For the third year in a row a team for Colaiste Mhuire, Mulligar won an all-Ireland title at the Irish Schools’ Cross Country Championships held in St Mary’s College, Galway last weekend.
This year the junior (u15 ) boys team followed up on their victory last year with a superb performance to ensure that Colaiste Mhuire continued its unrivalled record of success in recent years. The recent hat trick of team successes (junior boys 2010, minor boys 2011, and junior boys 2012 ) follows on from the schools senior boys win in 2002 and means that the school is probably the most successful boys school in the country over the past decade.
The junior boys race was over a distance of 3,500m with this being divided into one short lap and two hilly and mucky long circuits. Glen Gaffney was straight to the forefront of this race and while not pushing the pace he was watching carefully for any attacks. Next to show was first year Shane Hughes who early on was in about 12th spot.
The rest of the team were in the 30s and 40s early on having been impeded at the start and two having been pushed to the ground at different points. About a mile into the race and Glen was still securely in the lead group and Shane was still in the top fifteen. By now Oisin Quinn, Michael Moran, Adam Kelly, and Senan Lynam had moved up through the field and were fighting for every spot. When the attacks started for the finish Glen inexplicably dropped off the lead but kept fighting all the way for a fine eighth place finish.
Shane Hughes then came 21st with team captain Oisin Quinn following closely in 28th. With Michael Moran counted home in 43rd place this gave Colaiste Mhuire a fine team victory. Senan Lynam, Adam Kelly, Dlyan Ledwith, and Christopher Gilbert all fought hard right to the line and should be very proud of their All Ireland gold medals.
The intermediate boys raced over 4,500m. They finished seventh in the end but their 199 point score was only 50 points off the winners from St Fintans, Sutton and 30 points off bronze placed St Kieran’s, Kilkenny. Padraig Moran led the charge for Colaiste Mhuire. Early on he was in about 15th place and he kept fighting throughout.
Although he slipped back to finish 26th, Padraig was a great example to the other team members. Next across the line was Ryan Blundell who is dedicated to training and his top 30 finish shows the benefit of all the miles logged this winter. Nathan Smith in 63rd and Jack Galvin 77th rounded out the teams scoring. Eoin Lynam Gavin Hanevy and Tye Adamson both finished exhausted too after three laps of this tough course.
Having won the Leinster team title this experienced team knew looking at the scores from other provinces that Saturday’s race was probably going to be beyond them.
Still they ran their hearts out for a fine fifth place finish. Patrick Fagan peaked about a month ago in terms of performances but ran well over the 6km to have a great top 30 finish. Next home was Jonathan Daly who is probably the most improved athlete in the school over the past year. He started conservatively over the first mile but from there he was passing athletes all the way.
Next home was Stephen Nea Campbell who again started cautiously but kept on going right to the line. He was followed closely by team captain Gavin Doran who gave a great account of himself to finish well inside the top 50. Ian McCormack also ran bravely.