The cross-country action moved to Ballyroan, Co Laois when the Leinster senior, junior and juvenile championships were held in the grounds of Blandford House at the weekend.
Ballyroan/Abbeyleix AC was the host club and the excellent organisation along with the weather and relatively dry course made for an ideal day of cross-country running.
The first events on the programme were the juvenile relay events where, with a big turnout of young athletes, podium places were hard-earned.
In the opening race of the day, the girls’ under-12 event, the Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) team just missed out, finishing in fourth place with Thomastown fifth. In the boys’ race in the same age group the St Joseph’s team grabbed the bronze medals, finishing third in an exciting finish.
At under-14 level it was Thomastown who just missed out on the medals, finishing in fourth place just ahead of KCH in fifth place. St Joseph’s were to the fore again in the boys’ race in this age group, but their sixth place finish left them well outside the medals.
In the girls’ under-16 race both KCH and St Senan’s used their sprinters to good effect as they secured places on the podium. St Senan’s, who finished in the silver medal position, used sprinter Katy Murphy on the first 500m leg to establish a good race position which they maintained to the finish line.
KCH had their sprinter Ciara Deeley running the final leg of the race, a move that brought them the team bronze in the same race. The final relay race of the day was the boys’ under-16 event, which brought another fourth place finish for the KCH boys in a high quality race.
The junior women’s race provided the highlight of the day for Kilkenny, with a fine display of front running by Thomastown athlete Megan Morrissey. Leading by ten metres or so after the first half of the two lap course she eased away, opening a considerable space between herself and the second and third placed athletes to secure the junior women’s title in some style.
Top ten finishes from Rachel Butler (St Senan’s), Sinead Whelan (Thomastown) and Lauren Dermody (Castlecomer) helped secure team gold for county Kilkenny. Maeve O’Connor and Niamh O’Shea completed the Thomastown team, earning the Grennan outfit gold medals in the club competition.
Kilkenny also had a strong team in the junior men’s race and were led home by KCH athlete Peter Lynch, who finished the race just outside the individual medals in fourth place. Further top ten finishes for Sean Power (Thomastown), Cormac Buggy (Gowran), Oliver Mullally (St Senan’s) and James Power (Thomastown) gave Kilkenny the team silver in the county competition.
Tom O’Keeffe, Conor Quinlan and Paddy Maher completed the KCH team who took the gold medals in the club competition, making it a very successful day all round for Kilkenny’s junior athletes.
The senior women, who also had a strong team out, were led home by St Senan’s athlete Adele Walsh. Maria Griffin (St Joseph’s), Síle Carroll (Liffey Valley) and Catriona Corr (KCH) completed the scoring quartet as the Kilkenny team finished fourth, just outside the county medals.
The KCH club team of Catriona Corr, Caoimhe Foley, Anne Marie O’Grady and Kate Millea also finished outside the medal positions.
Next weekend it’s back indoors with the national indoors masters, junior and under-23 championships being held in the AIT Indoor Arena.
With the indoor season getting underway a number of athletes travelled to Nenagh to compete in the Munster Open Indoor Championships. KCH 800m specialist Ken Deevey took gold in the masters race, while Brow Rangers were well represented in the field events by John Joe Kelly at junior and Joe Kelly at masters levels. John Joe won gold in the shot-put and silver in the 35lbs weight throw while Joe secured double gold, winning both the shot-put and the 56lbs weight throw competitions.
Kilkenny results, Leinster cross-country finals and juvenile relays (Club code: CC = Castlecomer, G = Gowran, KCH = Kilkenny City Harriers, LV = Liffey Valley, SJ = St Joseph’s, SS = St Senan’s, TT = Thomastown).
Girls’ U-12 (4x250m): 4 KCH, 5 Thomastown. Boys’ U-12 (4x250m): 3 St Joseph’s, 7 KCH, 10 St Senan’s.
Girls’ U-14 (4x500m): 4 Thomastown, 5 KCH. Boys’ U-14 (4x500m): 6 St Joseph’s, 9 KCH, 10 St Senan’s.
Girls’ U-16 (4x500m): 2 St Senan’s, 3 KCH. Boys’ U-16 (4x500m): 4 KCH, 6 St Senan’s.
Junior women (4km): 1 Megan Morrissey (TT), 5 Rachel Butler (SS), 6 Sinead Whelan (TT), 9 Lauren Dermody (CC), 12 Maeve O’Connor (TT), 14 Niamh O’Shea (TT). Club: 1 Thomastown. County: 1 Kilkenny.
Junior men (6km): 4 Peter Lynch (KCH), 7 Sean Power (TT), 8 Cormac Buggy (G), 9 Oliver Mullally (SS), 10 James Power (TT), 15 Tom O’Keeffe (KCH), 16 Conor Quinlan (KCH), Jonathon Crowley (SS), Tommy Bric (G), 22 Paddy Maher (KCH). Club: 1 KCH. County: 1 Kilkenny.
Senior women (6km): 11 Adele Walsh (SS), 18 Maria Griffin (SJ), 22 Síle Carroll (LV), 26 Catriona Corr (KCH), Caoimhe Foley (KCH), Anne Marie O’Grady (KCH), Kate Millea (KCH). County: 4 Kilkenny
Results, Munster open indoor championships:
Junior men’s shot-put: 1 John Joe Kelly (Brow Rangers).
Junior men’s weight throw (35lbs): 2 John Joe Kelly (BR).
Masters men’s shot-put (M3): 1 Joe Kelly (BR).
Master men’s weight throw (M3) (56lbs): 1 Joe Kelly (BR).
Master men’s 800m (M3/M4): 1 Ken Deevey (KCH).
Saturday - Masters Indoor Championships, AIT Arena.
Sunday - National under-20 and under-23 indoor championships, AIT Arena.