(Note: a number of errors in this report have been brought to our attention. These have now been corrected. Apologies to the clubs and individuals concerned. Please get in touch if you spot any other errors and we will correct them immediately. Link to full results at end of report.)
The Mr Oil County Wexford Senior and Juvenile (Uneven Ages) Cross Country Championships took place last Sunday in the gorgeous arboreal setting of JFK Park & Arboretum. All thoughts of the previous day’s horrible weather were quickly dispelled as blazing sunshine brought back memories of the Summer. The ground had no trouble soaking up the torrential rain which Storm Callum brought so that underfoot conditions were very firm. Great credit is due to host club United Striders for the great attention to detail in designing the course. While there were some short low-gradient ascents for the younger age categories, the difficulty level rose as the races moved up through the ages.
The programme opened with the non-championship U9 races. DMP’s Saoirse Flanagan won the girl’s race ahead of Catherine O’Leary (St Paul’s) in 2nd, Judy Sinnott (DMP) 3rd and Kayleigh Butler (Taghmon) 4th. Shane Laffan (Bree) won the boy’s race while the next 6 places were filled by United Striders athletes with Darragh Glennon 2nd, TJ Murphy 3rd and Sam Dooley 4th.
Emma McCarthy of St Killian’s produced a powerful sprint finish to win the Girl’s U11 race ahead of a fast-finishing Grace Kelly (Menapians), while Rayna Thompson (Kilmore) added a Bronze to that which she picked up in the previous weekend’s U12 race. Éabha Keane (DMP), 2nd in the U12 race, placed a close 4th. Top 10 in this, and all juvenile races, automatically make the Wexford team competing at Leinster level. DMP with Éabha 4th, Sarah O’Mahony 5th and Emma Barrett 17th claimed the team title with 26 points. Kilmore came 2nd with 33 points, a single point ahead of Croghan in 3rd place.
Jayden Kenny (Bree) had a Gold medal-winning performance in Boys U11 to go with the Gold he won the previous weekend in the U10 race. Aidan Bowe (SBR) was 2nd, Thomas Brennan (Enniscorthy) 3rd and Enda Byrne (SBR) 4th. The Bree team of Jayden, Tom Finn (6th) and PJ Breen (7th) took the team title with 14 points; runners-up United Striders finished on 23 points and Enniscorthy were in the Bronze medal position on 30 points.
Aoife Walsh of DMP stormed down the home straight to take the win in the Girls U13 2500m race ahead of Gráinne Thompson (Adamstown) in 2nd and Freya Thompson (Kilmore) in 3rd. The DMP duo of Cara Kelly and Danielle Stone placed 4th and 5th respectively which meant that, with 10 points, the club took the Gold ahead of Kilmore AC on 17 points.
There was more good news for DMP in the Boys U13 2500m race as last week’s U12 winner, Kevin O’Mahony, turned on the after-burners and blasted his way around the course to take a facile victory. Sean Lennon (United Striders) placed 2nd and Ross English (Adamstown) added a Bronze medal to that which he won a week earlier. Tomasso Hickey, in 4th place, was the 2nd Striders athlete. As the club had six athletes in the top ten it was no surprise that they took the team title as well as the runner-up spot (A team: 11 points, B team: 23 points).
Claragh Keane (DMP) was in a class of her own in the U16 race a week previously. She was no less dominant this time out in the U15 3500m race. Clubmate Aoibhinn Mernagh had a good solid run to take Silver. Kate O’Flaherty (Kilmore) was 3rd and Ellie O’Mahony (DMP) was 4th. DMP on 7 points took the team title ahead of Kilmore (19) with Adamstown in 3rd (40).
As with the girls so with the boys: Myles Hewlett took the U14 title in Adamstown in no less impressive fashion than Claragh. The margin may not have been as big this time in the U15 3500m as he had clubmate Ben Wall in relatively close proximity for a good deal of the race. However, once he decided it was time to step on the gas he opened a gap which he built on all the way to the finish. Ben, a winner the previous day in the U16 race, ran strongly throughout to take the Silver while a fast-finishing Aidan Shannon in 3rd and Robert Wall in 4th made it a 1-2-3-4 for Striders. Indeed, the club, with six in the top ten, took both the team title (A team: 6 points) and the runner-up spot (B team: 21 points).
All attention in the Girl’s U17 4500m race was on Róisín O’Reilly of Menapians who was lining out for her first race of the season. She ended the Summer on a high having claimed a couple of national steeplechase titles and made the Irish teams competing at the Celtic International Games and the Schools T&F International. Róisín took the race out at a moderate clip from the gun with Kate Jackman of Adamstown the only one to give serious pursuit. By the end of the first small lap it was all over as a contest as the Menapians girl settled into her stride and stretched her lead all the way to the finish. Kate maintained her momentum throughout to take the Silver while her clubmate Aoibheann Crean took the Bronze ahead of 4th placed Ciara Dolan (Menapians).
The Boys U17 5000m race provided one of the highlights of the day. Nathan Murphy (Menapians), Joe Byrne (SBR) and Conor Keane (DMP) wasted little time in opening up a gap on the field, with the Striders duo of Adam O’Connor and Aaron Browne in close pursuit. As the race progressed, Conor fell off the leading pace leaving it a two horse race between Joe, U16 Silver medal winner a week previously, and Nathan, a 4th place finisher last Summer in the National 1500m. 400 metres to go and the two were stride for stride up the final rise. Around the final bend and into the home straight, Nathan edged in front and, notwithstanding a spirited response from Joe, they went on to cross the finish line in that order with Conor just a few seconds back in 3rdplace. More home straight action was to follow in the battle for 4thplace as Aaron used his superior 400m speed to get ahead of Adam.
A small field lined out in both the Girls and Boys U19 races. The girls adopted a sensible pace throughout only upping the tempo in the latter stages. The Striders duo of Grace Costello and Rebecca Bawden battled it out for the honours with a sprint for the line going Grace’s way. Adamstown’s Triona and Sonia Mooney placed 3rd and 4th respectively.
Peadar Byrne (DMP) pulled away from Kilmore’s Rory Cassidy in the latter stages of the U19 race to take the title. Taghmon’s Joseph Hanlon placed 3rd.