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 The Pres  Athenry captured the Junior Girls trophy at the Irish Schools Track & Field finals in Tullamore on Saturday.

With some terrific perfomances, Craughwell AC's Claire Ryder, Jessica Heneghan, Maria McNamara and Sinead Gaffney combined with GCH's Alanna Lally to lift the coveted award for best school.

 

 

 

In the long jump, Claire Ryder added a massive 25cm to her personal best when leaping 5.22m on her final jump to take third place. This was Claire's first time breaking the 5m barrier and augurs very well for the future. Lying in 4th place at the start of the final round, Claire pulled out all the stops with a powerful run up and take off to leap into 3rd place - still having perhaps 12cm to spare at the board. She later took 7th place in the 200m in a time of 27.88. Congratulations to Maria Cooney also who had a huge PB of 5.44m to take the gold medal in the same long jump event.

 
Performance of the day from a Galway athlete probably came from Alanna Lally in the Junior Girls 800m. Stepping up an age group, Alanna had a powerful run and incredible finish to take the gold medal in a time of 2:16.24 - an exceptional time for an athlete of her age. Sinead Gaffney equalled her Connacht time of 2:32 in the same race ... a huge performance from the multi-talented Sinead who also had competed in the long jump earlier and was unlucky to struggle with her mark on this occasion.

In the Junior Girls high jump, Maria McNamara jumped cleanly over 1.40, 1.45 and 1.50 to place herself in the top 4. Knocking 1.55m on her first attempt, Maria cleared it on her 2nd attempt to move into 3rd place and came very close to clearing 1.58m on her 3rd attempt. So bronze for Maria on this occasion - another fantastic achievement.

The Pres relay team went on to power to a super silver medal in the junior girls 4x100m in a time of 52.48 where Claire and Maria combined with club-mate Jessica Heneghan and GCH’s Alanna Lally. When the performances in the Junior Girls events were totted up later in the day, the Pres Athenry were awarded the Junior Girls Shield for the best school - only the 2nd time a Connacht school has earned this distinction and the first time for a Galway school!

Apologies to Laura (Porter) for mistakenly reporting her as having competed in the junior girls triple jump - Laura competed in the Connachts but not in the All-Irelands. For some reason, the official results list her as having competed in the triple jump.

Onto the intermediate girls category, Linda Porter had yet another outstanding race in the U16 mile to claim the National title with her trademark kick. Muireann Maloney (St Raphael’s) had another fine run in the intermediate girls 3000m - great experience for Muireann at this level. Also representing St Raphael's, Karen Roche jumped well in the intermediate girls long jump, just ahead of her PB of 4.61m (I have to confirm exact distance). In the senior girls events, Maeve Curley (Pres Thurles) put in an excellent performance in the 3000m walk to take the silver medal in an excellent time of 14:43.32 while Rachel Finnegan (Loughrea VS) took 4th place in the Senior Girls 400m hurdles in a time of 69.59.

In the Junior Boys 1500m, Conor Gillen (representing Athenry VS) had a tough battle in a very fast race. With 200m to go Conor moved up into 6th place and looked for a while like he might press for 4th place before 2 athletes moved past him as the finish line, leaving him in 8th place in a good time of 4:35.77. In the 1200 race walk, Christopher O'Connor (representing St Raphael's) put in a strong performance to finish in 6th place in a time of 5:58.41. Special mention of Dan Finnerty from Nenagh Olympic who took 1st place in the Junior Boys long jump with a fine leap of 6.03m - well done Dan and Dennis, we're taking the credit for inspiring that victory with our inter-club competition from 4 years ago :-)

In the Intermediate Boys 1500m, Finn Stoneman (St Enda’s) battled hard amongst high quality opposition. The pace of the first 2 laps took its toll later in the race as the leaders when on to post sub-4 minute times in a truely outstanding performance. Finn went on to finish around 9th, just outside his PB of 4:25 from the Connacht semifinals. Paul Joyce (Athenry VS) put in a strong performance in the intermediate boys 3000m but found the going tough in a high quality field. Niall Rooney equalled his PB of 1.70m when finishing in 8th place in the high jump and took 7th place in the triple jump with a leap of 11.74m. Tomas Keehan took 7th place in the senior boys high jump with a leap of 1.75m.

That wrapped up a busy day for the club in Tullamore. Next up is the Connacht clubs track & field on 12 and 19 June.

 

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