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In Pictures: McLoughlin leads his Laois Team to Leinster Gold in Masters Cross Country

The “new kid on the block” in Laois Masters Athletics, Paddy McLoughlin, led his Laois Over-50 team to Team Gold in sun-soaked Gowran on Sunday.

The Oughaval AC man is currently in great shape, breaking the 18 min barrier for the first time in the Vicarstown parkrun on New Years Day.

Continuing his great run of form, he was also the winner of the Individual Bronze Medal in his over 50 Category.

His team-mates were in close pursuit, with Aengus Burke (Portlaoise AC), Martin McDonald (Ballyroan Abbeyleix AC) and Noel Marum (Portlaoise AC) completing the team.

In addition, the ever-young Martin McDonald was the Individual winner in the Over-60 Category, with another youngster Aengus Burke winning the Over-55 Category.

In the same race, Tom Lupton (Portlaoise AC) continues his recent excellent form to win Individual Bronze in the Over-35 Category.

His heroic last lap saw him close a big gap and get into 3rd place. Tom led his county team of Tony Reilly (Portlaoise AC), Noel Burke (Ballyroan Abbeyleix) and Colm Fitzgerald (Portlaoise AC) to Silver medals, with Tony Reilly finishing second in his Over-45 Category.

Portlaoise AC were just pipped into 4th place in the Inter-Club Category.

In the Intermediate Ladies, there was great excitement as Kate and Breda McDonald (Irelands Fittest Family runners-up 2018) were in contention from the beginning, and battled to the line, with Kate just pipping Breda for the Individual bronze medal.

They were joined by Laois Team colleagues Lisa Murphy Sweeney (St. Michaels) and Olivia Sheerin (St Michaels) in winning Bronze in the Inter-County Category.

The St Michaels Ladies team of Lisa, Olivia, Eibhlin Smith and Valerie McAuliffe were pipped for Bronze Medals in the Inter-Club, but are surely a team for next autumn, for Leinster Novice and Intermediate.

In the Juvenile Relays, the St Michaels quartet of Will Craig, Ronan Maher, Dylan Yarrow and Riley Connolly were pipped for bronze in the U-12 4 x 250m.

The Ballyroan Abbeyleix lads – Eoin Lynam, Alan Fitzpatrick, Jack Coogan and Noah Carter were just a few places back, and both teams will enjoy more success next year, when the age-group and distance moves up to 4 x 500m.

In the Girls U-16 the Ballyroan Abbeyleix girls enjoyed bronze medal success – Niamh Tunney led them out and passed over the baton in top spot.

Emma Fitzpatrick had to battle a big hill and a few sprinters from Ratoath and Naas, but still help on to the top 3.

Faye McEvoy in 3rd place opened a good gap from 4th place, and Ciara Bowe ran the race of her life to hold off a brave challenge from the Gowran girl – finishing 3rd and qualifying the team for the All-Ireland.

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