Ballinamore AC's Ellie O'Rourke recorded her second top 20 finish in two weeks in a National Championship with an excellent performance in Dundalk last Sunday.
Competing a year out of her age group in the Irish Life Health Athletics Ireland Cross-country championships in the grounds of Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ellie was Leitrim's top performer.
There were strong performances from Carrick AC's Clive Glancy and North Leitrim's Ryan Owen in the Novice Men's race as the races in Dundalk featured enormous fields of well over 150 in most races.
The U15 Girls race saw the biggest Leitrim representation with Ellie O'Rourke leading the way. The Fenagh girl started well and was just behind the leading group in the early stages.
Working well over the second half of the race, Ellie got up to 14th place at one stage but the effort took a lot out of her as a couple of fast finishers got past her as she finished 19th in the day, repeating her 19th place from the U14s in Abbotstown two weeks ago.
North Leitrim’s Connacht winning U15 team was down a few members with Ashling Cullen leading them home in 98th place, closely followed by Ella McDaid in 101st while Sarah Brady completed the line-up in 106th. Unfortunately, with only three runners, there were unable to register a team score.
Leitrim’s next highest finisher was Carrick AC’s Clive Glancy who finished 37th in a 6Km race that had a staggering 172 finishers. The Novice grade features runners who have not won national medals, either as individual or club, and the standard is incredibly high.
Clive got off to a good start in a crowded field and was just outside the top 20 after the first of three laps, slipping slightly on the second lap. Normally a marathon runner, Clive was caught by a few more in the sprint for the line in a world away from his normal endeavours.
North Leitrim’s Ryan Owen continues to make a big impact in his first year competing. Only running competitively since March, Ryan finished 57th in a time of 20.49, just 25 seconds behind Glancy’s 20.24, in a remarkable performance.
Ryan had won the Connacht League but showed great potential in a race that is a major leap in standard from what he is used to.
Rooskey’s John Russell, running for his native Coolquill AC in Tipperary, finished 102nd in a time of 21.38 in a good display for the well known physio and former Annaduff Ladies & Men’s Senior team manager.
North Leitrim’s Niamh Carolan was the fifth runner from Connacht across the line in the U13 Girls race as she finished 72nd in an incredibly fast race.
Carrick AC’s Anna Corcoran finished a solid 73rd in the U17 girls race as, despite being a year out of her age-group, she finished eighth Connacht runner which was an improvement on her 12th place finish from the regionals.
Ballinamore’s Mark Ahern (138th) and Mohill & District’s Alan O’Beirne (175th) in another incredibly competitive and fast U11 Boys race.