Medals galore for Juveniles at National T&F!

Roisin O’Reilly on her way to winning the Girls U18 2000m Steeplechase on Day 1 of the Irish Life Health National Juvenile Track and Field Championships in Tullamore. Photo: Senan O’Reilly

Day 1 Report

Day 1 of the Irish Health National Juvenile Track and Field Championships took place on Sunday the 7th of July in Tullamore. Athletes from all corners of the country travelled to the Midlands with many of them aiming high. Amongst them, was a large contingent of athletes from Wexford’s clubs, who were all hoping to make their mark.

Darra Casey, Bree AC has reigned supreme this season. The sprint hurdler had already won 3 All-Ireland titles in 2019 and was looking to add a fourth this time round. The National U17 Indoor Champion, Irish Schools Champion and Taillteann Games champion was the heavy favourite going into the race. Darra got away to a great start and gradually built up a lead, nailing his hurdling technique along the way. After successfully navigating the last hurdle, he strode further clear to win the U17 Boys 100m Hurdles race in a time of 14.01s. Darra will be in action later this month in the SIABs School International in Swansea, where he will no doubt be in contention for a medal.

In the Girls U14 75m Hurdles, Ruby Reynolds of Menapians AC and Abbie Doyle of Bree AC both made the final. Ruby and Abbie both had great races with Ruby finishing 3rd in a time of 11.77s and Abbie finishing 5th in a time of 12.23s.

In the Girls U13 60m Hurdles, Katie Doyle of Bree made the final and finished 7th in a time of 10.45s.

Roisin O’Reilly was back in action over the barriers in the Girls U18 2000m Steeplechase. The Menapians athlete has been selected to compete for Ireland in the event at the upcoming European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku, Azerbaijan. An athlete of Roisin’s calibre is always expected to be in the mix for medals at the Nationals and that was the case again in Tullamore. Roisin led her race from the start, building up a lead on rival Roisin Treacy (Ashford AC). As the race progressed, Roisin was relentless and continued to build up her lead. Despite not being as efficient over the barriers as she would want to be, Roisin still took victory comfortably by over 10 seconds in a time of 7.08.98 mins.

Roisin’s clubmate Ciara Dolan competed in the Girls U17 2000m Steeplechase. Ciara put in a strong performance to win her first national medal, placing 3rd in a time of 8.26.36 mins, which was also a new PB.

Morgan Haydon, finished 6th in the Boys U18 3000m Steeplechase. The Menapians man who is a newbie to the sport, ran a time of 10.42 mins. This was only 10 seconds of a medal, which is a very strong performance for a first All-Irelands.

Myles Hewlett of United Striders AC was in action in the Boys U15 800m. Myles, who has won many a National medal, Indoor, Outdoor and in Cross Country was hoping to add to his haul. Despite not automatically qualifying to the final, Myles made it in as a fastest loser. This may have concerned some but not those who are familiar with Myles as a runner. When the going gets tough, Myles gets tougher! In the final, he had an even quicker race and was made to fight for a national medal. He finished 3rd, in a time of 2.08.51 mins and won a well-deserved bronze medal.

Myles clubmate Darragh Flannelly finished 8th in the Boys U16 800m. Darragh led the race up until 200m to go and was just out kicked in the last 100m, when a number of athletes passed him in the home straight. His time of 2.07.62 mins was impressive however.

Another United Striders man, Adam O’Connor was unfortunate to miss out on a place in the Boys U17 800m final, in a really quick heat. He finished 10th in a time of 2.11.44 mins.

Danika Gilshinan of St. Paul’s competed in the Girls U17 800m. In what was an exceptionally fast race, Danika placed 5th in a time of 2.23.82 mins. The race was won by Schools champion Aimee Hayde (Newport AC).

