Some excellent performances by young Irish athletes at the weekend’s Schools International Cross Country event.
On a beautiful spring day in Greenmount College, Antrim, the English Schools’ showed that in cross country running they are the dominant force in these islands when they won all four races at the annual SIAB event. Ireland performed with distinction also when they took the runners up spots in every race.
Performance of the day came from the impressive Jessica Judd in the Intermediate Girls’ race where Ireland was expecting Siofra Cleirigh Buttner to challenge her. Siofra stayed with her for the opening lap but found the pace too much and because of her early exertions had to settle for fourth place. Although England filled six of the first seven places to easily win the team event the Irish girls’ packed well to take the silver medals.
Ahmed Sharrif Hassan of Scotland sprinted away from England’s James McMurray in the last 100 metres to add the Intermediate Boys’ title to the junior one that he won in Truro last year. England filled the next seven places to win the team gold. The Irish led home by Ian Hartnett in 11th place held off the Scottish challenge to take the silver medals.
A great finish from Paulos Asgodom of England in the Junior Boys’ race reversed the English Schools’ result of last week when he beat teammate Thomas Holden. With Shane McGowan and Jack Reid in 9th and 10th and good back up from the rest of the Irish they took second place to England.
England completed the clean sweep of team medals when they filled the first eight places in the Junior Girls’ race with Bronwyn Owen breasting the tape in first place. Ella Fennelly led the Irish home in 9th and the team just pipped Scotland for second.
Clearly, the young Irish teams will benefit from this competition and we can expect several of these names to feature in senior events in the coming years.