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Day 2 of the Connacht Indoor Championships saw another series of fantastic performances with many many highlights, most notably Gavin Cooney’s gut-busting sub-2 minute 800m run, Patrick Noonan’s incredible 4:15 minute 1500m, Lukas Schukat’s 1.70m clearance in the high jump and Cian Lavan’s 2 metre club record in the pole vault!

The men’s 800m featured 3 of our top middle-distance runners attempting to break the magical 2-minute barrier for the first time over the 4-laps of Athlone indoor arena. A super standard is being set in the club at the moment with 4 men on the cusp of breaking the 2 minutes – Ben Garrard, Gavin Cooney, Jack Miskella and John Cormican and younger athletes such as Kyle Moorhead and Luke Evans edging towards the mark and former stalwarts such as Paul Joyce gearing up for a return to the sport. It has been nip and tuck between a few of them this year with John running 2:00.26 at the Northwest Games at Christmas, Jack running 2:00.87 at the Offaly Indoors and 2:00.83 at the National Seniors and Ben running 2:04.52 at the Northwest Games and 2.03.21 at the Offaly Indoors.

Sunday however was Gavin’s day … having run 2.00.36 in the National League in January and 2.00.38 in the National Seniors in February, Gavin knew he was close to breaking the magical mark and just needed the right race and right mindset. Drawn in heat 1, he went out hard with the pack and was well placed at 400m in around 58 seconds. Moving up into 3rd place at that point, he gave absolutely everything on the final laps to blast through the line in an exceptional 1:59.56 and join the ranks of our indoor sub2s which include club record holder Peadar Harvey (1:57.21), Paul Joyce (1:58.05), Damien O’Boyle (1:59.11) and Nicholas Sheehan (1:59.37). And in the second heat where Jack Miskella and Ben Garrard were also chasing the Holy Grail of 800m running, Jack looked all on for it at the 400m mark but lactic fatigue put paid to it in the last 100m and Jack came ever so close again with a brilliant PB of 2.00.51 and Ben close behind also with a PB of 2.01.88. It all augurs very well for an interesting summer of 800m battles with several athletes chasing the outdoor club record of 1:57.96 and who knows but the record holder himself Damien O’Boyle may well be back from his studies in the wild west of the state of Louisiana to defend that record against the hordes gathering on the frontier!

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Patrick Noonan, silver medallist in the U19 Boys 1500m

The middle distance delights continued with a fantastic battle by Patrick Noonan in the U19 Mens 1500m where to the raucous cheers of the Craughwell supporters, he put in an incredible finish on the last lap in a battle for gold with North Sligo’s Michael Kerins and losing out by a fraction of a second to record a splendid 4.15.25 against Kerins’ 4:15.05 – a big PB and great encouragement for Patrick. There were many more fine performances detailed below but one last one to highlight was Fauve Aylmer’s fantastic 2:25.36 to win the U15 Girls 800m. Fauve’s time ranks her 4th fastest ever amongst the girls in the club with Sinead Gaffney holding the club senior record of 2:19.10, Arlene Earls the club junior record of 2:23.04 and Linda Porter the former holder of both records with 2:23.09.

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Mark Davis after his bronze medal winning performance in the Masters Men 3000m

The performances from the club were exceptional all around and the above are just a few of the highlights. It was super to see Tara McNally back in action in the senior ranks – Tara was an outstanding juvenile sprinter with numerous National medals both indoors and outdoors. It was her first time competing in a Connacht championships in a number of years and she raced to blistering 8.45 to take the bronze medal in the senior women’s 60m and followed it up with 5th place in the 200m in 27.63 before anchoring our senior women’s relay team to victory in the 4x200m in a time of 1:52.29, combining with Sinead Gaffney, Arlene Earls and Lorraine Delaney to deliver the Connacht title.

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Craughwell AC's Senior Women's 4x200m team, Connacht Indoor Champions 2019
Tara McNally, Sinead Gaffney, Arlene Earls, Lorraine Delaney

 

Earlier Sinead raced to a time of 2:22.77 to take silver in the senior 800m with Arlene 5th in 2:27.15 while Lorraine took the senior triple jump title with a leap of 9.98m. Mark Davis had a terrific run in the Masters Men 3000m to take the bronze medal, just being pipped on the line for the silver. Alan Clarke placed 4th in the Masters Men 200m in 28.95 while the senior men’s relay team took the 4x200m title in 1:47.30 with Aubrey O'Brien, Ben Garrard, Patrick Noonan and Kyle Moorhead. Aubrey had an outstanding day with triple individual gold in long jump (5.15), 60m sprint (7.88) and 200m (24.97). Sean Noonan was another to impress with a blistering run of 58.69 to take the Connacht title in the U19 400m and followed it up with silver in the 800m in 2:12.33.

