The county Schools cross country competition took place in Thurles Crokes on Wednesday with Nenagh Olympic well repesented in both the girls and boys races. With so many good performances in club competition this year we were very optimistic before the start and we didn’t have long to wait for our first success with Nenagh CBS taking the minor boys title. It was an emphatic win with -- Cian Hodgins 1st, Seán Hayes 3rd, Tom Walshe 5th & Luke Purcell 6th -- the scoring four and with Aiden Dwyer backing them up in 9th there is high hopes from teacher Gary Scully that they could go all the way to a national title in the new year. Well done to Gary for being able to field five teams in the minor boys alone in this age of falling participation!!
The next race of the day was the junior girls and with Mercy Nenagh the reigning All Ireland champions fielding their strongest team the outcome was inevitable. Ailbhe O’Neill raced straight to the front in a manner that said we mean business. She brought her two teammates Niamh and Ellen Cunneen & Murray of Ballingarry with her and this quartet dominated the race. Niamh came through to win and with Ailbhe third & Ellen fourth the look in a great position to reclaim their All Ireland title.
In the Inter girls our own Lucy Mulcahy showed the progress she is making with a fine second place finish, leading her school, Presentation Thurles, to the team title. Not far behind in the team competition was Mercy Nenagh with Emma Gavin sixth, Emer Touhy ninth and Sarah Madden tenth the scoring trio.
In the intermediate boys Micheál Ryan in fifth led the Nenagh CBS to the bronze medals with Andrew Ferris ninth , André Costa Barros fourteenth and Joe Cunningham sixteenth completing the scoring quartet, again well done to Gary Scully for fielding three teams in this age group.
In the Senior girls St Marys Jill Moynan, making a welcome return to competitive athletics, posted a fine third place finish getting stronger as the race progressed. With her natural endurance and love for running hopefully we can encourage her to do some more club competitions also.
The final race of the day was the senior boys and in this Dane Ryan, Nenagh CBS, ran a fine race eventually finishing fourth which completed a very successful day of Athletics for the local athletes.
The next outing is the East Munster schools cross country on the 8th February in Waterford.