McGrady Financial Services Junior Cross Country Race Series
Race 2 – Kilbroney Forest Park
We were again blessed with a lovely day for race 2 of this year’s series. Kilbroney Forest Park was looking resplendent and was dry and firm underfoot with a gentle breeze in off Carlingford Lough. There were lots of parents, grandparents and family dogs out to support the young athletes.
The racing got underway with the boys P4 race. This was dominated by the young men from Newcastle AC. William Taylor from East down was the only challenger. The winner, Darragh Ruddle, was the only one to beat 2 minutes with a time of 1:47, 15 seconds ahead of Joseph Uhomoibhi, with Rónán Grant taking 3rd by a single second.
The girls P4 race was a very competitive event with the first 3 athletes finishing in 1:51 (lily Foster East Down AC), 1:52 (Maisie McVeigh Newcastle AC) and 1:57 (Maisie Nicholl Dromore AC). This was the biggest race of the day with 12 competitors.
There was a dramatic finish to the P5 boys’ race. A close battle between Darragh Crimmins (3 Ways) and Henry Houston (Newcastle) ended in Darragh just clinching it for 1st place – in a time of 2:49 for both boys. Ethan McPolin (Burren) came in 3rd in 3:00.
The Newcastle AC girls dominated the P5 race, taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd slots. Erin Easton put on a brilliant display, finishing 13 seconds ahead of Piera Corrigan and Sarah Uhomoibhi. This was a close race throughout. The girls from 2nd to 6th place were only separated by a second each.
The P6 boys’ race was an exclusively East Down vs Newcastle affair. Alexander Robinson dominated, followed by Kieran Trainor, both from East Down. There was a close battle for 3rd place by 2 Newcastle athletes, with Ryan Stevens clinching it from Louis Donnelly.
In the P6 girls race we were treated to another “Foster” display. This time it was Kari’s turn to show how it was done. She was followed to the finish line by her East Down team mate Erin Moore and 3 Ways’ Aoife McGrady.
Familiar surnames were seen at the finish line in the boys’ p7 race with Robbie Nicholl (Dromore) and Michael Uhomoibhi (Newcastle) taking 1st and 2nd. Noah McKinstry of Dromore took the 3rd slot.
A good turnout of P7 girls, representing all 5 clubs, made a great race. The 3rd Foster, Jodie, secured 1st place by 2 seconds ahead of Lily Rimmer (Dromore). She was followed to the line by club mate Sophie Stevenson.
All 5 clubs were again represented in the yr 8 boys’ race. Dromore’s Alex Watson had a clear win with 12 seconds to spare over Oliver Robinson of East Down AC, who was closely followed by 3 Ways’ Tiernan O’Hare. Down the field, Cian McCartan (Burren) and Andrew Dickson (Newcastle) produced a great battle at the finish line.
In the yr 8 girls race Anna Kearney (East Down) and Cara McQuade (3 Ways) led the field to finish 1st and 2nd respectively. Amy McCartan of Dromore took 3rd place followed by 2 Newcastle girls – Rosie Donnelly and Eimear McAlarney.
The Yr 9 boys and girls ran together. There was a very small entry in the girls’ race – just two! Lucy Foster (East Down) gave the boys a run for their money finishing only 2 seconds behind the winner Sean McGrady (3 Ways) in 6:17 and 6:19 respectively. We then saw 2 Ethans cross the line, Ethan McMullen of Newcastle followed by Ethan Brownlee of Dromore. Newcastle’s Aoibheann O’Gorman took 2nd in the girls’ race.
The yr 10 boys and girls were evenly matched in both numbers and times. Mackenzie Murray gave a fine display to finish 10 seconds ahead of Kirsti Foster (yes that is the 5th Foster of the day on the podium in 1st place!). They were followed by Brian Watters of 3 Ways and Newcastle’s Finlay Easton and Peter McStravock. For the girls – Anna Byrne (3 Ways) finished 4th overall and 2nd of the girls. Rosie Torney crossed the line ahead of her Newcastle team mate Katie Waddell.
We had 13 in the yr 11+ boys and girls race – great to see a good turnout and representatives from all 5 clubs. The Newcastle boys Christopher Neill and Ronan McVeigh showed how it was done with a great display of tactical racing by Christopher who made his break very effectively in the final half lap. Ultan O’Callaghan (3 Ways) took 3rd place only 4 seconds after Ronan. All 3 girls in this category raced strongly. Eve Kenneally of Newcastle took 1st place in a great time that was 6th overall. She was followed by Lucy Bradshaw (Dromore) and Aoife Burke (East Down).
Thanks to all the athletes for a very entertaining days racing. Good luck to them in the Ulster championship in the coming weeks. Thanks to their parents and club coaches for all their help in running the event and the series. Thanks, also to the council and Kilbroney Forest Park staff for the use of the park.
We are all looking forward to race 3 in Dromore on Sunday 4th November.