The North Leinster Schools Cross Country was held in miserable conditions in Mullingar this afternoon. The non stop rain of recent days left a mud fest. Throw into the mix the tail end of the storm made it a very testing day for all. Still the show must go on with Leinster final places at stake next Wednesday.
Star of the show was Antrim International Cross Country Junior race winner Aaron Hanlon, the defending title holder. Aaron now in the final months of a glittering schools athletes career for St. Mary`s Drogheda was a class apart in the final race of the day the senior boys race taking command early on and winning by a margin of some 300m. The St. Aidans Clonliffe crew also ran very well to take 3rd place and a place in next week`s Aviva Leinster Final. An excellent run today by Niall Norman to take 9th place, with Ross Kearney 16th and in his first senior race, stepping up from inters, David O`Hanlon 18th and Liam Ashton 25th secured bronze for the Whitehall school. Josh Stubbs found the tight bends not quite to his liking and place 13th for Malahide.
Laura Tuite, finding the conditions to be amongst the worst she has encountered in a long time, continued her good form today with a 3rd place finish in the senior girls race.
St. Aidans dominated the inter boys race where Cathal Doyle in 2nd lead the team home to gold. The was a particularly fine run in this race from Brian Flanagan, an athlete who grows in stature race by race, his front running tactics paying off with an excellent 4th place finish, Adam O`Brien was just behind him in 5th, Sean Carrigg 7th, Joseph Hession 11th, Alex Gibbons 14th, Kevin McKenna 17th, Shane Merrigan 29th and Keith Hodson 41st.
The junior team also performed very well for st. Aidans with Alex Hogan 8th, Fintan McManus after a fine run indeed 10th, Sean O`Leary, minus one of his spikes 14th (there will be a shoe tying session tomorrow) and Daniel Craig 31st bringing the team into next week`s finals with silver.
Finally the minor boys where the only club member was Jack Horan who was 28th as St. Aidans took 3rd place.
In all a very positive day for the club`s athletes who will now recover and freshen up for Santry next Wednesday.