BY JOHN WALSHE
LAURA Nicholson of Bandon Grammar School, who missed last year’s Irish Life Health/Munster Schools Cross-Country through injury, had things all her own way in the senior girls’ 2500m at this year’s decider held in windy but dry conditions at Waterford IT.
Content to stay with the leading group early on, the 18-year-old who takes up an athletics scholarship at Temple University in Philadelphia next autumn stretched out on the downhill section and came home an easy winner with 15 seconds to spare over Aoife Allen of Mercy, Waterford, with Ruth Heery (Waterpark College) in third.
‘It was good. I liked the course. It wasn’t as hilly as it seemed to be when we were younger,’ said the Bandon athlete who is now coached by David McCarthy since Steven Macklin took up a coaching appointment in Doha.
‘I hurt my Achilles tendon just before the national cross-country and I had to take three weeks out after the Euro Cross in December. I’m back training now with a month and a half and looking forward to the Irish School’s in Clongowes Wood. I was there a few years ago and I enjoyed it.’
It was a good day for Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí, as they provided two of the first three in the minor boys’ race. Sean Lawton took first ahead of Shane Buckley from Cashel with Fionn Harrington close behind in third.
Backed up by Sean O’Shea and Philip Harrington, the school tied with Midleton CBS for first but had to settle for the silver medals as Midleton got the verdict on the countback.
Callum McElhinney finished sixth in the junior race and here Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí took third, with his team-mates Jack Sheedy, Dan Andrews and Ciarán O’Sullivan packed better than St Flannan’s as both schools finished on 60 points.
Fionn Harrington of St Brogan’s was a clear third in the intermediate boys’ race, leading his school to second team while in a very competitive senior race Naoise O’Flaitheartaigh of Hamilton High took a well-deserved fourth spot.
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