A RECORD entry of 520 students from 26 schools across Ulster announced the return of secondary schools cross-country action at Finn Valley AC today.
Pictures by Dermot McGranaghan
Schools from Donegal, Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Antrim descended on the Millbrae as the event made its post-Covid return.
Every bit as encouraging as the participation numbers was the performance levels from the lead protagonists.
Sean McGinley was an impressive winner of the senior boys race. The St Eunan’s College student was in command from gun to tape as he staved off the threats of Oisin Toye (Deele College) and Oisin Kelly (Loreto, Milford) for the win
Last month, McGinley completed a remarkable treble at the Irish Juvenile Track and Field Championships, the Finn Valley AC ace winning gold in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m steeplechase events. Now, McGinley is heading into the cross-country campaign on a really positive note.
McGinley’s run also led St Eunan’s to a team victory.
Also majestic in her winning of the senior girls race was recent Finn Valley AC recruit Eimear McCarroll, the Loreto Omagh woman delivering a real eye-catching display.
Sarah Bradley of Loreto, Letterkenny and Finn Valley AC won the silver with St Louis, Ballymena’s Aisling Smith in fourth, just ahead Nuala Bose, also of Loreto, Letterkenny.
There were some real impactful performances from the visiting athletes too, notably St Michael’s, Enniskillen recording a 1-2-3 in the third year boys race, with Frank Buchannan, Conor Mulligan and Charlie Reihill claiming the top three spots and St Michael’s taking the team gold to add to their second year girls team gold from earlier in the day.
Another St Michael’s, Enniskillen student, Shaun Lorry, won the second year boys race.
Aobhín McCormack of Coláiste Oiriall, Monaghan won the third year girls race and Coláiste Oiriall were the team winners in the senior event.
Loreto, Letterkenny duo Emma Bonner and Anna Russell were first and second in the second year girls race, leading their school to an impressive team gold, backed up by Sophie Ellis and Erin Friel, who were also inside the top five.
Mark Galvin and Jack Robinson were inside the top eight to guide St Eunan’s, Letterkenny to team gold in the second year boys race.
The secondary schools event – this its 20th staging – followed two successful days at the primary schools cross-country.
“It has been a very positive week,” said Finn Valley AC’s schools lead and Athletics Ireland Regional Development Officer Dermot McGranaghan.
“It’s great to see the kids back. We had 1000 kids here over three days. We have had huge positive engagement from teachers and schools.
“It has been brilliant and it’s great to see things coming back to normal. The big winners here are the kids.”
Finn Valley AC athlete and schools coach Natasha Kelly said: “It was great to see the kids here over the last three days after 18 months of no activity. It was so great to hear them cheer each other on, see the high fives and feel the positive vibes.
“The kids and teachers left with such enthusiasm. Here at Finn Valley AC we’re really looking forward now to our next events.”
Secondary Schools Cross-Country
1st Year Girls
1 Brianna Doherty St Cecelia’s Derry
2 Clare McBride Loreto, Milford
3 Laoise McGinley Colaiste na Carraige
4 Ellie Hegarty St Cecelia’s, Derry
5 Lucy McCullagh Loreto, Omagh
6 Holly Walker St Louis, Monaghan
7 Ava McGinnty St Louis, Monaghan
8 Orla Faul Loreto, Letterkenny
Team: 1 – St Louis, Monaghan, 2 – St Cecelia’s, Derry, 3 – Loreto, Omagh
1st Year Boys
1 Darragh Naughton Loreto, Milford
2 Rohan McMenamin St Eunan’s, Letterkenny
3 Patrick McHugh St Eunan’s, Letterkenny
4 Odhran McBrearty St Columba’s, Stranorlar
5 Harry Shiels Coláiste Ailigh
6 Jack McGlinchey St Columba’s, Stranorlar
7 Dallan Curran Moville Community College
8 Loughton Greene Rosses Community School
Team: 1 – St Eunan’s, Letterkenny, 2 – St Columba’s, Stranorlar, 3 – Moville Community College
2nd Year Girls
1 Emma Bonner Loreto, Letterkenny
2 Anna Russell Loreto, Letterkenny
3 Cora Scullion Loreto, Omagh
4 Sophie Ellis Loreto, Letterkenny
5 Erin Friel Loreto, Letterkenny
6 Orlaigh McCroary Deele College
7 Andrea Mooore Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon
8 Erin Sproule Omagh Academy
Team: 1 – Loreto, Leterkenny, 2 – Loreto, Omagh, 3 – St Louis, Monaghan
2nd Year Boys
1 Shaun Lorry St Michael’s, Enniskillen
2 Caolan McFadden Loreto, Milford
3 Mark Galvin St Eunan’s, Letterkenny
4 Tiernan McManus St Michael’s, Enniskillen
5 Conor Gallagher St Columba’s, Stranorlar
6 Jack Robinson St Eunan’s, Letterkenny
7 Ryan Gallagher Rosses Community School
8 Daithi Mohan St Michael’s, Enniskillen
Team: 1 – St Michael’s, Enniskillen, 2 – St Eunan’s, Letterkenny, 3 – St Columba’s, Stranorlar
3rd Year Girls
1 Aobhín McCormack Coláiste Oiriall, Monaghan
2 Miah Fletcher Loreto, Milford
3 Sally McMenamin Loreto, Omagh
4 Sarah Alexander St Columba’s, Stranorlar
5 Daisy Walker St Louis, Monaghan
6 Sarah Henry Loreto, Letterkenny
7 Clodagh Neely Loreto, Milford
8 Lucy Toner Loreto, Letterkenny
Team: 1 – Loreto, Milford, 2 – Loreto, Letterkenny, 3 – St Louis, Monaghan
3rd Year Boys
1 Frank Buchannan St Michael’s, Enniskillen
2 Conor Mulligan St Michael’s, Enniskillen
3 Charlie Reihill St Michael’s, Enniskillen
4 Ciaran Logue St Eunan’s, Letterkenny
5 John Hanley Coláiste Oiriall, Monaghan
6 Michael O’Donnell Rosses Community School
7 John A Gallagher St Eunan’s, Letterkenny
8 Cillian Doyle Moville Community College
Team: 1 – St Michael’s, Enniskillen, 2 – St Eunan’s, Letterkenny, 3 – Moville Community College
1 Eimear McCarroll Loreto, Omagh
2 Sarah Bradley Loreto, Letterkenny
3 Aisling Smith St Louis, Ballymena
4 Nuala Bose Loreto, Letterkenny
5 Scarlett Harron Coláiste Oiriall, Monaghan
6 Eimear O’Brien Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon
7 Orla Kelly Coláiste Oiriall, Monaghan
8 Dearbhaile Keenan Coláiste Oiriall, Monaghan
Team: 1 – Coláiste Oiriall, Monaghan, 2 – Loreto, Omagh, 3 – Loreto, Letterkenny
1 Sean McGinley St Eunan’s, Letterkenny
2 Oisin Toye Deele College
3 Oisin Kelly Loreto, Milford
4 Tom Doherty St Macartan’s, Monaghan
5 Ryan Quinn St Columba’s, Stranorlar
6 Partrick Sprice St Michael’s, Enniskillen
7 Cillian Sprice St Michael’s, Enniskillen
8 Matthew Carlin Coláiste Oiriall, Monaghan
Team: 1 – St Eunan’s, Letterkenny, 2 – St Michael’s, Enniskillen, 3 – Coláiste Oiriall, MonaghanTags: