Fine performances warm up cold crowds at Castleward.
by Junior Bogus
Race 3 of the McGrady Financial Services sponsored Junior Cross Country Series saw the action move to the scenic surroundings of Castle ward. However, in the very cold conditions, most were too busy trying to keep warm to enjoy the resplendent architecture of the popular tourist attraction. Despite the cold weather, the rain stayed away and a full programme of high quality racing was enjoyed by all present. East Down obviously called a party whip and was extremely well represented in an event that could be considered their ‘home’ fixture. With the District schools’ races it Kilbroney on Tuesday, many of the Burren AC faithful decided not to make the trip to the east of the county, presumably saving themselves for the challenge in the near future. Notwithstanding the lower turn out from the latest club to join the competition, 114 athletes took part, making the most of the opportunity proffered by the organisers.
The one disappointment was the distinct lack of buns, a feature of the third series thus far. Apparently a moratorium on confectionary provision had been imposed by Coach Quinn MBE, fearful that the highly renowned East Down AC cottage industry might interfere with the local economy the club faithful were told to keep their ovens off and leave their flour un-sieved. Peter Morgan did a very impressive good job on the microphone, proving that controlling the masses is not the preserve of Newcastle AC. As usual Frank Morgan was typically proficient in carrying out his duties at the finish line.
On a day where keeping warm was high up the list of priorities, there were particularly impressive runs from Amy McCrickard, Izzy O’Farrell, Gabriel Corrigan, Caolin Quinn, Matthew Carrick and Daniel Molloy, all of whom were outstanding in winning their races.
The day started with the P4 and under race with a win from Newcastle AC’s Amy McCrickard in the girls race and East Down’s Michael O’Connor in the boys race. Again lots of points gained for Newcastle AC in the team competition in these races.
There was a big field of 13 boys and 8 girls in the P5 race which Burren AC dominated, winning the first 6 places with Izzy O’Farell taking 1st girl and 4th overall.
Danny Williamson and Cormac McElroy battled hard in the P6 boys race but were just piped to the post by Burren AC’s Aaron Murdock. Eve Kenneally showed her talent again with a clear win in the P6 girls race.
East Down’s second win of the day came from Caolin Quinn who was very impressive from start to finish in the P7 boys race. Niamh Scullion won the P7 girls race with the Newcastle AC girls working hard to earn team points for the all important shield at the end of the Series.
Newcastle AC took first place in both girls and boys year 8 race with fantastic runs from Gabriel Corrigan and Sarah Dougherty.
The year 9 race was dominated by East Down gaining them some vital team points. It was back to Newcastle for the year 10 race with an exciting finish from Elish Doyle backed up by her sisters to take full team points. Daniel Molly showed that his dedicated training is paying off by winning the year 10 boys race by a huge margin. Tom McMeekin was the only representative in the year 11+ boys race and Dearbhla Magee had a clear win in the girls race.
All competitors are to be congratulated for their efforts and the officials who took the warm ups, started the races, recorded the finish times and processed the results in the finger numbing conditions.
The athletes can now enjoy a well earned rest over the Christmas period and the series re-commences on Sunday 6th January at Delamont Country Park Killyleagh.