Six years after winning their only Ulster schools senior boys cross-country title, with a team which included Mark Hoy, St Michael’s captured their second ‘blue riband’ of Ulster schools cross-country, the Senior Boys, and their15th provincial title in all since 2006. 
On what was a very successful day for the Enniskillen school, who also retained the title of top overall school in the province, they took silver medals at junior, minor and mini age levels. It was also a day however which left a little touch of what might have been in the air as a couple of those silver medals could have been turned to gold.
Overall though coach Francis Shaw was delighted with the performance of his side.
“I suppose I was slightly disappointed on the day not to have won the Mini or the Minor gold but looking back, any time you get four sets of medals and the Senior title for only the second time has to be very pleasing. On top of that we were top overall school, so it was a successful day,” he commented. 
There was another great run and podium finish for Edel Monaghan of Mount Lourdes in the Senior Girls race when she finished a magnificent third. 
There was a little bit of Ulster schools cross-country history though for the St. Michael’s senior squad as they became the first team to win all five Ulster schools trophies having taken the redesignated mini title in 2011, the new minor title in 2012, junior gold in 2013 when they added the Irish title and then winning the most demanding age group, the Intermediate 12 months ago. 
However, only Domhnall Lynam and Bruce Worley have the complete set of five different gold medals as many of the other members of Wednesday’s winning eight missed at least one of the earlier title triumphs for a variety of reasons.
On Wednesday the ‘blue vests’ controlled the team battle from the start as they had four or five athletes in the top 20 from early in the 6500m race which saw a mixture of energy-sapping muddy stretches and flat firm going in excellent weather around the exposed Mallusk playing fields. 
Jack Scallon was always on the back or the lead pack of nine or 10 athletes with Jacob Britton and Domhnall Lynam a few places further back and Conor McNally and Bruce Worley, who was to lose both spikes as the race progressed, contesting the final scoring slot just inside the top 20.
 It was Lynam who came through to lead the team home in ninth with Scallon holding on well for his best race of the season in 13th followed closely by Britton in 15th and the fast finishing McNally in 18th ahead of the shoeless Worley. Conal Boylan, Oisin Morris and Conor McCaffrey completed the gold medal winning team and they will hope to contest the bronze medal at the All-Ireland finals as the two heavy weights St Aidan’s and St Flannan’s slog out for gold and silver with St Mary’s Mullingar and Rice College Westport likely to be the other main protagonists.
The most pleasing of the three sets of silver medals won on Wednesday was undoubtedly that taken in the junior category behind a very dominant St Colman’s Newry. 
This St Michael’s team had won the mini boys title in 2014 and last year, just after the tragic death of team member Oisin McGrath, they were edged into fourth and missed the All-Ireland finals. 
Having finished second to last year's Ulster champions and All-Ireland bronze medallists Omagh CBS at the districts a week earlier they produced their best run since DCU in early January lead by the ever improving Keelan Farry who was followed by the equally improved Sean Murray, Joe McDade and Ben Corrigan. 
The squad was completed by Pierce McGovern, Dara McGandy and Adam McGovern and all this group have been very committed to their running all season and deserve their first trip to the All-Ireland finals in a few weeks.
If the Junior silver was a big positive then that won by the Minor team was somewhat disappointing, as they never really got going, and the team expected to challenge them, Our Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock, who are all members of Lagan Valley AC, took their first ever Ulster schools boys cross-country title. 
It was just one of those days for the St Michael’s lads as even Oisin Cassidy who has had a very positive season so far was a little off key in ninth with Conor Murphy too never really getting into his stride finishing 20th while Oliver Hughes Jordan and Dylan Corrigan both recovered well after very poor starts to complete the scoring quartet. Garbhan McGovern, Rhys Campbell, Finn Treacy and Andrew Browne were the other members of the winning squad and, with a few weeks to work on things and the possible addition of a few of the stronger U13 athletes, an All-Ireland medal is not by any means impossible but it will take a much stronger opening kilometre if they are to be in the medal mix.
All season it looked as if the Mini boys title would be between St Colman’s Newry and St Michael’s, who had won the title in 2014 and 2015, with the Newry side looking fractionally stronger prior to Wednesday’s provincial schools, and so it proved on the day, although there was very little between two well matched teams. Cormac McCauley has run very well all season and was again aggressive from the start, eventually finishing sixth. He was followed by Diarmaid King who ran solidly in 14th, with Dylan Martin and Eoin McKervey the other two scorers. Ethan Prunty, James Wallace, Justin McDade and Ruairi Moore were the other members of what has been an excellent group all season.
While St Michael’s did not medal at Intermediate level, finishing fourth, this squad has been very competitive and made good progress all season and with half the squad eligible next year, they can, if given the opportunity, go on to push for a podium place and for those in their final year at Intermediate level compete for places on the Senior squad. James Boyle lead the squad home at Mallusk followed by Sean Vaugh, Matt Nelson, Rory Baird, Aidan McDonnell, Tyler McKenna, David Flynn and Sean Vaugh.
St Michael’s now look towards the national finals on Sligo Race course on March 5.
Edel Monaghan of Mount Lourdes will also be competing in Sligo. She was involved in a sprint finish to claim third place and was the youngest medallist in the Senior Girls race and is eligible for this race next year. Only 14 seconds separated the top three finishers with fourth place a further 17 seconds back.
There were super runs by other local athletes in Mallusk. 
Mount Lourdes' Aoife Farrell had a terrific run to finish 11th in the Intermediate Girls, which saw her qualify for the All Ireland finals in Sligo. Aoife is also eligible to run in this race next year. Abbie Barrett (Erne Integrated) and Alanah Leonard St. Aidan's Derrylin) also  had strong runs in the Intermediate Girls.  
In minor Girls, Ava Thompson, representing Devenish College, had a great run and missed out on qualifying for the all Ireland finals by only 10 seconds. 
The Collegiate produced a fine performance in the Senior Girls team event as they claimed fourth spot. 
Jade Ballintine led them home with a 16th place finish with Victoria Watterson and Mia Elliott also performing well.