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Tuesday 25 September 2018

Forde finishes in seventh spot

Challenging but fair course tests locals and visitors alike

United Striders colleagues Myles Hewlett (second) and Cosmo Hewlett (eleventh) with their medals after the Under-13 race
United Striders colleagues Myles Hewlett (second) and Cosmo Hewlett (eleventh) with their medals after the Under-13 race
Clara Keane of D.M.P. on her way to finishing fifth in the Under-15 race
Jack and Joe Byrne from Sliabh Buidhe Rovers (Ferns)
Sam Myers, Ronan Shannon, Seán Lennon and Owen Shannon from United Striders

The Leinster Juvenile (uneven ages) and Senior cross-country championships took place in Adamstown on Sunday. With the wet weather of the previous day having blown over, the day was dry and sunny albeit with a persistent and strong breeze blowing in from the north-west.

The course was a challenging but fair one with a few testing drags and, in places, very soft underfoot conditions. The old hands said it was the closest Wexford had gotten to real cross-country in years!

The programme opened with non-championship races for Under-9 boys and Under-9 girls.

In the boys' race, Jayden Kenny (Bree) won a bronze medal and Enda Byrne (S.B.R.) crossed the line in sixth place. Leah Bolger (Bree) was seventh in the girls' race while Áine Crean (Adamstown) placed tenth.

In the girls' Under-11 race, D.M.P's Éabha Keane followed up on her medal-winning performance in Navan recently by finishing a very fine medal-winning eighth place.

In doing so she secured her spot at the All-Irelands as the top twelve in each race automatically qualify.

Ronan Shannon (United Striders) also ran his way onto the Leinster team for the All-Irelands with a brilliant fifth place in boys' Under-11 race.

In the girls' Under-13 2,500m race, Sinéad O'Reilly (Menapians) had, what was for her, a major leap forward as, working from a conservative start, she picked her way through the field and battled all the way to the line to finish joint sixth. She is looking forward to competing in her first national cross-country.

In a day of stupendous performances for Wexford, the boys' Under-13 2,500m stands out. Myles Hewlett (U.S.A.C.) ran a really gutsy race from start to finish to take silver. Indeed, had the race been longer he might well have hauled in the leader such was his finishing strength.

Cosmo Hewlett shoe-horned his way in to the top twelve (eleventh) and booked his place at the All-Irelands. James Hegarty (D.M.P.) placed 15th, with Eoin Shannon (U.S.A.C.) 20th and Finbarr Kelly (U.S.A.C.) 23rd.

The net result of these good placings was that the Wexford county team took silver and Striders were second best club behind Mullingar Harriers.

Claragh Keane (D.M.P.) followed up her recent Under-14 Leinster bronze in Navan with a fifth place in the Under-15 race. She looked really strong throughout and ran a very sensible and well-paced race to take a medal and quality for the nationals.

Then there was Joe Byrne. Those in the know were surmising beforehand that the leggy S.B.R. lad would be in his element in the muck.

They weren't wrong. Joe is an intelligent runner: there is no early rush of blood to the head, no tracking, to the inch, the early pace-setters.

He lets things settle down and then he moves. And once he starts to move he is an unstoppable force. With little over 500m to go he had moved up to the two race leaders and looked like he was about to push ahead.

William Fox of Castlecomer responded and opened a small gap. Joe responded and, while he chased all the way to the line, he could not reel him in and had to settle for a brilliant second.

Aidan Shannon (U.S.A.C.) continued the good form that saw him take the Leinster Under-14 title in Navan in placing ninth. He also makes the Leinster team for the nationals. His clubmate Adam O'Connor was a few places back in 15th. The county Wexford team placed fourth.

Mairéad Crean (Adamstown) ran well to place 13th in the girls' Under-17 race. So near and yet so far in terms of making the Leinster team.

Cian Flanagan (U.S.A.C.) was first Wexford finisher in the boys' Under-17 race (42nd), with Edward Kinsella (S.B.R.) right behind him. Elizabeth Egan (Bree) was the first Wexford finisher in the Senior women's 5,000m (18th).

In the boys' Under-19 6,000m, Aedan Rogers (U.S.A.C.) ran a well-controlled race, sensible given the difficult conditions, and romped home with plenty to spare in fifth. Liam Turner (D.M.P.) placed eleventh and will join Aedan on the Leinster team for the All-Irelands.

The final race of the day was the Senior men's 10,000m. With the ground well cut up following a full programme of races and the hills no less steep than they were at the start of the day, this was a true test of endurance.

County champion Ger Forde (Slaney Olympic) passed with flying colours as he stayed in touch with the action up front, kept his head and ran an even-paced race. He was rewarded with a seventh place finish. His clubmate Enda Cloake placed 20th.

