The Leinster Juvenile Pairs, which took place last weekend in Tullamore, is a much anticipated event on the annual athletics calendar especially for those clubs strong in the younger ages.
From U9 to U11, athletes pair up to compete in one or more of a number of events: Long Jump, Turbo Javelin, 60-80m sprints, and middle distance (300-600m). Their times, and/or best distances, are totted up to give their overall placing. While it is an unfortunate reality that a win-at-all-costs sense of competitiveness is as present in the younger groups as it is further up the line, events such as this help children appreciate that there is another side to athletics. This other side concerns itself with team-work, loyalty and, regardless of whether one is leading or is down the field, never giving up.
Bree AC has a habit of doing well at the Leinster Pairs and, on the evidence of last Saturday, it is a habit they have no intention of breaking. Leah Bolger and Ava Doyle placed 3rd in the U10 Long Jump Pairs and 7th, on aggregate time, in 60m Pairs. In the latter event Ava was 3rd in heat 1 while Leah was 3rd in heat 7. The club’s U11 pairing of Kiera Wilson and Ciara Laffan placed a very close 2nd in Long Jump and 4th in the sprint, just 0.05 off Bronze. Ciara won her heat in impressive style, running the joint 2nd fastest time of the day. Rachel Doyle, competing without a partner, was 4th in her heat of U9 60m.
The Bree boys were up for the challenge as well with PJ Breen and Jayden Kenny winning U10 Long Jump Pairs and taking Bronze in 60m sprint, Jayden winning his heat in the latter. Competing in U9 category, Shane Laffan and Billy Doyle were 3rd in Long Jump Pairs and 4th in 300m.
Menapians duo Cian Donovan and Alfie Whelan were 6th overall in 60m Pairs, Cian having won his heat with the 3rd fastest time of the day. The boys also competed in 600m with Cian placing 2nd in his heat and Alfie 4th in his. Their combined time left them just a second off Bronze in 4th place.
Artem Kelly and Elijah Page Redmond of St Paul’s AC were 2nd in U10 Turbo Javelin and 6th overall in the sprint.
The Taghmon duo of Kayleigh Buttler and Emma Creane were 4th in U9 Turbo Javelin Pairs and 11th in 60m Pairs.
Last Saturday’s programme also included a number of U12 and U13 events. Kevin O’Mahony (DMP), following up on a very successful County Championships, took the win in U12 60m. He went on to place joint 7th in High Jump behind club-mate Michael Kent in 4th. Michael also placed 4th in Shot Putt. Shannon Codd (DMP) was 2nd in U12 Girls Shot Put (2kg). In U13 80m final the judges spent some time poring over the images on the photo-finish screen before announcing that Bree’s Abbie Doyle was 3rd, just 0.01 behind 2nd. Kara Morrissey, St Killian’s AC, was 6th in the final of U12 60m. Ava Byrne (Enniscorthy) placed 9th in U13 600m. Katie Foley (Kilmore) ran 2.18 in her 600m.
There was success for the county teams in the Inter County 4x100m relays with Wexford’s U11 and U13 Boys winning Silver medals. The Wexford U11 Girls team, made up entirely of Bree girls Leah Bolger, Kiera Wilson, Ava Doyle and Ciara Laffan, finished in the Bronze medal position.