Mullingar Harriers Athletic Club

Leinster Cross Country 2017 - Day 2 (Navan)

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Mullingar teams dominate at Leinster Cross Country

The first round of the Leinster Cross Country was held on Saturday 28th October at Navan Racecourse in perfect running conditions where the Meath Athletics Board had laid out a fantastic course that provided a good challenge for the huge number of competitors that took part, with good long gradual hills and some tight turns to test everyone. Competition was for boys and girls u/12, 14, 16 and 18 years and for Junior and Novice men and women. Mullingar was represented in 11 of the 12 races, being absent only from the Novice women race. By day’s end, every Mullingar team had won medals, in addition to 22 individual medals for finishing in the top-twelve places, including a Leinster title for Ryan Jenkins in the u/12 boys race and third place for Claire Fagan in the Junior women race. These results show how Mullingar absolutely dominated in the Inter-Club competition. Helped by Athlone IT athletes, our athletes did very well in the Inter-County competition too. This means that Mullingar and Westmeath will be well represented in the All-Ireland finals in Abbottstown at the end of November and Mullingar will be well represented on Leinster teams too.

The day began with non-Championship races over 1,000m for boys and girls under 10 years of age, and athletes as young as 7, 8 and 9 years of age from Clubs across Leinster competed with great enthusiasm. We had seven girls in the u/10 girls 1,000m race and seven boys in the u/10 boys 1,000m race and they all ran brilliantly, in fact five of them won medals. Some of these youngsters will be underage again next year, but we’ll see others in action again in two weeks time in Adamstown, Co. Wexford competing at u/11 and the u/10 races provided an ideal taste of competition for them.

When the excitement of the u/10 races was over and before the first Championship race, asked by the Meath Board, our own Meghan Bates sang Amhrán na bhFiann and you could have heard a pin drop as she sang and she received great applause when she finished. It was on then to the first race of the Championships, the 2,000m for girls u/12 where Mullingar had a very big squad of 20 girls running, the biggest number from any Club there. In a very tight race to the line, Adele Geoghegan placed 2nd, just ahead of Aimee Wallace in 3rd. Leah Geoghegan (5th) and Caoimhe Kilmurray (6th) also got in the top-twelve medal places. Following in and giving great team support was Morgan Corcoran in 13th place, unlucky to miss an individual medal by just one place, followed by Grace Byrne, Jessica Cunningham, Síofra O’Halloran, Ellen Daly, Robyn Bates, Saoirse Sheridan, Caoimhe Donohue, Orla Manning, Anna May Flannery, Quyen Bartley, Shauna Traynor, Rose Macken, Muireann Donohue and Aideen Langtry (unfortunately, Lucy Donnelly and Ellen Foran were ill during the race and had to stop). The hard work paid off handsomely as the girls finished 1st Club and 2nd County team to get Mullingar on the scoreboard and get the day off to a great start.

Clearly inspired by the girls efforts, and not to be outdone, in the 2,000m for boys u/12, Ryan Jenkins, Philip McCartan, and Callum Costello took the early lead, pulling clear to make certain of their places, with Luke O’Leary closely behind them. Thanks to a phenomenal last gasp effort by Luke just a few metres from the line, he managed to edge into fourth place to give Mullingar a fantastic 1-2-3-4 finish, meaning Club team gold was assured. The excitement wasn’t finished though, as Conor Liston (8th) and James Flynn (12th) got into the individual medal places too. Great team running and support from Daire McDonald, Jamie Wallace, Criostoir Ormsby, Darragh Smith, Rory McDonnell, Alex Lynch, Hugo Sleator, David Burke and Ryan Bell saw the team also finish 1st County. This will be the team to watch in the All-Ireland finals!

In one of the closest finishes of the day in the underage races, Amy Geoghegan just had the better of Phoebe Bate right on the line to finish 11th and 12th respectively in the 3,000m for girls u/14. With Aoife McGouran, Meghan Bates, Eva Farrell and Anna McCartan providing great team support, the girls finished 2nd Club but were unfortunate to finish out of the County medals in 6th place.

Diarmuid Fagan ran a great race in the 3,000m for boys u/14, keeping with the leaders throughout and was delighted with his 4th place finish. Running well in support was Ross Killalea, Tadhg Sheridan, John Ryan, Adam Brady, Adam Smyth, Matt O’Leary, Eoin McGrath, Conor Heavin (Athlone IT), Andrew Glennon, Martin Foran, Conleth Mullen and Ben Böse to secure the bronze medals for 3rd Club (unfortunately, Lorcan Mullen was injured during the race and had to stop). The boys were very unlucky to finish 5th County, narrowly missing 4th place, which would have given an automatic qualification spot for a Westmeath team in the All-Ireland finals.

The 4,000m for girls u/16 gave us more excitement where Caoimhe O’Brien (6th), Jennifer Fidgeon (7th), Bea Drummond (8th) finished in quick succession, followed home by Meabh Killalea in 13th, unlucky to miss an individual medal by only a narrow margin. Karla Cunningham, Francesca Walshe and Ciara Smith were in brilliant form providing important scores to play their part in helping the team finish 1st Club and 2nd County to keep Mullingar to the fore.

In the 4,000m for boys u/16, Eoin Quinn (10th) narrowly beat Colin Smith (11th) in a tight finish and with Rian Hogan, Sam Smyth, Colin McGee, Paddy Rafferty, Ruairi Fagan, Paul McCool, Matthew Glennon, Kevin Martin and Callum Greene packing well in support, the boys finished 1st Club and 4th County to book their places in the All-Ireland finals.

The 4,000m for girls u/18 and Junior women was a combined race where the u/18 girls could win medals in both the u/18 and junior race. The Mullingar girls were led home by our sole junior, Claire Fagan, taking a well-deserved 3rd place in the Junior race, followed by our u/18 girls, Aoife Darby, Catriona Kennedy, Lisa Gavin (Athlone IT), Andrea Brady, Laura Shaw, Sarah Glennon and Elysia Greene (unfortunately, Susan Glennon was ill during the race and had to stop). Aoife and Catriona finished 5th and 9th in the u/18 race, so received individual medals there. When officials separated out the u/18 and Junior results both the u/18 and Junior women teams finished 1st Club and 1st County, so it was a big medal haul for the girls!

The final underage race on the programme was another combined race, the 6,000m for boys u/18 and for Junior men, where like the corresponding women’s race, medals could be won in u/18 and junior. Aidan Daly had the honour of leading the Mullingar men home in 9th place in the Junior race, followed by the u/18 boys, Conor McHugh (12th in the u/18 race), Andrew Daly, John Whitelaw and Brian Martin. When officials separated out the u/18 and junior results both the u/18 and Junior men teams finished 2nd Club.

The final race of the day was the Novice men 6,000m where the Mullingar stuck to their task in the tough three lap race. Mal McDonnell led the team home, and with Gerry Gavin, Ian McCormack, Andrew Nevin and James Keegan finishing strongly, providing great support and packing well, the men were delighted to finish 2nd Club and take home the silver medals to round off an excellent day for the Club.

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