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Mar 26

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26 March 2017  RssIcon

A convoy of cars set off from Carlow for Mallusk Playing fields, Antrim in the early hours of Saturday morning. Oisin Hooney was first up for Knockbeg in the Minor boys. Conditions were tough, lots of muck and quite undulating. Oisin set off aggressively and settled in the middle of the leading group. One by one the challengers fell back until a lead group of 7 remained. Oisin fought hard and in an epic home straight tussle finished 5th. This was an incredible result for someone with so little running experience. His prospects for track season also look good. 

Ben Crotty also made his All Ireland Cross Country debut over 3600m. Ben put his physical strength to good use working his way through the field. Ben finished 38th, losing a number of places on the run in. The experience will stand to him and he has a promising track season ahead as well. 

The seniors lined up after finishing 3rd in Leinster with little expectation for success from anyone outside the group. But resolve and attitude amongst the group was strong. The team started conservatively, saving for a huge effort over the last mile of four. With a mile to go the team score was around 135, just outside the medals. Huge efforts from Cian Kelly, Bobby Crowley, Oran O Flaherty and Jamie Wall dragged the team back down to a final score of 119. Declan Roberts, Cialann Mulhall, Kacper Podsialodwci and Martin Maloney worked hard on 4th scorers from other teams. Post race all knew there was no more to be given, and a nervous wait ensued for the results. Pre race we had spoken about having no regrets, and none were there after a honest effort all round. 

Finally the team was announced as second with 119, just behind St Mary's Mullingar and ahead of St Flannans Ennis. The team were delighted as were the large group of parents and teachers onsite to support. The trip home was a pleasure. As a group the three Leaving Certs have been excellent cross country ambassadors for Knockbeg and their track prospects are high, even with the looming workload of the Leaving Cert. The teams thoughts were filled with Donal English Hayden before and after the race and the commitment and togetherness shown were a fitting tribute. 

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