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Latest Laois Sport: Laois Athletes shine at Cross Country season finale
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Latest Laois Sport: Laois Athletes shine at Cross Country season finale

Great day for Laois Athletes, as curtain comes down on 2021-22 cross country season.

Castlelyons, Fermoy was the venue for the final event of the cross country season, as the local St Nicholas AC hosted the National Masters, Intermediate and Juvenile Grade B Cross Country Championships.

Heavy overnight rain made for tough and slippy conditions, in what must have been the biggest sporting event in Ireland over the weekend – over 1300 runners participated, from U11 all the way through to Masters Over 75.

First up was the Girls U11 1,000m. Unfortunately there were no Laois competitors to cheer on, but the spectacle of almost 150 youngsters on the start-line was well worth the entry fee.

Laois Athletes shine at Cross Country season finale

In the Boys U11, Cian Twomey (St. Michaels) made the podium in 11th place, and was well supported by Noah McCluskey, Martin Slevin and Aaron Welsh (St Michaels) and Oisin Maguire and Ryan Poole (Ougahaval). The Laois Team finished in 5th place, with St Michaels 6th in the club category.

In the Girls U13 1,500m, Cara English ran a brilliant race to finish in 3rd place, and was well supported by Heidi Browne (Oughaval) and Sarah Slevin, Aoibhinn Curley and Karen Melia (St Michaels).

In the Boys U13, Calem Buggy St Abbans ran a fine race to finish 4th. He was well supported on the Laois Team by Ryan Murphy, Riley Connolly, Dylan Yarrow, Aaron Twomey (St Michaels) and Noah Carter (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District). The Laois Team finished 4th, only a whisker off the medals and St Michaels finished in 6th.

The Girls U15 2,500m brought great excitement among the Oughaval supporters, with Katie and Della McLoughlin working their way up through the field all the way through, to both finish on the podium in 8th and 9th respectively. Lucy Brown was Oughaval’s 3rd finisher, and unfortunately neither Oughaval or another Laois Club had any other participants to make either a club or county team.

Boys U-15 2,500 also had two Laois athletes in the leading pack for the entire race, giving Laois spectators plenty to cheer about. When it was all over Shane Maher (St Michaels) and Eoin Kelly (Oughaval) were both on the podium in 7th  and 12th places respectively. The Laois Team was well supported by Sean McAuliffe, Jamie Doyle (St Michaels), Will Ryan and Eoin Drennan (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District) and Eolann Maguire, James Doyle and Dinny Whelan (Oughaval). The Laois Team finished in 2nd place, with the Oughaval lads in 3rd – a fine result for a great performance.

Girls U17 had just two Laois competitors, with Kate Connolly (St Michaels) making the podium in 7th place, closely followed by Grace Meade (Portlaoise )

The final juvenile race was the Boys U17, and once again the Laois lads gave us plenty to cheer about. Richard McLoughlin (Oughaval) was in the leading group throughout, and finished in 7th place, making the podium. He was well supported by Aaron Doyle (St Michaels), and Ruairi Jago, Killian Scully, Owen McGarry and Aaron Foley (Oughaval). Oughaval finished 2nd Club, with the Laois Team winning the bronze medals.

In the Masters event, Martin McDonald (Ballyroan Abbenleix and district) was a clear winner of the O65 category, with the evergreen Dick Mullins (St Abbans) taking bronze in the O75.

In the O35-O64 race, Colin Coyne (St Abbans), Owen Connolly (St Michaels), Tom Lupton (Portlaoise), John Kirwan(Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District) and Paddy McLoughlin (Oughaval) worked hard, but none succeeded in making the top 3 in their age categories.

The final race of the day was the Intermediate Ladies where the Laois Team performed brilliantly to win the silver medals. They were  led by Kate and Breda McDonald (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District) and Lucy Deegan and Niamh Staunton (St Abbans). The St Abbans Team of Lucy, Niamh, Riona nรญ Mhuireartaigh and Laura Ward finished in 14th, just outside the medals.