Seven pupils from Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai had qualified for the Glo Health All Ireland Schools Cross Country championships, and travelled with staff and family to the imposing facilities at Clongowes College, Co. Kildare to compete with the best School athletes from throughout the country. On a chilly, dry and very windy day, the exceptionally well kept school grounds, made for fast, firm underfoot conditions, with large fields of competitors, who had qualified through their Provincial championships.
First to compete was Sophie Harrington in the Junior Girls over 2,500mtrs, finishing 36th out of 93 finishers in a very fast run race. Next to compete was Darragh McElhinney in the Junior boys 3,500mtr race, with 113 runners, Darragh got off to a fast start and led from very early on, keeping a fast pace at the head of the field. By the midway point he had built up a 15 yard lead over a chasing pack of 5 runners, and gradually extended his lead, to win by about 40 yards, to claim his first All Ireland individual Gold Medal. This race was followed by the Intermediate Girls race over the same distance, and Caoimhe Harrington employed similar tactics to Darragh, setting the pace throughout the race, and with less than 1000mtrs remaining pulled steadily away from the chasing athletes, who were unable to match Caoimhe’s high pace, as she came home a comfortable 7 second winner. In so doing, Caoimhe created an Irish Schools Cross Country record, becoming the first athlete to win All Ireland Gold at Minor, Junior and Intermediate levels in three consecutive years.