Round One of the Irish Life Health National League took place recently in Templemore, Co. Tipperary. Both Wexford County Men and Wexford County Women were in action in Division 1 and the Premier Division respectively. The men managed by County Chairman, Paddy Morgan (Kilmore AC) have a really strong team this year and will be looking for a place in the Premier Division. The women, who are managed by John Hayes (St. Paul’s AC), will be looking to consolidate their place in the Premier Division. Their team still has a lot of juvenile athletes involved.
As mentioned, the men’s team have high hope of promotion and they had multiple strong performances and what was a great day for them.
Michael Bowler, was a notable performer. The National Indoor Pole Vault Champion from earlier this year, Mr Oil County Senior Athlete of the Year 2018 and talented multi-eventer from Enniscorthy AC competed in the 110m Hurdles, 100m’s and the Pole Vault. In each of these events he earned valuable points for the team. He won the hurdles race by over a second, finishing in a time of 15.17s. He followed that success up with a second place finish in the 100m’s in a time of 11.27s. In the Pole Vault, an event in which he is considered to be the best in the country in he finished well clear of fellow multi-eventer Shane Aston (Meath County), jumping a best of 4.40m. The Pole Vault is an event that Michael is trying to develop in Wexford currently. With the facilities in place, Michael put on a great demonstration at the recent County Juvenile Championships in Enniscorthy.
Joe Mooney (Adamstown AC) took maximum points in the walks. Joe has already won the Irish Universities title this year for DCU and continues to always be committed to putting on the purple and gold singlet. In the 3000m race, he finished in a time of 14:18s.
Aedan Rodgers (United Striders AC) was in action in the 800m and the 1500m, the day after his 4th place finish in the Munster Schools Track and Field Championships. Rodgers, who last year was a County Senior medalist in Cross Country and Road, is a hot prospect at the moment. In Templemore, he finished 4th in his 800m race in a time of 2:08:46s. He also came 4th in the 1500m’s, running the race in a time of 4:11:97s.
Adam Fitzhenry (Adamstown AC) was our representative in the 200m’s. Fitzhenry ran a strong race to finish 3rd in a time of 23.30s.
The county were also represented well in the field events. Tom Furlong (DMP AC) was in action in both the Hammer Throw and the 56lb Weight for Distance. In the Hammer, Tom was over 20 metres clear of his nearest rival, throwing a massive 62.79m. The Weight for Distance saw Tom also earn maximum points and finish 1st with a throw of 6.71m.
Furlong’s clubmate, Peter O’Shea won the Men’s Javelin. He threw a best of 57.05m to seal victory. Another DMP man, Padraig Hore, comfortably won the discus, throwing 41.03m and finished 2nd in the Shot Put throwing 11.56m.
U17 athlete Jack Forde, like Michael Bowler, is another impressive multi-eventer on the team. The St. Killian’s man competed in both the High Jump and the Triple Jump and had also competed the day before at the Leinster Schools Championships. In the High Jump, Jack finished 5th with a best of 1.75m. In the Triple Jump, Jack took the victory, with a best of 12.35m.
Peter O’Connor (Enniscorthy AC), was 3rd in the Long Jump, jumping 6.05m. O’Connor also competed in the 400m Hurdles, where he finished 2nd in a time of 64.69s.
In the relays, the Wexford 4x400m team only missed out on victory by two hundredths of a second. They finished 5th in the 4x100m race.
After the opening round, the Men’s team currently lie top of the table and in a strong position for promotion.
The County women fielded a young team, who had a large number of athletes involved who had competed in various events.
Fiona Kehoe (Kilmore AC), had finished 3rd in the Irish Milers Club Meet in Irishtown the day before, where she also paced the 1500m race. In Templemore, she raced the 1500m’s where she was the firm favourite to win. In the end, she won comfortably, having 20 seconds to spare on her nearest challenger. Fiona’s time of 4:35 was decent going for a solo effort at the front.
Maeve Hayes competed in a couple of events. The St. Paul’s athlete, was in action at the Leinster Schools Championships the day previous. Hayes competed in the 400m’s, the High Jump and the Javelin. In the 400m’s, Maeve placed 4th, running a time of 63.16s. Maeve won the High Jump, her preferred event of the 3, with a best jump of 1.60m. Maeve also placed 3rd in the javelin, throwing 23.75m.
Aoife Ni Eochaidh (United Striders AC) was our representative in the 400m Hurdles and was also a guest in the 100m’s. Valuable points were earned, when Ni Eochaidh finished 2nd in the hurdles with a time of 75.09s. She ran her 100m’s in a time of 13.78s.
Representing Wexford in that 100m race was Eva Murphy (DMP AC). Murphy ran a time of 13.19s to finish 4th.
Liz Egan (Bree AC) has won numerous National medals in the steeplechase down the years. She competed in that event in Templemore and finished 3rd in a time of 13:05:09s.
U17 athletes, Aisling Kelly (Taghmon AC) competed in the 200m’s. Aisling who won two bronze medals at the Leinster Schools Championships the day before showed no signs of tiring as she finished 2nd in Templemore with a time of 26.31s.
Danika Gilshinan (St. Paul’s AC) had also competed at the schools the day before in Santry. Gilshinan competed in the 800m race and finished 4th in a time of 2:21:35.
Jenny Higgins (St. Paul’s AC) represented the team in the 3000m. Higgins placed 6th in a time of 12:30.
Emma Owens (St. Paul’s AC) had two good victories in the throws. In the Hammer, Owens threw 41.90m and in the Discus she had a best throw of 36.71m.
Hannah Roche Kelly (Taghmon AC) finished 5th in the Long Jump, jumping 4.16m.
Erin Van Straaten (St. Paul’s) who had won a silver medal in the Shot Put the day before at the Leinster Schools Championships, finished 3rd throwing a best of 10.33m.
Claire Doyle (United Striders AC), finished 6th in the Triple Jump, with 8.62m.
The 4x100m relay team finished 3rd in a time of 50.88s.
That leaves the Women’s team in 4th place after round one, however there is still plenty to play for.
Round 2 of the National League takes place on Sunday the 30th of June, with both teams in action in Morton Stadium, Santry. Both county teams will be looking to push on and ensure they make the finals in Tullamore.