Massive congratulations to Chloe Casey and Jerry Keary who have been selected as Galway Athletes of the Year 2017 in the categories of U16-19 Girls and U16-19 Boys with the awards being presented this coming Saturday at a ceremony in the Meadowcourt Hotel. Well done to both as its a huge achievement up against some of the best athletes in not just the county but also the country with 10+ Galway athletes in these age groups selected for Ireland last year.
Well done also to our internationals from the past 12 months who will also be honoured with an award at this Saturday’s awards – representing your country is such a fantastic achievement and its great that the county have introdiced an award to mark this:-
- Sinead Gaffney, Universities Celtic International, Womens 800m
- Ben Ryan, World Youth Mountain Running Championships
- Jerry Keary, Celtic Games, U18 High Jump
- Laura Cunningham, Celtic Games, U18 Triple Jump
- Chloe Casey, Celtic Games, U16 Discus
- Caron Ryan, U20 Celtic Cross Country
And well done also to Sinead, Jerry, Laura, Caron, Conor Duggan and Sinead Treacy who have been awarded county bursaries of €200 each in respect of their achievements last year. The bursary scheme is open to applications from athletes aged 18 to 23 who either won a national medal or represented Ireland last year. And final well done to Daniel Callanan-Forde who also won an international award and a bursary and who is in the process of transferring back to our club.
Read on below for full details of all the athletes nominated within Craughwell AC, all of whom had outstanding years last year.
Junior Women Nominee : Sinéad Gaffney
Sinéad had a fantastic year of athletics with the highlight being her first international cap when selected for the Irish Universities team to contest the Celtic International in July. On a blustery and rain soaked day at the international in Tullamore, Sinéad proudly represented her country and raced to a new PB and club record of 2.20.43 to place 3rd in the womens 800m.
Her selection came on the back of strong performances earlier in the outdoor season where she had run times in the low 2.20s on several occasions including the Galway outdoors, Universities outdoors, Dublin Graded meets and the National U23s.
Earlier in the year, Sinead opened her indoor season in good form with a time of 2.24 in the National Indoor League and went on to take the Connacht Indoor title in 2.25.17 as well as recording a 6th place finish in a time of 2.24.26.
She added a Connacht title in the indoor 4x100m and also was a key member of the University of Limerick team who won the bronze medals in the Universities Outdoor Track & Field.
Sinéad combines her athletics with a busy life of studying for her final yea r physio qualification in UL, extended internships and part-time work. She has also played camogie at a high level, representing both her college and county at senior and intermediate level.
But along with those busy commitments, she has always kept her passion for athletics going and that is starting to pay dividends now for her at just the right age to progress onto significant National senior success. Her commitment to the sport and her juggling of it with other commitments also makes her a fine role model for younger athletes in the county.
Her dedication and success would make her a very worthy recipient of the Junior Women’s athletics award.
Boys u16 to u19 Nominee : Jerry Keary
2017 was an amazing year for Jerry with a series of spectacular high jump performances throughout the year marking him out as a senior star of the future and earning him selection onto the Athletics Ireland performance squad/carding scheme for 2018. Jerry’s year saw him win 7 National medals as well as earning international selection.
He consistently jumped 1.90 and higher all year with a series of stand-out jumps in the summer – in particular his 2.07m clearance when representing County Galway in the National League in July. That performance places Jerry at number 26 on the Irish all-time bests for high jumpers, one of the few Galway athletes to feature in the top 30 on the all-time lists. His performances earned Jerry selection for the Irish team for the Celtic Games International where Jerry duly won the U18 high jump with a leap of 1.95m..
His year took off with a Championship Best performance of 1.90m to win the Galway Senior Indoor title, swiftly followed by bronze medals in the National U20 Indoors in both Ireland and Scotland.
He kept his indoor best for the Irish U18 National Indoors where he leaped 1.96m to take the silver medal. He added further National medals in the outdoor season with silver in the Irish Schools Senior high jump with 1.90m, bronze in the National Junior high jump with 1.95m and the National title in the U18 high jump in July with a brilliant 1.99m – Jerry’s first national title in the club championships.
