Leinster Schools T&F 2023

The Leinster Schools Athletics Championships took place on Wednesday and Saturday of last week in the iconic Tullamore Harriers Stadium. Weather conditions on both days were very good. If the weather was calm, the action on the track and the in-field was anything but with plenty of hellfire and brimstone battles taking place. Those participating were already battle-hardened, having qualified from the different sub-regions within the province.

Wexford’s best showed once again that they are capable of mixing it with the traditional heavy-hitters in schools’ athletics such as Belvedere College, Newbridge College, Loreto Kilkenny and St. Leo’s, Carlow.

Starting with track and one of our leading athletes, Dannan Long of FCJ Bunclody and Enniscorthy AC. Dannan powered away from a competitive field in the senior 200 metres to win in an impressive 21.9 seconds. He was very unlucky in his 100m as a fault with the starting blocks meant he was left behind at the gun. He still managed to spring 11.33 seconds and a 6th place finish. Sprints at senior level have traditionally been seen as being the most competitive, and therefore most prestigious, events in schools T&F. For Dannan to win the 200 metres so comprehensively sends out a clear signal that he is one to watch, something we in Wexford have known for years!

In the intermediate 300 metres, Cara Kelly (Loreto Wexford) summoned the wherewithal to push late and claim a silver medal in a time of 41.6 seconds. Jack Browne (FCJ Bunclody) finished 6th in the junior 200m, but claimed victory in the long jump with a jump of 5.81 metres. Stephanie O’Connor (Coláiste Bríde Enniscorthy) took the gold medal in the under 16 200 metres (26.32 seconds).

The distance events also had plenty of Wexford representation. Rachel Murphy (OLOL Rosbercon) was 12th in the minor 500 metres, while Katie Hayden (St. Mary’s New Ross) placed 11th in the minor 1100 metres. Ruby Gallagher O’Reilly (Gorey CS) was 5th in junior 800m, while Aoife Walsh (Loreto Wexford) secured the bronze medal in the same event at inter level in an impressive 2.18.44 minutes. Emma Hickey (St. Mary’s New Ross) finished just outside the medals in 4th position in junior 1500 metres. A member of United Striders, Emma has really improved over the last year. At under 16 level, introduced some years ago to bridge the big jump from junior to the under 17 intermediate level, both Max Murphy (Good Counsel) and Éabha Keane (Presentation Wexford) had fine runs, with Max winning a bronze and Éabha finishing in 5th position. Claragh Keane (Presentation Wexford) showed a return to form, getting 2nd in senior 1500m steeplechase and 3rd in 3000 metres flat.

Wexford won three medals in race walking – Lily Ryan (OLOL Rosbercon) won the junior girls event, Maria Coone (Loreto Wexford) took the intermediate title (as well as placing 6th in 3000 metres), while Ciara Mooney (St. Mary’s New Ross) won silver in a competitive senior event.

The ever-reliable Saidhbhe Byrne (Coláiste Bhríde Carnew) won both the senior girls javelin (36.80m) and shot put (9.28m). Saidhbhe was the recent recipient of an award from Athletics Ireland for her achievements in the combined events. Shannon Codd (Presentation Wexford) finished 2nd in the South Leinster a week or so ago, in the intermediate hammer. This time she went one further, winning the event with a throw of 40.81 metres.

Likewise, Lea Bolger (Loreto Wexford) who won the hammer event at junior level and finished in 7th in sprint hurdles. Aisleann Mullally (OLOL Rosbercon) won a silver medal in junior shot put and was 4th in javelin, while Elijah Page Redmond (St. Peter’s) just missed out on a medal in junior javelin. Seán Halpin, also from St. Peter’s, won bronze in minor discus with a gap over the next competitor of 18 centimetres. James Prendergast (Good Counsel), the talented thrower who burst onto the athletics scene last year as a minor (and turned a few heads in the throwing community in the process), was 2nd in junior shot put. Shay Ellard (Bridgetown College), another relatively new arrival on the athletics scene, swapped his Wexford Wanderers rugby top for an athletics singlet and placed 3rd in under 16 shot.

