The Aviva Leinster Schools’ Cross Country Championships took place in Santry, Demesne on Wednesday. The event was held in dry and bitterly cold conditions as athletes aimed to qualify for the Aviva All Ireland Schools’ Championships on the 9th of March in Jordanstown.
Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Colaiste Iosagain) won the senior girls race to continue her impressive winning streak at schools’ competitions. Buttner along with Linda Conroy (Mercy Sec. School Kilbeggin) and team mate Clar Nic Carthaigh (Colaiste Iosagain) detached themselves early on from the rest of the senior girls field. It was Conroy who pushed the pace on the final circuit with only Buttner for company. As both athletes entered the finishing straight, Buttner made the decisive break to win the title ahead of Conroy with Nic Carthaigh finishing in third place. Buttner also led her school Colaiste Iosagain to the team title.
Aaron Hanlon (St Mary’s Drogheda) and Ian Guidan (St. Aidan’s CBS) were the pre-race favourites to take the senior boys title. Both athletes have been in terrific form over the country this year and once again battled it out for the title. Hanlon proved the stronger on this occasion as he flowed smoothly around the 6,000m course and took victory by over 100m. Guidan battled all the way to the line to finish in second place ahead of Killian O’Maonaigh in third place.
The Intermediate boys race proved to be the most exciting competition of the eight race programme. Pierre Murchan (St. Declan’s CBS) and Jack MacGabhann (St Mary’s College) battled ferociously around the 4,500m course. Both athletes entered the finishing straight side by side with Murchan just doing enough to take the victory ahead of MacGabhann. Dylan Keegan (Templeogue College) finished in third place and St Aidans CBS were awarded the overall team title.
Ella Fennelly (Mount Anville) showed a clean pair of heels to the rest of the Intermediate girls field as she strode to an impressive victory. Isabelle Odlum (Rathdown School) and Isabel Carron (Skerries CC) finished second and third respectively. Carron had the added bonus of leading her team Skerries CC to the intermediate girls team title.
Siofra O’Flaherty (St Leo’s Carlow) and Cormac Dalton (St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge) won the junior girls and boys titles respectively.