And it’s not just high jump where Jerry excels – he leaped an impressive 6.19m to place 5th in the Scottish Indoor U20 long jump, a leap which would have put him close to the National podium in his own age group in Ireland and followed it up with 6.26m to take victory in the Connacht U18 outdoor long jump. And for good measure, he ran an impressive time of 11.97 into a stiff breeze in the U18 100m at the Connacht outdoors and 23.73 in the 200m in the National League – impressive sprint times for an athlete who doesn’t normally sprint!
His national high jump medals were augmented by Galway and Connacht indoor senior and U18 high jump titles, Connacht U18 long jump title, Connacht 200m bronze, Galway and Connacht outdoor high jump titles and Connacht Schools high jump title. He wrapped up his 2017 performances with victory in the AIT Baseline Meet in mid-December with 1.95m and again in the North West Games at the end of the year with another 1.95m – leaving him poised for another great year in 2018.
Jerry’s top-drawer performances would make him a very worthy winner of the Galway athlete year of the year award for 2017.
Girls u16 to u19 Nominee : Chloe Casey
Chloe, its fair to say, had the year of her life in athletics in 2017. County and Connacht shot titles were duly dispatched before the historic day on the 26th March. Chloe arrived into the competition in good form and what happened will live long in the memory. The old record going into the competition was 13m 60cm held by the great Michela Walsh but on the day Chloe blew the record out of the water with an absolutely stunning throw of 14m 21cm to become the first ever Galway female juvenile shot putt thrower to break the national record and take gold. At the time Chloe was also the first ever female thrower at u16 to break the 14 metre barrier in Ireland with the 3kg shot.
The outdoors were next and while County and Connacht shot titles were dispatched, this multi-talented athlete was quickly making a name for herself in discus. Another Connacht title was obtained before the All Irelands came and, against all odds despite only throwing discus for 4 weeks, Chloe took a wonderful silver. Chloe and her great rival Ciara Sheehy went toe to toe in the outdoor shot All Irelands with Chloe on this occasion having to settle for silver but again the national record had to be broken to win it, such was the standard.
The Schools is widely recognised as the toughest medals to win and in her first year in the intermediate category Chloe took another superb silver in shot – just losing out on gold to international athlete Kate O’Connor who is 2 years older than Chloe.
The year wasn’t finished yet for this lady as she was called up to represent Ireland in discus. Chloe was thrilled especially given the short time since she had started this discipline. The day in Santry will again be long remembered as Chloe in her final throw went on to take a majestic silver only missing gold by 27cm thus earning her first international individual medal, what a proud day that was for her. It is understood that this made Chloe the first ever juvenile female athlete to win an international medal in discus from Galway.
It’s no coincidence that Chloe was called up to the national squad where she now trains on a regular basis. Chloe also helped her under 16 relay team to make the final of the 4 by 100m outdoors showing her versatility. To top it all, Chloe last year became only the second ever athlete from the club to obtain European youth Olympic standard showing the elite level she has now reached.
So 2017 was a fantastic year for Chloe with all that she achieved nationally and internationally. It is a credit to Chloe that she still found time to support and help other young female club athletes who are aspiring to be as successful as Chloe and for whom she is a role model. This dedicated athlete is truly worthy of a Galway award.
Girls u16 to u19 Nominee : Laura Cunningham
Laura had an outstanding year of athletics in 2017 which included 5 national medals – with U18 titles in triple jump both indoors and outdoors, bronze medals in high jump in Ireland and Scotland, as well as a bronze medal in the Irish Schools Senior Girls Pentathlon.
The year also saw Laura smash the club’s triple jump records on numerous occasions with bests of 10.55m indoors and 11.00m outdoors. She also demonstrated her amazing versatility when helping break the club’s record in the 4x400m.
Her talent and dedication were rewarded in July when she clinched her first international vest with selection for the triple jump on the Irish Development Team for the Celtic Games International and went on to leap 10.59m to take 4th place in the international.
