National Senior & Uneven Ages Cross Country

Declan Kennedy claims cross-country silver for Carrick AC

John Connolly

Reporter:

John Connolly

A small contingent of Leitrim athletes made it a very successful day for the county with an individual silver medal, two top ten finishes, a top 20 finish and a seventh place team finish at the Irish Life Health Athletics Ireland National Senior and Uneven Ages Cross-country in Abbottstown on Sunday.

Top billing goes to Declan Kennedy of Carrick-on-Shannon AC who finished a superb second in the U12 Boys race to claim a silver medal. Declan was always up with the leaders and only Fionn McNamara of Annalee AC in Cavan got away.

Under immense pressure over the final quarter of the race, Declan held off his pursuers to replicate the second place finish of his brother Patrick from last year.

His twin Patrick also turned in a superb display as he finished 16th in a very tough race and despite being slightly under the weather. He got slightly detached from his brother but finished strong to secure a top 20 placing.

With Mark Ahern (Ballinamore) 94th, Niall Ahern (Ballinamore) 135th, Oran Butler (Carrick-on-Shannon) 144th and Riaghan Guckian (Carrick-on-Shannon) 145th, Leitrim finished 14th in the Inter-county team race while the Carrick lads finished seventh in the Inter-Club race. Niall, Oran and Riaghan will all be in action in the U11 All-Irelands in Navan on Saturday December 15.

Kinlough cousins Teresa Doherty and Breege Connolly produced two superb runs in the Senior Women's race which doubled as the trial for the Irish team for the European Championships.

Teresa, in the colours of Donegal's Finn Valley, was up with the leading group for the first two of four laps in a very strong field.

She got detached on the third lap but, under immense pressure, rallied brilliantly on the final lap to hold off the athletes behind her to finish seventh in a time of 28.44 for the 8Km distance.

That put her just outside the places for the European Cross-country Championships and comes just a week after she won the British & Irish Masters Cross-country in Swansea.

Breege, who was honoured on Saturday night as a joint winner of the Senior category at the Leitrim Sports Star Awards, ran a different race, holding back early on but she ate up the ground over the second half of the race to finish tenth in a time of 28.55, a superb performance for someone who definitely appreciates much longer distances.

In the U16 Girls race, Carrick AC's Ellie O'Rourke finished 64th in a race of incredibly pace and high quality while Brendan Kennedy was 108th in the U14 Boys race.