Star of the Sea AC Open XC 2022 (25th Sept)
Encouraging start to the cross country season
Cancelled for two years due to Covid, it was great to return to Co. Meath on Sunday 25th September for the Star of the Sea AC Open Cross Country, an event that marked the opening fixture of the season for Mullingar for many years. It took a while to get Mullingar on the team scoreboard, but when we did, the team medals came thick and fast and by the end of the day we had amassed a total of 6 sets of juvenile team medals and our adult women and men teams were victorious in their races. Conor Sherwin won the u/17 boys race and was presented with the Sean Higgins Memorial Perpetual Trophy, Chloe Bell and Cillian Galvin won their races and we had plenty of other top six places for individual medals too, so it was an encouraging start to the season for Mullingar.
The first race of the day was the u/9 girls 500m where Helen McGrath stormed to seventh place in a very close finish just missing an individual medal and with support from Roisin Keane and Rose Harte running very well, the girls finished 4th Club, just missing team medals by only two points. Mel Bohan gave it all in the u/9 boys 500m and was rewarded with a medal for fourth place and despite great efforts by Senan Clinton, Bradley Duffy and Callum Downes, the team finished out of the medal places but 5th Club was a very respectable result for these young boys.
Penny Bohan, Katie Bohan, Amelie Downes, Melody Kelly and Grace Farry ran really well in the u/10 girls 500m and were unlucky to finish 4th Club, just out of the medal places but top marks for effort. We saw our second individual medal in the u/10 boys 500m where Conor Gavin raced to fourth and a place on the podium but even though Cillian Gavin, Fintan Harte and Peter Fitzpatrick finished strong and fast, it was another 4th place finish for Mullingar and these boys deserved something for their efforts.
Chloe Bell went out hard from the start of the u/11 girls 1,000m and built a lead that was never going to be closed and she ran to a resounding victory by a big margin, followed in by Clodagh Keane (6th), Liadan Gavin, Aoife Gouldsbury and Maria Gouldsbury packing well in support to see the team finish 2nd Club, winning Mullingar’s first team medals of the day. Charging up the finish straight and full of running to take sixth place, Harry Flanagan was delighted to win an individual medal in the u/11 boys 1,000m race, and with Donnacha Doyle also having a great race and finishing fast in tenth, with two boys in the top 10 places, if we only had a third runner to make up a team, Mullingar would definitely have been in the mix for team medals.
On to the u/12 girls 1,500m where Lily Walsh put in an excellent performance to finish third and led the team of Emily Tully, Aaliyah Downes and Lucy Mulvany all running really well to 3rd Club, adding to Mullingar’s team medal haul. Our second individual victory came from Cillian Galvin in the u/12 boys 1,500m and with Antonio Bertolo in second and Aonghus O’Reilly providing the vital third score, the boys finished 1st Club by a very comfortable margin and richly deserved their gold medals, Mullingar’s first and what would transpire to be its only set of juvenile team gold medals of the day.
Beibhinn O’Reilly led the Mullingar team home with an excellent fifth place in the u/13 girls 1,500m and with Lisa O’Brien having a great race and finishing fast and Chloe Duggan close on her heels having passed two others in the finish straight to provide the vital third score, the girls richly deserved their medals for 2nd Club. By now, Mullingar was on a roll and Greg McDonnell kept it going in the u/13 boys 1,800m with an excellent finish in fifth place, and with Zack O’Leary and Cormac McGrath finishing strongly in support, the boys were delighted with their silver medals for 2nd Club.
Tianna O’Leary left nothing behind on the track in the u/14 girls 2,000m crossing in second place and will be one to watch in Leinster. With great support and team effort from Sadhbh Carey and Blathnaid Peters, the team finished 3rd Club in a close contest. We had no team in the u/14 boys 2,200m where Conor Walsh ran a very determined race and after a great battle finished in second place and will be another to watch in Leinster.
Siofra O’Reilly was our sole representative in the u/15 girls 2,200m where she competed well but finished out of the medal places. No team either in the u/15 boys 2,500m where Matthew Molloy worked hard all the way and was rewarded with a medal for third place and shows signs of returning to form. Conor Mulvany also ran well in his cross country debut for Mullingar and the experience will stand to him.
The final underage race with a Mullingar interest was the u/17 boys 4,500m where Conor Sherwin looked very smooth and kept in touch with the leading group for the first two laps and on the third and final lap, suddenly upped the pace to pull quickly clear and win by a margin to win the race and the Sean Higgins Memorial Perpetual Trophy. Following him home was Donagh Carey in fourth place who had a fantastic race despite giving away a year, as he’s still only under 16 and this race will give him great confidence ahead of the Leinsters.
The women 3k race was for junior, senior and master women where Aine O’Reilly showed her class with and excellent fifth place finish overall, first in her master category and with Michelle Bohan and Aeilish McGovern running brilliantly in support it was great to see them rewarded for their efforts with the prize for 1st Club. The final race of the day was the men 6k race, four laps of the tough hilly course. Keeping with the leading group into the third lap, Vinny Connolly looked full of running and it was only going into the final lap that a gap opened on the first two and Vinny fell back into third but continuing to work hard he finished very strong and fast in third place, and with John Whitelaw making up a lot of ground on the final lap to move into fifth place, and Ian McCormack making up the trio and providing the vital third score, the Mullingar men were delighted to win the prize for 1st Club and end an excellent day of cross country in Co. Meath.