Champions of Ireland – Jerry Keary and Laura Cunningham
Another fantastic day of action in Tullamore saw athletes from the club come away with 5 more medals and many fine performance on the final day of the National Juvenile Track & Field in Tullamore.
It was a big day for Laura Cunningham and Jerry Keary who both claimed National titles in the U18 age group with Jerry claiming the high jump title for the first time and Laura adding the outdoor triple jump title to the indoor one from earlier this year. Jerry had a tiny blip at 1.90m with a knocked bar but got it on his second attempt and the same at 1.93. Then sailing over 1.96m on his first attempt, he heaped the pressure on his opponents. With just 2 left after 1.96m, Jerry had a brilliant leap over 1.99m to take the gold medal. Remarkably despite coming close on a number of occasions, its Jerry’s first National title in the club championships. Laura kept her best 2 jumps until last in the U18 triple jump, moving into the lead on her 5th jump with a fine leap of 10.46m and improving her lead further with a leap of 10.63m on her final attempt. Lorraine Delaney was unlucky in the same triple jump competition to break 3 of her 6 jumps and had to settle for 5th place with a best of 9.59m.
Chloe Casey, Silver Medalist in the U16 Girls Shot Putt at the National Championships
Chloe Casey continued to impress in the throws when adding shot putt silver to the discus silver she won a week ago – heaving the shot out to 12.77 metres on her second throw. This is Chloe’s 3rd National medal of the year and great progress for a very dedicated athlete. Laura Cunningham make it a very special day for herself and the club when taking her second National medal of the day in the U18 Girls high jump, claiming the bronze with a clearance of 1.55m on her first attempt. It’s a rare achievement to win a National medal and to win two on the same day is exceptional. Both Ciana Reidy and Lorraine Delaney were unlucky in the same high jump competition with both clearing 1.50m and going close to clearing the 1.55m but it was not to be with Ciana having to settle for 4th place and Lorraine 7th on countback.
A remarkable day for the club continued with one of the final events of the day where Conor Trehy was in action in the U15 Boys triple jump. This is Conor’s first season of competing in this event and he put in an incredible series of jumps in these National finals – leaping over the 10m mark on four of his six jumps with a best of 10.33 on his third jump claiming the bronze medal.
Conor Trehy, bronze medalist in the U15 Boys Triple Jump at the National Championships
Liam McDonagh and Oisin Keane went close to the medals in the U14 Boys discus with Liam placing 5th with a best of 30.03 and Oisin 6th with a best of 30.00. Again this is the first year the U14s competed in discus and both lads have plenty to look forward to in this event in the future based on today’s performances. Ellie Cronin took 8th place in the final of the U15 Girls 250m hurdles in a time of 39.21 having earlier ran a PB of 39.08 to take 2nd place in heat 2 – a super performance again in her first year of this event. James Furey placed 13th in the U15 Boys high jump with a PB of 1.40m. The club had just 2 athletes in action on the track today in the 1500m races. The 1500s at National level are possibly the toughest events of them all with elite opposition grinding it out over 4 laps of the track on a hot day. Both Sean Cotter and Ciara Sheppard acquitted themselves very well against the nation’s best with Sean placing 12th in the U15 Boys race in 4.44.73 and Ciara placing 13th in the U16 Girls race in 5.53.74.
Meanwhile a day earlier 3 of our U13s travelled to Tullamore for the National B Championships with all 3 girls putting in excellent performances. Fauve Aylmer had a brilliant run to win her heat of the U13 80m in a time of 12.04 and went on to place 8th in the final. Later in the day Fauve had a fine run in the U13 600m, knocking over 2 seconds off her PB with a time of 1.55.35. Erin Kelly had a good series of jumps culminating with a 1.15m clearance in the U13 high jump while Maireád Tucker jumped strongly in the U13 long jump with a best of 3.50m.
So that wrapped up the juvenile track and field season for another year. With 11 medals over the 3 days of National finals and a large participation, the club is punching above its weight at National level – all testament to the dedication of the athletes and their coaches and their parents. There are no short-cuts to National success and it’s great to see so many of our athletes making it at the top level and so tough on many more who train just as hard and come up just short of the medals. But they live to fight another day and I am certain we will see many of those athletes on the National podium in the next 12 months. I will publish a statistical summary of the season later in the week for those who like stats.