THE Athletics Association of Ireland National novice cross country championships plus the juvenile uneven ages from U-11 to U-19 were held at Coleraine University College in Derry on a very tight course with ideal weather conditions for fast running.
The event was not without its problems, which were evident at the start of a number of the races. There were a number of false starts and some of the races will have to be run again at a later date.
The tone was set in the first race of the day in the girls’ U-11s over 800 metres, with Clare and St John’s athletes well represented. At the half-way point, two Clare girls Sinéad Hogan (Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare) and Chantel Burke (St Mary’s) were in the top 20. Over the final 300 metres, Chantel and Sinéad ran their hearts out to finish 10th and 11th with Sharon Egan (Kilmihil) working hard to finish in 18th place.
Three places further back was Caoimhie Harvey (St John’s) (21st), followed by another St John’s girl, Tara Bradley in 22nd, with Anna Courtney (Marian) in 34th. Clare won gold medals with St John’s taking the bronze medals in the inter-club with Munster taking silver medals in the inter-regions and three Clare athletes, Chantel Burke, Sinéad Hogan, and Sharon Egan, all scoring on the Munster team.
In the boys’ U-11, three Clare clubs were represented, the Munster Champions Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare along with St Cronan’s and Ennis Track. Paul Martin (Ennis Track) worked hard through the big field to finish 22nd followed by Keith White (St Cronan’s) in 26th place with Clare finishing eighth and Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare seventh in the inter-club awards with Ennis Track 10th .
In the girls’ U-13 1,000 metres, Cliodhna Blake (St John’s) was a late call up to the Munster Team and she came home in 31st position.
In the boys’ U-13 1,200 metres, a big medal hope was Micheal Clancy (St John’s) who came home in fourth position but this race was ruled to have had a false start and will now be rerun at later date.
It was a similar situation with the girls’ U-15, where Niamh Markham was in the field and this race will also have to be rerun.
Ian Slobody Kilmihil, Eimhin Courtney, Daryl Mc Namara and Declan Martin (all Ennis Track), running in the boys’ U-15 2,000 metres were finding the tight course very difficult. Eimhin Courtney was Clare’s top performer in 29th position with Daryl McNamara (Ennis Track) in 30th spot.
The All-Ireland U-16 silver medal winner in Kilbeggan two weeks ago, Amy O’Donoghue from Meelick was competing in the girls’ U-17 2, 000 metres and this race got away without any problem. Amy O’Donoghue went out hard with the leaders and Aisling Darcy (Ennis Track) was well positioned going towards the half-way point in the top 20. In the final 1,000 metres, the Meelick girls sparkled and she produced a mighty finish to capture All-Ireland glory. Aisling Darcy crossed the finish line in 17th position and she was followed home by Rachel Mulcaire (Ennis Track) in 46th, Alyson Courtney (Ennis Track) in 49th, Ailish Brew (St John’s) in 56th and Paula Loughnane (St Cronan’s) in 66th with Clare taking the bronze medals and Ennis Track finishing sixth in the inter-club awards.
In the boys’ U-17 run over a distance of 4,000 metres, St John’s, Ennis Track and Clare were all well represented. Two Clare athletes, Adrian Kearney and Darragh Lynch (Ennis Track) were in the thick of the action after the first lap and they battled well throughout, with Kearney the county’s top performer for Clare and Munster, finishing in 20th place with Darragh Lynch in 22nd. Clare finished sixth with Ennis Track fourth in the club title.
In the boys’ U-19 run over a distance of 6,000 metres, Liam Markham (Ennis Track) and Cathal O’Connor (Clare and Dooneen AC) were big medal hopefuls but failed to make it to Coleraine. Darragh Chesser (Ennis Track) worked hard all through to finish in 17th place.
In the novice ladies’ 4,000 metres, Claire Madigan (St John’s) ran a great race and was always in the top 10 crossing the finishing line in seventh position.
Girls’ U-11 800m
10. Chantel Burke (St Mary’s); 11. Sinéad Hogan (Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare); 18. Sharon Egan (Kilmihil); 21. Caoimhie Harvey (St John’s); 22. Tara Bradley (St John’s); 34. Anna Courtney (Marian Inter-region); 2. Munster (10. Chantel Burke, 11. Sinéad Hogan,18. Sharon Egan).
3, St John’s (21. Caoimhie Harvey, 22. Tara Bradley, 59. Fidelma Marrinan, 67. Aishling Kelly) = 169 points.
1. Clare = 116 points.
Girls’ U-17 2,000m
1. Amy O’Donoghue (Meelick and Clare); 17. Aishling Darcy (Ennis Track); 46. Rachel Mulcaire (Ennis Track); 49. Alyson Courtney (Ennis Track); 56. Ailish Brew (St John’s); 66. Paula Loughnane (St Cronan’s).
2. Clare = 235 points.
6. Ennis Track.
20. Adrian Kearney (Ennis Track).
7. Claire Madigan (St John’s).