So ended a great day of competitive cross-country running. Full credit to host club Adamstown A.C., not only for making all the visiting clubs so welcome, but for ensuring the event was well-organised in every way. The onsite catering was particularly well-received.

Wexford placings - girls' Under-11 1,500m: 8, Éabha Keane (D.M.P.); 32, Layla Stafford (D.M.P.); 40, Katie Doyle (Bree); 55, Áine Fortune (Kilmore); 56, Emma McCarthy (St. Killian's); 58, Aoife Walsh (D.M.P.).

Team (county): 6, Wexford.

Boys' Under-11 1,500m: 5, Ronan Shannon (U.S.A.C.); 19, Ross English (Adamstown); 25, Killian Brennan (Enniscorthy); 32, Cian Donovan (Menapians); 33, Cian O'Dowd (D.M.P.).

Team (county): 5, Wexford.

Girls' Under-13 2,500m: 6, Sinéad O'Reilly (Menapians), with Lily O'Neill (S.L.O.T.); 32, Ellie O'Mahony (D.M.P.); 49, Orlaith Byrne (S.B.R.); 56, Niamh English (Adamstown); 62, Brídín Doyle (Craanford Harriers); 69, Gráinne English (Adamstown).

Team (county): 7, Wexford.

Boys' Under-13 2,500m: 2, Myles Hewlett (U.S.A.C.); 11, Cosmo Hewlett (U.S.A.C.); 15, James Hegarty (D.M.P.); 20, Eoin Shannon (U.S.A.C.); 23, Finbarr Kelly (U.S.A.C.); 29, David Kirwan (S.B.R.); 37, Conn Mernagh (D.M.P.); 44, Alex Lafferty (D.M.P.); 55, Darragh Breen (S.B.R.).

Team (county): 2, Wexford.

Team (club): 2, United Striders.

Girls' Under-15 3,500m: 5, Claragh Keane (D.M.P.); 25, Aoibhinn Mernagh (D.M.P.); 28, Erin Shannon (U.S.A.C.); 32, Aoibhinn Crean (Adamstown); 41, Eimear Fortune (Kilmore); 42, Katelyn Boggan (Kilmore); 43, Katie English (Adamstown); 50, Clodagh Foran (U.S.A.C.); 51, Ciara Dolan (Menapians); 55, Therese Lawless (S.B.R.); 60, Eve Byrne (U.S.A.C.).

Team (county): 5, Wexford.

Boys' Under-15 3,500m: 2, Joe Byrne (S.B.R.); 9, Aidan Shannon (U.S.A.C.); 15, Adam O'Connor (U.S.A.C.); 21, Ben Wall (Adamstown); 49, Robert Wall (Adamstown); 53, Owen Lennon (U.S.A.C.).

Team (county): 4, Wexford.

Girls' Under-17 4,000m: 13, Mairéad Crean (Adamstown); 22, Grace Costello (U.S.A.C.); 41, Alannah Byrne (U.S.A.C.); 42, Gráinne Flannelly (U.S.A.C.).

Boys' Under-17 5,000m: 42, Cian Flanagan (U.S.A.C.); 43, Edward Kinsella (S.B.R.); 55, Ryan Kielthy (U.S.A.C.); 59, James Hanlon (Taghmon); 60, Rory Cassidy (Kilmore); 61, Liam O'Flaherty (Kilmore).

Boys' Under-19 6,000m: 5, Aedan Rogers (U.S.A.C.); 11, Liam Turner (D.M.P.); 18, James Boland (U.S.A.C.); 25, James Hanlon (Taghmon).

Team (county): 1, Wexford.

Senior women's 5,000m: 18, Elizabeth Egan (Bree); 39, Fidelma Rossiter (Kilmore); 42, Lillian Lawless (S.B.R.); 43, Ciara Bowe (S.B.R.); 44, Christine Stone (D.M.P.); 46, Belinda Kehoe (S.B.R.); 50, Kelly Long (Slaney Olympic); 51, Sarah Walsh (S.B.R.).

Team (county): 6, Wexford.

Senior men's 10,000m: 7, Ger Forde (Slaney Olympic); 20, Enda Cloake (Slaney Olympic); 31, John McGrath (U.S.A.C.); 32, Alan O'Connor (U.S.A.C.); 37, Brendan Lyng (U.S.A.C.); 43, Pat Foley (Croghan); 47, George Delaney (U.S.A.C.); 49, David Kehoe (Slaney Olympic); 51, Ted Flannelly (U.S.A.C.); 57, Tommy McElwaine (S.B.R.).

Team (county): 4, Wexford.

Team (club): 6, United Striders.

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