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Mulcaire underlines his class to defend schools crown

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Mulcaire a class apart

Kevin Mulcaire underlined his class defending his senior boys’ title at the GloHealth All Ireland Schools Cross Country Championships in Sligo Racecourse today.

Mulcaire (St Flannan’s Ennis), wearing a white baseball cap back-to-front, pulled away at the halfway stage over 6,500m leaving his rivals firmly in his wake.

The Clare schoolboy bided his time in the opening stages as he sounded out the field and got to grips with the biting cold and the terrain of a truly testing cross country course. Jack O’Leary (Clongowes) attempted to keep close order but paid for his efforts as Peter Lynch (St Kieran’s) came through for a strong second with James Edgar (Friends’ School) rounding out the top three. St Aidan’s CBS, led home by Cathal Doyle in sixth, were jubilant victors of the team title. For full individual results HERE and team results HERE

There was nothing the competition could do but admire the strength of Mulcaire in the spectacular backdrop of Benbulbin – his victory, much like the view, was breath taking.

Eimear Fitzpatrick (Our Ladies, Terenure) proved tactically astute in the senior girls’ 2,500m having enough strength to hold off Niamh Ni Chiardha (Colaiste Iosagain) and Niamh Corry (Malahide CS). Corry made much of the early running in a tightly bunched pack but it was Fitzpatrick who had the legs in the end with Loreto Mullingar packing well to take team gold.

The day celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the Irish Schools’ Athletics Association and former stars Sonia O’Sullivan and Catherina McKiernan were out cheering on the current generation.

Aimee McKenna (St Mac Dara’s) judged her race perfectly to win the minor girls' 2,000m race ahead of Meghan Carr (Loreto Fermoy), daughter of Robert Heffernan) in second and Lucy O’Keeffe (St Mary’s Midleton) third. Loreto Kilkenny scored the team prize.

The opening races saw the early leaders caught out as they were reeled in by the chasing pack – the testing crosswind and climbs taking their toll. Sean Donoghue (St Declan’s, Cabra) replicated McKenna to win the minor boys’ 2,500m. Ted Collins (Glenstal Abbey) got up for second with Ard Scoil Ris’s Colin Sweeney baggin the bronze. Rice College Westport won the team battle.

Saoirse O’Brien (SH Westport) bucked the trend of the hare being caught by the hounds as she sped to victory in the junior girls’ 2,500m ahead of Rebecca Wallace (Wallace High School) in second and Roisin Treacy (St Gerard’s) in third. Skerries CC made it a win for Leinster in the team race.

Louis O’Loughlin (Moyle Park College) was another outstanding winner in the junior boys’ 3,500m. Wearing his now customary black beanie decorated with skulls, O’Loughlin powered around the course as Chris O’Reilly (Douglas CC) tried to hang gamely with the Dubliner. His brave effort catching up with him in the closing stages as he was outsprinted to the line for silver by Michael Troy (St Augustine’s Dungarvan). St Colman’s Newry edged the overall title.

The intermediate 3,500m girls’ race was highly anticipated and it didn’t fail to disappoint as training partners Sarah Healy (Holy Child Killiney) and Amy Rose Farrell (Mount Anville) duked it out once more. Healy, as in the Leinsters, just had that extra bit of power up the hill at the finish to strike gold. Claire Rafter (Ursuline Thurles) picked up the scraps to pick up the bronze. Dominican College Wicklow had plenty to spare in the team race.

Darragh McElhinney (Colaiste Phobail Bheanntrai) attempted to blow away his rivals in the intermediate boys’ 5,000m charging away at the gun. The daring front-runner built up a big lead but he ran out gas finishing 9 with Adam Fitzpatrick (St Kieran’s) adding the national title to his Leinster crown. Colaiste Mhuire’s Jamie Battle and Ciaran Nolan came through strongly for second and third but amazingly didn’t win the team prize. Rice College Westport packed better to deny the Mullingar school the gold.

Michelle Finn led UL to the team title as she won the Universities 5,000m race as part of the programme. David McCarthy (DCU) made a welcome return from injury to win the men's 8,000m where he also led the Dublin university to the top of the pile.

GloHealth All Ireland Schools Cross Country Championships, Sligo Racecourse

Minor Girls 2,000m

1.       A McKenna (St Mac Dara’s), 2. M Carr (Loreto Fermoy), 3. L O’Keeffe (St Mary’s, Midleton)

Team

1.       Loreto Kilkenny, 2. Victoria College, Belfast, 3. Loreto St Stephen’s Green

Minor Boys 2,500m

1.       S Donoghue (St Declan’s Cabra), 2. T Collins (Glenstal Abbey School), 3. C Sweeney (Ard Scoil Ris)

Team

1.       Rice College Westport, 2. Colaiste Eoin, 3. St Michael’s Enniskillen

Junior girls 2,500m

1.       S O’Brien (SH Westport), 2. R Wallace (Wallace HS Lisburn), 3. R Treacy (St Gerard’s)

Team

1.       Skerries CC, 2. Ard Scoil na nDeise, 3. Loreto Mullingar

Junior boys 3,500m

1.       L O’Loughlin (Moyle Park College), 2. M Troy (St Augustine’s Dungarvan), 3. C O’Reilly (Douglas CC)

Team

1.       St Colman’s Newry, 2. Naas CBS, 3. Belvedere College

Intermediate girls 3,500m

1.       S Healy (Hold Child Killiney), 2. AR Farrell (Mount Anville), 3. C Rafter (Ursuline Thurles)

Team

1.       Dominican College Wicklow, 2. Loreto Kilkenny, 3. Loreto College Omagh

Intermediate boys 5,000m

1.       A Fitzpatrick (St Kieran’s College), 2. J Battle (Colaiste Mhuire Mullingar), 3. C Nolan (Colaiste Mhuire Mullingar)

Team

1.       Rice College Westport, 2. Colaiste Mhuire Mullingar, 3. St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny

Senior girls 2,500m

1.       E Fitzpatrick (OLS Terenure) 2. N Carey (Colaiste Iosagain) 3. N Corry (Malahide CS)

Team

1.       Loreto Mullingar, 2. Loreto Kilkenny, 3. St Mary’s Naas

Senior boys 6,500m

1.       K Mulcaire (St Flannan’s, Ennis), 2. P Lynch (St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny), 3. J Edgar (Friends’ School Lisburn)

Team

1.       St Aidan’s CBS, 2. St Flannan’s, Ennis, 3. St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny

Universities

Women 5,000m

1.       M Finn (University of Limerick) 2. S Heaslip (IT Tralee) 3. L Shaughnessy (UCD)

Team

1.       UL, 2. UCC, 3. DCU

Men 8,000m

1.       D McCarthy (DCU) 2. B Thistlewood (UCC), 3. L Brady (Athlone IT)

Team

1. DCU, 2. Athlone IT, 3. UCD

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