A mild and dry March day at Mallusk on Saturday 11th March greeted the finest athletes in Ireland for the pinnacle of the cross country season. St. Malachy’s enjoyed one of our most successful days at the All Ireland’s winning in two age groups and finishing second in a third.
The Minor boys (Yr9) set the trend for the day with a fantastic second place team finish, despite only finishing third in the Ulster’s three weeks before. Matthew Lavery continued his huge improvements with an outstanding 8th place finish, the highest by a College athlete for the day. The next runner across the line was Diarmuid Hanna, who picked up places right thoughout the race to finish in 28th. This was all the more impressive as Diarmuid is only a year 8 and can run in this age group next year. Luke Kelly ran most of the race in the top 20, but gave his absolute all and did brilliantly to hold on for 31st place. Conall McGirr completed the scoring quartet with a gutsy run in 54th place. Cian McGrath(66th), Kelvin Kearney (79th), Leo Ashe (89th) and Simon Ostermayer (98th) completed the team.
The Junior boys were next up and were led to a wonderful team victory by two top 20 performances from Daniel McComiskey in 16th and Cullum Morgan in 20th. Daniel really went for broke and spent much of the race in the top twelve, fading slightly over the final 500m, but should be proud of his aggressive running and determination to hold on at the end. Callum started a little more conservatively and relentlessly moved his way up throughout the race. Fiontann Campbell produced a strong finish to move up to 37th place at the finish. Oscar Smyth ran his best race ever, digging deep to complete the scoring in 48th place. Ruari Gallagher (67th), Darragh Gorman (88th) and Adam Wright (92nd) completed the team.
The Intermediate race is often the most highly contested race of the day and it was no change this year with our boys coming out on top by a narrow five points. Adam Ferris ran a phenomenal race to finish in 12th place and lead the team, despite only being a year 11 and eligible for this age group next year. Adam started out just outside the top 20 on the first of three big laps and gradually moved his way up through the filed throughout the race. In Contract Conall Browne got out in the top group and stayed in the top 15 throughout the race, producing a strong finish to claim 14th place. Cormac O’Rourke, a middle distance specialist, stuck in well over the nearly 6km distance to claim 20th place. Conal McClean resiliently recovered from two mid race falls to secure 29th place and the team victory. Matteo Lavorca had an excellent run to finish in 36th place. The race came a little too early for Tim Scott on the return from injury, but he stuck in well over the distance to claim 41st. Thomas Reid (66th) and Fionn McQuillan (76th) completed the team. With their team victory the Intermediate team earned themselves a place at the 2018 World Schools Cross Country in Paris.