gold

Galway Community Games Champions
Mia Waters (80m Hurdles) and Eva Kelly (Shot Putt)

The annual pilgrimage to Ballindereen for the finals of the Galway Community Games took place as normal in its ancestral home at the weekend. While some may say the numbers are dwindling in the Community Games, it ain’t that way in Craughwell with 47 athletes taking part over the 3 days of competition and it’s as hard as ever to get through to National finals.

The finals kicked off with the jumps and discus taking place in Dangan last Thursday where Leanagh Gilligan won a scintillating U14 Girls Long Jump competition with a winning jump of 4.61m, 7cm clear of Athenry’s Zoe Moore. Leanagh’s cousin Caoimhe made it a memorable day for the Gilligan clan when leaping 4 metres to take the bronze medal in the same event. In the U16 high jump, Clarinbridge’s Lorraine Delaney took the Galway title with a fine leap of 1.45m while Craughwell’s Laura Cunningham took the U16 girls triple jump title. In the U16 discus, Emma Urquhart continued the winning ways for Craughwell when taking the gold with a throw of 15.20m while Micheál McFadden took silver in the U16 Boys event with a throw of 12.80m.

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Craughwell U14 Boys 4x100m Relay - Silver Medallists at the Galway Community Games 2015

The action then moved to Ballindereen for the weekend. With predictions of bad weather, we all thought was had a lucky escape on Sunday which stayed relatively fine but boy did it make up for it on Monday with an incessant drizzle all the way through the days events making it absolutely miserable for all the participants. Lucky for us though, Craughwell were on fire with many many fine performances that yielded a total of 11 Galway titles, 5 silver and 2 bronze for the parish and 3 more gold and 4 silver for club members or former club members from other parishes.

In the heats on Saturday, several athletes battled bravely in their heats and narrowly missed out on making the next round including Emma O'Donovan (U8 60m), Katelyn Walsh (U8 80m), Alannah Farrell (U8 80m), Isabella Boland (U10 100m), Gillian Crowe (U10 100m), Katie Slevin (U10 200m), Rebecca Cloonan (U10 200m) and Callum Brady (U10 100m). Coveted semi-final spots were grabbed by several others with some fine runs to place in the leading athletes in their events, including Keelin Moorhead (U8 60m), Paddy Malone (U8 80m), Riain Comer (U10 200m), Emma Jane Moran (U12 100m) and Robert Urquhart (U12 100m). While the following sprinters put in magnificent performances to progress through the heats and semi-finals and qualify for Monday’s finals:- Ben Moran (U8 80m), Evan Moran (U10 200m), Ava Finn (U12 100m), Aoife Kelly (U14 100m) and Ryan Gallagher (U14 100m).

In the middle-distance races, Craughwell’s 600m runners ran excellent tactical races conserving energy for the relays and for Mondays finals with Rebekah Flynn and Jade Moorhead placing 4th and 5th in their semi-finals and Evan Hallinan and Daniel Galvin placing 4th and 7th, all qualifying for Monday’s finals. The U14 Boys 800m turned out to be a straight final and Kyle Moorhead running a year out of age surprised everyone with a fantastic run to take the gold medal ahead of a quality field of runners. Finbar McFadden had a strong run in the same race, holding 3rd place until the latter stages and hanging on to place 5th. The relay heats and semi-finals on Sunday were fantastically exciting with the U10s mixed relay, U12 girls and U12 boys all progressing to Monday’s finals. The two U14 relays were straight finals with both Craughwell boys and girls teams doing splendidly to take the silver medals in each race. The girls line-up was Aoife Kelly to Leanagh Gilligan to Caoimhe Gilligan to Mia Waters with Eva Kelly as sub while the boys line-up was Kyle Moorhead to Finbar McFadden to Jack Farrell to Shaun Gilligan.

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Craughwell U14 Girls 4x100m Relay - Silver Medallists at the Galway Community Games 2015

Onto the action on Monday and the miserable weather which was brightened up by a string of fine performances from the club’s athletes. First into action were our U10 hurdlers where Helen Callaghan placed 4th in the heats, just missing out on qualification for the finals and Grace Lynch making the final where she placed 5th. In the boys event, Cormac McFadden also just missed out on the final when placing 4th in the semis while Kenneth O’Connor had a brilliant run to place a close 2nd in the heat and was running brilliantly in the final when disaster struck after 30 meters. As Kenneth was clearing the 2nd hurdle, the athlete next to him clattered into his hurdle and fell into Kenneth’s lane and on top of Kenneth, causing him to get a bad graze from the hurdle and eliminating him from the race. It was terrible luck for a super athlete and teak-tough fella as he didn’t shed a tear despite getting a bad knock which required first aid. Our luck changed in the U14 finals where Mia Waters coasted to victory in the U14 girls and Jack Farrell narrowly missed out on a podium placing when taking 4th place in the U14 Boys race.

