In his first cross-country race since taking up the sport of athletics last September, Peadar Harvey had an extremely impressive debut race when he finished in 2nd place to Sligo runner Tommy Casey in the Intermediate age group in the Connacht Secondary Schools cross country finals in Dangan at the weekend. The 5k distance comprised 6 loops of the pitches in Dangan.
Adopting a strong early position in the leading group of four which also comprised Casey, Daniel Murray from Mayo and another Mayo runner whose name escapes me at the moment, Peadar ran a very strong early couple of laps to shadow the leaders. As seasoned runner Casey, who regularly features in the medals at National level, pulled away from the group, Peadar responded strongly to slowly edge into a solid 2nd position. As the race progressed, he consolidated this position, opening a gap on the 3rd and 4th placed Mayo athletes but never closing on the leading Casey. A strong finish saw Peadar clinch a very significant 2nd place in a strong field.
In the same race, David Concannon put in an outstanding performance to take 6th place despite being young enough for this age group again next year. The 5k distance was a real test of strength and David had possibly his best ever performance in finishing in the top 6 and unusually for him, was totally winded at the conclusion of the race – a good sign that he had given it everything out on the course.
In the junior boys’ race, Finn Stoneman ran an outstanding race to take 4th place in a quality field. Lying about 10th after 1000m, Finn ran a very intelligent and well-paced race to gradually move up the field, picking off his opponents one by one and moving into 4th place on the last lap to hold on for a fantastic finish. Benny Gallagher ran strongly to finish 15th in the same race. In the minor boy’s race, Paul Fitzpatrick ran a very strong race to finish approximately 10th in the large field of runners. Christopher O’Connor also took part as part of his schools team and did very well at the long distance race, a distance which he would not be used to.
In the intermediate girls 3000m, Shannen Freaney continued her successful introduction to the sport with a very well-paced race to finish in 14th place overall. Sophie Ralston and Ashley McDonnell ran well in the same race and finished strongly. Despite feeling a little under the weather for the last few weeks, Linda Porter ran a great race in the junior girls 2000m to take 5th place overall. Running conservatively in the early laps and with the words of some singer dude Chris Brown ringing around her ears, Linda moved up the field on the last lap to take 5th place with a strong finish. Seems the elder Porter, Thomas, is a big Chris Brown fan (who’s Chris Brown and whats his PB?) and had got much sought-after tickets for the concert the night before in Dublin .
In the minor girls race, Laura Porter had a super finish to the race to take 6th place overall, followed closely by Sinead Gaffney with a fine run over the 1500m distance to take 12th place.
So some very good performances by athletes from the club. Numbers were a little down from the club for participation in the schools cross-country – but 9 athletes placing in the top 15 was a fine performance.