Return of School Tests

After two years of frustration, competition finally returned to the Secondary Schools this week with the kicking off of the various qualification races that lead to the prestigious All-Ireland Schools.

This being January, it was all about Cross Country. For the uninitiated there are three rounds, the provincial zone championships, the provincial championships and finally the All-Ireland championships.

Thus it was that our clubs students depending on the locations of their schools finding themselves competing in East Leinster, West Leinster and North Leinster Championships, co-incidentally all taking place on the same course in Phoenix Park on successive days in the past week.

The objective to make it through to the Leinster Championship on February 16th in Santry Demesne. To do so they had to finish in the first 15 as an individual or to be a member of the school team finishing in the first three teams. No easy task.

First up on Wednesday at the east Leinster’s Adam Condon (2nd), Shane Spring (4th), Marcus O’Sullivan (11th)  were members of a crack Ard Scoil Ris team that convincingly annexed the Senior Boys title.  Earlier Siomhe Magee (9th) running in the colours of Loreto on the Green had secured automatic qualification

On Thursday at the west Leinster’s Conall Rogers (9th) and Chris Hamill (15th) were scoring members of the Belvedere team that took the silver medals in the senior boys race.

But it was Friday at the north Leinster’s which saw the biggest number of Raheny athletes in action, it being the region that encompassed the majority of the schools in our catchment area, and what a day it proved to be.

The Girls races formed the first half of the fair.

A Holy Faith Clontarf team that included Clara Woods and Sophie Kelly secured advancement to the Leinster’s with team bronze.

Esther Ntoko running for Sutton Park was a magnificent ninth.

Highlight of the day was the minor boys race which threw up an amazing 1, 2, 3. First across the line was George Sevastopulo bringing the individual title to Mount Temple.

In second place was Arlen Szep Szabo of Malahide CS who sadly has decided to transfer from the club in the next transfer window.

Third place went to Tom Monaghan who as well as finishing a brilliant third led his School Sutton Park to a historic first ever cross country championship team title leading to great celebrations out on the Hilly peninsula.

In the junior girls Rachel Costello of Manor House ran a controlled smart race to finish 14th and qualify.

The form girl of the winter Elena Forkan, took another individual bronze back to Sutton Park and her qualification was never in doubt.

Rounding the day off was a St Pauls team taking bronze that included Damhan Mulligan as its second scorer.

Apologies if any qualifiers were lost here. Onwards for Round two in Santry on February 16th.