'Wood's Jack O'Leary leaves big names in his wake
Jack O’Leary of Clongowes Wood defied the odds to win a stacked senior boys’ race at the Glo Health Leinster Schools Cross-Country in Santry.
O’Leary is sure of big support at next month’s All Irelands which takes place at Clongowes for the first time.
On a perfect day for cross-country, the boys faced three laps of a 2km loop and remained bunched together in the early stages.
Among those in contention were last year’s national champion Andrew Coscoran of St Mary’s Drogheda, Peter Lynch of St Kieran’s Kilkenny, Cathal Doyle and Brian Flanagan of St Aidan’s and Pierre Murchan of St Declan’s, winner of the title last year. Just off the pace was track specialist Mustapha Nasir of HF Rathcoole. Murchan moved to the front with a lap to go, but after the final hill, it was Jack O’Leary who was leading them home, followed by Lynch and Coscoran. St Aidan’s took the team medal from St Kieran’s.
Maintaining her unbeaten record in the girls’ senior race was Hope Saunders of Mount Temple who, as national junior champion, had received a bye into the race. Deirdre Healy from the Institute of Education finished second, ahead of Ruth O’Hara from St Mary’s Naas. Winning the team title was Loreto Kilkenny – Aoibhe Richardson, Lauren Dermody, Sarah Kent, Abigail O’Keeffe and Lauren Hayde.
A thrilling boy’s inter race was won by Alan Monahan of St Pat’s Navan who battled it out with Cormac Dalton on the final lap, with Philip Marron of Rathoath finishing third. Among the 15 to qualify for the All Irelands was last year’s junior champion James Maguire of St Benildus and schools international junior champion Paddy Maher from Dunshaughlin, who was running his first race after a bout of illness.
In the girls’ inter race, Emma O’Brien of Dominican Wicklow turned the tables on Niamh Ní Chiadhra of Coláiste íosagáin, who had sprinted past her for victory in the East Leinsters. This time there was no catching O’Brien, with Ní Chiadhra second and Jodie McCann of Rathdown third. First team was Dominican Wicklow.
Sarah Healy of Holy Child Killiney made a conservative start to the girls’ junior race, only breaking away in the later stages of the race for a solid win. In second place, Amy Rose Farrell was leading Mount Anville to team victory.
A big sprint finish saw Adam Fitzpatrick of St Kieran’s Kilkenny winning the junior boys race, with Jack Moran of Coláiste Mhuire beating Cian May of Salesians Celbridge for second place. St Kieran’s also proved best of the teams.
Winners of the minor races were Louise O’Loughline of Moyle Park and Ella Cromie of Mount Temple. Teams winners were the Naas CBS Boys and the Mount Sackville girls.