Wexford success in jumps and throws did not stop there. Kara Morrissey (Presentation) was 3rd in intermediate pole vault, the only Wexford medal winner in this discipline. In triple jump, Abbie Doyle (Coláiste Bríde Enniscorthy) was 2nd at intermediate level, while the Bridgetown duo of Ava Barry (junior) and Ben Kelly (inter) finished in 6th and 7th position respectively. In high jump, Michael Kent (Good Counsel) was 2nd in inter boys and Neasa Long (FCJ Bunclody) was 8th in junior girls. The long jump also delivered plenty of successes: Chloe Reck (Coláiste Bríde Enniscorthy) followed up on her good form in the South Leinsters to win at under 16 level, Jack Browne won the junior event with a personal best of 5.81 metres, while Good Counsel had two gold medalists: the aforementioned Michael Kent winning at inter level and Daniel Redmond the minor event. Artem Kelly and Rayna Thompson were 4th and 8th respectively in junior long jump.

Qualifying athletes now go on to the All-Ireland Schools Championships in Tullamore on the June Bank Holiday. And, just in case you didn’t know, that is one of the most exciting meets of the year on the Irish sports calendar.

Wexford results
Lily Ryan (OLOL Rosbercon) – 1st junior girls 1200m walk (5.47.06 mins)
Ciara Mooney (St Mary’s New Ross) – 2nd senior girls 3000m walk (16.47.85 mins)
Lea Bolger (Loreto) – 1st junior girls hammer (33.28m), 7th 75m hurdles (15.02s)
Rachel Murphy (OLOL Rosbercon) – 12th minor girls 500 metres
Ruby Gallagher O’Reilly (Gorey CS) – 5th junior girls 800 metres (2.25.53 mins)
Stephanie O’Connor (Coláiste Bríde Enniscorthy) – 1st under 16 girls 200 metres (26.32s)
Jack Browne (FCJ Bunclody) – 1st junior boys long jump (5.81m), 6th 200 metres (25.13s)
Artem Kelly (Meanscoil Gharman) – 8th junior boys long jump
Katie Hayden (St Mary’s NR) – 11th minor girls 1100 metres
Emma Hickey (St Mary’s NR) – 4th junior girls 1500 metres (5.04.02 mins)
Éabha Keane (Presentation) – 5th under 16 girls mile (5.32.79 mins)
Max Murphy (Good Counsel) – 3rd under 16 boys mile (4.42.22 mins)
Rayna Thompson (Presentation) – 4th junior girls long jump (4.61m)
Chloe Reck (Coláiste Bríde, Enniscorthy) – 1st under 16 girls long jump (5.02m)
Ava Barry (Bridgetown College) – 6th junior girls triple jump (8.89m)
Ben Kelly (Bridgetown College) – 7th inter boys triple jump (8.91m)
Daniel Redmond (Good Counsel) – 1st minor boys long jump (5.01m)
James Prendergast (Good Counsel) – 2nd junior boys shot put (12.76m)
Shay Ellard (Bridgetown College) – 3rd under 16 shot put (11.50m)
Aisleann Mullally (OLOL Rosbercon) – 2nd junior shot put (9.34m), 4th javelin (25.59m)
Elijah Page Redmond (St Peter’s) – 4th junior boys javelin (32.43m)
Neasa Long (FCJ Bunclody) – 8th junior girls high jump
Dannan Long (FCJ Bunclody) – 1st senior 200 metres (21.91s), 6th 100 metres (11.33s)
Aoife Walsh (Loreto) – 3rd inter 800 metres (2.18.44)
Maria Coone (Loreto) 1st inter girls 2000m walk (11.41.87 mins), 6th 3000 metres (12.33.94)
Claragh Keane (Presentation) – 2nd 1500 metres steeplechase, 3rd senior 3000 metres (10.43.22)
Cara Kelly (Loreto) – 2nd inter 300 metres (41.61s)
Saidhbhe Byrne (Coláiste Bhríde Carnew) – 1st senior javelin (36.80m), 3rd shot put (9.28m)
Shannon Codd (Presentation) – 1st (3kg) hammer (40.81m)
Kara Morrissey (Presentation) – 3rd inter pole vault (2.50m)
Michael Kent (Good Counsel) – 1st inter long jump (6.60m), 2nd high jump (1.80m)
Abbie Doyle (Coláiste Bríde Enniscorthy) – 2nd inter triple jump (10.78m)

Full results