THE cross-country season continued in Limerick on Sunday last with the Munster senior and junior championships as well as the Inter-county juvenile relays.
The Juvenile inter-county relays produce some of the most exciting athletic competition whether on the track or over the country, and on this occasion it was the turn of the cross-country athletes to pit their skills against the best that the other Munster counties could muster.
First into action was the U-10 girls team who got the day off to the best possible start when winning the gold medals from Limerick and Clare. The team members were Natasha Myers, Katelyn Reid, Aoife Kerins, Sadbh O'Connor and Jane Lawlor.
The U-10 boys team of Darragh Fleming, Cian Foley, Tomás Clifford, Kevin Barry and Robert Stack all put in a great effort to claim the bronze medals behind Clare and Limerick.
Kerry was back on the top step of the podium thanks to the U-12 girls team who led from start to finish. The gold medal winning team were Fiona Doyle, Maeve O'Connor, Abigail Lynch, Ruth Courtney and Katelyn Moriarty.
The U-12 boys team continued the county's medal winning streak when taking bronze after making a brave effort to get up to second position. The team members here were Peter O'Sullivan, Darragh Keane, Conor O'Brien, Cathal Shire and Conor O'Sullivan.
The U-14 girls were also bronze medallists thanks to the efforts of Aoife O'Mahony, Shona O'Brien, Sophie Lynch, Emma Dineen and Niamh Stack.
The unluckiest team of the day was the U-14 boy's team of Fiachra Clifford, David Kenny, Tristan O'Donoghue, Jack O'Driscoll and Jack McKenna. The boys battled bravely to get among the medallists but came up just short and had to settle for fourth position.
The senior's women's team were led home by Maria McCarthy (Farranfore/ Maine Valley) in 4th position followed by Catherine Kiely (Gneeveguilla) in 6th, Catriona Barry (Farranfore /Maine Valley) in 8th, Deirdre Enright (An Riocht) 14th and her club mate Mary O'Connor in 16th. Their combined efforts were good enough to take the bronze inter county medals for Kerry; this was the most hotly contested team competition on the day with Clare on 31 points, Limerick on 32 points and Kerry on 33 points.
The senior women's race was over 8,000 metres this year moving up from the 5000m of previous runnings.
The senior men's 10,000 metres is always a most competitive event when the provinces top distance runners strive for the coveted cross-country title.
Cian Murphy (Iveragh) was Kerry's first runner in 12th place followed by Donal O'Callaghan (An Ríocht) 14th, the Farranfore Maine Valley pair of Arthur Fitzgerald and George McCarthy 19th and 25th respectively. Robert Purcell (Gneeveguilla) 29th, Darren Burke (An Ríocht) 37th, Tommy O'Brien (An Riocht) 48th and Verners Tess (Farranfore/Maine Valley) 54th. These placings were good enough for Kerry to take another set of team bronze.
Niamh Clifford (star of the Laune) was our sole representative in the junior women's event when making a welcome return to action and finishing sixth.
January 26: A.A.I Senior, junior, Masters and Juvenile Combined Events in Athlone January 26: First race of Gneeveguilla 5K Series in Killarney January 26: Munster Awards Night in Rathkeale January 27: A.A.I Games in Athlone February 1: Munster Convention in Ennis February 3: Intermediate, Masters and Juvenile Development Cross-Country in Derry February 9: Kenmare AC 10k Road race in Kenmare February 9: Munster U.9 to U13 Indoor Championships in Nenagh February 10: Munster U.9 to U.13 Indoor Championships in Nenagh February 9: A.A.I Masters Championships in Athlone February 10: A.A.I Junior and U.23 Championships in Athlone February 16 & 17: A.A.I Senior Indoor championships in Athlone