McGrady Financial Services Junior XC Race 1

Honours about even in Junior Stakes in Castlewellan
by Bogus Junior

Results of Race 1 and Team standings
Photos by Michael McCartan and Graham McCauley.

A record one hundred and ten young athletes representing three different clubs, Newcastle AC, East Down AC and Burren AC contested the 16 different races the first race of five in the McGrady Financial Services sponsored Junior Cross Country Series.  Unlike last year when the event was almost washed out due to unrelenting rain, the conditions on Saturday 15th September were much more conducive to running as the skies remained blue and the sun shone approvingly as the series began its third year.  The Spring Gardens in Castlewellan were the perfect setting for the opening round of the series which run throughout the winter, finishing in Tollymore in February. 

Duck eggs please!

From early morning the ever-efficient and dedicated team of Newcastle AC volunteers were out in force ensuring that the course was marked to their high standards and that the numbers were ready for collection for the many athletes who had availed of the online registration implemented successfully this year.  Equally impressive was the number of parents, siblings and relatives who had come along to enjoy the atmosphere and cheer all the children home.  Had they heard about the tea and coffee on offer, another novel inclusion for the 2012-13 series?  Parents were overheard discussing the buns and other treats that they were going to prepare and bring along to the next race.  Who knows there could even be a prize for the best buns?  My advice to anyone competing in this vastly competitive arena is to double sieve the flour (for a lighter bun!) and use duck eggs if available.  Anyway enough of this as there are races to describe.

On your marks

Racing got under way at 11am with the Primary 4 and under.  In a very competitive boys’ race, where all 11 athletes were from the host club the first six athletes were only separated by 10 seconds, with Fionn Carey narrowly edging out James McVeigh and Louis Sheridan to cross the line first in the opening race of the series.  Seven of the 8 girls in the girls’ counterpart were from Newcastle, but it was Lara McCarthy from Burren, competing in her first race that showed the Newcastle girls the way home to claim Burren ACs first win.

In the P5 boys’ event Thomas McKeaveney from Burren had a good bit to spare over his rivals, while Newcastle’s Hannah Carson was pushed all the way to the line, winning by a narrow margin of two seconds.  It was a case of more of the same in the P6 events with Danny Williamson too strong for the rest of the field and Eve Kenneally pushing all the way to the line to edge out her closest rivals as Newcastle scored two wins in this category.

East Down enjoyed their first win of the day when Caoilin Quinn, perhaps the most impressive athlete of the 2011-12 season, continued where he left off last year by showing a clean pair of heels and treating the crowd to an impressive piece of fast paced front running.  Eve Dufford was impressive in winning the P7 girls’ race for Burren AC adding to the many great performances of the debut club.

O’Farrell by the width of a vest!

Burren were victorious again in the Year 8 Boys’ event when Jack O’Farrell edged out a gallant Gabriel Corrigan by the narrowest of margins in a tense and exciting finish.  Sarah Dougherty was in her usual imperious form as she galloped to victory.  Peter Fegan led Burren to a clean sweep of the podium positions in Year 9, while East Down achieved the same result in the Girls’ race led by Aiofe Cochrane.  Regrettably Newcastle had no representation in either race.

Burren rounded off a fine day when Paraic Delahunt captured the Year 10 win in the boy’s race.  In the girls race there were three competitors; Doyle, Doyle and Doyle and they finished in that order with Doyle winning, Doyle second and Doyle third to complete an equally good day for the Doyles!!!

Paddy Erskine had the unfortunate task of being a sole competitor, but in typical fashion gave it everything, utilising many of his now famous facial expressions and grimaces as he enjoyed a good workout in a race he was always going to win!  The racing concluded with the Year 10 and above girls where Dearbhla Magee ran strongly to hold off Anna Rogan and Lucy Grainger.  Older juniors (if that makes sense!) are encouraged to come along and take part mindful of that the fact that getting out and taking some exercise is important.

Next stop Kilbroney

As everyone left happy after a well organised and successful morning of entertaining and enjoyable running the focus was already on the next event in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor on Sunday 14th October.  Let’s hope Burren are as good at making tea!