One of the many highlights of the year was a treasured National indoor title in the U18 Triple Jump with a leap of 10.55m.
Laura has been committed to athletics since the age of 7 and experienced the joy of making the National podium at a young age in 2009 with 2nd place in both the U10 long jump and the relay. Numerous Galway and Connacht titles followed in the next 8 years, as well as a National U18 4x100m relay title in 2016.
Winning her first National individual title as an U18 in 2017 was a very special reward for an exceptionally dedicated athlete. And she copperfastened her triple jump prowess by adding the National outdoor title later in the year with a leap of 10.63m. 2017 saw her break her PB across a dazzling range of events including:
- 60m 8.33
- 60mh 9.93
- 200m 27.35
- triple jump 10.55m
- high jump 1.65m
- long jump 4.85m
- shot putt 8.18m
- triple jump 11.00m
- high jump 1.60m
She was a strong member of the club’s team that placed 8th in the Indoor National League and also the County team which made the final of the outdoor National League. Her overflowing medal cabinet also saw Galway senior indoor hurdles gold, high jump silver, 200m bronze; Connacht U18 (indoor) triple gold in high jump, long jump and triple jump; Galway U19 outdoor triple gold in high jump, long jump and triple jump; Connacht Schools Senior titles in high jump and triple jump; double Connacht outdoor titles in high jump and triple jump and long jump silver; and Connacht Senior Schools Pentathlon gold.
Her competitive spirit was perfectly illustrated when leading the 60m hurdles at the Irish Schools Pentathlon in the autumn before disaster struck on the final hurdle where Laura took a heavy tumble. She bounced up to continue and despite bad grazing on elbows and knees, went on to PB in the shot putt and 800m and win the bronze medal overall – an incredible performance considering the hurdles tumble which possibly denied her the gold medal.
Laura’s success, dedication and versatility would make her a very worthy winner of the Galway Athlete of the Year Award for 2017.
Boys u12 to u15 Nominee : Sean Cotter
Once again following on from 2016, Seán went from strength to strength on and off the track in 2017 ! Xcountry is where Seán starts his journey and last year saw his continued hard work paying off with Seán taking Gold in Galway and Connacht u15 and coming ever so close to medalling in a brilliant 5th place amongst the crème of the crop in All of Ireland!
Transfer Seán to the Indoor track 800m, perhaps not his favoured distance as it’s much too short but all that’s to offer at the Indoors at u15, so Seán put himself to the test and went on to take Bronze in time of 2.32.56. In Connacht he ran a massive pb 2.20.23 to place 4th qualifying to All Irelands, where he ran again out of his skin in yet another pb of 2.14.24 to place 7th best in Ireland…edging closer every time and his reduced times showing how hard he worked between competition to achieve such great results!
Outdoors saw Seán take on both 800m and 1500m and take the Galway titles in both! Connachts saw Seán take Bronze in 1500m in a time of 4.47.93 again a massive pb from Galway time of 5.01.76 , and in what was a very tough race at the All Irelands he again improved on his Connacht time to come home in an impressive 4.44.73.
Seán again this year is already shaping up to be the front runner and his coaches have no doubt that it will all come good for Sean in the very near future and his hard work will definitely help shorten that wait and are looking forward to the day when all Seán’s hard work finally rewards him with an All Ireland medal, which he truly deserves! Best of luck Seán.
Boys u12 to u15 Nominee : Evan Hallinan
2017 was a fantastic year for Evan Hallinan with 4 National medals in Irish and Scottish competition, including the Irish National title in the U13 Boys outdoor high jump with a winning leap of 1.56m that equalled the Championship Best Performance for this age group in the National finals. Evan’s other National events came in the Irish Indoor Championships where he took the bronze medal in the U13 Boys with a leap of 1.45m and at the Scottish U13 Championships where he took double silver in high jump and long jump, with a 1.47m high jump and 4.41m long jump.
