A truly fantastic autumnal day greeted the young athletes competing in today’s Brother Schools Cross County held in Santry Demesne hosted by Clonliffe Harriers and sponsored by Brother Ireland . The event drew record numbers of competitors exceeding 2000 young athletes from schools all over Leinster and beyond. It proves that cross country is very much alive and kicking and events like this are thoroughly enjoyed by the young athletes competing and is a great introduction to our sport.
For the first time there were four primary school races included in the programme, previously there had been two such races. This proved to be a huge hit as nearly 1000 primary school athletes competed in these races, an average of 250 per race.
What a spectacle it proved to be as at 12 noon the 5th class primary schools race was set on its way by the starter Peter McDermott. A huge field in this race was led home in fine style by Hannah O’Brien of Carysfort National School. In 2nd place was Tessa Lambe of St. Vincent de Paul with Anna Carney of Mount Anville 3rd. Anna led home her Mount Anville teammates to a fine win in the team race with Vincent de Paul 2nd and Mary Help of Christians 3rd.
Harry Paige of St. Fiacra’s led the Fiacra’s one two as Alex Sheridan finished 2nd behind him with St. Fiacra’s taking team silver. 3rd place was Jonathan Fitzsimons of host club Clonliffe Harriers. In the team event local school the Holy Child Larkhill were 1st on 39 points from St. Fiacra’s 2nd and St. Joseph’s Terenure 3rd.
There was another huge field lining up then for the primary school 6th class girls race of in excess of 200 young athletes competing over 1000 metres. Sophie Quinn of St. Andrew’s Ashbourne was the winner of this race as she led her team to gold from Ava Lambe, St. Vincent de Paul 2nd and Lara Phipps of St. Fiacra’s 3rd.
The final primary school race of the day saw the biggest field of the day with 260 plus starters. After a tremendous race Padraic Spillane was the winner from Joe Fogarty of St. John Bosco 2nd and Adam Murphy 3rd. in the team event St. Brigid’s again prevailed successfully defending their title from the previous year on a magnificent 37 points from first timers at the Brother Cross Country Scoil Mhuire Marino, Griffth Avenue Marino, 2nd on 89 points and John Bosco 3rd on 98 points.
The secondary school programme commenced at precisely 1 o’clock, the event running like clockwork. Again huge numbers in the younger age groups, the minor girls competing over 1000 metres got proceedings underway with one of the biggest fields of the day, an outstanding 264 athletes, all successfully negotiated the inner loop of Santry Demesne with Mount Sackville’s Sadhbh Mohan prevailing from Zoe Sarrigan of Presentation College Carlow 2ndand Lily-Mae Craig of St. Raphael’s 3rd. St. Dominic’s College Cabra won the school event on 57 points from Muckross 2nd on 80 and Holy Child Killiney 3rd on 89.
Next up were the minor boys, another 200 plus starters getting the secondary school boys programme underway. A very strong winner in this race was Morgan Clarkson of Colaiste Eoin who was well clear of the field to finish, chased home by Adam Condon of Ard Scoil Ris and Dillan Paisley (St. Aidan’s) 3rd. in the team event Castleknock Community College were 1st with St. Aidan’s 2nd and Ard Scoil Ris 3rd.
The Junior Girls race again had a substantial field competing, in excess of 150 in this particular race. The junior girls raced over 1500 metres taking in the loop and walled garden section of Santry Demesne. The winner of this was Corrin Kenny chased home by St. Dominic’s College pairing Claire Murphy and Sarah Byrne. In the team event the Dominican College were 1st with Dominic’s 2nd and Colaiste Iosagain 3rd.
The Junior Boys 2000 metre race was won by Sean Donoghue of St. Declan’s, Peter Duffy was 2nd and Darragh Carter, a young Clonliffe Harrier after a fine race was 3rd. The red and white of St. Aidan’s prevailed in the team event from St. Malachy’s of Belfast and Colaiste Eoin 3rd.
The Inter Girls race brought success for Jennifer McAdams of Holy Family with Grace Dervan 2nd and Roisin Treacy of St. Gerard’s Bray 3rd. Castleknock took the team honours.
The Inter Boys race was led all the way by Craig Giles who was the class of the field. Craig was majestic over the 3000 metres and pulled away from the 1000 metre mark, there was a good inter school battle between St. Aidan’s teammates Cian Bolger who finished 2nd and Daniel Lacy 3rd, the top three positions all covered by Clonliffe Harrier athletes. In the team event St. Malachy’s of Belfast prevailed over St. Aidan’s with Belvedere 3rd.
The Senior Girls raced over 2000 metres, Lauren Tinkler of Holy Family was 1st with Ailish Murtagh of Holy Faith 2nd and Alannah Cooley of Dominican’s 3rd. There was only team entered in this race Muckross who obviously took the team honours.
The Senior Boys race concluded the programme, always a keenly contested affair on the individual and team fronts. Sean O’Leary was the class of the field for St. Aidan’s as he led home Rathmore Grammar School pairing Christy Conlon and Eoin McCann 2nd and 3rd. Rathmore Grammar School prevailed over St. Aidan’s in the team competition winning on 34 points from St. Aidan’s on 50 and Ard Scoil Ris 3rd on 76.
In the battle for overall the best girls school was St. Dominic’s College Cabra, the best boys school was St. Aidan’s and the best overall secondary school was St. Aidan’s courtesy of a win and three 2nd places.
The best boys primary school overall was St. Brigid’s Foxrock and the best overall girls primary school was St. Vincent de Paul.
In all an excellent days cross country in Santry. Clonliffe Harriers would like to thank sincerely Brother our most generous sponsor of this event, Fingal County Council for the use of the beautiful Santry Demesne, the staff at Morton Stadium, St. John’s Ambulance, the volunteers who came out on the day and all of the athletes and their teachers for making this a truly memorable affair.
In a few short years this event has grown from a starting point of some 750 athletes to now in excess of 2000 athletes. Long may it continue to grow.