Ulster Schools Cross Country
The action came thick and fast this week starting off at a suprisingly mild Mallusk playing fields for the Ulster Schools Cross Country. The junior stags competing had already qualified through their respective heats and now stood on the start line eyeballing eachother representing their schools rather than than being team mates in the usual yellow vests. The aim was to enjoy it and try if possible to hit top 15 for automatic qualification to the Irish Schools competition again at Mallusk in a few weeks.
First up was Niamh McAuley in the Minor girls race finishing in 19th place. Niamh is working her way back into good form and is one to watch for the upcoming track season. Next up was the Junior girls with Holly Collins having a stormer coming home strong in 6th place securing qualification to the all Ireland race. We had 2 runners in the Junior boys race with Eoin McConnell placing 15th again securing qualification to the all Ireland race and Saul Thompson in 24th. Saul is another runner that will look forward to the up and coming track season. In the Inter girls race we had Caoilainn Curran 29th, Orlagh McComb 74th and Leah Horan 77th. Both Caoilainn and Leah can run again in this category in a years time. In the Inter boys race both Max Reid 8th and Hugo Reilly-Stewart 11th had strong runs securing qualification to the all Ireland race. Up next was the big dogs with Roise Roberts, Luke Kelly and Matthew Lavery all toeing the start line knowing they could make it to the podium. Roise had a strong run finishing in 2nd place while Luke and Mathew battled it out with Matthew just getting away in the last few hundred metres to give the stags a 1-2 podium finish. Hopefully there will be some all Ireland medals back in North Belfast in a few weeks time.
Stormont Cross Country
A wet and pretty miserable morning but plenty of young stags made it to the race creating a real buzz in the tent with parents drinking black tea and coffee as someone forgot the milk! The numbers got pinned and the warm ups done and it was off the the tree lined start area. U13 boys and girls raced together and off they went up the 400m slight climb before taking a sharp left back down towards the finish area. In the girls category Isla Wiltshire 4th came down the home hill flying while Aofie Sharkey 9th wasnt too far behind picking off runners in the last few strides. In the boys race it was Cormac Leheny 11th chased in by Senan McConnell 12th. Charlie OKane 17th and Dualta McGleenan 18th had a good tussle closley followed by Laochra Geraghty 21st.
Next up was the U15 boys and girls. For the girls Treasa McConnell ran well coming home in the top 10 while in the boys Max Reid 2nd got himself onto the podium. Next in was Eoin McConnell 5th, Charlie McLarnon 10th, Cathal McManus 13th just beating Oscar OConnor 15th to the line.
East Coast Cross Country Series
It was then onto a very wet and windy Larne High School on Sunday for the second of the East Coast junior race series. Honestly i wish i could have parked my car closer to the race as i may not have left it. Apart from the weather there was great hospitality as usual with buns, tea/coffee and hot chocolate and a real family atmosphere. Our first runner was in the Mini Boys race with Fintan Leheny trucking up the home straight into 4th place. In the Minor girls Phoebe Reid ran well to secure 6th spot and Pearse Leheny was 7th in the Minor boys. In the Junior girls race Cassie Curran came first finishing strong on the last lap and kicking up the finish straight. Thats her second win in two races. Well done. We had 3 runners in the Junior boys with Peadar Sheridan 4th, Alex Reid 7th and Ruarcc Sheridan 9th all running well despite the tough conditions. Everyone waited about for the spot prizes before jumping back into their cars for some well deserved heat.
Having a quick look at the results I can see we have two runners this week. Well done getting a PB Oisin!!