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Craughwell AC's Senior Men's 4x200m team, Connacht Indoor Champions 2019
Kyle Moorhead, Patrick Noonan, Ben Garrard, Aubrey O'Brien

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Sean Noonan on his way to victory in the U19 Mens 400m

In the U18 grade, Freya Bohan had a powerful run in the 400m to take the bronze medal in a time of 66.73 and followed it up later with 4th place in the 200m in 28.80. Leanagh Gilligan took the Connacht title in the triple jump with an impressive 9.98m and took silver in the long jump with a 4.64m leap. Ailbhe Miskella had a fine run to take bronze in the 1500m in a time of 5:27.86 while Kyle Moorhead was also very impressive with a brilliant 4:22.47 to take the silver in the boys 1500m.

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Kyle Moorhead on the podium after placing second in the U18 Mens 1500m

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Leanagh Gilligan and Lorraine Delaney
Connacht U18 and Senior Womens Triple Jump Champions 2019

Ellie Cronin led the performances in the U17 grade with gold in the high jump with 1.55 and silver in the hurdles in 10.31, bouncing back from a fall at the first hurdle in an earlier race. Aleisha Larkin took silver in the long jump with an impressive 4.50m and followed it up with bronze in the 60m sprint in 8.31. Laura McNally took bronze in the high jump with 1.30m as did Aoife Kelly with 6.51m in the shot putt while Ava Finn placed 4th in the long jump with 4.25m. The girls combined to take 4th place in the relay in a time of 1.58.10. The U17 boys were in form in the middle-distance races with Sean Cotter racing to the 1500m title in a time of 4.39.63 and Oisin Davis taking silver in the 800m in 2.11.59 while James Furey placed 12th in the 200m in a strong 27.60. There were fine middle distance performances also in the U16 grade with Emily Miskella taking silver in the U16 1500m in an impressive 5.11.74 and Ross McGuiness gold in the U16 Boys 1500m in 4.36.99 and later placing 4th in the 800m in 2.18.21. Carla Noone ran strongly to take 7th place in the U16 800m in 2:42.26. 

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Lauren McNally (3rd) and Ellie Cronin (1st) in the U17 Girls High Jump

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Oisin Davis who won silver in the U17 Boys 800m

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Emily Miskella on the podium after placing second in the U16 Girls 1500m

The club dominated the U15 and U16 jumps with Lukas Schukat visiting the podium 3 times when taking gold in the U16 pole vault (1.80), silver in the high jump (1.70) and bronze in the long jump (4.69). Cian Lavan did likewise with gold in the U15 pole vault (2.00), silver in the long jump (4.50) and bronze in the hurdles (10.74). Cian’s 2m clearance is a club record in the pole vault, an event where Ryan McDonnell was unlucky not to get in a valid jump. Sophie O’Brien was in super form taking double bronze in the U16 Girls jump (4.57) and high jump (1.40) while Saoirse Pierce claimed the U16 high jump title with a fine leap of 1.45.

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Lukas Schukat and Cian Lavan
Connacht U16 and U15 Boys Pole Vault Champions 2019

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Saoirse Pierece (1st) and Sophie O'Brien (3rd) in the U16 Girls High Jump

Craughwell took 3 of the top 4 spots in the U15 girls’ high jump with Jade Moorhead taking the Connacht title with 1.45m, Siofra Davis silver with 1.40m and Erin Kelly in 4th place with 1.35m. Erin went on to place 6th in the long jump with 4.03m, an event where Ella Lyons took the bronze medal with a brilliant 4.35m leap despite clashing with the 60m hurdles where she took 5th place in 11.13. Siofra Davis raced to a brilliant 4th place in the hurdles in 10.50 but the clash with the long jump worked against her in the long jump where she had 2 breaks before getting a valid jump in.

