National titles for Clarke and Everard

KILKENNY started and finished the day on winning notes as athletes from the county scored raced away to individual success at the National Cross-Country Championships.

KILKENNY started and finished the day on winning notes as athletes from the county scored raced away to individual success at the National Cross-Country Championships.

Held in The Curragh on Sunday, Kilkenny’s day of success began when a field of 157 athletes faced the starter for the Boys’ under-11 1,500m race. Castlecomer AC athlete Conor Clarke crossed the line in first place to take the national title and gold medal.

This was no easy victory as Conor, who seemingly had the race under control, had to dig deep to fight off a late challenge and was the winner on the line by virtue of a head dip. Conor also lead the county team to silver medals while St Joseph’s took fifth place in the club competition.

Bronagh Kearns (St Senan’s) finished in eighth position in the girls’ under-19 race and also led the county to silver medals. Aine Kinsella (St Senan’s), Joanna Whelan (Gowran) and Laura Walpole (Thomastown) made up the team. St Senan’s finished fourth in the club section.

Other athletes who put in great performances and finished well up in their races were St Joseph’s runner Chloe Richardson (23rd girls’ under-13), Gowran duo David O’Carroll (16th boys’ under-13) and Rebecca Kennedy (21st girls’ under-15), Thomastown’s Sean Power (15th boys’ under-15), Kilkenny City Harriers’ Anna Sheehan (21st girls’ under-17) and the St Senan’s pair of Hugh Morgan (22nd boys’ under-17) and Sean McCormack (26th boys’ under-19).

In the Novice Women’s 3km race Maria Griffin (St Joseph’s) was the top Kilkenny athlete, finishing in 16th place. She was followed home by St Joseph’s duo Mary Doolin (84th) and Frances Mullally (96th) and KCH runner Ciara Martin (117th).

Just as the day started with a victory for a Kilkenny athlete it finished on a winning note for another, this time in the Men’s Novice 6km race. KCH athlete Eoin Everard ran the perfect race to claim the National Novice cross-country title for 2011.

A large field of over 250 athletes lined up to compete in this prestigious race. In the early stages of the four lap race, which was fast and furious throughout, Everard was content to sit in with the leading group and maintain a smooth run.

As the race progressed Kevin Seaward (St Malachy’s) pushed but with Everard sitting on his shoulder the Belfast athlete was unable to shake the Kilkennyman off.

When the race moved into the last lap Everard made his break with about 600m to go. Easing into the lead he opened a 15m gap which he maintained to the end, despite the best efforts of the second place Seaward.

Toss Hayes (KCH) had a great run to finish in 14th position. Conor Rochford (St Senan’s) also ran really well to finish in 26th position. Sean Caulfield (St Senan’s, 91st), Eamonn O’Connor (85th) and David McPherson (123rd) were the scoring athletes for the county team which finished in eighth place, while KCH were also eighth club. Kilkennyman Dave Comber, running for Leevale AC, finished in 177th position.

Kilkenny results from the juvenile races:

Girls’ under-11 - 46 Ciara O’Keeffe, Thomastown; 50 Nell Murphy, St Senan’s; 59 Jane Rochford, St Senan’s; 74 Aine Phelan, St Senan’s; 120 Orla O’Keeffe, Thomastown. Boys’ under-11 - 1 Conor Clarke, Castlecomer; 30 Lee Tracey, St Senan’s; 33 Oisin Griffin, St Joseph’s; 43 Rory O’Connor, St Joseph’s; 83 Dara McDonald, St Joseph’s.

Girls’ under-13 - 23 Chloe Richardson, St Joseph’s; 30 Helen Hoynes, St Joseph’s; 62 Isobel Morgan, St Senan’s; 89 Eve Lacey, St Senan’s; 92 Emma Hokey, St Joseph’s; 102 Anne-Marie Maloney; 136 Cliona Murphy. Boys’ under-13 - 16 David O’Carroll, Gowran; 36 David O’Connor, St Joseph’s; 45 Luke Fitzpatrick, KCH; 52 Richard Hennessy, St Joseph’s; 65 Aaron Donnelly, St Senan’s; 85 Brendan Maher.

Girls’ under-15 - 21 Rebecca Kennedy, Gowran; 48 Dearbhla Kearns, St Senan’s; 50th Lauren Dermody, Castlecomer; 53 Ruby Harvey, Thomastown; 61 Aoife O’Carroll, Gowran; 68 Mia Griffin, St Joseph’s; 75 Ailis O’Shea, Thomastown; 82 Michelle McDonald, St Senan’s; 88 Aoife Naddy, Gowran. Boys’ under-15 - 15 Sean Power, Thomastown; 48 Cormac Buggy, Gowran; 65 Peter Lynch, KCH; 72 James Power, Thomastown; 78 Eoin Wallis, St Senan’s; 79 Jonathan Crowley, St Senan’s.

Girls’ under-17 - 21 Anna Sheehan, KCH; 36 Rachel Butler, St Senan’s; 48 Sinead Whelan, Thomastown; 63 Niamh O’Shea, Thomastown; 69 Nicola Murphy. Boys’ under-17 - 22 Hugh Morgan, St Senan’s; 58 James Maher, KCH; 80 Conor Quinlan, KCH; 100 Oliver Mullally, St Senan’s; 102 C. O’Carroll; 111 Nicholas Dunphy, KCH.

Girls’ under-19 - 8 Bronagh Kearns, St Senan’s; 14 Aine Kinsella, St Senan’s; Joanna Whelan, Gowran; Laura Walpole, Thomastown; Orla Butler, St Senan’s; Aoife Butler, St Senan’s. Boys’ under-19 - 26 Sean McCormack, Gowran.