The county Longford primary schools & senior cross country championships were held on Saturday 21st September in excellent weather conditions on a fantastic course at Moyne Community School. Great praise must be given to Paddy and the team at Moyne for the time and effort in laying out the course which proved challenging yet fast and spectator friendly. A large number of competitors competed this year and numbers were up significantly on previous years which given the number of competing events for kids & adults on the day was a great testament to everyone involved. The first race of the day was the 3rd/4th class girls and 2 of the most promising club athletes Sarah Mc Phillips representing Ardagh and Aideen Mulligan representing Killoe went head to head over the 800 meters. This was a close race from start to finish with Aideen winning, no doubt the rivalry will continue during the year. Third home was Kelly Okoli from Stonepark who can be well please with her performance. Ardagh won the team event with Stonepark second and Fermoyle third. In the 3rd/4th class boy’s race, Longford AC athletes dominated the race, Brendan Finnan (Ardagh) shows what a great athlete he is over a range of disciplines winning this race from Cathal Farrell (Ardagh) and third was Conor Clancy from Stonepark. In the team event, a strong Ardagh team won the gold medal, Killoe were second and Stonepark were third. Next up was the 5th/6th class girls race over 1000 meters and there was a great race between the two Dromard girls, Sarah Murphy and Alanagh Mulligan, Sarah finished first and Sarah second. The bronze medal went to Dearbhaile Rooney from Killoe and no doubt we will hear more about these girls in the upcoming cross country season. Fermoyle put in a strong team performance with all four scoring girls finishing in the top 12 places and won this team competition with considerable ease and one would expect this team to do well in Connaught. The placing of the fourth scoring athlete is so crucial in any team championship. Second place went to Ballymahon and third was St. Sinneachs, Colehill. The final race of the day was the 5th/6th class boys and here the national champion, Cian Mc Phillips, Ardagh ran away with the event and indeed the race was won from the start. Second was Thomas Ivel who has a lot of experience of competing at provincial level and ran a strong race throughout and should compete well in Connaught. Oisin Lane from St. Sinneachs, Colehill was the surprise package when he won a deserving bronze medal. Killoe were easy winners of the team event and should perform well in Connaught, second was St. Sinneachs, Colehill and their second team medal on the day and third were Stonepark. The Harry Farrell Shield was won by Ardagh National School for the first time ever and they thoroughly deserved it. Eileen Farrell presented the shield to a jubilant Ardagh team and I hear there were some celebrations which went on well into the evening. It was great to see an increase in the number of schools competing this and many new names on both the individual and team medal sheets and this clearly demonstrates the talent level within the county. Next up was the senior men and women with a fantastic race from our Chairman Padraig Farrell 1st home comfortably in his old cross country spikes, he should dust them off more often as they still have the magic, 2nd was 16 year old Niall Nerney with a very strong race, with Lorcan Gearty 3rd but the real race on the day was between the two “Kenyans” Michael Pilkinton and Sean Crossan in a photo finish for 4th & 5th place. Watch out Micheal I’ll get you next time. The ladies race was well contested with Adeline Gallagan 1st Mary Reilly 2nd (after a 5K race that afternoon for a warm up) Eleanor Gray 3rd Cait Murphy 4th Maria Murphy 5th and Rachel O’Reilly 6th with £rd to6th all under 14. We wish all the individual and teams the best of luck in the upcoming Connaught Championships which will be held on the same course at Moyne. Finally thanks to everyone involved in the preparation and the running of this event, even the weather played its part. Without your help, these kids would never get the chance to compete and show their talents, so well done all.