Slaney supply Novice champions
The Mr Oil Novice and Juvenile even age cross-country championships were held in the idyllic setting of John F. Kennedy Park, hosted by United Striders A.C.
Slaney Olympic took both individual county titles back to Enniscorthy with some excellent performances and close finishes in the team events.
With a long, deceptive drag on the course, the Intermediate ladies lined out for their 4k race, with many of the previous week's Novices in action over the longer distance.
Slaney Olympic's Emily Waldron-O'Connor took an early lead but had both Mary Kennedy of Croghan and Lillian Lawless of S.B.R. close on her shoulder for much of the race. Eventually Emily's pace pulled her clear of her rivals to become the Intermediate county champion for 2015.
Mary Kennedy took the silver and Lillian Lawless the bronze. Lillian led in the S.B.R. team to gold with scoring team-mates, Ciara Bowe, Louise Gregan and Belinda Kehoe, on 24 points. In second place was Slaney Olympic on 47 points, with Emily Waldron-O'Connor, Anne Marie Nolan, Sarah Walsh and Alison Storey scoring for the Enniscorthy team. In third place were the United Striders team of Fiona O'Donovan, Sonia Byrne, Aine Boland and Sinéad McCarthy, scoring 51 points.
The men's Intermediate 8k saw a field of nearly 40 athletes take to the sod to challenge for the county title. Immediately from the off, Slaney Olympic's Ger Forde went out to the fore, pulling away almost 100m from the chasing pack on the first lap.
Ger, who was a spring transfer from Dublin, looked immensely strong throughout the race and crossed the line almost three minutes ahead of his nearest rival. The battle for the silver and bronze, however, was the most entertaining affair.
Tactical running in the chasing pack saw an S.B.R. group working hard against United Striders, St. Killian's and D.M.P. athletes. In what was a brave challenge, Striders' Paul Doran put in a huge sprint finish to take the silver medal from Martin Askins of S.B.R. in third.
The S.B.R. pack had all their scoring team in the top ten and were easily victorious in the team event on 23 points. Scoring for S.B.R. were Martin Askins, Trevor Conroy, Bernard Fortune and Jim O'Malley.
There was a huge battle for the silver and bronze team prizes with a number of teams in the mix. When the points were calculated, the United Striders team of Paul Doran, Pat O'Callaghan, Seán Murphy and Luke Butler were second on 46 points. D.M.P. took the bronze team prize with 51 points, scored by Brendan Radford, John Stone, Eddie Kennedy and John Murphy.
Following the adult races, the Juveniles were eager for the off, starting out with the Under-9s running 500m non-championship races, with medals for the top ten.
Following on from her Under-10 win the previous week, S.B.R's Katie Doyle did the double gold, crossing the line in first place, with Erin Byrne of Croghan in second and Aine Fortune of Kilmore in third place.
In the boys' Under-9 race, Kevin O'Mahoney of D.M.P. powered home to take gold followed by the Adamstown cousins Ross English (second) and Watt Crean (third).
The first championship race was the girls' Under-11 with the top ten to represent Wexford at the Leinster championships on the same course in four weeks' time. On home ground, Leona Berry of United Striders had a great finish to be crowned the county champion, ahead of Adamstown's Niamh English.
The bronze medal went to Orlaith Byrne of S.B.R. The girls of Adamstown took the gold team prize with Niamh English, Gráinne English and Isobel English finishing on 20 points.
S.B.R. took second place with Orlaith Byrne, Rachel Bowe and Aoife Byrne scoring 25 points. Third place medals went to the United Striders team of Leona Berry, Aisling Ryan and Ruby Murphy, scoring 27 points.
The boys' Under-11 1,500m was a fast affair with United Striders' Myles Hewlett taking the long lap in his stride to power home as the county champion. In second position was Jay Hogan of S.B.R. followed by Conn Mernagh of St. Paul's, who was running a year out of age.
With huge numbers of boys in top finishing positions, United Striders easily took the gold team prize with Myles Hewlett, Eoin Shannon and Finn Kelly scoring. The second team on 18 points was S.B.R. with scoring members Jay Hogan, David Kirwan and Darren Breen.
The home team also took bronze with their second team scoring 29 points. Team members for Striders 'B' were Caolan Costello, Cosmo Hewlett and Ben Myers.
Repeating her Under-12 victory in Adamstown the previous week, D.M.P's Claragh Keane pulled ahead early in the girls' Under-13 2,500m, and was comfortable throughout to become a double county champion. Taghmon's Aisling Kelly was second and Aoibhinn Mernagh of St. Paul's ran strongly for the bronze.
Gold in the team event went to the D.M.P. team of Claragh Keane, Rachel Gregg and Aoife Cullen. The silver team medals were presented to the United Striders team of Clodagh Foran, Ciara Murphy and Erinn Shannon on 26 points. Third place in the teams went to Taghmon on 33 points, with Aisling Kelly, Flora Doran and Derbhla O'Hanlon scoring.
With the experience of three national championships already under his belt, S.B.R's Joe Byrne was in excellent form in the boys' Under-13 race. Putting in a powerful performance throughout, Joe was crowned the county champion for 2015.
The Under-12 county champion, Aidan Shannon from United Striders, put in a great challenge over the two laps to take the silver, and the bronze went to clubmate, Adam O'Connor. The two Striders on the podium made the club a dead cert for the team gold with Darragh Flannelly also scoring.
S.B.R. took the team silver with Conor Doyle, Dean Elliott and Denis Kinsella scoring for the Ferns team.
The distance for the girls' Under-15 race was 3,500m and St. Paul's athlete Chanel O'Leary ran at a blistering pace throughout, much improving on her previous week's performance, to take a well-deserved county title. She was joined on the podium by Grace Costello from United Striders in second and Hannah Roche-Kelly in third.
Team gold went to the Striders team of Grace Costello, Allanah Byrne and Gráinne Flannelly on 21 points. Taking second place were Croghan with Megan Cullen, Muireann Fitzpatrick and Doireann Cullen scoring 29 points. Bronze medals went to the second United Striders team of Joanne Kelly, Lillianna Rice and Zara Murphy.
The boys Under-15 raced three laps of the course and an early lead was taken by Adamstown's Luke Byrne, with Aaron Browne of United Striders pushing all the way. In what was a fast-paced race, Luke Byrne took the gold medal with Aaron Browne taking silver ahead of S.B.R's Josh Hogan in third place.
The team prize was won by the D.M.P. team of Conor Keane, Darragh Collins and Joe Barrett. United Striders took silver with Aaron Browne, Patrick Doyle and Conor Murphy scoring.
Next up were the girls Under-17 running 4,000m, and Kilmore's Katie Daly made the top spot on the podium after a testing race on the scenic course. Elaina Browne of United Striders earned the silver and Hayleigh Bawden of United Striders took the bronze.
In the boys Under-17, S.B.R's James Boland made a sprint up the finish straight in a valiant effort to break away from the ever-present Sammy Delaney of St. Paul's. Both athletes had ran a tactical race throughout and it was James who took the county title with Sammy winning a well-deserved silver and D.M.P's Liam Turner in third position.
The Under-19 county title went to Menapians' Enda Cloake ahead of Joe Mooney of Adamstown in second.