IN Avondale Forest Park for the Leinster even ages cross-country championships it may have been damp, but the spirits of the young runners from County Kilkenny were bubbling.
The first championship race was the 2000m for girls under-12. With 140 involved and soft under foot conditions it was a daunting task that faced all. They were equal to the challenge. Ciara O’Keeffe, Thomastown (TT), was a star, pushing up the hill to the finish to take 8th place. This qualifies her to run on the provincial team in the national finals in November.
Aoife Allen, St Senan’s (SS) was 18th. Grace Mullally, St Joseph’s (SJ) was 20th. Then came Rachel Kelly, Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) 24th, and then probably the best two finishes, Nell Murphy (SS) in 30th and Hannah Kelly (KCH) 32nd as they clinched the bronze medals for the county.
The under-12 boys took their cue from the girls. Conor Clarke, Castlecomer (CC), a great cross-country find in 2011, ran a perfect race to win and Oisin Griffin (SJ) won silver. Both will lead the Leinster team in the nationals. Backed up by Killian Griffin (SJ) 16th, Lee Treacy (SS) 21st, Dara Maher (KCH) 23rd and Killian Hogan (CC) the county team won gold.
In the next five races - girls and boys under-14 and 16 and girls under-18 - the county Kilkenny teams finished second bringing a grand total of 30 silver medals and ensuring a fine Kilkenny representation in the nationals.
While the county teams, with good representation from the clubs, were very successful the club teams were less so. Thomastown girls under-18 – Sinead Whelan, Megan Morrissey, Maeve O’Connor and Niamh O’Shea – who won bronze, were the only club team to get in the medals.
Scorers on medal winning county teams:
Girls’ under-12 (bronze) Ciara O’Keeffe 8 (TT), Aoife Allen 18 (SS), Grainne Mullally 20 (SJ), Rachel Kelly 24 (KCH), Nell Murphy30 (SS), Hannah Kelly 32 (KCH).
Boys’ under-12 (gold) Conor Clarke 1 (CC), Oisin Griffin 2 (SJ), Killian Griffin 16 (SJ), Lee Treacy 21 (SS), Darragh Maher 23 (KCH), Killian Hogan 42 (CC).
Girls’ under-14 (silver) – Eva Roche (SJ), Ruth Kennedy, Gowran (GO), Annie O’Connor 10 (KCH), Helen Hoynes 16 (SJ), Jennifer O’Keeffe 33 (KCH), Eva Lacey 35 (SS).
Boys under-14 (silver) – Luke FitzPatrick 6 (KCH), Adam FitzPatrick 12 (KCH), Richie Hennessy 15 (SJ), David O’Carroll 16 (GO), Aaron Donnelly 23 (SS), Eoin O’Dwyer 37 (GO).
Girls under-16 (silver) – Aoibhe O’Shea 9 (KCH), Lauren Dermody 12 (CC), Ailish O’Shea 20 (TT), Rebecca Kennedy 21 (GO), Dearbhla Kearns 22 (SS), Michelle McDonald 27 (SS).
Boys under-16 (silver) – Sean Power 4 (TT), Peter Lynch 7 (KCH), Cormac Buggy 10 (GO), Sean Buggy 24 (CC), James Power 28 (TT), Jonathan Crowley 33 (SS).
Girls’ under-18 (silver) – Anna Sheehan 5 (KCH), Rachel Butler 9 (SS), Sinead Whelan 10 (TT), Megan Morrissey 13 (TT), Maeve O’Connor 13 (TT), Nicola Murphy 21 (KCH).
Girls’ under-12 4th St Senan’s (Aoife Allen 18, Nell Murphy 30, Shauna Finn 33, Jane Rochford 44, Aine Phelan 50, Tara Ramasawy 62, Kim Jolly 66, Hanna Lacey 123); 7th Thomastown (Ciara O’Keeffe 8, Sinead O’Keeffe 46, Ellen Ryan 56, Orla O’Keeffe 88, Emily Taylor 95); 10th Kilkenny City Harriers (Rachel Kelly 24, Hannah Kelly 32, Anna McEvoy 76, Issey Shine 100, Dara Scobie 105, Anne O’Shea 124); St Joseph’s (Grace Mullally 20, Linda Lawlor 84; Castlecomer, Aoife Cahalan).
