Time to journey down to Nenagh again as the first weekend of the National Juvenile Indoors arrived. Craughwell AC had 11 athletes in action over the 2 days:-  

- Claire Ryder and Ella Bryan in U12 girls long jump
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Maireád McCan in U13 girls long jump
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Sarah Helebert in U15 girls high jump
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Ashley McDonnell in U15 girls 60m hurdles
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Cathriona Farrell in U16 girls long jump and high jump
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Rachel Finnegan in U16 girls 60m hurdles
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Jack Raftery in U13 boys 60m sprint
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PJ Kelly in U13 boys long jump
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Paul McGill in U14 boys 60m sprint, shot putt and 60m hurdles
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Tomás Keehan in U15 boys 60m sprint and high jump

Cathriona was in action first in the U16 girl’s long jump. With limited practise in the long jump this year due to Junior Cert commitments and the unavailability of the long jump at Craughwell NS, Cathriona performed exceptionally well with strong jumping to leap 4.92m on her best attempt and take 5th place in the competition. It was a day to remember for Claire Ryder in the 2nd event of the day in the U12 girl’s long jump. With a PB from 2006 of 3.70m, Claire bettered this when jumping 3.99m in the Connacht Indoors in February, a jump which would take her close to the medals in the National finals.  A break on her first jump resulted in a slight adjustment to her mark/run-up and after that Claire simply sailed through the air recording a series of jumps above 4.20m and a breathtaking leap of 4.38m to claim the bronze medal in the competition, only 5cm away from gold medal position and only 2cm away from the previous National Record for this age group of 4.40m. Fantastic jumping and a huge addition to Claire’s PB in this event. Also coming back into top form, Ella Bryan added 12cm to her long jump PB in the same age group when jumping 3.57m.  With such strong jumping, both Claire and Ella can look forward with anticipation to the summer track and field where the long jump is a 2-person team event.

Next in action were our 2 U13 long jumpers, Maireád and PJ, with both jump competitions taking place at the same time. Maireád initially struggled to get a good mark for her run-up, breaking the board on her first 2 jumps. Making a significant adjustment for her 3rd jump, Maireád got it perfect to hit the board spot on and record a new PB of 4.04m – finishing 6th in the competition and putting her 3rd on the club’s all-time list for this age group, behind only Cathriona Farrell and Sarah Helebert.  PJ also struggled with his mark on his first few jumps. The sooner the better that the new facility is available at Craughwell NS for long jump, sprints etc – as it will allow these athletes realise their true potential. Adjustments to the mark helped PJ get it right later in the event, with a jump of 4.17m taking him into the final 8 and eventually finishing 7th, a jump which takes him to the top of the club rankings for U13 boys indoor long jump. 

The sprint events got underway with 3 athletes in action – Jack, Paul and Tomás. Jack ran well in his heat, recording 8.88s but just outside the qualifying time for the final, unfortunate perhaps to be in the slower of the 2 heats. Paul and Tomás both had great runs to make the final, with both recording new club records for these age groups of 8.34s and 8.09s.  Both had fine runs in the final with Paul finishing in 6th place in 8.37s and Tomás taking 5th in 8.04s, a further improvement on the club record. 

The U15 and U16 high jumps were next up and the final events of the day for the club. Sarah and Tomás were in action first in the U15s. Tomás jumped flawlessly clearing each height cleanly as the bar went up to 1.55m and then 1.60m. At 1.60m, Tomás struggled – clipping it as he sailed over it each time. With a little more practise, 1.60m will be no problem to him. Other athletes had problems at this height also, with only 2 going over it with the winning jumps as they didn’t progress over further heights. With an athlete from Westport having also cleared 1.55m, Tomás had to wait a few anxious moments to find out the results and was awarded the bronze medal as the Westport athlete had knocked the bar on earlier attempts and Tomás had cleared 1.55m without knocking the bar at any time.  A new PB for Tomás and a bronze to add to his gold from last year in the Outdoors! 

Jumping in the U15 girl’s event, Sarah was tackling this event with new confidence having mastered the art of the flopping over the bar for the first time earlier this year. Clearing 1.35m and 1.40m, Sarah successfully set a new PB when clearing 1.45m. 1.50m proved a leap too much and Sarah exited at this height – with only 4 jumpers clearing this height and no more. So only 5cm away from the winning jump – this was a fantastic improvement for Sarah and augurs well for the future.

Onto the final event of the day with Cathriona jumping in the U16 girls high jump. Cathriona has had a great year so far this year, setting a new PB of 1.72m in the indoor combined events earlier in the year. Displaying great concentration, Cathriona joined the competition when the bar went to 1.50m, clearing it easily. Coming back in when the bar went to 1.60m, she again had plenty to spare when clearing it, causing a little wobble as her leg grazed it. With just 4 competitors over this height, the bar went to 1.63m. Cathriona opted to pass on this height and wait for 1.66m. One athlete cleared it on her second attempt, so only 2 were left for 1.66m. Unluckily for Cathriona, she was well over the height on her first 2 attempts but caught it with her legs on the descent. The other athlete, Mary Kate Lanigan from Kilkenny failed on her 3 attempts, so Cathriona had one last attempt to clear it. Unfortunately on this occasion, it didn’t work out and Cathriona injured her ankle slightly as she took-off and brought down the bar. Still top-class jumping and a silver medal when the bars knocked by other competitors at earlier heights were taken into account. Cathriona has a lot to look forward to in the summer months once the Junior Cert is out of the way. 

The following day belonged to Paul McGill where he again broke the National shot putt record for his age group. Having taken part earlier in the 60m hurdles where he qualified for the finals, Paul had the distraction during the earlier rounds of the shot putt of waiting to hear if the hurdles final would take place during or after the shot putt. His earlier throws were still plenty to win the competition with, ranging from 11 to 11.95m. When the hurdles final was announced during the shot putt, Paul decided to forfeit the hurdles final and stick with the shot putt. It was only then that he could focus on the shot properly and on his last attempt threw it a huge 12.15m (over 2m clear of the silver medallist!) to set a new National Record and seal a fine gold medal which all of his earlier throws would have claimed. The old National Record stood at 11.85m and this is the 3rd time that Paul has set a National Record in his age group – tremendous performances. 

Also in action on the same day were Ashley McDonnell and Rachel Finnegan in the U15 and U16 60m hurdles where both put in fine performances to make the finals of their event. Ashley finished in 6th place in her final in a time of 10.84s while Rachel took 8th place in her final in a time of 10.22s. 

Overall it was a good weekend for the club, with 4 medals, numerous PBs and several final appearances. There will be more athletes in action in a few weekends time on 14/15 April when further individual events and the relays take place. In the individual events, we have

Linda Porter in U14 girls 800m
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Maeve Curley in U16 girls 1500m Walk
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Claire Ryder and Ella Bryan in U12 high jump
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Caoimhe Quill and Jack Raftery in U13 high jump
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Orla Ryan, Ross Haverty and David Farrell in U14 high jump
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Sarah Helebert and Tomás Keehan in U15 long jump
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Brian Tarpey in U12 shot putt
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Cathal Coppinger and PJ Kelly in U13 shot putt

And in the relays, we have teams in

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U12, U13, U14 and U15 boys
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U12 and U14 girls 

Good luck to all!           

Sunday the 8th. .