The 2013 Connaught Primary Schools and Senior Cross Country Championships were held at Moyne Community School for the first time on a fantastic day for cross country running on a brilliantly laid out course. Over 500 athletes and 75 teams competed on the day from the 6 counties in the Connaught Region of AAI. The first cross country race was the 3rd/4th class girls over 800 meters. Alannah Flood from Newtowncashel and a member of Lough Ree Athletics Club finished in 13th place and this was a great run by her. The next Longford athlete home was in 37th place and Avril Cosgrave from Dromard can be happy with her performance. What was obvious from this race and indeed for the 4 primary schools races was the very high standard of competition and indeed many of the Longford athletes struggled at this level. The jump from County to Provincial is huge and to compete at this level requires training. Next home was Aideen Mulligan in 40th place and no doubt Aideen will improve over the season. Stonepark National School was the first team home from Longford in 9th position. One of the key surprises of the day and probably the performance of the day came from Cathal Farrell from Ardagh National School in the 3rd/4th class boys 800 meters where Cathal finished in 4th place. Again this was a very fast race and Cathal certainly rose to the occasion. Brendan Finnan ran a very good race to finish in 9th place and the 2 boys picked up Connaught medals. Both boys will continue to improve during the season and can be pleased with how they ran on the day. Another club member Jack Gallagher from Ardagh National School finished in 30th place and this was a good run by Jack. Ardagh National School just missed out on the team medals by finishing in 4th position and they certainly did their county proud. Sarah Murphy from Dromard National School ran an excellent race in the 5th/6th class girls 1000 meters race to finish in 7th place and picked up a Connaught medal, this was a courageous race by Sarah and built on the win she had in the recently held County Longford Competition. Next home was Dearbhaile Rooney from Killoe National School and Dearbhaile continues to improve at this level. Fermoyle National School was the first team home from Longford in 12th place. The final primary schools race was the 5th/6th class boys over 1000 meters and Cian Mc Phillips from Ardagh National School certainly did not disappoint in winning the gold medal with an impressive performance. Cian is currently the National Indoor and Outdoor champion over 600 meters on the track and he used his track speed to win this race with ease and continues his upward improvement in the cross country competitions. We look forward to seeing Cian in the upcoming cross country season. Thomas Ivel from Killoe National School finished in 11th place and Thomas showed his previous experience to finish at the business end of the race and is a strong competitor at this level. Next home was Daire McManus from Stonepark National School who finished in 38th place with a strong performance. Daire is more used to sprinting on the track but he is a strong competitor over cross country. Killoe National School finished in 11th place and the first Longford team home. The attention then turned to the senior races and the club had 2 competitors in the senior women’s race, Johanna Smith in her first race at provincial level ran a strong race and was very happy with her performance. Adeline Galligan was running very well with the leading ladies when she had to pull out due to injury. We have no doubt she will be competitive in the upcoming races. Although the club had no men running in the senior race due to commitments in helping with the competition organization, we witnessed a supper running performance by Roger Barrett from Ballina AC who is one of the leading cross country runners in Ireland and he ran like there was no hills on the course, certainly a guy who we can all look up to. This was an excellent day for the club to host a Connaught Cross Country Championship and this event was indeed a massive success. Than to everyone involved in helping with the event from car parking, registration, race starts, finish, medal presentation etc, you all did a fabulous job and without you, we could not hold this competition, thanks very much.