The South Leinster Schools Cross Country Championships proved to be a mixed bag for Knockbeg Colleges athletes. Held in Carlow Hurling Club, we didn't have far to travel on the day. The minor team: Jack Milton, Cillian Whearty, Callum Hayden and Harry Byrne all ran strongly over 1500m but unfortunately just missed out on qualifying individually or as a team.
The junior team had a bit more luck with MacKenzie McIvor finishing 4th and qualifying for the Leinster Championships next week. Sean O'Sullivan, Ben O'Gorman, Tom Hughes, Luke Buggy, Cian Cashman, Daniel Picovici and Tadhg McGrath all put in strong performances over the two and a half laps and finished well. They also just missed out on qualification despite placing well.
Our intermediate group saw Lee Murray, Eoin Cawley, Matthew Buggy and Rory Gruffarty dig in over 4k. In a very competitive race, they all gave their best on the day but unfortunately didn't qualify this time.
Finally, our senior competitors, TJ Burke and Finn Cummins both put in great performances. TJ stayed on the heels of the main group for most of the race and this paid off as he finished 12th and will now go through to the Leinsters. Finn held his own for the three tough laps and as a result, achieved another great personal best.
Well done to all our athletes and good luck to Mackenzie and Tj in the upcoming Leinster Championships.
Well done to both our 1st and 2nd year basketball teams on their wins over Castledermot in the Midlands League last week.
Extra-time heartbreak for Knockbeg College in Leinster Championship
Colaiste Mhuire Mullingar CBS 1-18
Knockbeg College 1-16 (AET)
Top Oil Leinster School’s Senior Football Championship
Knockbeg College’s Leinster ambitions came to an end in Graiguecullen on Wednesday last as Mullingar CBS overcame a six-point half-time deficit to force extra-time and advance to the next round.
Aided by a stiff breeze in the opening half, Knockbeg College went in at the break leading 1-5 to 0-2 with Ian Shanahan accounting for the goal. With the wind advantage reversed, Mullingar CBS clawed their way back and equalised in the fifth minute of injury-time through a Ben McGauran point to send the game to extra-time.
The Mullingar school had more left in the tank for extra-time and it showed as they held Knockbeg scoreless in the first period, and to just three in the second period all while notching five themselves to snatch the win.
Knockbeg got off to a flying start and led 1-2 to no score inside the initial five minutes. Fionn Bergin and Ciaran Burke landed early points either side of a fortunate Ian Shanahan goal that dropped into the Mullingar net from range.
Mullingar CBS gradually found their footing in the game and kicked the next two points. Full-forward Ben McGauran opened their account with a super point from the left flank and Kevin O’Sullivan followed to leave the margin at a goal with ten minutes played.
Although they would trouble the Knockbeg goalkeeper Craig Doyle and force two brilliant saves, the travelling school failed to add another score for the remainder of the half.
Despite dominating the possession, Knockbeg’s accuracy evaded them in the final third of the field and they only kicked three more points in the half - all from the menacing Colin Dunne - to lead 1-5 to 0-2 at the interval.
Mullingar CBS instantly put their stamp on the half ahead with a goal inside the first minute from Fionn O’Hara’s rifled free. By the 45th minute they had turned the tables and held a two point lead in Graiguecullen.
McGauran was in full flight at this stage, kicking five points in the fifteen minutes after the restart, while Colin Dunne kept Knockbeg ticking over by adding three more to his tally.
Knockbeg chipped away at Mullingar’s precarious lead and Ross Bolger’s free five minutes before the end levelled the sides to ensure a nervous finish.
Dunne and McGauran went on to trade frees before Ian Shanahan looked to have edged the contest for the men in blue and white stripes, but there was to be late drama as McGauran fired over the Knockbeg crossbar five minutes into injury-time.
McGauran and substitute Shane Williams gave Mullingar a two-point lead at half-time in extra-time, but it could have been more had it not been for the heroics of Doyle in the Knockbeg goals.
McGauran exchanged fire with Bolger, Shanahan and Patrick Regan in the final stretch of the game, but Mullingar CBS held firm to seal a memorable and hard-fought win.
Scorers: Colin Dunne 0-7 (0-4 frees), Ian Shanahan 1-3, Ross Bolger (frees) and Patrick Regan 0-2 each, Fionn Bergin and Ciaran Burke 0-1 each.
Team: Craig Doyle (Graigucullen); Jamie Kelly (St. Josephs), Conor Donlon (Annanough), Orrie Doran (Killeshin); Leeson Hughes (Killeshin), Ben Crotty (Éire Óg), Eoin Fitzpatrick (Killeshin); Shane Buggy (Éire Óg), Ciarán Burke (Crettyard); Fionn Bergin (Grangenolvin), Ross Bolger (Killeshin), Ian Shanahan (St. Josephs); Colin Dunne (Arles-Killeen), Patrick Regan (Tinryland), Bryan McMahon (Palatine). Subs: Cormac O’Brien (Tinryland) for Bergin (20 mins, inj), Alex Mackey (St Laurence’s) for McMahon (40 mins), Cillian Duff (Palatine) for Hughes (50 mins), Dylan Doyle (Clonmore) for Mackey (62 mins), Oisin Byrne (Arles-Killeen) for O’Brien (ET).
Scorers: Ben McGauran 0-12 (0-6 frees), Fionn O’Hara 1-2 (1-0 free), Kevin O’Sullivan 0-3, Shane Williams 0-1.
Team: Sean Hynes; Mark Flynn, Rory Sheahan, Matthew Glynn; Cian McCourt, Nathan Lynott, Daire Smyth; Conor Gibney, Charlie Drumm; David Devine, Ben Harte, Sean Leech; Kevin O’Sullivan, Ben McGauran, Evan Molloy.
Referee: Brendan Hickey (Graiguecullen)