The 2013 Meath senior cross country championships took place at Ardbracccan House on Sunday. The autumn colours on the trees and the rolling parkland course were a wonderful setting for the championships.The senior titles were won in impressive style by Fiona Mahon, Dunshaughlin AC and Darragh Rennicks in the colours of the host club Bohermeen AC.
In the womens race Fiona Mahon took control of proceedings from the gun.The former All Ireland intermediate cross country champion remains a force to be reckoned with in Irish distance running. Her early pace saw her open up a gap in the first lap over Karen O'Hanlon, Dunboyne AC and newcomer Siobhan Byrne, who is coached by Mick Priest at Fr. Murphy AC. She worked steadily thoughout the four kilometres making light work of the uphill sections through the woodland. The placed runners engaged in a closer contest with Emilia Dan,Dunboyne AC , runner up in the Leinster Masters last weekend finishing strongly to get up for bronze behing her clubmate O'Hanlon.
In the mens race there was joy for the local club when their star runner, Darragh Rennicks put on a perfect display of brave front running to claim the title. The Bohermeen runner was never in any danger throughout the eight kilometre contest. In runners up spot seventeen year old Andrew Coscoran,Star of the Sea AC made a notable step up to senior championship running when he pulled clear of the experienced Robbie Matthews, winner of the recent Dublin Half marathon in the final kilometre.
In the women inter clubs competions there was a double for Dunshaughlin AC. The womens team of Mahon,Shauna Moore and Ursula Byrne winning with a margin of 5 points over their neighbours from Dunboyne AC. It was even more impressive for the Dunshaughlin mens squad of Matthews,Thomas Moran, Ciaran O'Dwyer and Mick Summerville who had 15 points to spare ahead of their nearest rivals Bohermeen AC.
The date for these championships was switched from its traditional pre Christmas date this year. It was disapointing that the numbers taking part in the senior events were well down on previous years.The proximity of the date to last weekends Dublin Marathon and the Leinster masters,novice,intermediate championships seem to be the main factors. The participation levels will no doubt be considered in depth at this week county board meeting.
In contrast he switch of date for the juvenile cross country relays proved popular with clubs. There was a massive turnout by clubs from throughout the county on what proved to be a popular date in contrast to the adult races. The decision by the host club to stage the races over a 250 metre loop created a really exciting atmosphere. The under 10s and 12s competed over four 250m legs while the under 14s and under 16s ran four 500 metre legs.
Next weekend the attention of Meath athletes will turn to the Leinster uneven ages and intermediate championships at Adamstown in Wexford .There is optimism within the county that some of the emerging juvenile talents who performed so well at the first day of the Leinsters in Dunboyne last weekend will deliver the goods once again.