Conall McClean continued his meteoric rise in athletics with a fantastic victory in the U17 All-Ireland clubs cross country championships in Waterford on Sunday 17th December. He has already picked up his first Ulster titles at U17 and U18 this Autumn. Conall's massive improvements can be illustrated by looking at his finishing position in the corresponding championships the previous two years; 41st (U15 2015) and 19th (U16 2016). Conall took the lead after 1 mile of the 5km event and pushed the pace relentlessly up and down the hilly course. He finally shook off all his last rival on the final hill about half a mile from the finish and won by 30-40m. Tony McCambridge in 4th and Adam Ferris in 6th made sure that Conall wasn't the only St. Malachy's athlete to produce an excellent performance in the U17 race. Tony claiming his top finish at this level and Adam adding to his superb bronze medal in the U16 event three weeks earlier. Unfortunately the rest of the team was upset by injury and illness and despite putting three athletes in the top six the team were pipped to the team title by one point. Having suffered with the flu during the week Thomas Reid battled all the way to complete the scoring quartet. Callum Morgan performed well in the under 15 event claiming 23rd place, having committed early and running most of the race in the top 20.
Conall pushing the pace mid-race (photo courtesy of Kieran Carlin)