Mullingar teams reinforce their dominance
at Leinster XC
The best way to summarise the results of the Leinster Senior and Juvenile Uneven
Ages Cross Country Championships in Adamstown, Co. Wexford on Sunday 12th November, is to let the numbers speak for
themselves. Nearly 100 juvenile athletes on 9 teams; 2 individual Leinster titles; 19 other top-12 finish places; 7 Club teams
and 5 County teams won medals. All the numbers add up to one result – Mullingar Harriers is again acknowledged as the
primary force in underage cross country in Leinster and we can look forward to some excellent results in the All-Ireland finals
in the coming weeks. We also fielded a senior men team and they finished a very creditable 7th Club thanks to good team running
Great compliments are due to Wexford Athletics, and the local Adamstown AC, for providing
an excellent venue, constructing the course the day before in very testing wind and rain. The course held up remarkably well
on the day, though got broken up in places and was sticky on some corners, but it was a proper cross country course and provided
a tough but fair test for all competitors. The weather on the day was cool and windy by thankfully there was no rain.
The day began with
non-Championship races for girls and boys under 9 years of age hosted by Wexford Athletics. Mullingar had runners in both
and they ran really well and enjoyed the races, some winning medals into the bargain, so we still have youngsters coming through
and we’ll see these girls and boys in the coming years racing in Championships proper.
In a change of format
to previous years, the first Championship races were the u/19 girls and boys, as many are third level students and need to
get home early in the day to travel back to University and College. The Mullingar team of Andrea Brady, Catriona Kennedy and
Laura Shaw finished close together in the mid-teen places in the 4,000m for girls u/19, which was enough
to place them 4th Club and book their places in the All-Ireland finals. We had just one runner in the 6,000m
for boys u/19, Jamie Battle. He took the lead in the early stages and as the laps unfolded, he simply ran away from
the opposition to win by a very big margin and set down clear intent for the European Junior Cross Country
trials in two weeks time.
Getting their first taste of Leinster competition, the Mullingar and Westmeath team in
the 1,500m for girls u/11 took it all in their stride, helped by a good warm up and reassuring words of advice
and encouragement from parents and Club coaches before they took to the start line. Saoirse Sheridan took the early pace and
set off as the girl to chase, keeping ahead for a long way but had to surrender the lead in the closing stages and by Morgan
Corcoran led the Mullingar girls home in an excellent 5th place. Saoirse rallied well in the home straight
and clinched the final individual medal place right on the line, crossing in 12th. There was great team support
from Katie Kilmurray, Orla Manning, Lydia McDonnell, Orlaith Dolan (North Westmeath AC), Jayne Charles, Rose Macken,
Muireann Donohue, Emma Boyle (Athlone IT), Aideen Langtry, Hannah Boyle, Quyen Bartley, Eileen Farrell, Síofra
O’Reilly, Emily Farrell, Anna Geoghegan, Charlotte Butler-Clyne and Norah Garry. The girls finished 2nd Club
but were unlucky to finish 5th County team, out of the medal places. Ellen Daly had warmed up but unfortunately, she was too
ill to compete with the team. Mullingar absolutely dominated the 1,500m for boys u/11 from the start and
Conor Liston led the team home, overtaking Jamie Wallace in the home straight to win the Leinster title,
the Club’s second individual win of the day, with Jamie on his heels in 2nd place. Luke O’Leary
stormed through to finish 4th, followed by James Flynn (8th), Matthew Molloy (9th),
Criostoir Ormsby, Alex Lynch, Rory McDonnell, Niall Brady, Arthur Drummond, Sean Byrne, Hugo Sleator, Charlie Foy, Luke Greene,
Ryan Bell and James Ryan. With five in the top twelve and the rest of the team packing well in support it was no surprise
that the boys finished 1st Club and 1st County team.
Adele Geoghegan battled
hard in the 2,500m for girls u/13 and her reward was a great 5th place for her efforts.
Continuing to return to form after recent illness, Aimee Wallace placed 10th and with Caoimhe Kilmurray,
Leah Geoghegan, Lucy Donnelly, Grace Byrne, Aisling Lane, Katie Boyle (Athlone IT), Sarah Fitzgerald (Athlone
IT), Robyn Bates, Síofra O’Halloran, Adi Cronin, Jessica Cunningham, Eva Farrell and Shauna Traynor providing
great team effort and support, the girls finished 1st Club and 4th County team. Fourth County still earns
the team a place in the All-Ireland finals. We got in the medals again in the 2,500m for boys u/13 where
Diarmuid Fagan and Ryan Jenkins stormed through to 5th and 6th place respectively, and with
Callum Costello (10th) and Tadhg Sheridan just missing an individual medal in 13th place, it was gold for
1st Club. Philip McCartan, Ross Killalea, Adam Brady, John Ryan, Daire McDonald, Adam Smyth, Eoin McGrath,
Matt O’Leary, Darragh Smith, Matthew Shaw, Shane Ormsby, Sonny Drummond, Conleth Mullen and Ben Bose provided great
support to ensure the boys also finished 1st County team.
The medals continued to come Mullingar’s way in the 3,500m
for girls u/15 thanks to Amy Geoghegan (6th), Bea Drummond (8th), Phoebe Bate (10th),
Meabh Killalea, Karla Cunningham, Aoife McGouran, Meghan Bates and Francesca Walshe packing well to finish 1st Club
and 2nd County team. Colin
Smith (4th) and Sam Smyth (6th) battled hard for their individual medal places in the 3,500m
for boys u/15. Great efforts by team mates Colin McGee, Mark Langtry and Kevin Martin saw the team finish 4th
Club team to advance to the All-Ireland finals. Lorcan Mullen warmed up but still carrying remnants of a recent
injury, he made the wise decision not to run and risk aggravating it again.
More team success followed
in the 4,000m for girls u/17 where Aoife Darby (6th), Susan Glennon (9th),
Lisa Gavin (Athlone IT), Sarah Glennon, Ciara Smith and Elysia Greene combined brilliantly and richly deserved their
medals for 1st Club team and 3rd County team. The final underage race was the tough 5,000m
for boys u/17 where Andrew Daly had the honour of leading the Mullingar team home in 7th place.
Great support from Eoin Quinn, Oisin Lane, Andrew Shaw, Rian Hogan, Brain Martin, Paul McCool, Ciaran Luby, Ruairi Fagan and
Callum Greene meant the team finished 2nd Club and 3rd County team.
We had no senior women
but Mullingar fielded a team in the 10,000m for senior men. Five laps of a tough and by now slippery and
mucky course made for hard work but Padraig Moran, Gerard Gavin, Ian McCormack and Hans de Raeymaeker worked hard and finished
a very creditable 7th Club. Timmy Murphy suffered a flare up of a recent injury at the halfway point and wisely decided to
stop and not risk further injury.
rounded off a memorable day for the Club where Jamie Battle and Conor Liston won individual
titles, another 19 won other top-12 finishers’ medals, the Club won 5 gold and 2
silver Club team medals, and Westmeath won 2 gold, 1 silver
and 2 bronze County team medals.