Feb 17, 2011 [Noel Guiden ] On Wednesday the 16th of February Clonliffe Harriers hosted for the Irish Schools Athletics Association the Aviva Leinster Schools Cross Country Championships. The young athletes in action produced some excellent performances over a demanding cross country course. After the rain all week Wednesday morning dawned bright, frosty and sunny, however, the damage had been done and Santry Demesne was pretty muddy indeed, particularly over the back section of the course. Star performers on the day were undoubtedly Kevin Dooney (CBS Monkstown) with a superb victory in the boys senior race, Siofra Clerigh-Buttner (Col. Iosagain) in the intermediate girls race and from a Clonliffe perspective Ian Guiden 5th in the senior boys race and Liam Ashton 8th in the intermediate boys race.
Proceedings got underway precisely at 12 noon with a huge field in the minor girls race, the girls running one 1500m lap and the race was won in fine style by Nadia Elton-Power.
Again there was a huge field in the minor boys race, the minor boys running over 2000 metres. Indeed the field in this race was probably the biggest of the day. Race winner was Glen Gaffney of St. Mary’s Mullingar. From a Clonliffe perspective there was an excellent performance from Clonliffe new recruit Patrick O’Hanlon who ran very well indeed to finish a most credible 28th place.
Clonliffe had two athletes in the junior girls race, West Leinster Champion Rachel Murray had a very good run to finish in the top 15 and qualify for the All Ireland finishing in 12th position. A good run also in this race from Kate Hession in what was her biggest cross country race to date. The junior girls champion was Ella Fennelly (Mount Anville).
Strangely enough from a club perspective we had no athletes at all in the junior boys race, in a race won by Jack Reid of St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge.
The intermediate girls race was, as expected, dominated by Siofra Clerigh-Buttner with a gun to finishing line winning performance coming some ten days after her superb bronze medal for her club DSD in the European Junior Clubs Cross Country in Milan.
A good run in this race from Clonliffe’s Elaine Begley who finished 29th, 3500 metres in the mud is a pretty different proposition from Elaine’s normal 400 metre hurdles event.
We had a number of athletes running in the intermediate boys race. Liam Ashton continues to develop as an athlete of considerable promise once again having a very strong race for St. Aidan’s finishing St. Aidan’s first scorer in 8th place. John Buckley also ran well to finish 30th with Craig McCourt 38th and Conor King 52nd. Despite a serious fall in the mud Ryan Cleary battled on gamely. The winner of the intermediate boys race was Aaron Hughes who overhauled pre-race favourite Shane Fitzsimons in the last 400/600.
On then to the senior girls race, the senior girls running 2500 metres. There were a number of the Clonliffe girls in this race with the club’s first finisher in 15th place being Ashling Aherne. A good run also from Laura Brennan in 20th with a strong sprint in the line gathering in a number of places. Denise Callaghan, having sat her mock English Leaving Cert paper earlier in the day, 23rd and Roisin Leahy 24th. Irene Falvey also ran well in this race. These girls make up the nucleus of the junior women’s team which will do battle in the Nationals on the same course on Saturday the 26th of February. The race was won by Marie Aine Ni Shuilleabhain.
The last race of the day was the senior boys race with an eagerly awaited dual between Kevin Dooney and Liam Brady. The in form Dooney took the race by the scruff of the neck during the course of the first lap to power away for a superb win from Brady with Jake Byrne a comfortable 3rd. From a Clonliffe perspective Ian Guiden had another excellent run to finish in 5th place having lost a spike on the final lap. Fintan Doherty showed a real return to form finishing very strongly in 10th place with Mark McKenzie battling with injury running strongly for St. Aidan’s to finish 26th, Eoin McCullough (Belvedere) was 32nd with Johnny Bradley-Ward looking strong in 36th place. Ronan Doyle was the victim of a spiking and was forced to pull out of the race.
The first three teams in each race and the first fifteen individuals have earned the right to take part in the All Ireland Schools Final which takes place on Saturday the 12th of March the venue yet to be confirmed. Alan O’Neill again did an excellent job with St. Aidan’s successfully guiding three of his four teams through to the All Ireland decider and the lads were rewarded by being named boys school of the day.
The event itself was very successful and the Irish Schools Athletics Association were fulsome in their praise of the Clonliffe members who turned out from early in the morning to mark out the course and marshall throughout the course of a long day. Thanks also to the Morton Stadium for use of their facilities and to the Gardaí in Santry for their help and assistance.
The next big cross country day is the National Inter-clubs on Saturday week and the Club President Paddy Marley who is the Event Director appeals to all members to make themselves available to assist on the day. If you can assist and have not already put your name forward would you email email@example.com as soon as possible.
Aviva Leinster Schools Cross Country Results
1. Kevin Dooney – CBC Monkstown
2. Liam Brady – St Brendan’s Birr
3. Jake Byrne – St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge
1. Knockbeg College Carlow – 55 pts
2. St Aidan’s CBS – 118 pts
3. Belvedere College – 119pts
1. Aaron Hughes – St Mary’s Drogheda
2. Shane Fitzsimons – St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge
3. Cillian O’Maonigh – Colaiste Eoin
Teams: 1. St Fintan’s Sutton – 89 pts
2. Knockbeg Collge – 118 pts
3. St Mary’s Mullingar – 121 pts
1. Jack Reid – St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge
2. Liam McGiolla Phadraig – Colaiste Eoin
3. Harry Larkin – Castleknock CC
1. St Kieran’s Kilkenny – 56 pts
2. St Fintan’s Sutton – 121 pts
3. St Aidan’s CBS – 131 pts
1. Glen Gaffney – St Mary’s Mullingar
2. Oisin Fitzgibbon – Salesian Celbridge
3. Jack Kyle – King’s Hospital
1. St Mary’s Mullingar – 35 pts
2. Salesian Celbridge – 74 pts
3. St Aidan’s CBS – 97 pts
1. Maire Aine Ni Shuilleabhain – Gael Colaiste Ceatharlach
2. Mary Mulhare – Presentation Portlaoise
3. Niamh Kearney – Loreto Dalkey
1. Colaiste Iosagain – 21 pts
2. St Dominic’s Cabra – 44pts
3. Presentation Kilkenny – 57 pts
1. Siofra Cleirigh Buttner – Colaiste Iosagain
2. Linda Conroy – Mercy Kilbeggan
3. Sarah Hawkshaw – Mount Sackville
1. Colaiste Iosagain – 15 pts
2. Mount Sackville – 27 pts
3. Presentation Kilkenny – 60 pts
1. Ella Fennelly – Mount Anville
2. Deirdre Healy – Ratoath College
3. Nicole Cuskelly-Killina – SS Tullamore
1. Colaiste Iosagain – 32 pts
2. Skerries Community College – 56 pts
3. Mount Anville – 61 pts
1. Nadia EltonPower – St MacDara’s CC
2. Carla Sweeney – St MacDara’s CC
3. Aisling Moody – St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge Teams:
1. St Mary’s Naas – 45 pts
2. St Dominic’s Cabra – 50 pts
3. St MacDara’s CC – 58 pts