There were some fantastic performances by the club at the first day of the Connacht Indoors in Nenagh on Sunday, with medals won in all of the athletic disciplines bar the walks. Craughwell were the top Connacht club on the day, with a medal haul of 8 gold, 7 silver and 7 bronze, and also had the one of the highest participation rates of all the Connacht clubs.
Star of the day was Claire Ryder who took gold in the U14 girls long jump with a seasons best of 4.53m and added to this with a much-coveted victory in the 60m in a time of 8.60, just fractionally slower than the club record in this age group held by Cathriona Farrell (8.5, set at Connacht Indoors in 2005).
Claire’s performance was almost matched by Aidan Conneely who took gold in the U13 boys 60m with a fantastic time of 8.29, in the process smashing the club record for his age group, and adding a silver in the long jump with a leap of 4.17m. Gavin O’Toole recorded a big PB in the same long jump with a leap of 4.05m to take the bronze medal.
Also in the medals in the sprint, Sinead Treacy took an exceptional silver medal in the U13 girls’ event and Tara McNally took the bronze medal in a high quality U12 girls’ field. Conor Duggan raced to a very impressive silver medal in the U13 boys’ hurdles.
The club took 4 medals in the high jump events, with Ella Bryan leading the way with a 1.40m clearance despite nursing a leg injury. Ellen Treacy leaped a huge PB of 1.36m in the U13 girls’ event to take the gold medal, with Ellen Fitzpatrick making a 10cm improvement on her PB to leap 1.25m and take the bronze medal. Oisin McNally competed in a scintillating U14 boys’ competition with a Westport athlete with each athlete hitting new PBs as the bar went up and Oisin eventually settling for silver with a jump of 1.41m!
In the U14 boys 800m, Nicholas Sheehan ran a fantastic time in heat 1 of 2.28.23 which sealed the bronze medal for him, while Conor Gillen went 1 better in heat 2 to run 2.27.86 and take the silver medal overall.
In the shot putt, relatively new recruits Cathal O’Brien and Siobhan Connolly medalled in the U12 boys and U13 girls events while Craig McGill medalled in the U14 boys.
Our athletes saved the best wine till last when the relays arrived. I positioned myself on the far side of the track directly across from the finish line and had the pleasure of overhearing a number of spectators behind me complimenting several of our relay teams on their baton passes – in particular the U13 girls “see her sticking down her marker, that’s very professional”, “did you see that baton pass, brilliant”, “did you see that one, incredible”, “who are that team in green and white”, “I think they’re Craughwell”. It’s real nice to be involved with the club when you hear such praise and a credit to our coaches in these age groups.
Anyway, back to the relays. They kicked off with the U14 boys 4x200m where our team of Oisin McNally, Conor Gillen, Nicholas Sheehan and Cathal Reidy battled gallantly to take 2nd place in heat 2 in a time of 2.05.25 but had to settle for 5th place overall as the first 3 came from heat 1. Next up, our U13 girls stars! A very strong GCH team blitzed around in heat 1 and looked exceptional. Our team lined up in heat two and with the afore-mentioned superb baton passes from Ellen Treacy to Sinead Treacy to Ellen Fitzpatrick to Dandy Murray we raced to a clear win in heat two in a time of 59.94. I had missed out timing heat 1 so couldn’t say whether we had won or not … but to our delight the result was later announced with Craughwell in gold position. This was particularly pleasing for this team as they have had some bad luck in the past in relays, with a dropped baton and some impeding costing them Connacht medals on two occasions – but today made up for it all!
Next on the track, the U12 girls lined up in heat 2 of their 4x100m with Hannah Rabbitte, Grainne McDaid, Caoimhe Reidy and Tara McNally. Heat 1 had been won by GCH in a time of 66.17. Our team ran a fantastic 63.8 to easily win their heat. Heat 3 was won by Swinford in 64.79 and later the official result confirmed the U12 girls as Connacht champions. So two Connacht titles out of 3 relays, good going! Next up, the U12 boys’ team of Gary Clay, Niall Broderick, Ian Connolly and Oisin Doyle. Heat 1 was won in 61.99 by GCH and heat 2 in 61.55 by Ballina. We were in heat 3 and ran a stormer to cross the line in 62.48 … looking like a safe 3rd place overall which the official result later confirmed.
The U14 girls 4x200m were next in action. With Ella Bryan ruled out through injury, Sinead Treacy stepped up to the 200m relay. It was a new look team with Sinead as first runner, then Claire Ryder, then Gabrielle Tobin and then Alanna Ni Cheallachain in her first competitive relay for the club. The 4 girls put in a fantastic performance in heat 1 to cross the line in 2nd place in 2.05.39, behind GCH and ahead of Ballinasloe. When the result was announced later, all 3 qualifiers came from that heat – yielding us the silver medal.
Final race of the day and well worth waiting for as it featured our u13 boys relay team who had medalled at National level in 2007, dropped a baton in last years Connacht indoors and didn’t qualify as a result, and finished 4th in last year’s National outdoors. Like men preparing for battle, the 4 lads were totally focussed. They were in heat 2 and had observed Ballinasloe just pipping GCH in heat 1 in a very strong time from both teams of 59.09 and 59.44. Conor Duggan got the race underway with a very good first leg, to Gavin O’Toole for leg 2, to Jamie Spelman for leg 3 as we raced into a very substantial lead, to Aidan Conneely for leg 4 who powered his way home and crossed the line in 57.38 – a truly exceptional run which sealed a fine day at the relays with 3 titles, 1 silver and 1 bronze out of 6 races.
So another great day in Nenagh and the club looks forward to further success next weekend when the U15 and older athletes take part in their Connachts.
There were many fine performances across the board from Craughwell AC athletes in addition to the medal winners listed above, with several top 5 finishes and many many PBs. I was going to enumerate the PBs but 95% of the performances all resulted in PBs so there was no point! Details of all the Craughwell individual results are as follows. Unfortunately I don't have details of the sprints heats so any performances in those aren't included here.