Boys’ under-12 4th St Joseph’s (Oisin Griffin 2, Killian Griffin 16, Rory O’Connor 37, Darragh McDonald 49, Ian Byrne 51, Paul Murphy 95,Kevin Saunders 114); 9th Castlecomer (Conor Clarke 1, Killian Hogan 42, Nicky Connolly 76, Sean O’Doman 89); 11th Kilkenny City Harriers (Darragh Maher 23, Dara Glynn 80, Luke Whelan 81, Shay McEvoy 92, Rory MacGabhann 99, James FitzPatrick 116); 12th St Senan’s (Lee Treacy 31, Padraig Dempsey77, William Wallis 82, Robin Davis 87, Fiachra Knox 103); 13th Thomastown (Gerard Prentice 47, Jack Ryan 58, Tom Holden 86, Liam Treacy 94, Peter McDonald 97).
Girls’ under -14 8th St Joseph’s (Eva Roche 8, Helen Hoynes16, Emma Hokey 50, Sarah Lawlor 96); 10th St Senans (Eva Lacey 35, Anne Marie Moloney 62, Shauna Treacy 68, Caoimhe Kearns 85, Amy Redmond 102, Sinead McEvoy 112); 13th Gowran (Ruth Kennedy 6, Stephanie FitzGerald 82, Chloe McKnight 98, Aoife Moore 116); KCH (Annie O’Connor 10, Jennifer O’Keeffe 33; Thomastown (Caomihe Kelly 43).
Boys’ under-14 - 4th Kilkenny City Harriers (Luke FitzPatrick 6, Adam FitzPatrick 12, Colm Murphy 44,John Nolan 46, Bill Cody 50); 7th Gowran (David O’Carroll 16, Eoin O’Dwyer 37, Ciaran Hanlon 68, David Murphy 78, James O’Neill 86); 8th St Senan’s (Aaron Donnelly 23, Stephen Mullally 55, Aaron Redmond 62, Thomas Sheridan 65, Martin Moloney 80); St Joseph’s (Richie Hennessy 15, Richie Murphy 41); Castlecomer (James Buggy 79).
Girls’ under-16 6th St Senan’s (Dearbhla Kearns 22, Michelle McDonald27,Tara Lacey 49,Kate Dillon-Dunphy 50, Hannah Irish 51); Kilkenny City Harriers (Aoibhe O’Shea 9); Castlecomer (Lauren Dermody 12); Gowran (Rebecca Kennedy 21,Aoife Naddy 41); Thomastown (Ailish O’Shea 20); St Joseph’s (Ruby Harvey 34, Mia Griffin 43).
Boys’ under-16 Thomastown (Sean Power 4, James Power 28); Kilkenny City Harriers (Peter Lynch 7, Pat Maher 41, Craig Byrne 46); Gowran (Cormac Buggy 10, Jack Walsh 67, Jack O’Kelly 74); Castlecomer (Sean Buggy 24; St Senan’s Jonathan Crowley 33, David Irish 39).
Girls’ under-18 3rd Thomastown (Sinead Whelan 10, Megan Morrissey 13, Maeve O’Connor 18, Niamh O’Shea 25); Kilkenny City Harriers (Anna Sheehan 5, Nicola Murphy 21;St Senan’s Rachel Butler 9).
Boys’ under-18 St Senan’s (Oliver Mullally 15, Conor Foskin 26, Kieran Dillon-Dunphy 29).
Conor Rochford, St Senan’s, hit the front at the start of the Leinster novice 6000m cross-country in Rathdrum on Sunday. Determined to make his mark he held the lead for the opening 3000m but eventually had to yield to more experienced athletes. Finishing fifth in this strong field was quite an achievement.
With clubmate Luke Morgan 56th and KCH duo David McPherson 19th and Ray Lonergan 23rd, the county team finished fourth. Gowran AC were well represented in the Masters race. They finished ninth with Simon O’Dwyer first home in 25th place .
Results - novice women, 51 Ann Doyle (G); novice men, 5 Conor Rochford (SS), 19 David McPherson (KCH), 23 Ray Lonergan (KCH), Luke Morgan (SS), 67 Colm Tobin (G); Masters women, 10 Maria Griffin (SJ); Masters men, 25 Simon O’Dwyer (G), 47 Roger Middleton (G), 64 LarryLacey (SJ), 98 Marty Kelly (G), 101 Denis Cormack (G), 106 Michael Hogan (G).