The Irish Life Health National Juvenile Indoor Championships took place in the state-of-the-art AIT International Arena, Athlone last weekend. Wexford’s clubs were well represented with an array of medal prospects, who were aiming for the podium. The athletes went home with multiple medals and many left with confidence boosting performances ahead of the busy Outdoor season to come.
Aisling Kelly, was without doubt one of the stand out performers of the weekend. The Taghmon AC athlete, is full of potential and ability and has had a superb indoor season. Going into the weekend Aisling, would’ve had her focus firmly on making the podium twice in the Girls U17 60m’s and the 200m’s. Saturday, saw the 60m races. Aisling first had to contend with a stacked heat, featuring many medal rivals. While only coming 3rd in her heat, her time of 7.80s was so impressive that she made it into the final. However, after failing to finish in the automatic qualifying positions, Aisling was left with the difficult task of running from lane 1 in the final. Not ideal circumstances. However, in the final she was lighting out of the blocks and produced the race of her life to claim a bronze, in a PB of 7.75s.
Day 2, saw Aisling back on track for the 200m. Cruising into the final, Aisling faced stiff competition from the likes of Helen Ikpotokin (St Michael’s AC, Offaly) and 60m champion Katie Monteith (City of Lisburn AC). Once again, Aisling produced another stunning performance to win yet another bronze medal. What a weekend and what an Indoor season from the girl from Taghmon.
Another athlete, who claimed double bronze over the weekend was the talented Maeve Hayes of St. Paul’s AC. Maeve was competing in both the Long Jump and the High Jump which she had great success in throughout the long indoor season. In the Girls U18 Long Jump, Maeve put together a consistent series of jumps, with her best of 5.29m ensuring that she won the bronze medal by the narrowest margins on countback, proving that consistency is key. In the High Jump, Maeve was comfortably ahead of the 4th placed finisher, with a best leap of 1.63m.
Myles Hewlett is arguably the most talented middle distance athlete to come out of Wexford in years. The United Striders man represented Ireland in the SIAB International Schools Cross Country in Santry last week and was now stepping down in distance and indoors to conclude his busy season. Having ran 2:08 to win the Leinster U15 800m, Myles was tipped by many to medal. He did exactly what many thought and had a strong race to win the bronze in 2:09.
Also in the 800m’s Danika Gilshinan (St. Paul’s AC) finished 6th in the U17 race in a time of 2:24:22. In the Boys U17 800m, Adam O’Connor (United Striders) was desperately unlucky not to make the final, finishing 4th in his heat.
The walks provided plenty of Wexford silverware on Saturday. The Girls U15 1000m walk had no less than three competitors from Wexford. Isabel Bawden of United Striders came home in 6th. Craanford Harriers Bridin Doyle was a clear winner by some 16 seconds. She was followed home by Adamstown’s Ciara Mooney, who took home a well-earned silver.
It was also a Wexford one-two in the Boys U18 1500m walk. Taghmon AC’s James Hanlon claimed victory. He was hotly pursued by United Strider’s man Ryan Kielty who won the silver. Race walking is definitely in good health in Wexford.
In the Boys U16 1500m, Darragh Flannelly of United Striders AC had a cracking race. In what was a close finish with less than two seconds separating Darragh from a medal, he finished 6th. Yet more impressive was his time, a 10 second PB of 4:25. Darragh can now look forward to the Outdoor season.
Kevin O’Mahony is as versatile as they get in the Wexford Athletics circle. Whether it’s the 60m sprint, the 600m, the Long Jump or Cross Country, Kevin generally performs very well across the board. This weekend was no exception. He won an excellent bronze medal in the U13 Long Jump on Saturday morning, only missing out on silver on countback. He jumped a great 4.66m. Not bad for an 11 year old! He returned in the afternoon, for round 2, the 60m’s and was unlucky not to make the final in that event, placing 5th in his very fast heat. On Sunday, he raced the 600m’s. This was probably a small step too far for Kevin and perhaps tiredness was an issue but he still gave a good account of himself and finished 13th in a time of 1:52s.
Wexford had a number of athletes competing in the Shot Put. On Saturday, DMP’s Shannon Codd was the winner of a bronze medal in the U13 Shot, throwing a best of 10.23m. Macamores Eva Casey finished 6th in the Girls U15 competition. Multi-eventer Saidhbhe Byrne was in action in the Girls U16 Shot and finished 6th.
It was a busy weekend for Saidhbhe, who competed in the High Jump on Saturday also and finished a fine 6th. On Sunday she was on track for the 60m Hurdles. She was joined in the race by DMP’s Jane Sinnott. In what was a tough heat, Saidhbhe finished 5th and Jane finished 6th.
Dara Casey of Bree produced the performance of his life, winning the U17 Boys 60m Hurdles in fine style and in the process coming away with a new PB of 8.65s.
In the same race, St. Killian’s Jack Forde, finished 5th. Forde had been on the podium earlier in the day, when he won the U17 High Jump. Jack was the only athlete in the field to clear 1.80m and was a well deserved winner of the national title. He will be in action in the Shot Put next weekend.
Ruby Reynolds was hotly tipped for success in the U14 Girls 60m Hurdles. With her fluid technique and speed, she was always in with a chance. Having only started the sport last year, her rise has been outstanding. On Sunday, she ran a time of 9.38s, secured her a National bronze medal. It was a busy weekend for Ruby who had come 10th in the Long Jump the previous day.
Emma McCarthy of St Killian’s was one of the youngest participants from the county at the weekend. Still only U12, she was fancied for a medal in the 600m race. The 3 lap event usually starts off at a frantic pace through the first 200m and this race was no different. Throughout the race, Emma ensured that she was in a good position and made her all important move with a lap to go. She had to fight all the way to the line to ensure that she won the bronze medal in a time of 1:52:20.
Michael Kent, was another athlete looking for a medal in the Boys U13 High Jump. He faced stiff competition but managed to hold onto the bronze medal on countback with a best jump of 1.45m. His clubmate, Darragh Stone competed in the Boys U12 High Jump, finishing 15th, with a best of 1.15m.
Also winning a High Jump medal at the weekend was Orlaith Deegan of SBR. Deegan was competing in the Girls U15 competition and produced a strong performance to win the bronze medal, jumping 1.50m. Interestingly, 5 more girls jumped 1.50m but it was Orlaith’s consistency in her early jumps that won her the bronze.
Cian Bates of Kilmore finished a fine 5th in the U19 Boys Long Jump. This was a great achievement, for someone who is only one year back in athletics and to add to that Bates best jump of 5.91m was a PB.
Kara Morrissey of Menapians and Layla Stafford of DMP were both in action in the Girls U13 Long Jump. Morrissey finished 14th and Stafford finished 16th.