A: Grange, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland | E: info@mullingarharriers.com

Week ending Saturday 17th February


Tough conditions for National cross country in Dundalk

The National Masters and Juvenile “B” Cross Country was held in Dundalk IT last Sunday where the Mullingar athletes performed well in tough mucky conditions. While there was no rain on the day and everyone enjoyed a cool but dry and bright sunny day, heavy rain in the week leading up to the event meant the ground was saturated and quickly turned to heavy sticky mud as the day went on.

Katie Bohan ran hard from the start of the u/11 girls 1,000m and was rewarded with an individual medal when she led the Mullingar team home with a great twelfth place finish. Racing hard behind her and finishing strong and packing well was Penny Bohan, Grace Farry, Rose Harte, Roisin Keane, Laura Buckley, Aoife Dunne, Lyla Lennon and Eve Nugent but unfortunately the girls finished out of the team medals.

We had a very strong team in the u/11 boys 1,000m and they certainly lived up to expectations. Daniel Cummins went out fast and settled quickly into his running in the leading pack but when he made his move in the closing stages, he quickly opened a gap and raced clear to win well and claim the individual gold medal. With Mel Bohan also getting into the top twelve individual medal places with a terrific eleventh place finish and fantastic team support from Conor Gavin, Cian Gavin, Noah Morgan, Cillian Gavin, Michael Kiernan, Senan Clinton and Fintan Harte, the boys finished first Club and third County, great rewards for their efforts.

Shaynah Mitchell led the Mullingar team home in the u/13 girls 1,500m and with great running from Amelie Kelly, Chloe Bell, Liadan Gavin, Clodagh Keane, Emily Tully, Clodagh Doran, Muirin Dunne and Kaila Scally racing hard to the finish on the rapidly deteriorating course, the girls finished an excellent fifth Club and sixth County. We didn’t have a team in the u/15 girls 2,500m but that didn’t stop Isabel Tynan Daly from putting in a brilliant effort in the sticky mud, leaving nothing behind as she fell over the line exhausted but unfortunately just out of the medal places. Also having a great race behind her was Lisa O’Brien who likewise gave one hundred effort.

By the time the u/15 boys 2,500m got underway, the course was in very poor condition but Conor Walsh dug deep and kept right with the leading group. With a big push in the closing stages he raced home in fourth place to win an individual medal. Attention now turned to his team mates and with Conor Geoghegan finishing well up and excellent team racing by Greg McDonnell and Cormac McGrath, the boys finished third Club, just one point ahead of fourth place showing that every place counts in cross country racing.

Sean McMullin was our sole representative in the 4,000m for master men o/65 and he ran a strong race to finish fourth in his master age category, just of the medals. Mullingar had a full team in the 4,000m for master women, led home by Aisling Corcoran, followed in by Linda Cunningham, Olivia Cooney, Claire Lennon, Terri Greene, Nuala Moran, Pauline Troy and Kelly Dunne. There were no individual or tam honours and while all were exhausted after their efforts negotiating the sloppy mud they have to be very satisfied with their efforts. As always, the 7,000m for master men was the biggest entry of the day and it was some sight to see two hundred men race from the start, among them a good number from Mullingar. Lap after lap on the slippery muddy course was simply draining and everyone really had to dig very deep just to keep going. Leading the exhausted Mullingar men home was Patrick Muldoon, followed by Eddie Newman who placed third in his master age category, then came Paddy Daly with an excellent race, followed by Liam McGlynn, Colm Walsh and Mark Dunne leaving nothing behind. No team medals this time but top marks for giving their very best in the conditions [GD].

Leinster Schools Cross Country

A good number of Mullingar Harriers juvenile members travelled to a cool but bright and sunny Phoenix Park last Wednesday morning to represent their schools and colleges at the Leinster schools cross country, the final step on the way to the All-Ireland finals in March, and many came away with places secured in the finals.

Daniel Horohoe led the Colaiste Mhuire team home in the Minor Boys 2,000m but despite the efforts of his team mates that included Oisin Clarke and Oisin Kilmurray, the team finished out of the medal places. In the Junior Boys 3,000m Daniel Glennon (St. Finian’s College) finished well up in the big entry of over 100 boys but out of the medal places.