Jack Forde of St Killians AC was in action in the Boys U17 Triple Jump. The successful multi-eventer, who recently placed fourth in the Youth Decathlon at the National Combined Events Championships was fancied by many for a medal. As the Triple Jump is not one of the ten events in the decathlon, Jack has not been prioritising it of late but that definitely didn’t show on the day. His best jump came in the first round, where he jumped 12.22m. This placed him 2nd and he held onto that position for the remainder of the competition, meaning he took a silver medal back to Wexford.

Orlaith Deegan of SBR was competing in the Girls U15 High Jump. Orlaith, who like the aforementioned Jack, is a strong multi-eventer, who is strong in multiple events. The High Jump is arguably the event she excels in most and she showed her great strength in the event by winning a great silver medal, being only one of two athletes to clear 1.55m.

Rachel Gregg of D.M.P AC was one of the favourites to make the podium in the Girls U16 Triple Jump. Gregg who is strong in the Long Jump as well, held the lead for most of the competition. It what was a nail-biting final round, Rachel jumped 10.54m while Michaela Galvin (Letterkenny AC), who had been behind Rachel for all of the competition jumped 10.56m to seal gold. Nevertheless a National silver medal is a great achievement.

In the same competition, Saidbhe Byrne (Enniscorthy AC) placed 4th, with a best jump of 10.19m, only missing out on bronze by 5cm.

Bronagh O’Hanlon of Taghmon AC won a silver medal in the Girls U19 Hammer Throw. Bronagh threw a best of 31.76m to end her juvenile track and field career on a high!

Day 2 Report!

Day 2 of the Irish Life Health National Juvenile Track and Field Championships took place on Saturday in Tullamore. As ever, the standard at a National Championships was very high. A large number of athletes from Wexford made the two and a half hour journey up from the Midlands, some of them with high hopes of making the podium, others just looking forward to the experience.

On the track, one of the standout performances was by Taghmon AC’s Aisling Kelly. Aisling seems to be an ever present on the podium these days and continues to deliver great performances when it matters most. She has achieved a number of personal best performances this season and was recently called up to the Irish squad for the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the SIABs Schools International in Swansea later this month. On Saturday, Aisling competed in the U17 100m. Aisling eased through her heat and was the fastest qualifier for the final. However, she could not relax as in the final she was going to have stiff competition in the lanes beside her. In the final, she produced an excellent performance running a time of 12.38s into a headwind to take the title. This was a super result, as sprint medals are very hard to win at national level.

Orlaith Byrne also made a sprint final. The SBR athlete finished 8th in the Girls U15 100m, in a time of 13.18s.

Blanaid Fogarty of Enniscorthy AC finished 7th in the U18 Girls 400m. Blanaid ran a good race to finish in 61.55s.

Conor Brennan of D.M.P AC was also in action in the 400m. He just missed out on making the U18 Boys final, running 53.83s.

Stepping up in distance, Claragh Keane was in action in the Girls U16 3000m. In what was Claragh’s first track All Irelands she performed extremely well. Claragh won a bronze medal in a time of 10.55 mins.

As mentioned numerous times in these reports, walking is really on the rise in Wexford and on Saturday several Wexford athletes excelled in these races.

Ciara Mooney of Adamstown and Isabel Bawden of United Striders competed in the Girls U15 2000m walk. Both girls continue to have great success in the event. On Saturday Ciara finished 2nd, winning silver, in a time of 10.52 mins. Isabel just missed out on the medals, finishing 4th in a time of 11.39 mins.

Ciara Mooney on the podium with her silver medal in the 2000m Walk on Day 2 of the Irish Life Health National Juvenile Track and Field Championships in Tullamore.

James Hanlon of Taghmon AC finished 2nd in the Boys U18 5000m walk. He finished in a time of 25.26 mins, a very strong performance. James is part of the Irish team for the upcoming SIABs International Schools competition in Swansea.

Owen Lennon of United Striders AC finished 3rd in the Boys U16 3000m walk. Owen finished in a time of 18.23 mins.

Aoibhinn Crean of Adamstown finished 5th in the U17 Girls 3000m walk.

