28 Sept 2022

Laois Athletics News (November 20)

This week’s Laois Athletics Digest as the cation hots up during very competitive the cross country season

This week’s Laois Athletics Digest as the cation hots up during very competitive the cross country season


Leinster Cross-country Day 2

Well done to Ruaidhrí C Fennell who ran in the Leinster Championship in Dunboyne, Co Meath on November 11 at U-19 Level. In what was his first race for the club, he came home in a blistering time of 23:25 for the 6k distance. We are sure to see more of Ruaidhrí in the coming months and years. Well done Ruaidhrí!

Remembrance Run in the Phoenix Park

Ballyfin AC U-19 runner Liam Dunne ran in the inaugural Remembrance Run 5K will took place in the Phoenix Park on Sunday, November 11. He ran a very respectable race coming home in 55th place of more than a thousand runners in a time of 21:54. The event, organised by Athletics Ireland in association with, had a special remembrance theme of family or friends who have passed on, or who are currently struggling with illness or other life challenges.

December 2nd in Ballyroan

Dont forget, the next big date on the Laois calendar is December 2nd in Ballyroan for the Laois Intermediate and Juvenile Development Cross-country Championships. The first race is off at 11am sharp so get there early. Full details on the Ballyfin AC Facebook page.

Cormac Fitzpatrick in Belgium

Over in Belgium, Cormac Fitzpatrick continues to fly the flag for the club! He finished fifth in the Cross de la Ville in Charleroi on the 11th November. It was his second cross-country outing of the season in what was a hillly 7500m distance. In his first cross-country race of the season on November 5th, The Lotto Cross Cup in Mol, Belgium, he came 34th in a time of 33:17. The distance was 9200m made up of six laps partly on sand along the shore of a lake and partly through a forest.

The race was won by Faisa Dame Tasama of Ethiopia.

Juvenile Training

Indoor Training takes place at the Ballyfin Community Hall every Monday from 6.30 to 7.30. There will be a cool ‘Little Athletics’ training programme for children aged 5-9. This age group has been identified as the FUNdamental stage in the long term physical development of the child, and the development of fundamental skills such as agility, co-ordination and balance will contribute greatly to future sporting achievements. Why not get along and give it a go! Contact Ger Goode on 083-1077421.

Children from the age of 5 welcome, €2 per child and max €5 per family.

Friday nights – Indoor/Outdoor Training

Friday night training will resume on the 9th November for children over 8 years. A mixture of indoor/outdoor training (weather dependent). Meeting at Treo Nua Community Centre in Portlaoise on Harpurs Lane (across from entrance to the Portlaoise Running Track) from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

Adult Training

Adult Training for all levels takes place every Sunday in Emo Court at 10.30am with runners meeting up in the car park, and with the days closing in its every Tuesday and Thursday evening in Portlaoise meeting in St Fintan’s car park across from the prison at 7.30pm.

Everyone is welcome so why not dust off those trainers, come along and get active!

Get fit with the Ballyfin AC girls

Following on from our first Womens Team taking part in the Laois Cross Country Championship in Emo – we want to keep the momentum going! With the short evenings it can be difficult but why not contact Ger Goode on 083-1077421 and she can give out details on where the girls meet up. So why not get out and get up and running.

For more details and updates check us out on the Ballyfin AC Facebook page. All you gotta do is search for Ballyfin AC on Facebook and that will get us.

Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District

Leinster Intermediate and Uneven Ages Cross Country Championships.

