Exciting Racing at the Leinster Novice XC 2017

Exciting Racing at the Leinster Novice XC 2017

The Leinster Novice Cross Country Championships were held today (Sat 28th Oct) at Navan racecourse and Dunboyne AC had 9 of our senior contingent in action, with what is a first, at least in recent memory, all of athletes had been selected to represent Meath as well as their club in this race. Our athletes equipped themselves very well on the day against the cream of the provincial cross country scene. We had been told to make sure that we had 15mm pins in our spikes as it was a tough and muddy course. This description did not disappoint. With a long gradual climb on the second half of each lap and into the finish, some tight turns liberally sprinkled throughout the course and some muddy sections throughout, it made for an interesting and challenging race.

In the Novice Ladies Championships we had 3 runners. Carol Howard, recently returning this year, proved she was very much on form again leading the ladies home with an impressive run finishing 21st overall.

The sister’s duo of Clodagh Dunphy, and Norma Farrell, having recently shown great form in both the Meath Novice and Masters races, were our next runners home in 49th and 71st place respectively after strong even paced runs, battling nearly a hundred other athletes over this very demanding course.
The Meath team, which was led home by Carol, won a richly deserved bronze medal in the inter-county competition. Well done ladies. Unfortunately we were unable to field a ladies club team at this event due to some runners being ineligible to race and having quite a small pool of ladies running XC. We do need some more athletes of any level to join in. Please see below for details on how to get involved.

In the men’s race we had a team of six lining up in a field of over 100. A recent rule change allowed Rory Kavanagh, who had been deemed ineligible due to a win on track, to come back and compete in Novice standard in Leinster. Rory was looking forward to getting stuck in again at this level and had a strong race. After resisting the temptation to jump off with the leading pack, Rory worked his way up to 5th place, holding that for most of the race, eventually finishing in 11th place. Rory is sure to have a great XC year ahead of him after this warm up season debut.

The next two finishers from the Dunboyne Men, 33rd and 37th, saw a new rivalry born. After a strong lead over Derek Finnegan in the Autumn Open International last week in Abbotstown, Owen Fletcher had a tighter but significant margin heading into the final lap of today’s race however Derek obviously kept some in the tank this time as he made significant gains and narrowly bet Owen by 4 places today.

A regular runner for Dunboyne, Morgan McDonagh, finishing in 50th, again pulled of a solid race to come in fourth man for Dunboyne bringing the team home in a strong 4th place, just 13 points shy of 3rd. Morgan reporting that he was slightly off form is sure only to improve for next week’s Meath Senior, so we can expect an extra challenger for Owen and Derek.

As new rivalries were born today, old rivalries were rekindled. Gerry O’Reilly and Warren McIntyre were reportedly working together all through the race but it would also be accurate to say that this was a race within a race as these two training partners have been known to finish neck and neck in the not too distant past. (And then Gerry wrecked it all by becoming very fit!).

These two changed lead multiple times, running at each other’s shoulders for three laps. Warren’s plan was to stick with Gerry and take off for the last 300m up to the finish line. Unfortunately for him, Gerry’s plan was exactly the same and when it came time to make that final push up that long hill there wasn’t a race left with Gerry storming up, making 5 places in those last strides over Warren who finished 71st. Next time!

The men’s team, Meath Champions from a few weeks ago, were just squeezed out of the medals in the team competition finishing a strong but frustrating 4th place and it was the same story for the county team who also finished in 4th. Many times it is said that the whole team races the race, not just the first four whose points count. This was true today as the 4th finisher on United Striders, 5th place team, finished behind our 5th and 6th runner which ensured a safe lead over them.

While the field can be tough on a XC race, the support from your team mates on each lap more than makes up for this. If you’re interested in racing XC for the club, races are free and the atmosphere is always electric, a great opportunity is coming up on Nov 19th to run in the Meath Mixed Senior 4x1K relays. We will have two teams competing to win with the rest of the teams mixed up to have a bit of competition amongst ourselves. If you’re interested please contact the Vice Captain for Cross Country Warren McIntyre, Men’s Captain Tommy McDonald, Ladies’ Captain Emilia Dan or any club coach.

Ladies’ Novice:
Carol HOWARD 21
Clodagh DUNPHY 49
Norma FARRELL 71

Men’s Novice:
Derek FINEGAN 33
Morgan MCDONAGH 50
Gerry O’REILLY 66
Warren MCINTYRE 71

Categories: Senior News & Reports

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