McDonald and O Comhraide take top honours at Laois Novice Cross Country

Express Reporter

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The lands of the Graham families provided on ideal setting for stage one of the Downey Nissan Laois Cross Country Championships at Tolerton, Crettyard on Sunday last.

Conditions were ideal for the eighteen-event programme, where the well-appointed course provided a stern test for the competitors from girls and boys U-8’s to Novice Ladies and Men. Cross Country is not for the faint hearted but the added dimension of team awards adds to the excitement. Each participant is fighting for their own position and that of their team (usually four to score).

Team medals for every age group are awarded at the end of the season at a special presentation in Downey’s showrooms, Portlaoise.

Laura Ayres of St Abban's won the U-8 race with Aoileann Ní Chomraidhe (Emo-Rath) 2nd, Laura Moore (St Abban's) was 3rd, Heidi Buggy (St Abban's) 4th, Grace Cuddy (Portlaoise) 5th and Emma Reid (St Abban's) was in 6th place.

In the boys U-8 we had an exciting tied finish between Johnny McGrath (St Abban's) and Darragh Duffy (Emo-Rath). Third place went to Sean McEvoy (Rosenallis-Kilcavan). Cathal English (St Abban's) was 4th, George Hackett (St Michael's) was 5th and Billy O’Connor (Rosenallis-Kilcavan) was 6th.

In the U-10 girls race Cara English of (St Abban's) took the gold medal. Ciara Milton (St Abban's) was a close 2nd, with Hannah Cox (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District) 3rd, Tara Dowling (St Abban's) was 4th, Emma Malone (St Abban's) was 5th and Elanna Kelly (St Abban's) was 6th.

Kalem Buggy (St Abban's) flew home to win the U-10 boys race. Riley Connolly (St Michael's) was 2nd. Cian O’ Sullivan (St Abban's) was 3rd, Eoghan Lalor (Rosenallis-Kilcavan) was 4th, Michael Brennan (St Abban's) was 5th and Luke Dunne (Oughaval) took 6th place.

Rachel Ayres (St Abban's) took the U-12 title, with Evanna Ryle (Rosenallis-Kilcavan) in 2nd. Jessica Murray was 3rd; Delia McLoughlin (Oughaval), Aisling Cawley (St Abban's) and 6th place was Cliodhna Creesan (Emo-Rath).

Aaron Lawlor (Rosenallis-Kilcavan) won gold in the boy’s race, Timmy Byrne (St Abban's) was 2nd, Fionn O’Sullivan (St Abban's) was 3rd. Fourth was Ryan Lee (Mountmellick), 5th Ben Reid (St Abban's) and 6th Eoghan Maguire (Oughaval).

Faye McEvoy (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District) had a very strong first place finish in the U-14 girl’s race, Caoimhe Cuddy (Portlaoise) was 2nd, 3rd was Kate Connolly (St Michael's). Aoibhín McDonald (St Abban's) was 4th, Poppy Hackett (St Michael's) was 5th and Audrey Byrne (St Abban's) was 6th.

Jack Fenlon (St Abban's) won the boys race. Lee Murray (St Abban's) was 2nd. Rory Lalor (Rosenallis-Kilcavan) was 3rd, Adam Buggy (St Abban's) was 4th, Evan English (St Abban's) was 5th and Jack Milton (St Abban's) was 6th.

In the U-16 girls Niamh McDonald (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District) won gold, Hollie Brennan from (St Abban's) was 2nd; Seoighe English (St Abban's) was 3rd, Meabh Gallagher (St Abban's) 4th, Orla Hartigan (Oughaval) was 5th and Aoibhe Kettle (St Abban's) was 6th.

Will Fox (St Abban's) was 1st in the boy’s race, Oisin Jargo (Oughaval) was 2nd, Evan Hogg (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District) was 3rd, Charlie Hackett (St Michael's) was 4th, Danny Kehoe (St Abban's) was 5th and Javier Blanc Corcuera (St Abban's).

Cara Maher (St Abban's) won the U-18 girls race, Emily O’Neill Delaney (Emo-Rath) was 2nd and Aoife Gallagher (St Abban's) was 3rd.

For the boys U-18, it was Cathal Connaughton (Oughaval) who was first over the line. Naoise Kettle (St Abban's) was 2nd, Brian Hogg (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District) was 3rd, TJ Burke (St Abban's) was 4th, Curtis Lee (Mountmellick) was 5th and Darren Foley (St Abban's) was 6th.

The Novice Ladies race had St Abban’s AC and Portlaoise AC battling for team glory. Three St Abban’s athletes took the lead early on and stuck together until the last lap when Caitlin McDonald made a move for the title and was crowned Laois Novice Champion 2018.

Lucy Deegan took the silver and Meabh Maher the bronze. Fourth place was Maria Cuddy from (Portlaoise), 5th was Caitríona McDonald (St Abban's) and 6th was Anna Duggan (Portlaoise).

St Abban's won the first team with 11 points (Caitlin, Lucy, Meabh and Caitriona). Portlaoise AC were 2nd with 29 points (Marie, Anna, Amy Walsh and Olywn Larkin) and St Abban's AC's second team got team bronze (Maire Murray, Sharon Buggy, Mairead Moore and Deirdre Brennan).

In the Novice Men’s race Aindriu O’Comhraidhe of St Michael's romped home to take the gold and Novice Championship title. James Moore (St Abban's) was a strong 2nd and Richie Reid (Portlaoise) ran a great race to take the bronze.

Paul Cuddy from (Portlaoise) was 4th and Andrew Keogh (Ballyfin) was 5th with Paul Burke (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District) taking 6th place. St Abban's were the winning team with 27 points (James, Raymond Buggy, Conor Barry and Barry Knowles).

The second men’s winning team was (Ballyfin) AC with 44pts (Andrew Keogh, Tony Cox, Luke Hyland and Paul Dunne). St Abban’s 2nd team won bronze on 57pts (Niall English, James Nolan, Seamus Brennan and Oisín Cawley).

Day 2 on the 14th of October hosted by Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District AC will be the turn of uneven ages so those juveniles that had the disadvantage last week will have gain on the next day out!