A reception to honour the recipients of Leinster Athletics Star Awards for 2018 took place at the Bridge Hotel, Tullamore last Saturday (Jan 5). Among them were three athletes and one official from Co Wexford.
For the second year in a row the award for best juvenile female athlete in Co Wexford went to Maeve Hayes of St Paul’s AC. Maeve is a 5th year student at Loreto Wexford.
At the Leinster Indoors, Maeve won U17 Long Jump (5.03m) and High Jump (1.63m pb), and placed 4th in 60m Hurdles. She won a bronze in High Jump at the National Indoors. At Leinster Schools she placed 2nd in High Jump despite going into the event with an ankle injury. She went on to finish 8th in the event at the All-Irelands. At the Leinster outdoor championships, she won the Long Jump (5.00m) and placed 2nd in High Jump (1.53m), progressing to the nationals where she won gold in High Jump, her first national title, and silver in Long Jump. At Leinster Schools Indoor Combined Events in September Maeve took the Silver in Intermediate Girls with 2899 points. The following month at the All-Irelands Maeve placed 4th with 3103 points. At that event she had the joint best result in High Jump (1.59m). In November she won her first Irish vest when she was selected to the Irish team for the Schools International Pentathlon meet in Glasgow. She won a silver medal with the Intermediate Girls team.
The award for best juvenile male athlete in Co Wexford went to Jack Forde of St Killian’s AC. Jack, a Combined Events specialist, is a 4th year student at CBS Wexford.
Jack started 2018 on a high note, taking gold U16 at the Irish Life Health Indoor Combined Events Championships. He won two U16 golds at the Leinster Indoors – High Jump (1.80m pb) and Shot Putt (12.68m). At the National Indoors he won the High Jump, was 2nd in Shot Putt and 5th in Hurdles. At the Athletics Ireland Combined Events Championships he embodied all the qualities of a champion as he repeated his gold medal winning performance of the previous year to take the U16 title with pbs in High Jump (1.83m) and Long Jump (5.75m). His overall points total was 3914. Jack won nine U16 medals at the Juvenile Wexford T&F Championships: gold in High Jump (1.60m), Triple Jump (12.05m), Shot Putt (10.98m), 100m, 250m Hurdles, Discus (26.02m) and Long Jump (5.64m), and silver in 200m and javelin. Competing at the All Ireland Schools T&F in June at Intermediate level, he placed 4th in High Jump (1.85m) and 8th in Triple Jump (11.96m). Jack was everyone’s athlete of the meet at the Leinster Juvenile Championships where, competing U16, he won Shot Putt with a PB of 13.41m, set a new Championship Best Performance (CBP) of 12.42m to win Triple Jump, and cleared 1.86m, another CBP, to win the High Jump. Any time you come away from an event with three Golds and two CBPs is a good day! The same month he won a bronze medal at the prestigious Tailteann Games at the Morton Stadium, Santry. On then to the All-Ireland’s where Jack won High Jump (1.85m) and was runner-up in both Shot Putt (12.52m) and Triple Jump (12.26m). Jack started the month of August with a 2nd place finish in U16 High Jump at the Celtic International Games in Glasgow. The following month he placed 2nd in Inter Boys at Leinster Schools Indoor Combined Events with a points total of 2890. At his final event of the year, the All-Ireland Schools Combined Events, he placed 6th in Inter Boys.
In a year when the multi-eventers starred, Peter O’Connor of Enniscorthy AC was the recipient of the award for Best Senior Athlete in Wexford.
Peter was 2nd in both 60m Hurdles and High Jump at the Leinster Indoor Championships. He was also a member of the Enniscorthy team that won the 4 x 400m and placed 3rd in 4 x 200m. At Leinster outdoor T&F Championships Peter was 3rd in Discus and 2nd in both Shot and Javelin. He made the podium for Combined Events at outdoor and indoor Irish Universities Championships, finishing 2nd in the former and 3rd in the latter. At the Wexford Championships last Summer he made the podium in both the High Jump and the Long Jump.
The last of the four awards returning to Wexford was one for Lifetime Service and it went to Clare Doyle of Bree AC.
Clare has been active in athletics administration and coaching since the early 1980s. She first became involved with Bree AC as Juvenile Coach and Club PRO, going on to become Secretary in 2006. Her involvement at county level began in 1999 when she took over from John Godkin as Wexford BLOE Secretary under Chairman Jim McGee. In 2000, the year the AAI was formed, Clare was Assistant Co Sec with responsibility for Juvenile Events. The following year, she was elected Co Secretary and remained in that position until 2011. During those years, the position of Co Secretary involved looking after the admin side as well as organising both Senior & Juvenile Championship events. She also took on the role of Co Registrar in 2004. From 1999 to 2011, Clare attended Leinster Meetings as a Co Delegate as well as attending National Congress on many occasions. She was elected Leinster Registrar in 2004, and became Recording Secretary in 2008. She retired from this position in 2010 when she was elected Leinster Indoor Sec. As a Leinster Committee member, she worked at championship events, mostly as Time Recorder and Photo Finish Judge. Clare is still very much involved with her club, serving as Secretary, PRO and Juvenile Coach.