There was some very good performances in the throwing events.

Gergely Pap won the Boys U18 Shot Put. Gergely, has represented Ireland in SIABs last year and is also on the team this year. He has also won numerous National medals down the years so it was no surprise that the St. Paul’s AC man was back on top of the podium. He managed to throw a best of 14.82m to take victory. He also finished 4th in the Discus, only missing out on a medal by 15cm.

Clubmate Erin Van Straaten also made the podium in the Girls U18 Shot Put. Van Straaten has had a lot of success so far since joining St. Paul’s AC at the start of this year and continued that trend with a 2nd place finish on Saturday, throwing 12m.

The Girls U19 Shot Put was also an exciting contest from a Wexford perspective. Lystus Ebosele of D.M.P AC took victory, throwing 12.10m. Eadaoin Stafford of Adamstown AC finished in 2nd, throwing 9.90m. That is a great result for the training partners.

Jack Forde of St Killians AC finished 4th in the Boys U17 Shot Put, only missing out on a medal by 5cm.

Eimear Halpin was in action in the Girls U16 Discus. Eimear continues to go from strength to strength as she finished 6th this year, one place higher than last year and threw a new PB of 25.82m.

Eimear’s younger brother Jack was in action in the Hammer Throw. He placed 7th, throwing 24.08m. This was a PB for Jack in his first All-Irelands.

Sonia Mooney of Adamstown AC finished 2nd in the Girls U19 Javelin. Mooney had a best throw of 25.83m.

In the U14 Girls Javelin competition, Grace Donohoe of Bree finished 4th, throwing a best of 27.47m.

Ruby Reynolds of Menapians finished 3rd in the Girls U14 Long Jump. She jumped 5.07m, which ensured she won the bronze medal by the smallest of margins, 1cm, ahead of the athlete in 4th.

In the Girls U16 Long Jump, Rachel Gregg of D.M.P AC finished 7th, jumping a best of 4.89m. This wasn’t too far off the medals.

In the Girls U19 Triple Jump, Tara Doyle of Adamstown finished 3rd, jumping 10.36m.

Dannan Long of Enniscorthy finished 11th in the Boys U15 High Jump. He had a best clearance of 1.50m. Brooklyn Meyler Smith of Menapians also competed in his first All-Irelands. Dannan also competed in the Long Jump, where he finished 9th, jumping 4.50m.

Jack Forde of St. Killians finished 2nd in the Boys U17 High Jump. Jack had a best clearance of 1.75m.

Day 3 Report!

The final day of the Irish Life Health National Juvenile Track and Field Championships took place on Sunday. There was plenty of medals up for grabs on what was a beautiful day in Tullamore. Several of Wexford’s top juveniles were hoping to come away with medals and for most end their season on a high!

Following a fantastic gold medal in the 100m the day prior, all eyes were on Aisling Kelly of Taghmon AC to see whether she could do the sprint double by winning the Girls U17 200m as well. In the heats, Aisling qualified comfortably, winning her heat in a time of 26.50s. The final was to be a tougher test but once again Aisling came out on top. Running into a headwind, Aisling clocked 25.30s to win gold. This was such an impressive performance, that she finished over half a second clear of the field. A sprint double is difficult to do so Aisling deserves massive credit for her achievement.

Aisling Kelly (Taghmon AC) on top of the podium after winning the gold medal in the Girls U17 200m on Day 3 of the Irish Life Health National Juvenile Track and Field Championships in Tullamore

Conor Brennan of D.M.P AC competed in the Boys U18 200m where he missed out on making the final, finishing 7th in his heat in a time of 24.52s.

Blanaid Fogarty of Enniscorthy AC made the final of the U18 Girls 200m. She went onto finish in 7th position in a time of 27.28s.

Ailbhe White, Menapians AC just missed out on making the final of the Girls U15 200m. She finished 4th in her heat, clocking 28.40s. The top 3 made it automatically.

