The Downeys Nissan Laois Athletics Novice Road Race Championships took place in Ballyfin on Sunday.
In ideal conditions, slightly cool and no rain or wind, there was a great crowd of athletes and spectators in attendance who enjoyed the morning’s event.
A full juvenile programme preceded the adult races, and with 6 medals in each race, all these juvenile races were hotly contested.
The Novice Ladies race over 3k was a fine competitive race. Lucy Deegan St Abbans AC took the lead after about 500m, and the small group who went with her pace were eventually whittled down to Siobhan Burke Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District AC, and Mary Doyle St Abbans AC.
While Lucy never lost her lead, she needed to remain focused right to the end, as there was a great battle for silver and bronze just meters behind her.
Siobhan eventually overhauled Mary, and all 3 were within mere seconds of each other at the finish line.
St Abbans won the team event, with St Michaels and Portlaoise in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. It was great to see a new group from the host club, and it’s only a matter of time before this Ballyfin Ladies team will be podium finishers.
The Novice Mens race over 6k was another brisk affair. Athletes from 7 clubs took to the start line, and an early breakaway group soon took control.
Singlets from all clubs were visible in this group for the first 2km. Eventually with a lap to go, David Mulhare Portlaoise AC pulled away, and was closely followed by his clubmate Barry McEvoy. David O’Mahoney Ballyfin AC kept in touch, with David Sweeney, Paul Cuddy, Liam Buggy and Andrew Keogh close on their heels.
David pulled away to win with Barry and David fairly comfortable in 2nd and 3rd.
The real battle was for the team medals, with just 1 point separating all 3 teams. Portlaoise were the winners with 30 points, St Michaels and Ballyfin were level on 31 points each, and St Michaels pipped it by having their last scorer home first.
It was great see six complete teams, St. Abbans AC, Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District AC, and Oughaval AC also fielded complete teams, making for a very enjoyable spectacle – and with plenty of “come on Daddy “ cheers on the finishing straight.
A big thank you to Ballyfin AC who hosted the event, and to Downeys Nissan for their continued support to Laois Athletics.
Meanwhile last week, Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District AC competed in the historical Rás na hÉireann cross country race in Louth.
The course was on the Battle of the Boyne site, a well organised event by Dunleer AC.