Earlier in the indoor season, Evan set a Championship Best in the Galway indoor high jump with a clearance of 1.45m and took long jump gold and hurdles silver for good measure. The talented athlete went on to take the Connacht high jump title with 1.46m and silver in the hurdles with 11.02 as well as qualifying for the National finals with a 4th place finish in the long jump. He came very close to the National long jump podium later that month with a 4.35m leap in the Irish U13 indoor finals.
His good form continued into the outdoor season when winning triple Galway titles in the U13 high jump, long jump and hurdles in Dangan and almost repeated that feat with high jump gold (1.40m), long jump silver (4.32m) and hurdles silver (10.74) in the Connacht outdoor track & field. His form peaked in the highlight of the year with a first-time clearance of 1.56m to take the National title in the U13 outdoor high jump.
His prowess over the hurdles and in the jumps sets Evan out as a potential pentathlon champion in the future, a potential which he underlined with strong cross country performances in the U13 2500m at both Galway and Connacht level where he helped his U13 club team to the team silver medals in the Galway championships placing individual 13th and was even more impressive when placing 15th in the Connacht championship and help the team to yet another set of silver medals. It’s very unusual for an elite jumper to be strong over cross country also, something that sets Evan apart from most athletes.
Evan wrapped up his year with an amazing performance in the U14 Boys high jump at the Northwest Games in December when soaring over 1.60m to take the gold medal and conclude another brilliant year for a hard-working athlete.
Boys u12 to u15 Nominee : Evan Moran
Last year’s U12 was Evans first solo run, so going from winning All Ireland medals in paired long jump and 300m and 500m u10/u11, 2017 sure was going to be a lot harder!
Evan’s indoor season saw him in flying form! In Galway’s Evan took silver in 60m 9.32 and the Galway title in Hurdles 10.93 it was also a CBP and still is today. He also took Galway title in 600m, 153.76 setting another CBP that day too and with his fourth event of the day on the last leg for his relay he raced home to team Gold!
Connachts saw Evan’s best day out with Triple Gold in 60m, 60m Hurdles and 600m and there was no stopping Evan that day taking three Connacht Titles. Thankfully Evan had a great Connachts as, unfortunately, injury kicked in at All Irelands where he had to pull up at the end of his 60m with hamstring issues which subsequently left him out of contention for the 600m – such are the highs and lows of athletics.
Outdoors came and Evan still loving hurdles took Galway title and also won silver in 60m 9.04 and Bronze in 600m. Connachts saw Evan take the Gold in 60m Hurdles but proved a difficult day in 60m with difficult conditions, Evan had to settle for 4th 9.85 having ran 9.04 in Galways, never the less it qualified him To All Irelands. Evan ‘s last minute decision to participate in the high jump and long jump paid off as he placed 4th in both – proving that he has potential to multi events too!
In All Irelands Evan ran a PB of 8.90 in 60m again just missing out on final but his biggest regret was All Ireland Hurdles is only from u13 and his coaches are confident that Evan’s hard work will pay off and he will be challenging for medals in the hurdles this year.
Among club events Evan won cumman na bun Scoil xcountry in Renmore 5/6th class and still with schools won the 400m track event again running out of age. Overall 2017 was a great year for Evan with Connacht titles and PBs. Well done Evan on a great year !
Boys u12 to u15 Nominee : Conor Trehy
Conor is a hugely versatile athlete with explosive power, who can turn his talents to high jump, long jump, hurdles and throws plus of course running! Conor over the years has medalled at Galway and Connacht level in all of the above events at different times and ages. A national medal in Javelin was his only one that was until last year!
Conor with only a couple of practices in Triple jump as indoors didn’t cater for u15’s won the Galway Outdoor title and we knew then that he had a flare for it, combining his lj experience and his explosive ability and the rhythmical timing of hurdles Conor went on to take Connacht Title which of course gave him an opportunity to challenge himself at a higher level. That challenge proved to be a great success with Conor claiming All Ireland Bronze, putting Triple jump up there with all other field events, Conor is already looking forward to this year’s competition and in doing so well first time out it has also encouraged others to take interest in developing their Triple jump! Best of luck Conor
Girls u12 to u15 Nominee : Jade Moorhead
2017 was an incredibly successful year for Jade which saw her feature on the National podium for the first time. The year kicked off with victory in the Galway indoor high jump for U13 Girls where Jade leaped 1.30m to claim the gold medal. A few weeks later in Glasgow, she had her first taste of international competition with the U13 high jump at the Scottish Indoor Championships where she strung together a super series of jumps over 1.22, 1.27, 1.32 and 1.37 all on her first attempt to take 4th place overall as well as a massive personal best.