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Top 3 in the U15 Girls High Jump
Leonore Church (bronze), Siofra Davis (silver), Jade Moorhead (Connacht Champion)

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Ella Lyons in action in the U15 Girls Long Jump where she won the bronze medal

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Fauve Aylmer, Connacht U15 Indoor 800m Champion 2019

 

Aoibhe Fahy took bronze in the U15 shot with an excellent 8.34m and recorded 3.65m to place 11th in the long jump. Sarah Byrne took 7th in the shot with 6.40m. Jade Moorhead leaped 3.88m to take 8th place in the long jump and for the first time in a while raced to a brilliant 2:41.98 personal best in the 800m, auguring well for multi-events later in the year. As mentioned earlier Fauve Aylmer raced to the Connacht U15 800m title in a blistering 2:25.36. Clodagh O’Meara bravely took to the track in the same race despite suffering from a heavy flu all week and recorded a solid time of 2:38.26 a little down on her recent 2:33 PB but very impressive considering she was under the weather. She later combined with Fauve, Jade and Ella for a fantastic silver medal in the 4x200m in an impressive time of 1:56.78, a race where our second team were unfortunately disqualified for a lane fault.

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Craughwell AC's U15 Girls 4x200m relay squad who won silver at the Connacht Indoors
Back row: Aoibhe Fahy, Chloe Hallinan, Erin Kelly, Siofra Davis
Front row: Ella Lyons, Jade Moorhead, Clodagh O'Meara, Fauve Aylmer

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Alana Grogan who placed 3rd in the U15 Girls 1km Race Walk

Grace Leen and Alana Grogan raced to brilliant silver and bronze medals in the U15 Girls Walk in times of 5.45.61 and 5.53.17 and Alana also later recorded a PB of 3:09.33 in the 800m. Calvin Ryan took silver in the u15 boys shot with 9.82, bronze in the high jump with 1.45 and 5th place in the long jump with 4.18m. Evan Hallinan leaped a huge 1.55m in spite of a hip injury to take the Connacht U15 high jump title in style while Evan Quinn placed 5th in 1.30m, unlucky to exit at that height. Ryan McDonnell and Evan Quinn also qualified for the All-Irelands with their 4th place finishes in the 60m sprint (8.35) and long jump (4.24) while they combined with Cian and Evan H to take the silver medals in the 4x200m in a time of 1.53.

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Craughwell AC's U15 Boys 4x200m relay team who won silver at the Connacht Indoors
Evan Quinn, Ryan McDonnell, Evan Hallinan, Cian Lavan

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Calvin Ryan (3rd), Evan Hallinan (1st) and Evan Quinn (5th)
in the U15 Boys High Jump at the Connacht Indoor Championships

In the U14 Girls age group, Craughwell AC had a remarkable 3 individual Connacht titles with Aoibhe Donnellan claiming the gold in the 60m sprint in 8.55, Niamh Duffy doing likewise in the shot with 9.71m and Chloe Hallinan in the 60m hurdles in an electric 10.38. Chloe followed up her hurdles title with silver in the long jump with 4.11m. A very tightly bunched long jump competition saw Aoibhe Donnellan place 4th with 3.95m, Grace Keaveney 5th only 2cm behind with 3.93m and Isabella Boland 8th just another 2cm behind with 3.91m. The girls combined to take 4th place in the 4x200m in a time of 2.02.09. Issy Fitzgerald wrapped up a fine performance by the U14s with a 1.35m clearance to take bronze in the high jump having earlier leaped 3.46m in the long jump. Aoibhe Donnellan took 5th place in the high jump with 1.20m.

Isabella Boland had a strong sprint to finish in 9.63 in the 60m while Muireann Leen dipped under 3 minutes with 2:59.68 in the 800m. Catherine Gorman had a good run in the 800m when finishing in 3:27.28 and recorded a leap of 2.60m in the long jump, as well as racing well in the 1k race walk but no time was available for it. Ethan O’Brien had a big leap of 1.40m to take the bronze medal in the U14 Boys high jump and placed 8th in the long jump with 3.88m. And Sean Liston competed well in his first indoor season recording 12.58 in the 60m hurdles, 9.50 in the 60m sprint and 2:29.50 in the 800m.

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So that wrapped up another fantastic Connacht Indoors for the club. Huge credit to the organisers on a great 2 days of competition and a big thank you to all of the Craughwell AC parents and coaches who helped out either as officials or coaching the athletes over the 2 days. We have wonderful athletes and coaches and it was super to see the huge cooperation from all in the club to help our fantastic athletes achieve new personal bests and enjoy participating in the sport whether on the podium or not in their events. The club were the top club both in participation and performance terms with over 100 athletes taking part and featuring on the podium 71 times over the 2 days with 25 Connacht titles, 21 silver and 25 bronze medal winning performances.

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Patrick Noonan, Kyle Moorhead, Sean Noonan, Sean Cotter, Ailbhe and Emily Miskella, Ross McGuinness
with coaches Lisa Thomas and Mark Davis

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Eddie, Tara and Lauren McNally at the Connacht Indoors

 

Saturday the 21st. .