On a beautiful day for running it was all roads leading to the Royal County and Dunboyne as we made our way with excitment and great anticipation to the Leinster Uneven Ages and Intermediate Cross Country Championships today. The club really made its presence felt with some outstanding individual and team displays. Louise Mahony made the gigantic leap from winning the Laois Novice title one month ago in her first ever cross country race to claiming a brilliant individual silver medal in no less than the Leinster Intermediate Championship in only her second ever cross country race. Into the bargain Louise spearheaded a Laois team, that included her sister Breda Mahony, who was running in the colours of Donore Harriers, and our own Grace McConnell to silver medals for the county. Leah Kelly continued her absolutely outstanding running this Autumn by finishing no less than seventh from 141 starters in a packed U-11 Girls Race. In so doing Leah claimed one of the medals reserved only for those in the top 12. These were just two headline acts in a day full of headline acts for our club in our striking and distinctive primrose and blue singlets. We will begin with the U11 Girls.

U-11 Girls

Leah Kelly was truly outstanding as she spearheaded our young team of starlets to finish an outstanding seventh in a time of 6.17 from a field of 141 starters over 1500 meters. Leah was followed by the ever consistently improving Mary Kate Brennan who nailed down 57th place in a great time of 7.15. Next to Mary Kate was Erin Simpson who, in only her fourth club race, finished a highly creditable 79th in 7.35. We then had Ballyroan’s Niamh McDonald in an excellent 88th with a time of 7.47. The team finished 10th club with a score of 231 points. What great athletiscism shown by these four young girls who have such great potential.

U-13 Boys

We had three runners in the Boys U-13 and the team was lead by Cian McDonald who finished a super 33rd from 118 starters in the 2500 Meter race in a time of 10.07. The consistent Lewis Churchouse finished a super 80th in a time of 11.11. Unfortunately James Kirby took a tumble and twisted his ankle on the last lap. However James is now a fully fledged member of this team and this being so early in his running days he has vast improvment ahead of him.

U-15 Boys

Evan Deegan was our lone ranger in the Boys U-15 and this young 13 year old finished 81st over the 3500 meters in a time of 16.58. Evan was very young in this company and he displayed huge reserves of courage and no little stamina to finish strongly.

U-15 Girls

Avril Deegan had an outstanding race over a tough 3500 meters to finish a brilliant 25th out of 88 starters in a superb time of 14.50. Avril ran so well she was a scoring member of the Laois County team who were barely squeezed out of the bronze medal position finishing a close fourth. However the top four counties qualify to run in the All-Ireland in Adamstown, Co Wexford on the 9th December. Avril can now low look forward to this date to represent her County.

Intermediate Ladies.

The Intermediate Ladies race was a cracker from start to finish and the standout performance came from our own Louise Mahony, who in only her second ever cross country race, defied all predictions to finish a brilliant second. Louise ran a perfectly judged race held over 4000 meters in soft underfoot conditions. After a tentative start she gradually upped the tempo and by the beginning of the second lap she was in sixth or seventh place. As the race unfolded she reached fourth place with about 800 meters left. We will long remember the finish as Louise bore down on and passed all bar the winner over the last frantic 400 meters. Louise ran the 4k in a really superb 15.25, just four seconds behind the winner Ide McDomhnaill of Donore Harriers. The race was not all about Louise though as Grace McConnell finished a brilliant 17th in a time of 16.35. We must also mention Louise’s sister Breda Mahony who finished just one second behind Grace in 18th position. Grace and Louise were joined by Breda and Portlaoise’s Paula Grant on the silver medal winning Laois team. We will long remember this race and the cheer of excitement was loud when we heard the girls achieved county silver medals.

Intermediate Men

The Intermediate mens race was held over a strength sapping 8000 meters and brought the curtain down on a day we will long remember. In a highly competitive field James Hamm was our best placed finisher in 47th with a time of 30.54. John Kirwan followed in 62nd place with a time of 32.53. The consistent Ciaran Elster was next over the line in 66th with a time of 32.36. Tom Dunne ran very well to finish 72nd in a time of 34.08. The lads finished tenth team with 247 points. Every single one of our athletes ran with their hearts on their sleeves and we are really proud of them and indeed well done to all the parents and supporters who contributed by their presence in making the day so special, and a special day it was.

