Seven medals secured
National cross-country races in Abbotstown
Wexford won three individual and four provincial team medals at last weekend's Irish Life Health national cross-country championships held at the National Sports Campus, Abbotstown.
The Juvenile events served as the undercard for the Junior and Senior events. With places on the Irish European cross-country team up for grabs, the latter two categories had added significance.
The Junior races doubled up with Under-18s, while the Under-23s ran with the Seniors. However, while these races were exciting and hard-fought affairs, the Juvenile races provided plenty of excitement in their own right.
Conditions were ideal with no rain, little wind and, apart from a few boggy patches, firm sod underfoot. No doubt Athletics Ireland officials will have been engaging in up-close analysis throughout the day as this is the same venue that will be used for the European cross-country championships in 2020.
Myles Hewlett of United Striders took a brilliant silver in the boys' Under-14 3,000m. He was leading up to halfway through the second of the two laps, lost a little ground on the final hill, then stormed back in the home straight to leave very little between himself and the winner, Jack McCausland of Lisburn. Myles also won a gold medal with the Leinster team.
United Striders top-placed four athletes, which included Eoin Shannon 25th, Finbarr Kelly 58th and Seán Lennon 89th, secured a fourth place finish for the club. The county team placed fifth overall.
Other Wexford placings: 45, James Hegarty (D.M.P.); 57, Alex Lafferty (D.M.P.); 92, Cosmo Hewlett (U.S.); 131, Caolan Costello (U.S.); 132, Ben Myers (U.S.).
D.M.P's Claragh Keane has been showing great form of late. Competing in the girls' Under-16 4,000m, she continued on her upwards trajectory with an excellent eighth place finish in a stacked field.
This automatically qualifies her for the Irish team to compete at the Celtic International. Claragh was fourth scorer on the gold medal-winning Leinster team.
There was another individual medal for D.M.P. as Kevin O'Mahony, running in the boys' Under-12 race, delivered a blistering last 500m to get up for twelfth place. And, just like his clubmate, Kevin won a team gold as a member of the winning Leinster team.
In the girls' Under-12 race, Sarah Phylan of Enniscorthy won her first national medal as fourth scorer (23rd overall) on the bronze medal-winning Leinster team.
First Wexford athlete home in the boys' Under-16 4,000m was Joe Byrne (S.B.R.) in 37th, followed by Ben Wall (U.S.) 52nd, and Aidan Shannon (U.S.) 61st.
Other Wexford placings: 77, Ronan Griffin (D.M.P.); 82, Darragh Flannelly (U.S.); 113, Robert Wall (U.S.). The county team finished in eighth place.
The All-Ireland Juvenile uneven ages (Under-11 to Under-19) championships, along with the national Novice championships, take place in Navan on December 15.
The second leg of the Wexford Juvenile winter league was held at Enniscorthy Sports Hub on Friday evening.
This event is aimed primarily at rewarding participation: athletes competing on all three nights receive a winter league medal as well as contributing valuable points for their club. Every performance counts.
Enniscorthy A.C's success in getting athletes to compete in all age categories meant that they were the best overall club on the evening.
Next Friday, November 30, it's do or die in the final round as athletes do their level best to secure points for their clubs. The points tally after the first two rounds has United Striders as the best overall club ahead of Enniscorthy and Bree.
Striders is also the leading boys' club, with Enniscorthy the top girls' club. A number of athletes also look set to win Star Awards which are given to athletes who win at all three legs.
The first race on Friday starts at 7 p.m., and registration is open from 6.15 p.m. The presentation of club awards and Star Awards will take place after the last race.
The Mr Oil Wexford Intermediate cross-country championships will be hosted by S.B.R. in Ferns on Sunday, December 2. The course is the same as was used for last year's county Senior championships. The action starts at 12 noon.
The Mr Oil Wexford secondary schools cross-country take place this Wednesday at Good Counsel College, New Ross, starting at 11 a.m. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Fixtures: November 28 (11 a.m.), Mr Oil Wexford secondary schools cross-country, Good Counsel College, New Ross; November 30 (7 p.m.), Wexford Juvenile winter league, Enniscorthy Sports Hub; December 2 (12 noon), Mr Oil Wexford Intermediate cross-country championships, Ferns, hosted by S.B.R. A.C.; December 15, Irish Life Health Novice and Juvenile (uneven age) cross-country, Navan.