Andrew Ledwith (Fr. Murphy AC) finished second in the men’s race over 10k and booked his place on the Irish team for the European Cross Country Championships. Ledwith who had won the title himself two years ago was up against defending champion Joe Sweeney (Dublin). From the gun Sweeney set the pace and as the athletes came around to go out on their second of five laps only Andrew was fit to stay with him. The Dublin athlete continued to set the pace even at this early stage and by the time they went out on their third lap he had opened up a lead on Andrew. As they raced through the third lap Ledwith was unable to bridge the gap but he himself had opened up a comfortable lead on the third placed runner.
Now with second place secure Andrew conserved his energy and was happy in the knowledge that second would secure him a place on the European Cross Country team. The race finished with Sweeney winning in a time of 32:07 with Andrew 44secs further back with Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) third. The Meath team finished 6th on 260pts with David Fitzmaurice the second Meath finisher in 23rd place (he was the 4th placed U23 athlete), Mark Hoey (Star of the Sea) 43rd, Neville Reilly (Dunboyne) 45th, Loughlin Campion (St. Andrews) 68th and Derek Croal (Bohermeen) in 79th place making up our scoring 6. Robert Caffery (St. Brigids) in 84th place and Paul Gannon (Dunboyne) in 101st place made up the rest of the Meath team.
The Meath junior men’s team led by Luke Forde (Dunboyne) who finished in 15th place won the bronze medal. Rob Tully (Star of the Sea) was the second Meath finisher with Torlach Grant (Navan) next of the Meath athletes across the line. Sean Keany (Dunboyne) was the fourth scoring Meath athlete with Jim Marry (Star of the Sea) next across the line and completing the bronze medal winning team was Michael Flood (St. Brigids AC)
The junior ladies race which followed the junior men’s race saw the Meath girls go one better than the junior men when they won the silver medal. Elainne Plunkett (St. Brigids) finishing in 14th place led home the team. Rachel Neary (Na Fianna)15th , Shauna Moran (Dunshaughlin)16th , Ciara Rooney (Navan) in 20th , Alison Daly (Na Fianna) 21st place and Ali Shortt in 25th place completed the Meath team.
Report By Brendan Meade, Chairman of Meath Athletics Board