By Gerry Finnegan
The Leinster Schools cross country championships were held in Santry Demesne on 6th February. Despite the fact that it was a dry sunny day there was a bitterly cold wind blowing making it tough for all comptitors, Underfoot conditions however, were better than expected considering all the recent rain.
First up was Leah Farrell who battled hard all the way in the minor girls despite feeling unwell for most of the race. Leah is definitely an athlete for the future and will surely only improve over the rest of the season. Aine O Connor ran her usual strong race to finish 21st in the junior girls as she led home her team-mates Amber Roche and Shona Quigley. This trio, who recently finished second team in the North Leinster regionals, will surely form the basis of a strong club and school team in the coming months & years.
Philip Marron ran his best race to date in the Junior boys. He was in the leading bunch of four athletes almost from the start and put all the hard work he had invested into developing his speed over the winter months when he moved away from Alan Monaghan over the last 400m to take bronze in a very competitive race. An individual Leinster medal is a great reward for an athlete who always trains diligently and has steadily improved from season to season. Peter Kilgannon was not recovered from a stomach bug to do himself justice but there will be better days ahead for Peter over 800m this summer while Alex Hunter was unable to start as he was still suffering from the flu but no doubt he too will bounce back quickly.
Deirdre Healy ran yet another cracking race to finish 7th in the intermediate girls. Such was the quality of the field that the first seven home are all Irish internationals. Deirdre appeared to go through a rough patch early on and was outside the top 12 but she soon got into her stride and was doing her best running in the later stages and was a fast finishing 7th.
We wish Philip & Deirdre the best of luck in the All Ireland School championships.