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By Leslie Finnan, Longford AC Juvenile PRO

Ninety students from across the county travelled to Leitrim last Saturday for the Connacht Primary Schools Cross Country Championships in crisp autumn sunshine. The 4 races, run on the flat course of Leitrim Gaels Community Field, proved to be very challenging for the Longford contingent.

Always a popular event for national school students, every race had nearly 120 runners from Galway, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Leitrim and Longford take to the starting line to contest for individual and team medals. The spirit of competition among the schools and the high standard of performance made for a fantastic day of athletics.

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Aisling Lane, 8th place in 3rd\4th class and Lauren Maguire, 5th place in 5th\6th class both from Colehill NS stood out from the crowd, finishing in the top 10 in their respective races to bring home the only individual Connacht medals for Longford Schools. Rosie Flanagan, Stonepark, Cormac Egan, Colehill, Christopher Conaty, Colmcille, Kate Hagan, Newtownforbes, and Cathal Farrell, Ardagh are all commended for putting in excellent effort finishing in the top 20 in their races.

The 5th\6th class boys’ team from St Mel’s NS, Ardagh put in a superb team effort to win 2nd place in their 1000m race, bringing home a set of shiny silver medals for their work. Only 5 points separated the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place teams making the performance of every member crucial in securing the victory. Congratulations to Cathal Farrell, Brendan Finnan, Jack Gallagher, Diarmuid Farrell, Daniel Hayden and Rory Carr on this achievement. Colehill 5th\6th class girls’ team finished 4th, narrowly missing bronze. Lauren McGuire, Caoimhe Mulvey, Caoimhe McCromack, Leah Shannon and Casey McNamara gave a great showing on the day

Teams representing Stonepark, Kenagh, Killoe, Newtownforbes, Colehill and Ardagh schools as well as individual runners from Edgeworthstown, Fermoyle, Ballymahon, Dromard, Ballinalee and Legan all gained valuable experience competing at this level. Longford Athletic Club organises this annual event for all schools in the county and thanks all the teachers for their support in preparing the children.  Cross Country running is a great way to start off the new school year getting all the children active and increasing fitness.

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