Ailbhe O’Farrell (St. Finian’s College) put in an excellent performance in a very competitive Intermediate Girls 3,500m and though she finished strong, she finished out of the medal places. Matthew Molloy had the honour of leading the St. Finian’s College team home in the Intermediate Boys 4,500m and with terrific support and team effort from Oisin Kehoe, Donagh Carey and John Glennon, led the team to third place and a place in the All-Ireland finals. Jamie Wallace (Colaiste Mhuire) finished just ahead of Matthew but out of the individual qualification places by just a few seconds, so unfortunately he won’t join the St. Finian’s team in the finals.

Having dominated the Senior girls team event in the North Leinsters, all eyes were on the Loreto College girls team in the Senior Girls 3,000m and with another brilliant performance, Grace Byrne finished second and led the very strong team that included Louise Callaghan, Jessica Cunningham, Shauna Callaghan and Siofra O’Halloran to well-deserved team gold and the Perpetual Trophy. This was an exceptional team performance and these girls will be ones to watch in the All-Ireland finals.

It was a similar display of domination by the Colaiste Mhuire team in the Senior Boys 6,000m which was run at a very fast pace from the start. Always in contention in the leading group throughout, Conor Sherwin led the team home in seventh place, and with brilliant racing and packing by John Ryan (fifteenth), just ahead of Ross Killalea and closely followed by Pablo Lozano providing the vital fourth score, and with Luke Greene among the support, the team finished well clear to take the team title and the Perpetual Trophy back to Mullingar to end another great day of cross country action. This very talented team will also be one to watch in the All-Ireland finals [GD].

Rathcoffey 10k

The Rathcoffey 10k near Clane in Co. Kildare was held in bright spring sunshine last Saturday morning. A relatively flat course with start and finish at the GAA grounds proved an ideal challenge for the 307 athletes in the 10k event. Four athletes from Mullingar Harriers made the trip and had good outings as they prepare for some important spring events over the next two months.

Vinny Connolly ran at the head of the field throughout and just lost out in the final kilometre but was satisfied with a good early season time of 31 minutes 55 seconds. Enda Serry ran a very steady race finishing twentieth overall, posting a time of 38:27. Mary Stuart got some sharpness in as she prepares for some longer events over the next few months and came home in 41:44, which also won her the age category by a very big margin of over 7 minutes. Joan Hickson, in her first competitive race of the year, was satisfied with completing the distance in 46:32 [MO’S].

The Downs Ladies GAA 5k and 10k

The Downs Ladies GAA 5k and 10k last Sunday morning started and finished near the GAA grounds. A hilly start and hilly finish tested the athletes, with 105 competing in the 5k and 33 taking on the longer distance. Mullingar Harriers was well represented in both races.

Andy Boyhan was a clear winner of the 5k in 17 minutes 48 seconds and Lily Walsh secured second overall and was first woman in a very fast 18 minutes 58 seconds. Lorcan Mullen was third in 19:17, Tommy Byrne was happy with a sub-20-minute run coming home fifth in 19:57. Criona Reid (20:39) and Orlaith Flanagan (20:53) broke the 21-minute barrier and they were among the large contingent of Mullingar Harriers racing, including Alex Sheridan (21:52), Conleth Mullen (23:21), Oisin Clarke (24:00), Daniel Horohoe (24:06), Tiernan Smyth, Maisie Walsh, Andrew Bradley, Aoibhinn Smyth and Isabelle Smyth. In the 10k race, Tom Wallace won with a fine time of 38 minutes 36 seconds, with Kieran Nolan finishing strongly to take second in 38:42. Also competing was Val Bohan, Brendan Rice and Michelle O’Halloran [MO’S].

Closing dates looming

Please note the following closing dates, which are approaching fast. Entries for the Leinster “B” Cross Country in Stradbally, Co. Laois on 24 February close this coming Sunday (18 Feb); the Club doesn’t enter teams, as is normal in underage cross country, but everyone enters as individuals and are then assigned to Club and County teams after entries close. Moving to the Leinster indoors, entries for the Juveniles in Athlone on 2 and 3 March, close on 22 February and entries for the u/20, seniors and masters in Athlone on 9 March, close on 29 February. If anyone has any problems with the entry system, don’t hesitate to contact Greg for assistance.

Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.