Successful trip up North for the Black `n` Amber

A very successful trip to the IAAF International Cross Country for the Clonliffe juvenile and junior athletes today. The fear of Artic conditions failed (thankfully) to materialize although the snow up North of recent days had for a mud bath as the day`s proceedings wore on. Indeed the slippery conditions caught many an athlete out, including Dermot “Bambi” Buckley who managed a hat trick of falls, one during his race and two during his warm up! At the day`s end all four Clonliffe teams featured in the top three of their respective races.

First into the fray were the 15 boys. In this race Aaron Cullen had an excellent outing with a very positive run from the gun to come home in 8th place in a time of 13.30 for the 3,600m race. Daragh Carter once again was in superb form with a fine 14th place. After an outstanding last lap Ian McElweeney made up a lot of ground to take 37th, with “Bambi” Buckley managing to stay on his feet long enough to grab 56th place. With three to score the Clonliffe lads took a fine 3rd place.

Next up the 17 girls running with the junior women in what proved to be as tough a test of these athletes as one could get over 3,600m. Still all four battled away gamely and were rewarded with 2nd place: Tess Loftus 25th, Hannah Browne 26th, Aimee Warren 27th and Cliona Cooley 30th. Alannah Cooley in the junior race had a fine run ahead of this group and placing 11th junior women.

As with the girls the 17 boys were in with the junior men and all rose exceptionally well to the challenge. With his best run to date for Clonliffe Jordan Byrne was top dog after a great neck and neck sprint with Ben Guiden, who had a brilliant final lap, both recording identical times of 21.03 for the 5,600 distance in 24th and 25th. Next in was Cian Bolger 26th in 21.11, Daniel Stone 28th (21.24), 36th Stephen Cashin (22.05) , 49th Sam Baker-Gorman (23.17) and 56th Jack Horan (23.44). The 17 boys took 3rd place. In the junior section Sean O`Leary lead the pack home in 7th recording a time of 19.08, next in his comeback proper was Sean Carrig 17th (20.39) and in a starring roll today Alex Gibbons 18th in 20.45,these scoring three took 2nd team,  a place behind Alex was Joey Hession (20.56), 22nd Greg Hossenny (21.17) and running his first ever cross country race Paddy Gleeson 29th (23.18).

The last Clonliffe athlete in action was Dave Flynn in the Ireland vest in the International men`s race. The course at this stage was a grassless mud pit and difficult to negotiate. Flynner put in a strong shift to place 19th.

So a good day and a nice start to 2017 and for the juveniles a good start to the up coming schools XC ahead with the DCU Invitational to be faced on Wednesday.

Photos from Antrim click: