A beautiful Spring afternoon in St. Clare`s, Glasnevin: fresh crisp air, late Winter (or early Spring?) sunshine, the smell of freshly cut grass simply perfect for cross country running and today`s DCU School`s Invitational. The event as always was superbly organised with schools from near and far in attendance. Huge fields in the minor and junior races and quality in the senior races.
Despite the excersions of Sunday`s National Juvenile Championships in Tullamore there were a number of Clonliffe athletes in action today, with really some top class performances. Pride of place goes to Ian Guiden running in the colours of local school St. Aidans CBS in the senior boys 4,000m race. Showing no ill effects from Tullamore only three days previously Ian dominated proceedings with an excellent display of front running leading from gun to tape to win this prestigious race.
A good run also from Fintan Doherty (Castleknock College) in the top three for three quarters of the race before finding Sunday still in his legs and tiring a little over the final lap to finish 4th. Johnny Bradly Ward (St. Aidans) was disappointed with his run on Sunday but put this well and truely to the back of his mind with a real return to form as he put in a great effort getting himself into a good position in the early part of the race and then battled gamely to hold a strong 11th place. Ronan Doyle (Col. Choilm) also put in a strong performance only two places behind Johnny in 13th with Eoin McCullogh (Belvedere) showing well in 17th.
This was indeed a very encouraging performance by all these Clonliffe lads, keenly watched by the Club Captain, who make up the back bone the Junior team that will challenge for medals in the Nationals on home turf on February 26th.
The second batch of Clonliffe lads in action were in the Inter race over 3,000m. Good runs by all three: Conor King 31st, making his way back to fitness after recent illness, Craig McCourt 34th, both St. Aidans and Ryan Cleary (Belvedere) 51st.
Next up on the school`s programme are the Leinster qualifiers during the first week of February followed by the Leinster Schools Cross Country hosted by Clonliffe Harriers in Santry on February 16th.