The Meath cross-country teams had a successful day at the Leinster Uneven Age and Intermediate Cross Country Championships held in Adamstown, Co.Wexford last Sunday. The course in the centre of Adamstown village was very spectator friendly and the torrential rain received in Wexford on Friday had no effect on the ground conditions, which were good underfoot.
The under 11 girl’s team set the tone for the day when they finished 4th and qualified for the All Ireland’s which will take place in the Curragh in a month’s time. The U11 boy’s team went one place better when finishing in 3rd place over the 1500m race.
The first of our team gold medals came with the under 13 girl’s team when they finished with a total of 75 points to take the coveted title. The team of Sarah Clarke (Na Fianna) 4th, Eva O’Donovan (Navan) 6th, Martha Reidy (Fr. Murphy) 14th, Amy Clarke (Na Fianna) 15th, A. Cleary (St. Andrew’s) 17th and Aine O’Connor (Ratoath) 19th had packed very well to score a deserved win.
The boy’s under 13 team were not to be overshadowed by the girls as they won the title on a score of 55pts with Kevin McGrath and Alan Monaghan both from Bohermeen taking individual gold and silver medals. They were ably supported by Shane Hanley (St. Brigids) in 5th place, James Finnerty (Tara) 7th, Alex Hunter (Ratoath) 19th and Francis Marry (Star of the Sea) 21st.
The under 15 boy’s team finished 4th on 191pts to qualify for the All Irelands with Eoin Smyth (Tara) in 8th place, Ciaran McCarty (Ratoath) 23rd, Philip Marron (Ratoath) 28th, Conor Leech (Na Fianna) 37th, Ciaran Crowther (St. Andrews) 43rd and Mark Daly (Na Fianna) 52nd.
The boys under 17 team finished 4th on 138 pts with five Star of the Sea athletes in the counting six. Niall Cornyn (Dunboyne) broke up the possible six out of six scoring members for the East Meath club as they also had the 7th Meath athlete across the line in Luke Fox. Rob Tully finished in 8th place, Ciaran McGinley 17th, Andrew Coscoran 21st (all Star of the Sea), Niall Cornyn (Dunboyne) 28th, Cormac Costello 31st and Jim Marry 33rd both from Star the Sea. Star of the Sea were the 3rd placed club team in this race.
The intermediate ladies team finished 2nd to our old rivals Dublin when they had a total of 62 points. Emilia Dan (Dunboyne) was the leading Meath athlete when finishing 5th in the 4000m race. She was followed home by the Dunshaughlin duo of Ursula Byrne 14th and Linda Fahy 17th with Deirdre Fitzsimons (Dunboyne) in 26th place.
Mark Hoey (Star of the Sea) in winning the Intermediate Men’s Championship race over 8k led the Meath squad to team gold as well. Mark, who is now just back training after taking a well earned rest after his victory in the Dublin half marathon last September, was in the leading bunch of runners right from the start of the race. This group include Thomas Hayes (Kilkenny City Harriers) and Mick Kavannagh (Sli Culainn) and Neville Reilly (Dunboyne). With two laps of the six laps completed the group was whittled down to Hoey , Hayes and Kavannagh with Reilly in 4th place. The Meath man continued to set the pace leading this trio of athletes with the Kilkenny man and the Wicklow man alternating between 2nd and 3rd place. Then with 3k remaining the East Meath athlete stretched his legs and the race was now down to Thomas Hayes and Mark as Kavannagh fell back. Neville Reilly at this stage was cementing his position in 4th place while the rest of the Meath were battling well further down the field. Mark continued to press on and with 2k left to race he had broken Hayes and opened up gap on the Kilkenny man. Mark continued to press home his advantage so that going out on the last lap he had a forty metre lead. Mark came home in a time 27mins 34secs for the 8k and had a winning margin of seventeen seconds on Hayes with Kavannagh 3rd and Neville Reilly finishing in 4th place.
Ronan Wogan (Slane AC) in 17th, Loughlin Campion (St. Andrews) 24th, Robert Caffery (St. Brigids) 29th and Paul Gannon (Dunboyne) in 36th made up the rest of the scoring team finishing with a total of 111pts and taking the team prize in the process.