Big congratulations to all the local schools runners who performed magnificently at a wintry Mallusk on Tuesday last in the annual Ulster Secondary Schools and Flavahans NI Primary Schools cross country championships.
Much coveted team championship wins went to the Oakgrove Integrated Girls and the Broadbridge Boys squads in a hotly contested Primary schools championships and Steelstown’s Cara Laverty grabbed an impressive individual bronze in the Girls’ race as the local runners showcased their talents on the wider stage.
The Oakgrove Boys team just missed out on the team bronze medals, a single point the difference between third and fourth in a gripping Primary Schools Boys’ race and in the Secondary Schools races a clutch of excellent runs were capped by St Joseph’s terrific team silver in the Senior Boys’ race and Lumen Christi’s Girls team bronze in the Mini age group.
Back to the double gold team wins at Primary School level and a well drilled Broadbridge Boys squad did the business with a great series of runs to take the podium top spot. The victorious team members were Ben Cooke 10th, Kyle McElhinney 18th, Ryan McCormick 37th, Eoin Lynch 40th, James Conlon 62nd, Shea Martin 75th, Cathal Cooke 85th and Mark Kirk 167th, in a large field of over 180 finishers.
Local schools had eight finshers in the top 20, a great achievement, and they were headed by 5th placer, St Anne’s Oisin Gallagher who had dominated the local qualifying races, and he was closely followed by the top Oakgrove finisher Aodhan Friel 6th and Oisin Colhoun of St Patrick’s 7th.
Ben Cooke and Kyle McElhinney were separated by Sean Harrington Smyth of St Therese 11th, Patrick McLaughlin St Anne’s 12th and in 14th another St Therese runner, Conal Toland for an very impressive local domination of the top finishing order.
As already mentioned, the gallant Oakgrove squad were a close up 4th in the team standings with St Therese in 7th to underline the depth of the local talent.
The Oakgrove Girls had set the standard with their equally impressive performance in the opening race of the day, led home in 11th place by Oonagh Payne with strong support from Amy Mulkeen 17th, Lara Smailes 35th, Grace Donaghy 53rd, Georgia Sangean 55th, Amy McIntyre 69th, Anna Jin 107th and Gemma Coyle 126th as close to 200 finishers crossed the line.
The other local qualifiers Broadbridge and Hollybush finished 8th and 16th in a race contested by a total of 21 school teams. Cara Laverty had won all three local qualifying races with ease and her close up third place finish at Mallusk was another reminder of the Steelstown PS pupil’s talent, one to watch!