British and Irish Masters Cross Country International

Martin McDonald travelled to Belfast last weekend to compete in the annual Home Countries cross country international championships. Martin had a great run over the tough 8k course in Queens University fields, finishing second Irishman and eighth overall in the M55 category in an excellent time of 29.19. The club would like to congratulate Martin for representing his country again with such distinction.

Run In The Dark 10k

Mark Pollack fell from a second storey in 2010. He broke his back and the damage to his spinal cord left him paralysed. Cruelly this was not Mark’s first tragedy as 12 years earliert he lost his sight. During the period between losing his sight and his cruel accident Mark was a champion adventure athlete over many years. His trust is now exploring the frontiers of recovery in his quest to regain mobility. We had three members who supported this great cause and all had great runs. Eoin O’Brien was first across the line in 43 mins while both Ann Churchouse and her husband Tim crossed the line in 44.19 and 44.17 respectively. This represented a fantastic new PB Ann. Well done to the three of them on a great night for such a worthy cause in Dublin.


There is training Cullahill GAA Grounds at 7pm each Monday evening. Anybody with an interest in athletics/general fitness regardless of age or experience is most welcome. All levels of fitness are catered for. We would encourage and welcome parents especially to bring their children and maybe even participate with them in becoming fit for life.

There will be a group run in Cullenagh each Monday evening at 7pm. This is an easy run on hills.

There is training each Tuesday evening at 7.30pm at Ballyroan GAA grounds. Anybody with an interest in athletics/general fitness regardless of age or experience is most welcome. All levels of fitness are catered for. We would encourage and welcome parents especially to bring their children and maybe even participate with them in becoming fit for life.

There is a tempo run on hills scheduled for 09.45 each Saturday morning at Oakvale Woods in Stradbally.

There will be a group training run for adults organised for each Sunday morning. Next sunday the run will begin at the Library in Abbeyleix at 9.30am. Distance can be varied depending on ones current endurance but the emphasis will be on an easy pace to suit everyone.


Leinster Cross Country

Day 2 of the Leinster Cross Country Championships were held on Sunday 11th November in Dunboyne, Co Meath. We had seven athletes competing on the day. The weather was cool but dry thank God, the course was quite ‘Swamp-like’ in parts but I guess that’s cross country for you! First up we had Mollie O’Toole running in the girls 1500m race this was Mollie’s first Leinster Championships and she did very well 116 out of a field of 141 athletes. Our U-13 girls ran next in the 2500m race with Rebecca Balfe, Aoife Mooney, Emma Lawlor and Isabella O’Toole. This race had the most amount of athletes competing in it with a total of 143, all girls got a good start Rebecca Balfe finished in 32 which was a great achievement considering she was in an age group above her own, Aoife Mooney made up some great ground in the final stages and was close by on Rebecca’s shoulder coming in 33 with a difference of three seconds in their finishing times. Emma Lawlor came in 79 which was a great run for Emma considering she is a track and field athlete, Isabella O’Toole was close on her heels finishing in 81 place this was also Isabella’s first Leinster Championship, all in all a wonderful result for our girls coming in with the 9th best club position.

Following this we had Finbarr Crowley and Liam Crowley running in the U-15 3500m race. The lads got off to a great start considering there had been a false start at the beginning of the race which can throw some athletes. Finbarr held his position well throughout the race and was 28th over the line out of 85, Liam ran an age group above his own and came in 51 which was a great achievement. Well done to you all.


Leinster Cross Country

Congratulations to our club runners who competed in the Leinster Cross Country Championship in Dunboyne recently in testing conditions. Canice Whearty ran a strong race in the U-11 boys 1.5k, coming in 33rd out of 126 starters. Cathal Connaughton competed in the U-13 boys 2.5k race and Daragh Nerney competed in the U-17 boys 5k race. Well done lads.

