A fine day’s cross country for the Harriers

It was quite a successful outing to Navan for today’s national novice and national juvenile (uneven ages) cross country championships. The weather gods were favourable today – although it was bitterly cold the rain held off and indeed there was some nice winter sunshine to warm the cockles. The underfoot conditions for the athletes were very good indeed with plenty of good running and grass on the course which unusually enough was a clockwise course.

As is the norm it was the juvenile programme that got proceedings underway, the 1st of the Clonliffe athletes in action where the U/15 boys, the team will benefit enormously from the experience, as they were competing in their first national championships as a team, all battled away gamely and although the team placed well down the pecking order in 15th there is no doubt that these boys have potential and if they stick together will see considerable improvement next season. The team was Joshua Chalmers 86, Sean Sinopluogiu 102 , Cormac Tynan 119, Conor Tynan 129 and Fiachna O’Donovan 135.

U/15 Boys team

The sole Clonliffe representative in the girls U/17 was Hannah Walsh who acquitted herself very well indeed finishing in 76th position.

50% of U/17 team!

The U/17 boys team were led home in an excellent 6th position by Rory Quill, next in and suffering badly with a chest cold was Matei Ursachi 24th, William Walsh 43rd, Harry Lynam 75th, these scoring for placed unfortunately just outside of the medals in 4th position. The team were backed up by Liam Arthur 91st and Aaron Murray 112th

Both Clonliffe athlete in the girls U/19 race were running on the Dublin team. Hazel Kenny once again ran an impressive race to place 25th, Hazel also scored on the Dublin intercounty team that took silver, and indeed on the Dublin provincial team that also took silver. In 28 position was Sorcha O’Connor who also scored on the Dublin team that took provincial silver.

The boys U/19 team did not allow the weight of expectation in any way interfere with their performance and they went about things in a thoroughly professional manner to claim national team gold for Clonliffe. The team was led home in 5th position by Sean Cronin, Tom Breslin 16th, Cillian Keegan 17th and Lorcan Benjacar 24th, these scoring for were superbly backed up by Leon Brady 25th and Devon Morrisey 44th. Sean, Tom, Cillian, Lorcan and Leon also all took Dublin intercounty and provincial gold. It must be said that this team have been simply superb this winter season and have won both U/18 and now the U/19 national titles.

On then to the novice Championships where once again the women’s team put in heroic performances. This team have been racing for Clonliffe almost on a weekly basis this season. Julie Larkin led the team home in an excellent 23rd, Hannah Browne continued her superb cross country season with a 33rd place finish, next in and taking back 4 or 5 places over the last 100 was Sarah Bateson in 35th and women’s captain Jenny Johnston, playing an excellent captains role took 44th. The team were rewarded by picking up yet another set of national metals – this time bronze. Also competing very well in the race was Aisling Killelea 53rd, Jools Hughes 56th and Sarah Hawkshaw 61st. Julie Larkin also took Dublin intercounty silver.

Novice bronze: Aisling, Jools, Sarah, Hannah, Sarah, Jenny, Julie

Finally it was the novice men and find battling performances indeed by the squad and although we came up slightly short finishing in 4th place the effort and commitment was once again superb. Fintan Kerins ran himself to a standstill to take 14th, Niall Carbery ran a most mature race to take 21st. Sean Carrigg was 3rd scorer in 37th, his hard training in recent months paying dividends, the 4th scorer and running his 1st race in a year and 1/2 or so was Ed Tottenham, he completely emptied the tank with his legs buckling up the home straight. The scoring 4 were backed up by Liam Roarty 42nd, Sean Heaslip Owens 43rd and Jack Maughan 50th. Both Fintan and Niall won Dublin inter county gold and now, with tears in their eyes, leave the novice ranks for good!

Novice men: Sean, Fintan, Niall, Jack, Liam, Ed, Sean
Former Novices Fintan Keirns and Niall Carbery

And folks that trip to Navan winds up the 2023 cross country season, although just around the corner is the Masters, intermediate and of course schools cross country. Rust never sleeps!