Home Sport Athletics In Pictures: Success for Laois athletes at recent Leinster Cross Country Championships

In Pictures: Success for Laois athletes at recent Leinster Cross Country Championships

The Cow Park, Dunboyne was the location for the final installment of the Leinster Cross Country Championships 2021.

The event gathers all ages with Juvenile, Intermediate and Master’s events all incorporated into one day of competition.

There is also the added bonus of the juvenile relays where athletes get to compete with their friends as part of a team, something they don’t often get to experience in an individual sport.

Throughout the years, St Abban’s has experienced varying degrees of success with individuals in these championships, however Saturday tied it all together when the Intermediate Women took silver club and county medals.

Since returning from her Erasmus, Lucy Deegan has gone from strength to strength and this showed on Saturday when she put in another fine performance to finish in 6th place.

She was followed closely behind in 7th by Niamh Staunton who was making her club debut. The girls didn’t have long to wait for their team mates with Caitlin McDonald finishing in 12th and Ríona Bolton in 21st.

The girls’ 46 points was good enough for 2nd place in the team competition behind Dublin City Harriers. They were joined by Breda McDonald of Balyroan/Abbeyleix for the county team where they also won silver medals.

Preceding the Intermediate event, St Abban’s had seven teams competing in the Juvenile relays, far more than any year in recent memory.

The girls U-12 was the first race of the day with athletes completing 4x250m each. St Abban’s had two teams; one narrowly outside of the medals in 5th place (Zoe Dunne, Abigail Daly, Lily O’Neill, and Laura Ayers) and the other in 10th place (Sophie Dowling, Aoife O’Sullivan, Kate Dooley and Lexi Willoughby).

The boys U-12 had no less than three teams from the club, finishing in 8th (Eoin Dowling, Cathal English, James O’Mara, Shane Kelly) 10th Johnny McGrath, Harry Brennan, Josh Delaney, Dara Murphy) and 11th (Thomas Graham, Cian Buggy, Luke Fitzgerald, Darragh Buggy, MJ Dowling) respectively.

The girls U-14 was one of the highlights of the day for the club with the team of Rachel Dooley, Katie Hartnett, Cara English and Ciara Milton taking the silver medal.

Competing over the longer distance of 4x500m really suited these girls who ran their hearts out to finish in second place.

The final relay of the day was the girls U-16 team of Katie McGrath, Rachel Ayers, Rachel Hartnett and Jessica Murray. They also ran a fantastic race but came up just short of the medals in 5th place.

For many of these young athletes this was their first experience of a cross country relay event and hopefully this will whet the appetite for plenty more.

In the Master’s Men’s race the evergreen Dick Mullins continued his fine form taking the gold medal in the M75 category.

Dick had to battle the whole way through the 4,000m course where he took the gold medal by the slightest winning margin of 1 second.

Dick will now set his sights on Castlelyons, Cork, where the National Masters Championships will take place.

In the M40 category, Colin Coyne also continued his fine form finishing in 9th place.

SEE ALSO – WATCH: Relive all the penalty shoot out drama from the Laois and Kildare O’Byrne Cup semi final

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.