Wexford last evening hit the first of the twin peaks that mark the highpoint of the county’s Summer athletics calendar. Day 1 of the Mr Oil Wexford Open T&F Championships was held, in near perfect conditions, at the Enniscorthy Sports Hub. While competitive instincts were well honed, the general vibe was relaxed and convivial, just as it should be on such an occasion. Mind you, it’s a pity there were not more people there to experience it. The idea to open the event to non-Wexford club athletes did not have the desired effect of pulling in athletes from neighbouring counties. In time, however, and maybe with a bit of tweaking this approach may well bear fruit. At the same time, there is still work to be done at persuading more athletes from within the county to participate. The only clubs with decent number of athletes in attendance were Enniscorthy, Slaney Olympic, Menapians and DMP. Several clubs had zero athletes competing. If it is the case that other counties are noticing a fall-off in numbers for their championship events, it may be time to put practicalities before tradition and consider a 3 or 4 county event in place of separate (and under-attended) county meets.
This was an evening at which the focus was on giving it a lash rather than on breaking records. Most people participated in more than one event. There were still several fine solo efforts, including Chloe Reck (St Killian’s) in senior 100 metres and triple jump, Blanaid Fogarty (Enniscorthy) in 400 metres, Maria Coone (DMP) in the under 17 3000 metres, Róisín O’Reilly (UCD/Guest) and Niall Sheil in their 1500 metres races.
International pole vaulter Michael Bowler got his first opportunity since the European Games in Poland to use the poles that never made it to Poland – they got left behind at Dublin Airport! He admitted that the whole experience of that trip had left him a tad rattled, especially having to use poles that were completely alien to him. While he may kept the bar low in Enniscorthy, everyone looking on thought that he looked as smooth as ever.
The most exciting finish of the evening came in the senior women’s 4×100 metres relay in which DMP shaded it over Enniscorthy.
Day 2 of the championships happens at Enniscorthy Sports Hub on Wednesday next (July 19). Registration from 6.30pm and first event at 7pm. €5 admission charge. Come along and see what you have been missing!