Conor Leaps 2.09 to smash Tailteann Games record

Conor Leaps 2.09 to smash Tailteann Games record

The prestigious Tailteann Games took place in Santry last Saturday with some exceptional performances from members of the club while representing their schools. The event is an inter-provincial schools competition with the top U16/17 athletes selected from each province based on their performances in earlier schools and club competitions. It is also a qualifier for the SIAB international between Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

There were top-drawer performances right across the board from the club’s athletes with Lauren Kilduff (Gort CS) excelling in the 300m hurdles to take the victory in a time of 43.45 and seal her first international vest when qualifying for the SIAB international. Emma O’Donovan (St Brigids Loughrea) raced superbly in the same race to take the bronze in a time of 45.25 narrowly missing out on international selection.

Conor Penney’s (Calasanctius Oranmore) meteoric rise continued at the Tailteann Games with his best ever performance. Having cleared over 2m on several occasions this year with 2.04 in the indoors, 2.05 at the Galway Outdoors and 2.02 at the Connacht Outdoors, Conor put in a stunning series of jumps with first time clearances over 1.90, 1.95, 2.00 and 2.05. With victory sealed at 2m, the Tailteann record of 2.06 was now the target – a record jointly held by Irish senior record holder Adrian O’Dwyer from 2000 and shared with Jeffrey Joy O’Regan in 2021. To put it in perspective, Adrian O’Dwyer is Ireland’s best ever high jumper with the national senior record of 2.30.

On his first attempt at 2.07, Conor soared up and over and the crowd were starting to cheer when Conor just barely brushed the bar with his foot to bring it down. But on his second attempt Conor made no mistake and soared high over the 2.07 to set a new Tailteann record! Not content with this, the bar goes to 2.09 and on his first attempt, Conor clipped it slightly on the way over – but with a huge attack into the jump on his last attempt, Conor sailed over it to the delight of the crowd and set an incredible 2.09 record. The historic moment is captured above! The leap catapults Conor to #2 in the European U18 rankings and #7 in the world – and #1 15 year old in the world! His achievement was further recognized at the end of the day when he was presented with the trophy for the best jump of the day.

Conor didn’t attempt any further heights as he had the 100m hurdles final coming up within the hour, a race where he again excelled with a fantastic time of 13.55 to take the silver medal.

In the middle distance races, Declan O’Connell (Clarin College) ran a fantastic 1500m, pulling away in the leading group of 4 at the bell and just running out of steam on the final run in to take a fine 4th place in a time of 4:08.33. Keelan Moorhead (Pres Athenry) had a similar experience when in the leading group in the 800m when a savage last 200m pace kicked in and Keelan raced to 5th place in a fine time of 1:59.01.

Toyosi George (Calasanctius Oranmore) and Kai Watters (Gort CS) had solid runs in the 200m sprint with Toyosi 7th in 23.59 and Kai 8th in 23.63 as did Megan Devane (Gort CS) in the girls 200m when placing 8th in 28.42. Joshua White (Calasanctius Oranmore) placed 8th in the triple jump with an impressive 11.67m.

A great day for all of the athletes in what is the Irish Schools elite competition.

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