Feb 2, 2010 [Noel Guiden] St. Clares was once again the venue for today`s schools cross country action as passage had to be negotiated through the North Leinsters. The prize on offer today was a starting bearth in the Leinsters at the same venue in three weeks time. With that prize in sight the athletes put the difficult underfoot conditions, the result of very heavy overnight rain, firmly to the back of their minds and focused on the task at hand.
There was the usual good turnout of Clonliffe athletes in their school colours with several fine performances.First away in the minor girls race and competing in her first secondary schools competion was Laura Tuite leading her Mercy Convent Beaumont school home in a very good 21st place from a huge field. In the junior boys race over 3,000m Liam Ashton (st. Aidans) ran well always at the sharp end of the field to finish a very credible 6th place, Liam however expressed himself a little disappointed with his run, however, the important thing was his leading of st. Aidans to 3rd place and safe passage to the Leinster schools.
In the Inter Girls race which was run over a testing 3,000m for the girls Laura Brennan enjoyed one of her best racing days todate with a superb gutsy run. Laura, as usual, ran strongly picking off places over the second half of the race and over the last 800m moved from 5th to 3rd, but try as she did she couldn`t shake off the 4th place girls who hung on grimly until she out kicked Laura on the final bend, but a great effort by Laura to take a fine 4th place and a place in the Leinsters.
On then to the Inter boys and what a great race was served up by the athletes. From the off a trio of Shane Fitzsimons, Conor Turner and Timmy Moriarty set out at a great pace. Ian Guiden(St. Aidans) tried hard to close the gap over the 4,500m race distance and managed to over haul Shane Fitzsimons at half way, by this stage, however, Timmy was gone, showing no after effects of his Mile and 5 Mile races in Raheny 48 hours earlier, to take an excellent win, from Conor Turner with Ian a good third. Next Clonliffe man home was our new boy, Ronan Doyle (Coliste Cholim) an excellent 8th and Conor King(St. Aidans) showing a return to his real form in 30th. St. Aidans took 1st place.
Niamh Hussey was our sole Clonliffe girl in the senior girls race over 1,500m running her first schools race for some time. A good outing from Niamh to finish in 10th place.
Finally the senior boys running 6,000m. The class of the field was Irish International Jake Byrne in his first race for a long period after injury, Byrne easied himself into the lead and generally ran at a comfortable pace for him to record a fairly comfortable win. Of the Clonliffe lads, all running in the red and white of Aidans, Mark McKenzie ran very well indeed, particularily over the final lap moving from 9th into 5th place and was possibly the fastest man over that final lap, but for running out of road maybe there was another place there for him. Jordan Logue after a bright start faded slightly over the second half and finished 9th. Graham Mahon, looking like cross between GI Joe and a Ninja, ran well finishing 13th with Johnny Ward, once again solid, finished three places back in 16th. In the team event St. Aidans were 2nd.
So, with all our athletes safely through, mission accomplished. The Leinsters take place on February 23rd. The West Leinsters take place on Thursday, good luck to all our athletes in that event.