ALL our athletes filled us with pride at the Leinster Uneven Ages cross-country in Ferbane today. This was real cross country. Arriving at the venue we crossed a style and journeyed some 400m infield to come to the course which had hills, ditches and muddy gaps. Thanks to Noel Maher we had our tent errected close to the starts and of course great shelter from the passing showers and cool winds.
Our under 9 girls – Emma Kelly, Amelia O’Brien, Jasmine Timmons McAneaney and Alicia Slawinski – were first off. Then came the under 9 boys and Daire O’Flaherty used the up and down hills to good effect and was rewarded with second place. Then it was on to the under 11s. They were excellent. The county team won gold with three of our girls Sinead Cormack (9), Kate Maher (14) and Martha Bergin (19) all scoring for the county. Sinead’s 9th place also qualifies her for the Leinster team in the nationals. A fast finishing Kate Canavan completed the scoring for the club team to put them in third place – an impressive result as Sinead and Kara are U10 athletes. Two other U10s – Eabha Hanrahan and Ellen Cormack – provided excellent backup. While the boys under 11 didn’t fare as well as the girls they still performed well. Robert Lacey in 25th won bronze with the county team. Thomas Hayes (57) and Shay Molloy (58), both under 10, had outstanding races . Together with Tiernan O’Brien and Joshua Malone the team finished 9th. With Patrick Lacey out of action our under 13 boys were reduced to three. All ran well – Louie Raggett (31), Ronan Dwan (54) and Luke Browne (62). Our under 15 boys were also excellent. Kealan Gray in 39th was first home and scored on the fourth placed county team. With Ruairi McEvoy(40), Harry Boyle (51) and Conor Byrne (54) the club team were sixth.
Our next involvement was with the under 19 boys and boy were we involved. From the start Shay McEvoy put his mark on proceedings. By 400m he was out in front and pushed on for the rest of the 6K without any threat from the rest of the field – a classic performance. Kevin Burns contested second place from early on but the fast finishing James Dunne, Tullamore Harriers, moved ahead as they neared the final gap. Kevin got the bronze. That wasn’t the end. A huge run by John Muldowney brought him to 13th place. With Cathal Kearney 16th, James Kearney 20th and newcomer and ever improving Dylan McLaughlin 24th, the club won gold and the club team representing the county also won gold. What a way to finish a Leinster championship! Roll on the All-Ireland!