College Athletes enjoyed a very successful day at the South Antrim District Cross Country Championships at Ormeau Park on Tuesday 27th of January.
In what Mr McAlister described as ‘good conditions for cross country (in that it wasn’t raining for a change!)’, St Malachy’s runners won four out of the possible five team titles on offer and finished second in the other – an excellent performance in an event that included over twenty schools from the Belfast, Newtownabbey and Lisburn areas.
All five teams now advance to the Ulster Schools Cross Country Championships on Wednesday 11th February. Provincial titles, individual and team spots at the All-Ireland Championships will be on the line at this event, as College students aim to retain their team title as the best boys school in Ulster.
The Mini boys (Year 8) began the day in great style finishing first out of fifteen teams in what always proves to be very competitive race with over one hundred finishers.
Ruairi Gallagher led the way with his individual silver medal; closely followed in 4th by Callum Morgan. Fionntan Campbell and Conor O’Neill ran strong races to complete the scoring quartet in 11th and 13th places respectively. Other finishers were Darragh Gorman (38th), Jack Maguire (43rd) and Ben O’Reilly (47th).
Mini Boys Team score
1st St Malachy’s College 30pts
2nd Methodist College 56pts
3rd RBAI 62pts
Next up were the Minor boys (Year 9), who clearly dominated in this category making it a clean sweep for the College at the top of the leader board. Adam Ferris took gold with a convincing and well-deserved victory, followed home by Lewis McGarvey in second and Niall O’Connor who earned the final individual medal with a well-timed sprint for the finish. Mark Donnelly and Fionn McQuillan had their own battle to complete the scoring four with Mark just edging it in 10th to Fionn’s 11th place. Emmet Maguire finished 14th with Sean McBride in 20th.
Minor Boys Team score
1st St Malachy’s College 16pts
2nd Belfast High School 50pts
3rd Friends’ School, Lisburn 74pts
Another convincing team victory for the Junior boys (Year 10) was tinged with disappointment as our first finisher Conal Browne, thought he had crossed the finish line in first only to be passed for the official victory while celebrating his win. Mr McAlister commented that ‘in Conal’s defence it was very difficult for the athletes to distinguish the actual finish line’. Conal was followed home by strong runs from Matteo Lavorca, Tim Scott and Sean Og Gallagher in 4th, 5th and 6th individually. Other finishers were Thomas Reid (8th), Conall McClean (14th), Colm Holbeach (15th) and Ciran Clarke (33rd).
Junior Boys Team score
1st St Malachy’s College 17pts
2nd RBAI 77pts
3rd Belfast High School 99pts
The Intermediate boys (Years 11 and 12) also performed well on the day, finishing second to a very strong Rathmore team that includes two Irish Internationals. John Joe McCool led the way with a fine 6th place. The rest of the team packed well for a good finish with Malachy Armstrong, Niall Gilleece and Conor McAlister taking 13th, 14th and 15th respectively. Gerard McCool came home in 20th.
Finally, the Senior boys produced a solid team victory for the College in a race that included a host of the top individuals in Ulster. Paddy Robb was disappointed with his 4th place finish (such are they high standards he sets for himself) and a sound team win was cemented by James Smyth (5th), Chris Connolly (6th), Darryl McNicholl (9th), Eoin Maguire (11th) and Lorcan McClean (21st).
Congratulations to all the runners (and coaches) involved in this tremendous achievement.