It was a very busy Saturday in Tullamore last weekend for the Leinster Pairs, U12 and U13 Championships. While there were some nerves, generally the young athletes were up for the occasion and were excited about the prospect of representing their clubs and county at Leinster level, with many of them doing this for the very first time. Throughout the day, there was some excellent results by some of Wexford’s most talented young athletes, many of whom, who with the continued support of their clubs, coaches and families have the potential to go onto great things in the future.
Shannon Codd of D.M.P AC was one of the standout performers of the day in the Girls U13 Shot Put. Shannon is already a high achiever in the Shot Put. Earlier this year, in the National Juvenile Indoor Championships, she won a superb bronze medal, throwing 10.23m. This meant that on Saturday, she was one of the favourites. She led the competition from the outset by nearly a metre. However, it was in the last round that Shannon produced her best throw. Nailing her technique, she managed to fire the Shot 10.75m, a massive new personal best. This was a simply brilliant performance from Shannon who will now have another national medal in her sights. In that competition also, Enniscorthy’s Felicia Davis finished in 12th position.
Emma McCarthy of St. Killian’s AC is a fantastic young athlete. She proved this on the National stage earlier in the year when she won a bronze medal in the National Juvenile Indoor Championships in Athlone. Not afraid to front run, Emma was always likely to be in contention for a podium place in the Girls U12 600m in Tullamore. Emma got through a fast heat running a time of 1.52.88 mins to take victory. In that heat, Rayna Thompson of Kilmore AC, finished 8th. The final was to be even a faster race. Shona Lawrence of Ace AC, Co. Louth set an extremely quick race and went on to take victory in a time of 1.45mins, only a couple of seconds of Gorey and St. Laurence O’Toole AC’s, Co. Carlow, Corinne Kenny of 1.42mins in 2013. This did not unsettle Emma and she came home strongly to take a bronze medal, in a time of 1.51.06 mins. This was some five seconds faster than the athlete that finished in 4th. Also competing in the heats of the U12 Girls 600m were Eabha Keane of D.M.P AC who finished 7th and Emma Power of Kilmore AC who finished 9th.
Michael Kent is another fantastic young athlete who wears the red and white of D.M.P AC. Kent won multiple medals across a range of events at the County Championships in Enniscorthy. He excels in the High Jump and the Shot Put. Indoors this year, he won a National Bronze in the High Jump in Athlone. On Saturday Michael competed in both events and was in with a chance of winning medals in both. In the U13 Shot Put, Michael was a well-deserved winner of the bronze medal, managing a best throw of 9.74m. Michael was desperately unlucky not to win the gold medal in the U13 High Jump. He only missed out on securing top spot on the podium on countback but still won a silver. Clearing 1.40m at his age is no mean feat and suggests that Michael has plenty of potential in the event. In the same competition, Lucas Page Redmond of St. Paul’s AC placed 9th, clearing 1.15m.
In the Boys U12 High Jump, Darragh Stone of D.M.P AC won a silver medal. Darragh, along with two others cleared 1.25m. There is a great saying that ‘consistency is key’ and Darragh proved just that as his unblemished record up to 1.30m ensured that he won his medal.
Kara Morrisey of Menapians AC was in action in the U13 High Jump and 80m. In the High Jump, Kara cleared 1.25m, which was a new personal best and placed her in 6th. The 80m was to prove equally successful as once again Kara ran a PB to finish 7th in the final in a time of 11.62s. It was a great achievement to make it through two rounds of a very competitive competition. Equally as impressive is the fact that Kara’s times got faster in every round.
In the U12 Girls Shot Put Craanford Harriers AC had two athletes in action, Muireann Kavanagh and Grainne Denneghy. Muireann placed 4th only missing out on a place on the podium by 7cm while Grainne also had a strong performance to place 7th.
Cian Donovan of Bree AC made it all the way to the final of the Boys U12 60m. In the final, he finished 8th, in a time of 9.19s. Cian was also in action in his age groups 600m race. Like the 60m, he made it through the heats. In the final he finished an admiral 6th place, clocking 1.50.28 mins.
Ciara Laffan of Bree AC made it through her heat in the Girls U12 60m. In the semi-final Ciara placed 6th in a time of 9.63s.
Jack Browne of Enniscorthy AC also made the semi-final of the Boys U12 60m. In his semi, he finished 7th in a time of 9.61s. He also competed in the 600m where he finished 11th in his heat.
Like her clubmate Jack, Stephanie O’Connor made the semi-finals of the U12 Girls 60m. In this race, Stephanie finished 7th in a time of 9.55s.
Emma Power of Kilmore AC finished 9th in the U12 Girls High Jump, clearing 1.05m. Emma McCarthy of St. Killian’s AC finished 5th in the same competition jumping 1.20m.
Catherine O’Leary (St. Paul’s AC) finished 7th in her U10 500m race, in a time of 1.45 mins.
There was also several excellent performances by Wexford athletes in the Pairs Competition.
Bree AC’s U11 pairing of Jayden Kenny and PJ Breen won double gold in both the Long Jump and the 60m sprint. They won the sprint last year, when they were U10’s and the added gold in the Long Jump was a super achievement.
Lea Bolger and Sophie Sinnott, also of Bree won a bronze medal in the U11 Long Jump as a pairing. They also ran superbly in the 60m, missing out on a medal by only 0.01 of a second.
Bree’s U10 pairing of Billy Doyle and Shane Laffan took home the bronze medal in the Long Jump.
D.M.P’s U10 Girls pair of Judy Sinnott and Saoirse Flanagan finished 1st in the Long Jump and 3rd in the 60m.
The St. Paul’s pairing of Artem Kelly and Elijah Page Redmond finished 1st in the U11 Turbo Javelin.
Enniscorthy’s U11 pairing of Neasa Long and Aoife O’Connor placed 5th in the Turbo Javelin with a combined throw of 19.35m.
SBR’s U11 Pair of Enda Byrne and Paddy O’Neill competed in 60m’s, where they finished a fine 5th. Enda then teamed up with Aidan Browne in the Long Jump, where they finished 9th. It was Aidan and Paddy who joined forces for the 600m where they finished a strong 9th.
The success kept on coming for Wexford, with the Inter-County relays concluding the action.
Wexford’s U11 Boys 4x100m relay team were crowned Leinster Champions after a great race. The team comprised of Paddy O’Neill (SBR AC), Shane Laffan (Bree AC), Jayden Kenny (Bree AC), Thomas Brennan (Enniscorthy AC) and Elijah Paige Redmond (St. Paul’s AC).
Wexford’s U13 Girls won a bronze medal in their relay. The team was made up of Felicia Davis (Enniscorthy AC), Stephanie O’Connor (Enniscorthy AC), Ciara Laffan (Bree AC) and Kara Morrissey (Menapians AC).
The Boys U13 team just missed out on a medal by one hundredth of a second. Their team consisted of Cian Donovan (Bree AC), Sam Myers (United Striders AC), Olan Delaney (United Striders AC) and Lucas Paige Redmond (St. Paul’s AC).
Likewise, the Girls U11 team of Sophie Sinnott (Bree AC), Lea Bolger (Bree AC), Hazel Breen (Bree AC) and Faye McDonnell (Enniscorthy AC) finished 4th, missing out on a medal by less than a second.
For some of the athletes mentioned in this report attention will now turn to the National Championships in July, for others they left Tullamore with their heads held high knowing full well that they had done their families, clubs and county proud.