Our athletes win another All Ireland Cross Country Title
St Colman’s College win the All Ireland Schools Senior Boys Cross Country Title and a brilliant individual 3rd place for Miceal McCaul.
What a day for St Colman’s College at the All Ireland Schools Cross Country Championships in Clongowes Wood College on Saturday.
The Senior Boy’s title is regarded as the Blue Ribbon event of these Championships and this year there was four Schools hotly tipped to take top honours. Belvedere College, in many people’s eyes the hot favourites, St Malachy’s College Belfast, St Kieran’s College Kilkenny, and St Colman’s College Newry.
After the initial sprint start, the pace slowed, with odds on favourite for the individual title Effran Gidney, controlling things at the front. Half way round the first lap of four, all the chief were protagonists were up in the first 25 or so, but crucially St Colmans had two in the first 5 and 4 in in 25.
Effran on the second lap put in a very fast burst and split the field completely, and suddenly the race was strung out and only Keelan Killrehill from Galway, Shay McAvoy from St Kieran’s Kilkenny and Miceal McCaul could go with this surge in pace. However, Jack O’Farrell was still in the top eight and St Malachy’s also had 2 in the first 8. Crucially Belvedere had no athletes in the top 12 but were packing well in the teens and early 20’s.
Tom Magee, Coilean Connell, Danny Magill,Calum McDonagh, however were all well placed. the threat from St Malachy’s and St Kieran’s was starting to ease as their middle order men were starting to slip back down the field. It was now a straight battle between St Colman’s and Belvedere.
Up front Effran who was the defending champion from last year was starting to move away with Kilreehill doing his best to pull back the gap. Miceal McCaul now started to apply pressure on Shay McEvoy and pushed on using Killreehill as a target, and going into the last lap had a clear lead on the Kilkenny man, meanwhile Jack O’Farrell was still in the top ten, a position he would hold to the finish line. However, Belvedere were packing well with 3 in the top 25. Tom Magee was holding his own also in the top 25, it was now down to the 4th scorer.
Calum McDonagh was moved up from the Intermediate team to strengthen the senior squad, because of his strength over the 6.5 K distance, and he was now starting to make inroads into the athletes ahead of him, we needed at least a top 40 place from him to ensure victory. Coilean Connell’s and Danny Magill’s job was to go out fairly hard from the start and try to stay close to Tom Magee, and this they did brilliantly, Calum was to use them as a target at the latter part of the race which is his strength, to try and get in to the top 40.
Calum’s last one kilometre was tremendous as he passed athlete after athlete to claim 37 place. Miceal brilliantly held on to 3rd place, and Jack and Tom held their positions which they had worked so hard for to the finish also. In the final analysis St Colman’s won by 11 points from Belvedere, St Kieran’s Kilkenny were third, and St Malachy’s College were fourth.
It was a brilliant team race and great credit has to go to the team of Jack O’Farrell Tom Magee, Danny Magill, Miceal McCaul, Coilean Connell, for the way they raced and also the commitment they have shown to training and racing over the last the last six months.
The intermediate team also qualified for these All Ireland championships, but lost their talisman Calum McDonagh to the senior team. This vast majority of this Team including Calum are eligible for this race next year, so they were racing a year out of their age group, notwithstanding that, Ultan O’Callaghan, Aidan O’Hare, Leo Magee, Tomás O’Ceallaigh and Ruairi O’Hagan all had very solid runs indeed and can be well pleased with their performance at these All Ireland Championships.