For the first time in its history, the club claimed 2 sets of National indoor relay medals when both the U13 girls and U14 boys finished in bronze place.
When the U13 girl’s team were U9s, they claimed the gold medal in the outdoor 4x50m but finished just outside of the medals since then. The boys U14 team are more used to National relay success, having won outdoor relay silver, 2 outdoor relay gold and 2 indoor relay silver. They have yet to add an indoor gold and unfortunately because they are involved in so much other sport and had limited recent relay practise, the omens weren’t on for a relay gold this time around with some faster teams in it from the other provinces – but they had a good chance of a medal nonetheless despite the lack of practice.
With the U13 girls age group bolstered by new recruits Niamh Hannify and Kelly Harte last year, there was a lot of competition for relay places and the club now has a pool of 7 or 8 top class runners in this age group who will hopefully continue to feature in relay medals in the years to come. With some runners unavailable due to First Holy Communion in Craughwell, the team for the National finals was Kelly Harte, Claire Ryder, Niamh Hannify and Ella Bryan. The girls ran superbly in their heat to make the final. In the final, they ran out of their skins, with excellent baton passing to claim the bronze 4x100m medal in a time of 57.38 – a great achievement and one that puts their relay team firmly in contention for further National success.
The U14 boys had a more difficult battle on their hands in their 4x200m. They were pitched in the same heat as Tallaght and Tralee who were the fastest two teams in the competition. With a very fast start from both opponents, Craughwell were working hard from behind the whole way around but stuck to their task to record what looked like the 4th fastest qualifying time. This was confirmed later when the official results were announced. So relief then for the team of Peter Treacy, PJ Kelly, Brendan Gallagher, Jack Raftery and sub Finn Stoneman.
Onto the final and the team were going to have to work hard to make up some time in order to get a medal. And work hard they did, with all runners battled hard to make up the ground from lane 1 in the final, getting reasonably good baton passes but as Brendan raced around lap 3 we were in 4th place about 6m behind GCH in 3rd. A good baton pass from Brendan to Jack and a poor one from GCH saw the gap narrow to 3m. Jack gobbled up the ground as he rounded the first bend and overtook the GCH athlete on the straight. Gradually pulling away all the time, Jack finished ahead by a margin of 0.92s or approx 6 metres to claim a safe bronze medal in a time of 1.56.36. So good news for the lads – their 6th national relay medal which is a fine achievement. And (tongue in cheek) if we can double the number of training sessions they attend as a group from 1 to 2 sessions per month, they might be in line for 3-in-a-row outdoor National titles in the summer!
The U14 girl’s team were in hard luck not to make the 4x200m relay final. The team of Anna Lane, Maria McNamara, Orla McDaid and Claire Ryder (and sub Sinead Gaffney) ran a fantastic time in their heat to win it in a time of 1.58.71. Anxiously awaiting the announcement of the finalists, officials initially made a mistake and announced we had qualified but later corrected it as they had incorrectly recorded our time as 1.53.71 in the initial announcement. So we ended up in 5th place, just outside the qualifying places. Congratulations to Athenry AC who took our place in the final 🙁 and took an excellent bronze medal 🙂
The U15 girl’s team also ran an exceptional race to finish in 6th place overall in a time of 1.58.69. The team were Orla Ryan, Katie O’Donoghue, Debi Kenny and Linda Porter. This was a second faster than their PB from the Connacht finals and puts them on the doorstep of a medal as they enter the older age groups. One last result to report on was the U13 boys 4x100m team where the team ran well but didn’t make their final. The team was Conor Duggan, Aidan Conneely, Nicholas Sheehan and Cathal Reidy. Their time was 59.35 which was a slight improvement on their Connacht time and encouraging for the outdoors.