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Great day`s cross country at Leinster Schools

Clonliffe Harriers yesterday played host to the Irish Schools Athletic Association for the 2012 Aviva Leinster Schools Cross Country Championships. All members of Clonliffe Harriers concerned did sterling work in putting on an event which was worthy of a national, let alone Leinster, championship. The Clonliffe crew had been out from 8 a.m. on the morning marking out the course to have it in pristine condition for the high noon start. Overall the going in Santry Demesne was good but there were of course the obligatory patches of mud, however, considering the amount of rain in Dublin over the last week or so the ground held up surprisingly well. There were of course a substantial number of Clonliffe athletes in action for their schools, standout performer on the day was new Clonliffe signing Aaron Hanlon who scored a dominant victory in the inter boys over 4500 metres.

As always in schools competition there were huge fields, particularly in the younger age groups, the first of our athletes in action was in the minor girls race which was run over one big 1500m loop, great performances by our two athletes in this race, both of whom finished very strongly over the final 200 with Alannah Cooley coming home in 39th place with Amy McGrath not far behind her in 53rd.

We had four athletes in the minor boys race which was run over 2000 metres making up the bulk of the St. Aidan’s CBS team. This St. Aidan’s minor team has been dominant throughout the course of the winter and did not disappoint in Santry. There was a great battle between Joseph Hession and Sean Carrig, who exchanged places throughout the race, Sean pushing Joseph very hard all the way and it was only with 400 to go that Joseph turned on the burners to power away, however, Sean finished very strongly and was not that far off Joseph at the finish, Joseph being the first St. Aidan’s scorer in seventh place with Sean 9th, an excellent run from the ever improving Shane Merrigan in 22nd place and from Gregory Hennessy in 67th. With very good runs from the rest of the St. Aidan’s team it meant that when the results were totted the St. Aidan’s minor boys continued their winning streak to take their Leinster title and now look forward with considerable confidence to the All Ireland’s in Galway on March 10th.

Clonliffe had two athletes in the junior girls race which was also run over 2000 metres, both girls running as individuals having successfully negotiated the qualifiers, realistically their aim was top 30 finishes and neither disappointed with Sally Aherne having one of her best runs to date over the country to finish in 24th position – six places ahead of Laura Tuite in 30th.

The Junior boys race featured a great number of Clonliffe athletes all of whom are part of the same training group, in this race, held over 3000 metres, there was a very impressive performance by Cathal Doyle who got himself into a superb position from the off and ran a very mature race, however, unfortunately was caught 50 metres from the line for 3rd place and finished in that unlucky fourth position. There was a great battle between St. Aidan’s pairing of Adam O’Brien and David O’Hanlon throughout the race, in the end Adam was the stronger finishing in 8th position two places ahead of David. Brian Flanagan was the next St. Aidan’s scorer in 14th position, Brian has really improved dramatically as an athlete over the winter months clearly showing the benefits of regular training and his reward was another excellent run, probably his best to date. Paddy O’Hanlon who unfortunately has missed a lot of training over the winter months battled on gamely finishing in 27th position for Rathoath with Alex Gibbons another improving athlete finishing 35th and Philip Keenan, both St. Aidan’s, finishing 63rd. The St. Aidan’s junior boys team finished 2nd and again will head to Galway in three weeks time.

Clonliffe only had one athlete competing in the inter girls race, Rachel Murray who was 25th.

The inter boys race featured pre-race favourite Aaron Hanlon running for St. Mary’s Dundalk, Aaron has only recently joined Clonliffe Harriers. After a relatively easy opening lap Aaron turned up the heat on the second lap and by 2000 metres was well clear of the field, thereafter he ran well within himself to record a comfortable win by some margin over the field. Certainly an athlete to watch in the future. Liam Ashton of St. Aidan’s had another good run and finished very strongly over the second half of the race in 7th place, Ryan Cleary running for Belvedere was 54th. A good run by Ryan when one bears in mind that these days Ryan is more noted as a race walker. Both Aaron and Liam now progress to the All Irelands as individuals.

The Senior girls race featured only one Clonliffe athlete, Roisin Leahy who ran very well to finish 11th and comfortably qualify for the All Ireland finals.

Finally on to the Senior boys race where Kevin Dooney of CBC Monkstown and Raheny Shamrocks was expected to be the dominant force. As usual Kevin Dooney hit the front from the off and drove off at a relentless pace, the only athlete to rise to the challenge was Ian Guiden who stuck doggedly on Dooney’s heels for the best part of two laps but clearly the pace took its toll and unfortunately over the second half of the race he slipped back into the clutches of the chasing pack before finishing a disappointed and tired 4th. Fintan Doherty also expressed himself disappointed with his afternoon’s work, Fintan running as an individual for Castleknock finished 10th but again is consoled with qualification, along with Ian for the All Ireland finals. Eoin McCullough (Belvedere) was 21st with St. Aidan’s pairing of Connor King 31st and Johnny Bradley-Ward 42nd. In possibly the shock of the day unfortunately the St. Aidan’s senior boys did not finish in the top three and for the first time in a long number of years there will no St. Aidan’s senior team at the All Ireland Cross Country finals.