Training continues on Monday and Wednesday evenings in Vicarstown at 7pm, fit4life group also meet every Wednesday at 7pm. Every Saturday training takes place in Oughaval woods at 10:30am.



On Sunday Dunboyne was the setting for the Day 2 of the Leinster Cross Country Championships. The day was dry and bright but underfoot conditions were testing for the runners. In the U-13 2.5K Erone Fitzpatrick had a great run but finished just outside the medals and All-Ireland qualification in 14th place. Louise Stack continued her good form with eighth place in the U-15 3.5k. Anna Healy and Rosie Stack both competed well in the U-17 4K. Oisin Fitzpatrick ran in the U-17 5K and without much training finished in 18th place. Chris Finn and David Mulhare both qualified for the All-Irelands with fine runs. Chris was fourth and David sixth. In the Intermediate women’s race Paula Grant put in a great show. Competing in her first Leinster she finished in fourth place. She also picked up a silver medal as part of the Laois team.

Jimmy McCormack, Mick Boyhan, Paul Cuddy and Trevor Fennell were the club representatives in the Intermediate men’s race. Jimmy and Mick scored on the silver medal winning Laois team.

In the Home Countries International in Belfast on Saturday Noel Marum was fourth Irishman home. This fine run ensured he picked up a silver team medal on the day.

Micheal Mulhare ran in a highly competetive 9.8k cross country race in Burgos, Spain on Sunday. He was 25th overall and second Irish runner.

Harry and Tom Lupton ran in the North Midland Cross Country League in Kettering on Saturday, helping Chamwood to second team overall. They finished in 15th and 20th respectively.

Meet ‘N’ Train

The Portlaoise Athletic Club ‘Meet ‘N’ Train’ programme continues each week. Come along to the track on Thursdays from 6pm to 7pm if you are interested in continuing or starting training. This programme is also open to new members so spread the word and bring a friend. Membership forms will be available at the sessions.


Seniors - Tuesday and Thursday 7p.m. at track. Saturday in Oakvale, meet at 10.45, run at 11.00. Sunday in Emo, Meet at 10.15, run at 10.30 sharp.

Juveniles - Tuesday and Thursday 7p.m. at track for sprints, long jump, hurdles, distance. Sunday 10.15am at Emo for 11yrs+

Throws - Sunday @ 11am.

Note: Training for 6,7 and 8 year olds will be on Tuesdays only from 6th November.

St Abban’s

Leinster Champions

Day 2 of the Athletics Leinster cross country championships were decided over a tough rugged course in Dunboyne, Co Meath. These included the Uneven ages and the Intermediate events. After the fine performance of winning the Leinster Novice interclub two weeks previously in Rathdrum our men’s team were among the favourites to lift the Intermediate title. Run over four 2km laps, Brian Kelly and Stephen Lawlor settled into 11th and 12th place after the first lap.

Bit by bit they moved forward through the field together and by the time they had completed the 8K they were in third and fourth place respectively laying a great foundation to take the title. Having said that, Mullingar Harriers who latterly cleaned up in the juvenile events, were providing a stern battle in the race. The pressure was on and James Griffin responded magnificently on the last lap to pick up five places and finish a brilliant eighth position. We were looking for our fourth scorer and sure enough Liam Byrne was giving it everything on the last lap to move past two athletes and finish in 32nd place. This gave us a points total of 47 and when the Mullingar Harriers total was counted they had 53 points. We were the victors by six points, those important points gained on the last lap making all the difference. The Leinster Intermediate crown was added to the Leinster Novice making it a great cross country season to date for the club.