Next into the action was the man with a plan, Ben Moran in the finals of the U8 80m. If there ever was a more focussed 7-year old taking part in this event, I haven’t seen them! Ben calmly informed me he had a plan before the heats on Sunday and he executed his plan to perfection in all his races, storming to victory in his final on Monday. This was swiftly followed by the finals of the U12 100m where Ava Finn had a fine race to take the bronze medal. Onto the U14 girls 100m final where Oranmore’s Caoilfhinn O'Donoghue had a fine race to take the silver with Craughwell’s Aoife Kelly just a metre or two behind in 5th place. Next up Ryan Gallagher delivered one of his finest sprint performances to take the gold medal in the U14 Boys 100m with Carrabane’s Ciaran Connaughton taking 5th place. Oranmore’s Caoimhe O’Donoghue continued the winning streak when taking the gold medal in the U16 Girls 100m, while Craughwell’s Siona Lawless was narrowly beaten when taking the silver in the U16 Girls 200m. Meanwhile in the field events, Eva Kelly took a fine gold in the U14 shot putt while Sadhbh and Cian Irwin, Rebecca Lynch and Cillian Boland all threw well in the U12 Ball Throw.

The middle-distance races were tough in the wintery conditions but saw fine runs from our U12 600m runners with Jade Moorhead and Rebekah Flynn placing 6th and 8th and Evan Hallinan and Daniel Galvin placing 7th and 9th. Ardrahan’s Dearbhaile Walsh had a fine run to take the silver medal in the U16 1500m.

Onto perhaps the highlight of the individual races where Clarinbridge’s Cian Lavan and Craughwell’s Evan Moran were going head to head in the U10 200m. In fact, it could have been a 3-way battle for club members as Oranmore’s Cathal Sweeney narrowly missed out on making the final. In any event, Evan and Cian battled it out the whole way to the line with Evan just shading it to take the gold for Tracy AC and Cian taking the silver. The Mighty Morans continued with their haul of Ballindereen gold later in the day when oldest sibling Emma Jane featured strongly on the Craughwell U12 Girls 4x100m who took the gold medal narrowly ahead of Claregalway – with an electrifying finish from Ava Finn clinching victory on the line, helped also by fine runs from Emma Malone and Rebekah Flynn with sub Rebecca Lynch waiting in the wings to step in for any injuries.

A terrific U10 mixed relay team made it all the way to the final where they battled it out against Galway’s best and took the silver medals in the final with their team of Isabella Boland, Grace Lynch, Gillian Crowe, Evan Moran, Conor Gilligan and Rian Comer. The U12 boys battled hard in their final when taking 6th place with Cian Irwin, Ryan McDonnell, Ben Brady, Robert Urquhart and Evan Hallinan.

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Craughwell and Clarinbridge U16 relay teams enjoying the fine weather before their 4x100m final !
Aoife Walsh, Caoilin Milton, Ciara Murphy, Lorraine Delaney, Siona Lawless, Laura Cunningham
(hiding from photo – Shauna Tobin and Hannah Kate Silke J)

And onto the final race of the day – the eagerly awaited clash of the mighty U16 Girls relay teams from Craughwell and Clarinbridge. Lining up for Craughwell were Aoife Walsh, Laura Cunningham, Shauna Tobin and Siona Lawless and for Clarinbridge were Caoilin Milton, Hannah-Kate Silke, Ciara Murphy and Lorraine Delaney. With all the girls having been in the club since what seems like Junior Infants, the 2 teams were very familiar with each other as they train together every week. But friendships were set aside briefly on Sunday as they battled around the rain-soaked field. With Clarinbridge holding a slight lead going into the 3rd changeover, slightly slicker baton passes gave Craughwell a small lead going into the final leg which Siona Lawless held over the fast-finishing Lorraine Delaney to give Craughwell the victory and Clarinbridge having to settle for silver. I can sense a rematch in the Connacht track & field!

For detailed results of the weekend, click:- GalwayCommunityGamesResults2015.pdf

Friday the 20th. .