The Mr Oil Wexford Track & Field Championships got underway last Friday evening at the DMP grounds in Drinagh, Wexford. The balmy early Summer weather made for ideal conditions for competing. The programme, with events for senior and a small number of the older underage categories, was limited to high jump, long jump, hammer and discus. Despite the relatively low turnout, there were some keenly fought competitions and several noteworthy results.
Talented all-rounder Michael Kent of DMP won under 17 and senior long jump with a best effort of 6.23 metres. Lucas Page Redmond of Menapians took silver in both categories (4.99 metres), while Keelan Dobbs of Enniscorthy AC was third senior. Michael was the undisputed winner of the high jump in under 17 and senior, clearing 1.80 metres with Keelan taking silver in the senior event.
Chloe Reck of St Killian’s and Nicole Lageu of DMP battled it out in long jump (under 17 and senior) with Chloe coming out ahead, her best jump being 4.83 metres. The girls faced-off again in the high jump, Chloe once again taking gold with 1.24 metres, just 3 cms ahead of Nicole.
Attention then moved to the throwing cage for the hammer. Competitors were fortunate in having the very experienced former international Ailish O’Brien on hand to offer the occasional word of advice. Alex Lonergan of Menapians won the under 15 title with a best of 21.42 metres, clubmate Lorcan Carroll was second (19.40 metres) and Jack Browne of Enniscorthy was third (16.85 metres). Liam Carroll, Menapians, claimed the senior title with 19.10 metres, Keelan Dobbs, Enniscorthy, taking silver.
The senior women’s title went to Deirdre Bowers of Enniscorthy (13.60 metres) with Tracey Nolan, Menapians, second (12.96 metres).
It was 1,2,3 for Enniscorthy in the under 15 hammer, Lilly Gradacz taking gold (15.90 metres), Layla Brady silver (15.41 metres) and Jessica Mitten bronze (16.89 metres).
Lea Bolger, Bree AC, claimed the under 15 title with the most impressive overall throwing of the evening, her best effort being 33.94 metres. Nicole Lageu won the under 17 event.
The women’s discus competition witnessed some valiant throwing along, it must be said, with throwing of the wayward kind. The star performer of the evening was Áine Cullen of United Striders. She put her experience to good use, winning the senior title with ease (20.26 metres). Lisa Breen of Enniscorthy was second (16.94 metres) and Nicole Lageu was third (13.21 metres), just ahead of Tracey Nolan.
Nicole’s throw was good enough to give her another under 17 event gold, with Chloe Reck this time having to settle for silver. Victory in under 16 discus went to Lilly Gadacz (16.88 metres) with Layla Brady second (16.26 metres) and Ava Barry Kilmore third (15.89 metres). Jessica Mitten Enniscorthy was 4th. It was 1-2-3 for Kilmore in under 14 discus, Kate Fortune taking gold (12.44 metres), Faye Barry finishing a close second (12.41 metres) and Jaden Ryan third (10.30 metres).
Liam Carroll claimed a second gold, winning the senior men’s discus with Keelan Dobbs taking the silver. Michael Kent won the under 17 event (24.81 metres) with Jack Browne taking the under 16 title (22.85 metres) and Charlie Fogarty of DMP the under 14 gold medal winner.
While the jumps and throws evening may have signalled the start of the county track & field season, last Sunday’s juvenile t&f championships at Enniscorthy Sports Hub was the big event of the weekend. With the weather gods continuing to smile down on Wexford, conditions could not have been better. Athletes from all over the county turned up in droves to give of their best, many with eyes on a podium place at the Leinster Championships, a smaller number thinking beyond that. All told, it was a day filled with many close-fought battles, several great solo efforts and a few surprises. The championships conclude in Enniscorthy on Sunday, May 14th.