THE opening round of the Kilkenny cross-country championships was held at a warm and windy Ballycurran Cross on Sunday.
A field of close to 300 athletes took part in the very competitive races, with high standards across the board. Races were held for juvenile athletes from under-8 to under-18 levels, as well as the men’s over-40 6km race and saw an even spread of honours across the competing clubs.
Host club St Joseph’s led the way with three winners when Thomas Mullally (under-8), Killian Griffin (under-10) and Helen Hoynes (under-14) ran to gold medal finishes. St Senan’s also had a hat-trick of winners in Saoirse Allen (under-8), Hugh Morgan (under-16) and Bronagh Kearns (under-18). Gowran and Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) had two winners each in Ruth (under-12) and Rebecca Kennedy (under-16) for Gowran, while Luke Fitzpatrick (under-14) and Conor Mahon (under-18) took the honours for the city club. Thomastown’s Ciara O’Keeffe (under-8) and Castlecomer’s Conor Clarke (under-12) were also among the winners.
St Senan’s were big winners in the team events also, taking home three team golds along with two team silvers and one bronze. KCH also had three team golds, as well as one silver and two bronze medals, while St Joseph’s collected three team gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
Gowran had one team silver and a team bronze, while Castlecomer won bronze in the boys’ under-12 team race.
Juvenile results - Girls’ under-8: 1 Saoirse Allen, St Senan’s; 2 Rose Sheridan, St Senan’s; 3 Ella Cusack, Gowran. Boys’ under-8: 1 Thomas Mullally, St Joseph’s; 2 Emmet O’Toole, St Joseph’s; 3 Joe Fitzpatrick, KCH.
Girls’ under-10: 1 Ciara O’Keeffe, Thomastown; 2 Eve O’Dwyer, Gowran; 3 Jane Rochford, St Senan’s. Boys’ under-10: 1 Killian Griffin, St Joseph’s; 2 Ian Byrne, St Joseph’s; 3 Jack Mullally, St Joseph’s.
Girls’ under-12: 1 Ruth Kennedy, Gowran; 2 Eve Lacey, St Senan’s; 3 Rebecca Keane, KCH. Teams: 1 KCH, 2 St Senan’s, 3 St Joseph’s. Boys’ under-12: 1 Conor Clarke, Castlecomer; 2 David O’Carroll, Gowran; 3 Aaron Donnelly, St Joseph’s. Teams: 1 KCH, 2 St Senan’s, 3 Castlecomer.
Girls’ under-14: 1 Helen Hoynes, St Joseph’s; 2 Mia Griffin, St Joseph’s; 3 Ava O’Shea, KCH. Teams: 1 St Joseph’s, 2 KCH, 3 St Senan’s. Boys’ under-14: 1 Luke Fitzpatrick, KCH, 2 Jonathan Crowley, St Senan’s; 3 David O’Connor, St Joseph’s. Teams: 1 KCH, 2 St Joseph’s, 3 Gowran AC.
Girls’ under-16: 1 Rebecca Kennedy, Gowran; 2 Anne Sheehan, KCH; 3 Marguerite Hayes, St Joseph’s. Teams: 1 St Senan’s, 2 KCH. Boys’ under-16: 1 Hugh Morgan, St Senan’s; 2 Sean Power, Thomastown; 3 Aidan Tuohy, KCH. Teams: 1 St Senan’s, 2 Gowran, 3 KCH.
Girls’ under-18: 1 Bronagh Kearns, St Senan’s; 2 Mary Ellen Doyle, Gowran; 3 Megan Morrissey, Thomastown. Teams: 1 St Senan’s. Boys’ under-18: 1 Conor Mahon, KCH; 2 Conor Quinlan, KCH ; 3 Andrew Dowd, Castlecomer.
The Masters (over-40) cross-country race was held in warm, but breezy conditions. Run on a firm course there was a testing hill which had to be negotiated six times, with a strong wind waiting for the runners at the top of the summit.
Sean Caulfield (St Senan’s) was equal to the task and ran strongly to establish a clear lead which he maintained all the way to the finish. Gowran athlete Simon O’Dwyer was second with KCH athlete Denis Corrigan finishing in the bronze medal position.
St Joseph’s (16 points) won the team prize, despite losing Larry Lacey with a injury. Brothers Michael and Seamus Power finished fourth and fifth, with the ever-reliable Rocky Mernagh completing the team in seventh place.
The team battle for second and third place was close. Both St Senan’s and Gowran finished on 21 points, with Senan’s edging the battle for silver on countback. KCH were fourth on 26 points.
Masters results - 1 Sean Caulfield, St Senan’s; 2 Simon O’Dwyer, Gowran; 3 Denis Corrigan, KCH; 4 Michael Power, St Joseph’s; 5 Seamus Power, St Joseph’s; 6 Muiris Bric, Gowran; 7 Rocky Mernagh, St Joseph’s; 8 Steve Dermody, KCH; 9 P.J. Dwyer, St Senan’s; 10 Jack Duggan, St Joseph’s; 11 Bill Lacey, St Senan’s; 12 Anthony Dollard, St Senan’s; 13 Marty Kelly, Gowran; 14 Sean Hokey, St Joseph’s; 15 Conor McGabhann, KCH; 16 Denis Cormack, Gowran; 17 Greg Holden, KCH; 18 Tom McDonald, St Joseph’s; 19 Willie McTiernan, KCH; 20 Mick Hogan, Gowran.
The complete results for all the athletes are available on the county athletics website: http://kilkennyathletics.net.
Thanks went to the Grennan family, who provided the race venue and host club St Joseph’s for their preparation and organisation of what was a great athletics day out for all involved.
The second round of the cross-country championships will be held in Castlecomer on Sunday. Racing begins at 11am with events for athletes from under-9 to under-19 in the juvenile section, as well as the Masters over-45 race.