Dangan last Tuesday – not quite but close enough!!
In windy track conditions, athletes from the club put in some exceptional performances at the South Connacht Schools Track & Field Championships in Dangan – none more so that our middle/long distance group of boys who dominated their events from 400m to 3000m.
The tone for the day was set early on when Nicholas Sheehan took to the track for the Intermediate Boys 800m.
Earlier 800m races provided a taste of what was to come when Aoife Greene ran brilliantly to win the Minor Girls race, followed by a strong run from Grainne McDaid to take 3rd in the Junior Girls in a time of 2.36.3 (note all times are provisional until official results published), Liam Moran 4th and James Delaney 6th in the Junior Boys race and Ciara Greene 2nd in the Intermediate Girls race. But the Intermediate Boys race upped the heart rates big time with Nicholas leading the pack of athletes through the first lap and when at the 500m point some invisible being ignited a rocket under his spikes to fire Nicholas forwards at an unbelievable pace. In a few swift strides, he had opened a 10m gap which became 20, 30, 40 and perhaps 60m by the time the race finished. It was a class act and one that was followed up very quickly by Paul Joyce who put in an equally impressive performance to win the Senior 800m race in a time of 2.04.
In the intermediate and senior distance races the Craughwell athletes were untouchable with Jamie Spellman and Keelan Ryan underling this with a 1-2 in the Intermediate Boys 3000m in times of 9:09 and 10:00. And in one of the races of the day, Damien O’Boyle and John Cormican had a fantastic battle in the Intermediate Boys 1500m. From the gun, the pair ruthlessly decimated the opposition as they strolled away from the field over the first 2 laps. Neck and neck with 150m to go, a gigantic battle took place of the final 150m as both athletes sprinted down the home straight shoulder to shoulder. With 30m to go, John edged into a slight advantage that he would hold to the line with Damien easing off in the final few metres when he realised John would not be caught on this occasion. John’s time was an impressive 4.19 with Damien’s 4.21. The strength of the group was further underlined with towering performances from Conor Gillen, Neil Greaney and Paul Joyce in the Senior 1500m. After two laps they had opened a 10 or 15m gap on the field, a gap they continued to extend to perhaps 60m by the race end. With a lap to go, Conor moved into a lead of 5 or 6m which he held to the line to finish in an impressive time of 4:15 with Neil just metres behind in a time of 4:17 and Paul just behind that in a time of 4:19.
It was a phenomenal performance by the older group of lads with 8 of them taking the top positions in the 6 races that they took part in – a total of 6 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze. The next wave of middle distance runners is going to be equally successful though with Oisin Doyle putting in a blistering performance in the Junior 1500m to nick the gold on the line in a time of 4:45 with Matthew Barrett 4th, Ben Sharkey taking silver in the Minor 1500m in a time of 5.01, Dearbhaile Walshe taking silver in the Minor Girls 1500m in 5:22 with Ciara O’Boyle 6th, Ciara Greene taking silver in the Intermediate 800m and in the 1500m.
In the sprints and hurdles, Michelle Duggan was particularly impressive when stepping up an age and winning both events in the Junior Girls grade. Dearbhaile added to her 1500m silver with a 4th place finish in the final of the 200m. And the club got a pleasant surprise in the Minor grade where Cillian Dolan won the boys 100m and Katie Stephens placed 4th in the final of the girls 100m. The success continued with a 2nd place finish for Tara McNally in both the Intermediate Girls 100m and hurdles and a 2nd place finish for Sineád Treacy in the 200m. Conor Duggan took the gold in the Intermediate 100m hurdles and silver in the 200m while Maria McNamara took gold in the senior hurdles. Katie O’Donoghue and Maireád McCan placed 2nd and 3rd in the senior sprint, with Maireád also claiming the silver in the 200m. Miriam Lacey placed 3rd and 4th in the heats of the 200m and 100m in her first time in action on an outdoor track.
The Intermediate 400m races provided loads of excitement with Nicholas Sheehan winning the boys race in a blistering 52.9 and Claire Ryder competing over the distance for the first time to take gold in 66.8 despite suffering from a particularly bad chest infection!
In the jumps, the club pretty much swept all before it in the girls jumps with Aoife Walshe taking gold in the Minor long jump with 4.30m, Aoife Greene gold in the Minor high jump with 1.35m, Tammy Klynsmith gold in the Junior high jump with 1.30m, Sineád Treacy gold in the Intermediate long jump with 4.67m, Ellen Fitzpatrick gold in the Intermediate high jump with 1.35m and silver in the long jump with 4.38m, Claire Ryder silver in the Senior long jump with 4.86m and Katie O’Donoghue gold in the senior high jump with 1.35m. Aoife Walsh (4th with 1.30) also qualified for the Connachts in the high jump as did Ellen Treacy when placing 5th in the intermediate long jump with 3.85m. Tammy took part in the long jump for the first time, jumping a respectable 3.78m to place 5th while Ciana Reidy was unlucky to miss out on qualification with a 1.25m leap in the high jump and 3.68m in the long jump.
We had less in action in the boys jumps where Jerry Keary leaped an impressive 1.50m to win the Minor high jump and Matthew McKiernan took gold in the Junior long jump with 5.18m. Jordan Connaghton competed in a high quality Intermediate boys long jump which was won by Athenry’s Evan Quirke with a fine leap of 6.16m.
The throws saw Diarmuid Prendergast take silver in the Senior Boys with Cathal O’Brien 6th and Oisin McNally made a return to athletics to take silver in the Intermediate javelin. Andrew O’Boyle took gold in the junior javelin while Aisling Keady-Cummins did same in the girls’ event with Emma Gaffney 2nd.
The day wrapped up with the relays where Michelle Duggan and Emma Gaffney combined with Athenry’s Shannon Lee and Niamh Keane to take gold in the Junior Girls 4x100m for the Pres Athenry and Nicholas Sheehan, John Cormican and Aidan Conneely took gold in the Intermediate Boys 4x100m along with their Calasantius colleague Ayo.