy, St John’s, in contention. With 400 metres to go, he produced a big finish to take the gold medal and the Clare athletes packed well, with Jason McCarthy, St Cronan’s, 16th; Kevin Mulcaire, Ennis Track, 19th; Mark Fennell, St Mary’s, 29th; Seán Collins, Ennis Track, 31st and Paraic McNamara, Marian 32nd to take the bronze medals on 128 points.
In the girls’ U-15 1,500 metres Jean Clancy, St John’s and her twin sister, Niamh, led this race out at a fast pace and at the half-way point, they had the field in almost single file and were making light work of the heavy underfoot conditions.
They crossed the finishing line together to capture the Munster title, with another St John’s athlete, Shauna Harvey, coming home in eighth, followed by Niamh Markham, Ennis Track, ninth, Laura Egan, Kilmihil, 11th and the sixth scoring athlete, in 19th position, was Siobhán Nestor, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare. Clare won the inter-county title on 50 points, with the inter-club title going to St John’s on 34 points.
In the boys’ U-15 2,000 metres Ian Slobody, Kilmihil, settled in well over the early stages and on reaching the 800 metre point, he made a decisive move towards the leaders and finished very strong over the final 400 metres to take fourth position. Daryl McNamara, Ennis Track, was 11th and Jacob Loughnane, Marian, 12th. Clare athletes packed well with Declan Martin, Ennis Track (16th), Eimhin Courtney, Ennis Track, 18th and Micheal Moloney, Ennis Track, 23rd. Clare won the gold medals in the inter-county awards on 84 points, with Ennis Track taking bronze medals in the inter-clubs with their score of four in the top 23 for a total of 68 points.
The girls’ U-17 2,000 metres had two Clare athletes very much in contention, Harriet Flynn, Shannon and Aishling Darcy, Ennis Track. They both settled in well and when the race settled, they began to make their way towards the leaders. Aishling Darcy worked hard and came home in fifth position with Harriett Flynn in sixth and Clare finished well with Ailish Brew, St John’s, 16th; Paula Loughnane, St Cronan’s, 17th, Alyson Courtney, Ennis Track, 20th and Rachel Mulcaire, Ennis Track, 25th to win the silver medals. Ennis Track captured the bronze medal with a total of 83 points.
For the boys’ U-17 4,000 metres the course was very heavy and three Clare athletes were in the running, Adrian Kearney, Darragh Lynch, both Ennis Track and Eoin Brew, St John’s. All three made light work of the conditions and Darragh Lynch ran a fine race in sixth position, followed home in seventh place by Eoin Brew and Aidan Kearney ninth, with Peter Maher, Ennis Track, 17th, Noel Garry, St John’s 18th and Kevin Chesser, Ennis Track, 20th.
Clare won the silver medals on 77 points with two Clare clubs dominating. Ennis Track won the silver medals with four in the top 20 for a total of 52 points from St John’s on 78 points.
The girls’ U-19 was run over a distance of 3,500 metres and Catriona Hennessy, Marian, produced one of her best individual performances of the season to finish in fourth position with Lisa Loughnane, St Cronan’s, working hard to finish fifth and Niamh Donnellan, Kilmihil, running very steady to finish seventh.
The boys’ U-19 6,000 metres saw Liam Markham, Ennis Track, in control at the front with another Clare athlete settling in well behind him, Cathal O’Connor from Bunratty and running with Dooneen AC. Dara Chesser, Ennis Track, settled in well in the top 10 as they made their way out for the final lap and it was Liam Markham who was still in control with 1,000 metres remaining when Cathal O’Connor found another gear and stepped up the pace to pull away over the final 600 metres to take the gold medal, with Markham having to settle for the bronze medal. Dara Chesser finished fourth, with Liam Clancy, St Cronan’s, 14th and Shane Lynch, Clare and Dooneen AC 16th.
The intermediate ladies was run over a distance of 4,000 metres and this was a great contest from start to finish, with Marian Burke, St Mary’s, leading from start to finish to capture the Munster title in fine style with another Clare athlete, Deirdre Troy, Ennis Track, taking the silver medal.
Ennis Track packed well with Deirdre Troy fifth; Aishling Power, sixth and Ita Hanrahan seventh. Dympna O’Dwyer, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare came in ninth. Clare won the gold medals on 14 points, with Ennis Track winning the inter-club title, with four athletes in the top seven for a total of 20 points.