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Mulcaire looks to shine at GloHealth All Ireland Schools Cross Country

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Mulcaire looks to shine at All Ireland Schools Cross Country

Kevin Mulcaire will be looking to shine at the GloHealth All Ireland Schools Cross Country Championships as he bids to retain his senior boys’ title in Sligo Racecourse this Saturday.

The championships promise to be one to remember as they coincide with the 100 year celebration of the Irish Schools’ Athletics Association. Muclaire (St Flannan’s, Ennis) celebrated in style last year when he won the senior boys' race in Clongowes Wood College jumping head-over-heels across the finishing line.

The top 15 individuals and top three schools from Ulster, Connacht, Leinster and Munster have qualified to toe the line in Sligo for the prestigious event. All the action will be live streamed on the day from 12pm HERE 

There is also a full roll of honour of schools' champions HERE

Mulcaire to be the hare

Kevin Mulcaire (St Flannan’s, Ennis) has his eyes firmly set on defending his title senior boys’ 6,500m that he won in charismatic fashion in Clongowes Wood College last year. Jack O’Leary (Clongowes) returns and will be looking to give him a closer race having beaten him at the European Junior Cross Country Championships in December. However, Mulcaire is back in form and recently ran 14:14 over 5,000m at the Armagh International.

The St Flannan’s student will look to win on the double before transitioning on to the track where he will look to break 14 minutes for 5,000m. Coached by Pat Hogan, the Clare student has been going from strength to strength in 2016.

James Edgar (Friends’ School) student was made to fight all the way to the line by Bangor Grammar’s Craig McMeechan in the Ulster Schools and both will be prominent on Saturday.

Jack O'Leary (Clongowes Wood College) had plenty to spare in Leinster surging clear at the halfway stage with Peter Lynch (St Kieran's College, Kilkenny) edging the gutsy Paul O'Donnell (DLS Churchtown). St Aidan's CBS in Whitehall were comprehensive winners of the team title. Tadgh McGinty (Swinford) will look to lead the charge for Connacht.

Pierce on the prowl in open senior girls’ race

Rhona Pierce (St Angela’s Cork) will be back to defend her senior girls’ 2,500m title but will have it all to do as she slowly builds back her fitness.

Avril Deegan (Presentation Thurles) set a fast pace in the Munsters but ultimately it was Fiona Everard (MICC Dunmanway) who had too much for the field to take a consummate victory over 2,500m. Rhona Pierce (St Angela’s Cork) came through for second and could spring back to life on Saturday.

Clodagh O’Reilly (Loreto Cavan) is well versed in winning national cross country titles and as Ulster champion she will be hoping to have an impact. Caron Ryan (Presentation College) won the Connacht’s despite losing her spikes during the race and will aim to be in the mix in the closing stages.

Healy and Farrell set to produce another thriller

Sarah Healy (Holy Child Killiney) and Amy Rose Farrell (Mount Anville) outlined their class at the Leinster Schools with Healy just getting the better of her training partner and friend.  They train regularly together with Blackrock AC running on an 800m grass loop in Carysfort Park in Blackrock. Only four months separate them and their friendly rivalry will be on show once more in Sligo over 3,500m.

Neither of them think much about competing against each other but they are a sight to behold when in full flow and the competition, which is very strong at this age group, know all about it when they hit top gear.   Also amongst the competition will be Abigail Taylor (St Gerard’s, Bray), Tamzin Muldowney (St Mary’s Midleton), Claire Rafter (Ursuline Thurles), Olivia Nelson (Strathearn), and Aoife O’Brien (Sacred Heart Westport).

Big battle ahead in Intermediate boys

The Intermediate Boys 5,000m also promises to be hugely competitive. There was a real duel in the Munster Schools where Charlie O’Donovan (Colaiste Chriost Ri) went tit for tat with Darragh McElhinney (Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai). O’Donovan got the edge that day and they will face Patrick McNiff (Banbridge Academy), a clear winner in Ulster, St Kieran's Kilkenny duo Adam Fitzpatrick and Rory Lodge, St Aidan's Sean O'Leary and Aaron Doherty (Rice College Westport). Colaiste Mhuire will be among those hunting the team prize.

O’Loughlin looks to provide the lightning in the juniors

Louis O'Loughlin (Moyle Park) was a very impressive winner in the Leinster Schools as he sprinted to the finish with enough energy to pull a Usain Bolt lightning strike celebration. O’Loughlin who runs for Donore Harriers will be looking for more of the same over 3,500m with the likes of Conor Doherty (St. Colman’s Newry),  Chris O’Reilly (Douglas) and Thomas Devaney (St Gerald’s Castlebar) hoping to stake a claim.

Roisin Treacy (St Gerard's) set a fast pace from the start in the junior girls at the Leinsters and may look to employ those tactics in Sligo over 2,500m. Rebecca Wallace (Wallace High School), Lucy Holmes (Ard Scoil na nDeise) and Saoirse O’Brien (Sacred Heart Westport) will be among those looking to hang on to her coat tails.

Minors dash for glory

The minor girls’ 2,000m gets the programme underway at 12pm followed by the minor boys 2,500m with the young students tasting national schools’ competition for the first time. The winners from each Province are: Grainne Egan (St Mary’s Mallow) and Ted Collins (Glenstal Abbey School) in Munster; Methody’s Matthew Smyth and Victoria College’s Anna Hill in Ulster; Aine Kirwan (Loreto Kilkenny) and Sean Donoghue (St Declan's Cabra) in Leinster; Katie Gibbons (St Joseph’s Castlebar) and Rossa McAllister (Rice College Westport) in Connacht. As usual it will be difficult to pick winners in this category and it is all about experience at this level.

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