The picturesque setting of Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor was the setting this year for the NI & Ulster Even Age Group Cross Country Championships. At 11:30am a big field of 52 U10 girls lined up for the first race of the Championships. Newcastle AC juniors got off to a fantastic start with Eve Kenneally finishing in 12th place in a time of 4:14 over the 1000m course earning herself a ‘Top 12’ medal. Kate McCauley and Hannah Carson followed with great finishes in 30th (4:41) and 37th (4:53) respectively.
Seven Newcastle AC U10 boys then lined up with 69 other U10 boys who had travelled from all over the province to compete over the same 1000m course. Ronan McVeigh led them home in 42nd in 4:21 followed closely by Morgan Steele in 44th (4:22), Ruairi King 61st (4:39), Conor Campbell 65th (4:42), Rory Corrigan 68th (4:48), Joseph McDaid 69th (4:50) and Conrad Rice 74th (5:15).
At 11:50 am five Newcastle AC girls joined an even bigger field of 109 U12 girls on the starting line to compete in a tough 1500m race. Showing her stamina for longer distance races Eabha Campbell was first home in 68th (7:08) followed by Kiara Cairns in 74th (7:10), Laura Molloy in 81st (7:15), Marie Claire McVeigh in 88th (7:19) and Rioghnagh McGuigan in 100th (8:02).
Next it was the turn of our large group of U12 boys to compete, again over 1500m. The two year 8 boys Gabriel Corrigan and Eoin McCrickard led the team to the finish line in 35th (6:13) place and 40th (6:17) place respectively. The younger athletes were close behind being led by Josh Faulkner 48th (6:23), Ben McGuigan 59th(6:37), Danny Williamson 68th(6:53), Jack McCartan 74th(7:11), Conor Murray 75th(7:15), Aidan McCauley 78th (7:25) and Patrick King 79th (7:26).
The course distance then increased to 2500m and our only representative in the U14 girls race was Sarah Dougherty. Sarah ran a strong race to finish in 53rd in a field of 67 in a time of 11:24.
Similarly Daniel Molly was the sole representative in the U14 2500m boys race and finished in 54th in a field of 76 in a time of 10:10
The girls U16 race was next over a very challenging 3500m. Dearbhla Magee had a fantastic run to finish in 8th place in a time of 14:31. Dearbhla has now qualified for the All Ireland Championships in November. New club member, Shannon McKibben was next home in 38th (16:27). The 13 year old Doyle triplets were next over the finish line with Eilish leading in 40th (16:41) followed by Niamh in 49th (17:01) and Catriona in 55th (18:00). Lucy Grainger showed great determination to finish in 59th place in a time of 19:37.
The last race of the day for Newcastle AC juniors was the U16 boys race. Patrick Sheridan had an outstanding race to finish in 4th place in a time of 12:18. Patrick, qualifying also, will join Dearbhla at the All Ireland Championships. Glen Grainger finished in 60th (15:49), Aidan Doyle in 61st (16:10) and Liam McVeigh in 62nd (16:24).
This was a fantastic opportunity for all these young talented juniors to represent their club at this high level of competition. We hope they are very proud of their achievements as their coaches and parents most certainly are.