Myles Hewlett was competing in the Boys U15 1500m and was heavily tipped for a medal. After winning a bronze in the 800m the week before, he was determined to try and replicate that if not go one step further. In what was a very tight race, Myles once again won a fantastic bronze medal, finishing just off the silver medallist in a time of 4.19.80 mins. This rounds off a very successful season for Myles.

Also running in the 1500m, was Danika Gilshinan of St. Paul’s AC. Danika was looking to run well, after a strong 5th place finish in the U17 800m the week before. Danika’s mam Anne is the World O55 Record holder in the event after running 4.41 mins recently in Belfast. In a quality field, Danika finished 7th in a time of 4.56 mins. This concludes a very good outdoor season for Danika.

In the Long hurdles, there was disappointment for Orlaith Byrne of SBR AC. She finished 2nd in the Girls U15 250m Hurdles but was later disqualified for a lane infringement. While this is disappointing for Orlaith right now, it is always the setbacks along the way that make success that little bit sweeter. Orlaith will be back on the podium at a National Championships in no time!

Maeve Hayes was hoping for two medals in both the U18 Girls Long Jump and High Jump. The St. Paul’s AC athlete is a regular on the Nationals podium and was hoping to climb it twice on Sunday. In the Long Jump, Maeve had a very good series of jumps. Her best jump of 5.46m, ensured that she finished in 2nd position. This was coincidentally the exact same mark as the gold medal winner. Further success came for Maeve in the High Jump. She won the bronze medal on countback, after herself and another athlete both cleared 1.60m. This goes to show just how important consistency is.

In the Girls U17 High Jump, Dearbhla O’Hanlon of Taghmon AC finished 8th, clearing a new PB of 1.40m in the process.

Jack Forde was looking to become the first Wexford juvenile athlete in quite some years to win a medal in the Pole Vault at the National Juvenile Championships. This is a new event for the successful multi-eventer from St. Killian’s AC. Jack managed to achieve the feat, finishing 3rd, with a new PB of 3.00m. He only lost out on a gold or silver on countback, with an early failure at 2.40m proving costly. Nevertheless Jack finishes this seasons All-Irelands with 3 medals, a fantastic achievement.

Jack Forde on the podium with his Bronze medal in the Boys U17 Pole Vault on Day 3 of the Irish Life Health National Juvenile Track and Field Championships in Tullamore

D.M.P AC’s Lystus Ebosele was looking to add to her gold medal in the Shot Put that she had achieved the day before in the Girls U19 Discus. Ebosele has represented Ireland on a couple of occasions and is a fantastic and gifted thrower. In the Discus, she won yet another gold medal, throwing 36.91m, nearly two metres clear of the 2nd placed athlete. Training partner Eadaoin Stafford of Adamstown AC finished 4th, with a best throw of 25.33m.

Jack Halpin was in action in the Boys U14 Discus. The Menapians man threw yet another new PB to finish in 7th place. He had a best throw of 22.21m. That is two new Personal Bests for Jack over the weekend, a great achievement to perform so well at a National Championships.

In the Javelin, Saidbhe Byrne of Enniscorthy AC was in top form. The multi-eventer competed in the Girls U16 competition and threw a new PB of 35.87m to finish 2nd. It is always great to produce a personal best when it matters most in a Championships.

Ciara Mooney of Adamstown AC, fresh from winning a medal in the walk the day before, finished 6th in the Girls U15 javelin. Ciara had a best throw of 29.50m.

Cian Bates of Kilmore placed 5th in the Boys U19 Long Jump. The Leinster champion put together a consistent performance to equal his Personal Best in the 2nd round, with a jump of 6.09m.

This rounds up the National Juvenile Track and Field Championships and thus the end of a number of athlete’s fine outdoor seasons. Some of them will still be in action in the SIABs, European Youth Olympic Festival, one or two potentially at the National Seniors and others at the Mr Oil County Senior Track and Field Day 2 on July 31st. There is still plenty of action left this season on the athletics scene.

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