In all another great days athletics and a big thank you to all of the Clonliffe people who turned out en masse for the whole day, most of whom took a day off work at their own expense in order to help with the running of these championships. The dedication and effort of the Clonliffe contingent did not go unnoticed and there was high praise from both the Leinster schools athletic union and also from the president of the Irish Schools Association Mr. Michael Hunt.

We now look forward to the next outing in Santry Demesne which is the National Interclubs Cross Country on Sunday the 26th of February. Rust never sleeps!

Classy stuff from Harriers at Leinster schools

May 21, 2011 [Noel Guiden] The gale howling down the home straight of the Morton stadium all day put any hopes of fast times well and truely out the window at today`s Leinster Schools track and field. Although the rain held off until nearing the end of proceedings it was a day to forget the watch and simply compete. There were a good number of Clonliffe athletes in action for their schools and as the day came to an end we had three Leinster schools champions: two in the field and one on the track.

The first Clonliffe Leinster champion of the day came early in the day, and from an unlikely source, as Ryan Cleary wearing the black and white of Belvedere literally walked away from the field. You see Ryan is a distance runner, he is also a race walker. Today the race walker well and truely came to the fore as with 600m to go he bolted from his rivals in the inter 2,000 walk to become Leinster schools champion and qualify for the All Irelands on June 4th.

A Leinster title also for another Clonliffe Belvedere lad Alex Anyaebunam in the senior triple jump. Alex also place 4th in the long jump earlier in the day.

Ryan Whelan (Balbriggan) fully justified his favourite tag in the Inter boys Javelin with a comfortable win.

The club`s sprinters were also in action. In the Inter girls 300m there was a great race between Clonliffe girls Shauna Reilly and Elaine Begley and with Shauna running an excellent bend she held the advantage in 2nd place over Elaine in 3rd which she held to the line. Silver and bronze for the girls with Shauna also qualifying for the All Ireland 300 where she`ll join Elaine who qualified for the 300 hurdles earlier in the week. Leah Bergin also had a good run in the senior girls 400m running very strongly over the first 200 although she was almost out of gas on the final straight held on to a well deserved bronze.

The guys didn`t fair out as well, however, with Patrick O`Connor sidelined with a hamstring injury eyes turned to Keith Pike and Stuart Roche in the senior 100m. Unbelieveably bad luck struck again as Keith pulled his hamstring just at the line in about 5th place with Stuart a place further behind.

In the middle distance events the first Clonliffe athlete in action was Fintan Doherty in the senior 800m. After an opening lap of 63 seconds Fintan was in an ideal position, 200 to go, the 1st and 2nd were gone with Fintan poised for bronze, however, when he pushed the button nothing happened. 4th place in 2.03.6.

Mark McKenzie put in a good show in the senior 1500m and was in contention at the bell, however, was caught out with 300 and missed his chance finishing 5th in 4.20.4. In the inter 1500 Mark Ring battled well to 7th.

Roisin Leahy ran well in the senior girls 1500m to take 6th place. 6th place also for John Buckley in the 3,000m inter boys race, the distance runners had a very tough time of it in the wind. Laura Brennan also ran on gamely in the inter girls 3,000 again the wind was a telling factor as she finished in 8th place.

Final race of the day was the senior boys 5,000m where Ian Guiden battle against a talented field and a gale for 12 and a half laps. The early race was very slow, an 80 second opener, followed by another not much quicker before Liam Brady took it up and then Kevin Dooney took over to drive the field on. Ian held on to this group for 3k before being cut adrift to finish 5th but in a new PB of 16.24.

Well done all today, it wasn`t easy and congratulations to all the athletes who`ve qualified for next month`s All Ireland Schools.

Leinster double from Patrick O`Connor

May 22, 2010 [Noel Guiden] In sweltering heat as temperatures topped 23 degrees Patrick O`Connor turn the heat up even more scorching the new mondo track in Morton Stadium. Day 2 of the Leinster Schools today and the star of the show from a Clonliffe perspective was Patrick O`Connor. First up he was magnificent in the intermediate boys 200m winning in an unbelieveable time of 22.07, a new record for these championships and taking almost half a second off his PB. A couple of hours later he reigned supreme in the 100m, easing up over the last 30m winning comfortably in 11.17, a sprints double.

A fantastic effort in the senior boys tripple jump by Alex Akayali(12.76m) saw him win Leinster silver. A great silver for Fintan Doherty in the Inter 800m, taking up the running at the bell and fighting all the way over the last 150 to clinch an excellent 2nd place in 2.01 (PB). Silver also for Ryan Whelan in the inter boys javelin with a best of 40.02m. In the senior boys 1500m Jamie Rossister took a chunk off his PB running 4.03 to claim 3rd place. Bronze also for Elaine Begley in the inter 300m, matching her success in the 300m H on Wednesday.

Good runs also today by Denise Callaghan 5th in the senior girls 3,000m and from Ian Guiden 7th in the inter 3,000m (9.44). Graham Mahon was just out of the medals in the senior 800m 4th in 2.00.61.

Well done all and good luck to the qualifiers in the All Ireland Schools on June 5th

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