Cross Country Update – The Three Counties League
The Clongowes athletics team began their exceptional campaign earlier in the year at Knockbeg College. Our valiant squad would be competing in the Three Counties League, where approximately 35 schools from all across Carlow, Kildare and Laois contest to be champions. This annual event allows schools to introduce students to the adventures of cross country and also helps prepare teams for the South Leinster cross country championships which take place in January. The league is team-based with the results over the three rounds contributing to an overall score.
Our first event of the 2014 season was at Knockbeg College. Members from Minor all the way up to Senior, had been training in advance to the upcoming event and were ready to rise to the occasion (myself included!). Some outstanding performances from the likes of Adam Reynolds and James Coonan from Elements, Stephen McAleese from Rudiments and Jack O’Leary from Poetry kept the dream of a good season alive for their teams and may have been a figure of inspiration to our other teams. A second successful day at Newbridge College meant that anyone in purple and white had a chance to return to Clongowes with a bit of silverware under their belt, provided they had a good day in Carlow Town Hurling Club.
Intermediate A Team: Douglas Oman, Brandon Keily, Greg O’Reilly, Daniel Reilly
Day of destiny
Our day of destiny arrived on the 11th of November and the Clongowes squad headed to Carlow Town Hurling Club. There was an electric buzz of excitement in the bus on the journey. When the squad arrived in Carlow, they quickly dispersed to prepare for their own races not only physically, but also mentally. The Minor boys were the first to face the music and they claimed 3rd place overall in the Three Counties League. The Junior boys A and B team were next to compete. Both teams came first in their respective leagues. Some superb running from Michael Medeiros ensured that Clongowes come out on top.
Things were starting to look bright for Clongowes among this forbidding landscape in Carlow. Inter boys were up next and at this stage the track had been torn up and rain was pouring down. A cold breeze swept the landscape and tightened muscles were flexing and warming up. The Inter boys found 2nd place in their division, aided by a great run by Douglas Oman, and left it up to the Seniors to bring home the one hundred percent record.
Senior A Team: Jack Savage, Charlie Murtagh, Mr Shane Heslin (coach), Jack O’Leary, Mark O’Connor
Although it may have been hard to find some inspiration under this now inclement weather, the seniors needed only look at the hope in the eyes of their younger teammates for that inspiration. They battled the elements as well as the other runners in their race. Things may have started to look bleak for the Seniors but a star man performance from Charles Murtagh brought them to 1st place in the league.
22 runners came back to Clongowes with 22 medals, a feat never before achieved. True integrity and courage was shown by everyone on this day, a day not to be forgotten.
Matthew Rattigan (Poetry)
A Date for the Diary – The All Ireland Schools and Universities Cross Country Championships will be held here in Clongowes on March 7th, 2015.