Wexford Juvenile Cross Country Championships, JFK Park, 06-Oct-2019

First race of the day, over 500m, was the Girls U10 event. First Strider home was Sarah Lillis, closely followed by Ella Howlin, Isabella O’Connor and Aoife Wall, running out-of-age. Over the same testing 500m loop, the Striders U10 boys had a massive representation, with an even dozen facing the starter. It was quite a sight, watching a sea of black jerseys galloping off down the JFK Park grass. Fionn MacEochaidh led home Donagh Grennan, Sam Dowling and Maitiu Wall, to all finish in medal winning positions. Close behind were Darragh Mackey, TJ Murphy, Charlie Flood, Liam O’Brien, Evan Rossiter, Tom Mulcahy, Oisin Deeley and Senan Deeley.

The Striders U12’s were competing over 2km, made up of two loops, with some testing uphill sections. Heather Costello was first Strider home in the girls event, ahead of Ava Kehoe and Ailbhe Mackey. Heather and Ava finished in the top ten and Ailbhe did very well, competing against girls a year older. In the boys event, Max Murphy continued his fantastic start to the season, with another podium finish. Eanna Grennan was our other competitor, with a solid top ten finish. Well done to all our U12’s who were all excellent and all showing great potential.

The U14’s competed over three 1km circuits and once again the Striders were well represented. Cora Noonan and Ava Leacy raced really well to record comfortable top ten finishes. Both girls are quite new to cross country and will improve for this experience. In the boys event, Sean Lennon won his first individual county title in emphatic style. Leading from the gun, Sean stretched his lead throughout the race and recorded a very popular win. Ronan Shannon, despite being a year out of age, came through the field to finish second, ahead of Tommaso Hickey in third. Luca O’Connor, Olan Delaney and Sam Myers all ran to their usual high standards, to add gold and bronze team medals, to all the individual medals.

Isabel Bawden, Aoife Lyng and Hazel Hickey stepped up one age group, to join Aisling Ryan in the U16 race, over a tough 4km. All girls train really well, week in, week out and it was no surprise that they were really strong and won a well deserved team silver medal.

An amazing ten Striders lined up for the 4km boys U16 race. From the start, it was a sea of black Striders jerseys leading out from the front. In the end, Irish international Myles Hewlett, despite being out of his age group, touched off ex-Leinster cross country champion Aidan Shannon, to win another county title. In behind, there were solid season opening runs from Robert Wall, Ben Wall, William Park, Owen Lennon, Ben Myers, Conor Rossiter, Enrique Perez and Darragh Flannelly. To cap a successful race, the boys collected medals all around in the team events. This squad have won Provincial and National Cross Country club titles over recent years and on todays evidence, they look to be in great shape for another tilt at provincial and national medals. Well done to all ten Striders who worked hard for their county medals.

The Striders Juniors completed the county double today, with Erinn Shannon and Aedan Rogers winning their respective races. Erinn finished off last season with a fantastic fifth place finish in a national event and has started off this season in equally good form. Aedan Rogers warmed up for next weeks Senior event, with a stylish win, over 6km, in a competitive junior mens race. Leading from the start, Aedan was never seriously challenged and looks to be in really good form. Adam O’Connor and Ryan Kielthy performed excellently, finishing fifth and sixth respectively, on their first outing at junior cross country.

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