Juvenile Performances

Our juvenile numbers were down in Dunboyne and several were just short to qualify for the All-Ireland championships. TJ Burke showed he is one for the future when finishing a fine 16th in the boys U-11, Daena Kealy 19th and Cara Maher 21st gave it everything in the U-13 girls, while Cian Kelly 16th, Jonathon Crossley 55th and Gerard Kelly 108th did the business in the boys U-13. Lauryn Kealy was 32nd in the girls U-15 while James Moore (25th) led the boys U-17 to fifth team with Alex Crossley 30th, Michael Nash 49th and Aran Murphy 55th providing the back up. Kevin Brennan 10th and James Delaney 17th had fine runs in the boys U-19, while Maire Griffith (26th) was our sole representative in the ladies Intermediate. Thanks to all who turned out and congratulations to the Intermediate men on landing the title.

Round 2 League

The second leg of the club’s Christmas League will be run over 3K on an open handicap basis at the track on Tuesday night next (20th) commencing at 7.50pm. All are welcome.

Last Draw

The third and final draw in this years’ Members Draw will take place in Behan’s, Tolerton on Sunday 25th November. This is your final chance and you’re welcome to get a ticket from any club member. Thanks to all the promoters for finalising finances with Breda.


With the kind weather the Fit4Life on Mondays and Wednesdays are being well supported at the moment. Again if interested why not come along and give it a go. Fee is just €2 a night and with showers and ice baths available you won’t get any better value. Thanks to Mary, Ben and Jimmy for keeping the show on the road.

St Michael’s

Leinster Cross Country Day 2

St Michael’s juveniles travelled to Dunboyne, Co Meath for day two uneven ages Leinster cross country. The course was flat though quite wet and mucky in places. No tunnels were in operation on the day at the start line which we found quite dangerous as there were large numbers in many of the races, we had some athletes fall and hurt on the day. Our U-11 girls were Aoibhean Maher, Della Doherty, Rachel Mullally, Aoife White, Kate Eacrett and Rebecca Fenlon. U-11 boys were Rioghan Murphy who ran an incredible race as he fell at the start, picked himself up hurt and came from last to 40th position out of a field of 141 athletes, well done Rioghan you were wonderful! Also U-11 were Lee Kavanagh, Iarlaith Galvin, Cian Connaughton, Darragh Fenlon and Eoin Higgins. U-13 girls were Katie O’Donnell, Sinead Cullen, Erin Murphy and Jessica Higgins who all ran well. For most of these athletes it was a first time out running in a Leinster championship event. Next out were the U-15 girls running 3.5km. Eva Galvin ran a fine race coming home tenth out of 88 athletes, earning her a place on the Leinster squad for the All-Irelands in four weeks time in Wexford. Orla Mullally came in 35th, Naomi Luttrell, Katie Piggott and Kayleigh Woods also running well.

Laois came fourth overall so these girls go on to represent their county at the all Irelands in Wexford. Well done to all!

Mullingar 5k

Well done to Noel Coss and Derek Coogan who both clocked up PBs in Mullingar recently at the St Loman’s 5k. Well done lads.

5k Time Trials Emo

The second time trial in the winter series of 5k runs will be held at Emo court on Sunday 25th November starting at 10:15am. All members welcome, there is no charge for the time trial. Bring a friend, members from other clubs welcome to join us on the morning for the time trial.

Winter Training Schedule

Senior Training takes place in McCann Park, Portarlington on Tuesday and Thursday evening from 7pm. Each session is €2. Juvenile Training takes place on Monday and Thursday evening at 6pm in McCann Park.

New Members welcome

New members are always welcome to St Michael’s AC senior Club and Juvenile Club for information about juvenile training contact Bill Devereaux 086-3057563 or Mark Higgins 087-2431154 and for details of Senior Training contact Wes Reilly 085-1252352 or Aidan Mullally 087-6968844.

Sunday Morning Run

The long run on Sunday morning continues at the winter scheduled time of 10am. Meet at the car park in Emo.

St Michaels AC Club Contact Details

Website -, e-mail:, Facebook - Search for St Michael’s AC send friend request. Contacts - Aidan Mullally 087-6968844, Noel Coss 087-9900840; Wes Reilly 085-1252352; Mark Higgins 087-2431154.

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