Dec 7, 2008 [Noel Guiden] It was grim in Ballyhaise in the county of Cavan today for the National Juvenile Uneven ages and Novices Championships. The hard overnight frost combined very well with cattle hoof pot holes to make the ground conditions vary from poor to down right dangerous,this and the lack of facilites at the venue and the number of ankle injuries inflicted on the poor athletes well answers the age old question of why our sport fails to attract the numbers of young sports people enjoyed by other codes. After the younger Clonliffe athletes “enjoyed” their runs with a variety of stories to tell to their friends ranging from twisted ankles to lost spikes it looked like an empty handed trip home until the U/19 boys dug deep into the now ankle deep mud to suck Gold from the quadmire with superb efforts from Dave Fitzmaurice, Colm Murray, Mark McDonald, Jamie Rossiter and Tony Kavanagh to take team Gold by three points from St. Malachys and Finn Valley.
In the younger age groups Rachael Murray was the pick of the crop finishing an excellent 16th in the U/13 Girls. The U/15 girls and boys squads struggled badly with only Stephen Boyle making any impression leading the first third of the boys race until he was swepped up by the pack to finsh 41st. Likewise the U/17 boys found the still frozen ground hard to get to grips with as more injuries and lost spikes put paid to their day. Kate Purcell went well in the U/19 girls race finishing a highly credible 19th.
In the boys U/19 race with the frozen ground now turning to mud Dave Fitz got into the mix from the off in his first race in many months and ran a gutsy race to place 8th. With great runs also from Colm Murray coming through the field nicely, Mark McDonald and young Jamie Rossiter supported well by Tony Kavanagh the Clonliffe lads did the business to win National Gold.
On then to the Novice Championships. The women plugged it out with all four coming through the test tired and glad it was over, results not yet to hand but well done Karen Duggan, Joyce O`Hare, Christine Hannelly, Marie Byrne and new ladies captain Pamala Cooper.
Declan Power ran very well to be our first finisher in the men`s novice in 32nd place with Stephen Harkness, more used to two laps of a tartan track, 34th. Next home was Brett Paine (46th), Brain Gallagher (76th) and Jeremy Walsh (87th), Terry McLoughlin and Declan Moran where next in. Comment of the day : ” The way lads where dropping out I thought to myself a few more laps and I`m in the medals!” (Jeremy Walsh)