The grounds of Stradbally Hall, County Laois play host each year to a large outdoor festival known as Electric Picnic. Last Saturday, the vast rolling fields around the old estate house hosted something much more in keeping with the bucolic setting: the live and unplugged Leinster B Championships & Mixed Relays. It really is a stunningly impressive and beautiful part of the country, one made for the doing of great acts of valour. One can almost imagine na Fianna engaging in acts of fleet-footedness, dexterity and raw strength on these very plains.
It was the descendants of those latter-day warriors who gathered there last weekend, among them some of Wexford’s finest. The day started well for Wexford as DMP’s Alannah Flanagan in 17th place led the county team to a fine 4th place finish. In the boys under 11 race we had three athletes in the top 15 – Charlie Walsh (Adamstown) 6th, Eli O’Rourke (DMP) 7th, Eoin English (Adamstown) 15th.
Wexford were on fire in the girls under 13 race with Kayleigh Butler (Taghmon) 3rd, Faye Barry (Kilmore) 5th and Izzy Aspel (Taghmon) 9th leading the county team to a second place finish. The icing on this particular cake was a bronze medal finish for the Kilmore team with Faye back up by Jaden Ryan 22nd, Kate Fortune 24th and Sarah Dupuy 45th.
Odhran Fitzpatrick (SBR) was 11th and Sean Walsh (Adamstown) 15th in the boys under 13 race. And representing Croghan in the under 17 race were Patrick Byrne (6th) and Donnacha O’Reilly (12th).
An innovation at the meet was the introduction of mixed relays. Anyone who watched the recent World Cross Country Champs will know how exciting an event this can be. Kilmore AC had two teams competing. DMP’s under 13 team of Saoirse Flanagan, Maria Gilbane, Sean Power and Henry Stafford were 3rd, while behind them in 6th was the Kilmore team of Sophia Mills, Sarah Dupuy, Alan Power & Donnacha Cousins. Kilmore’s under 15 team of Ava Barry, Anna O’Connor, Oscar O’Connor, Conor Hancock also placed 6th. DMP’s under 11 team of Alannah Flanagan, Eli O’Rourke, Conan O’Grady and Niamh McCarthy were 9th.
Under 11 Girls
17 Alannah Flanagan (DMP); 19 Grace White (Adamstown); 25 Niamh McCarthy (DMP); 27 Ria Doyle (SBR); 44 Mia Hancock (Kilmore); 48 Lily Shannon (Adamstown); 53 Anna Walsh (Adamstown).
Wexford were 4th county team.
Under 11 Boys
6 Charlie Walsh (Adamstown); 7 Eli O’Rourke (DMP); 15 Eoin English (Adamstown); 23 Conan O’Grady (DMP); 40 Leo Johnstown (SBR).
Under 13 Girls
3 Kayleigh Butler (Taghmon); 5 Faye Barry (Kilmore); 9 Izzy Aspel (Taghmon); 22 Jaden Ryan (Kilmore); 24 Kate Fortune (Kilmore); 25 Aoife Doyle (Taghmon); 43 Sadye Moran (DMP); 45 Sarah Dupuy (Kilmore); 46 Sarah Buggy (DMP).
Kilmore were 3rd team. The Co Wexford team placed 2nd.
Under 13 Boys
11 Odhran Fitzpatrick (SBR); 15 Sean Walsh (Adamstown).
Under 17 Boys
6 Patrick Byrne (Croghan); 12 Donnacha O’Reilly (Croghan).