True test of strength in store
The Irish Life Health All-Ireland schools cross-country takes place in Waterford next Saturday.
The undulating course at the W.I.T. Arena, Carriganore, is 'a true test of strength' according to an Athletics Ireland report on last December's Munster schools cross-country.
'The toughest part of the course is a 500m stretch which includes a short, sharp steep hill which flattens and then develops into a long drag to test the hardy souls.'
All going well the ground will have recovered from the Siberian weather of last weekend and the subsequent soaking it got in the big thaw.
Joe Byrne (Gorey C.S.) competes in the Junior 3,500m race. He looked impressive in the Leinsters and, given the nature of this course, he will be hoping to be in the mix at the business end of the race. In the Junior girls' event, Claragh Keane (Presentation Wexford) is largely recovered from the illness that held her back in the Leinsters.
She is a fearless performer on the big stage and should place somewhere in the single figures.
Also hoping for a high placing in the Junior girls, following a good twelfth place at the Leinsters, is Elizabeth Gahan (Gorey C.S.).
The county's sole competitor in the girls' Intermediate 3,500m race is Róisín O'Reilly of Loreto Wexford. Róisín has been growing in confidence in recent months and was full of running in the Leinsters.
Her strength should ensure she can go with whatever pace is thrown at her.
With the Leinster indoors (day four) re-scheduled to the same weekend as the cross-country, there will be athletes throughout the province forced to choose between one event and the other.
One such is Sinéad O'Reilly (Loreto Wexford). She qualified for the schools cross-country in the Minor race but will be bypassing it in favour of the indoors where she runs the 800m.
Joining her will be a large contingent of medal-hungry athletes from clubs throughout the county. The programme consists of 60m hurdles, 200m, 600m, 800m and three field events - long jump, high jump and shot putt. Details are at www.athleticsleinster.org
The Kilmore A.C. awards night takes place in Mary Barry's Bar, Kilmore, on Friday, March 9, at 7 p.m.
All current, past members and parents are invited to attend to celebrate the club's 85th year in existence.
The recent adverse weather has meant that a number of events have been re-scheduled. Last weekend's national Masters indoors and, as mentioned above, the Leinster Juvenile indoors (day four) have both been put back to next weekend.
Day one of the national Juvenile indoors scheduled for next weekend has been pushed back to April 7.
Fixtures: March 10, Irish Life Health All-Ireland schools cross-country, W.I.T., Waterford; March 10 (re-scheduled), Irish Life Health national Masters indoors, Athlone; March 11, Leinster Juvenile indoor championships day four - Athlone (hurdles, 600m, 800m); March 11, Irish Life Health national Juvenile indoor championships day one, Athlone (postponed to April 7); March 18, Irish Life Health national Juvenile indoor championships day two, Athlone; March 19 (12 noon), Mr Oil Wexford Novice road race championships, Camross, hosted by United Striders A.C.; March 19-24, European Masters indoor, Madrid; March 24, S.I.A.B. schools cross-country championship, Nottingham; March 25, Irish Life Health national Juvenile indoor championships day three, Athlone; April 1 (11 a.m.), Mr Oil Wexford Intermediate road race championships, Enniscorthy, hosted by Slaney Olympic A.C. (just to confirm it really is Easter Sunday!); April 2, Leinster 10-mile road championships, Raheny, Dublin; April 7 (re-scheduled), Irish Life Health national Juvenile indoor championships day one, Athlone.