Jade’s high jumping form continued to get better and better with another PB in the Connacht outdoors where she leaped 1.38m to take the silver medal. Later in the summer in the pinnacle event of her season, Jade had a magnificent series of jumps in the National finals of the U13 Girls high jump to clear 1.45m and take the silver medal. She rounded off her year at the Northwest Games in December where she stepped up an age into the U14 age group to take the victory with 2 brilliant PBs of 1.50m and 1.55m. In the process, she broke the club’s age group record of 1.53m held by Cathriona Farrell which was a National record at the time it was set.
Jade also had great success in the long jump throughout the year with silver in the Galway indoors followed up with bronze in the Connacht indoors and repeated these exact results in the Galway and Connacht outdoors with a PB of 4.01m from the Connacht’s. And the hardworking athlete also featured on the club’s U13 team that placed 2nd in both the Galway and Connacht cross country championships with Jade placing 21st and 27th in the 2500m races.
It was a highly successful year and thoroughly deserved for an incredibly dedicated athlete who attended 120 training sessions throughout 2017 which, when you factor in holiday breaks, is close to 3 training sessions per week – one of the most dedicated athletes in the club and a great example that hard work pays dividends. Jade would be a very worthy recipient of the U12-15 athletics award and is a role model for her peers.
Girls u12 to u15 Nominee : Niamh Duffy
Niamh in her first year in athletics shot (excuse the pun!) to fame in shot putt with Galway and Connacht titles with throws of 7.65 and 7.99 and went on to win her first National bronze medal for indoors 7.96m. Niamh’s PB for indoor season was a brilliant 7.99m.
Niamh’s progress continued into outdoor season and she added sprints to her throwing ability winning the Galway title 9.30 and 2nd in Connachts in 60m 9.20. Alongside her shot she qualified to All Irelands where she ran a PB of 9.12 unlucky in her heat to just miss out on making the final, however she maintained the top spot in shot putt winning the Galway title 7.51m and Connacht title 6.85m and the icing on the cake was when she took her second All Ireland medal, Silver , with a massive throw and PB for her outdoor season of 8.64m. All showing that Niamh is a force to be reckoned with, growing in strength from her indoor to outdoor season. The future is bright for this young athlete not only in Shot Putt but mastering 60m and an even more powerful 100m in 4×100 relay.. Girl power for sure!! Continued success Niamh!
Girls u12 to u15 Nominee : Ellie Cronin
Once again in 2017, Ellie continued to multi task very successfully across several events – high jump , long jump, hurdles, 800m, 250 hurdles and shot.
While it is hard to excel at all events on one day, Ellie featured well in the Galway Indoors claiming Bronze in both the 60m and the high jump. Ellie was only warming up and went on to take Connacht Silver in the high jump, placing 6th in the All Irelands with a jump of 1.50.
Ellie was also County and Connacht Champion in both schools and club multi events and went on to place 4th /5th in the respective All Irelands. A massive achievement to be successful across many disciplines on the same day! Ellie also holds the Connacht schools high jump record of 1:60.
Outdoors saw Ellie take the Galway title in the high jump and 3rd in 250m hurdles. Connacht title for Ellie in the high jump again as well as bronze in both the long jump and the 250m hurdles. So Ellie qualified for all three events in the All Ireland, but, family holidays interrupted Ellie’s performance with the race from the Ferry to Tullamore proving too much for Ellie and her sea legs hadn’t quite recovered either!
Like all great athletes, Ellie is knocking on the All Ireland podium in many events and her coaches believe that it’s only a matter of time that her talents will be rewarded!! Keep up the great work Ellie!