Craughwell Consolidates Position as Top Club at Connacht Indoors

Craughwell Consolidates Position as Top Club at Connacht Indoors


Craughwell AC U17 Boys 4x200m Team
Conor Duggan, John Cormican, Nicholas Sheehan, Damien O'Boyle

Craughwell AC consolidated its position as the leading Connacht club at this year’s Connacht Indoor Track & Field Championships when taking 14 gold, 14 silver and 9 bronze medals. This takes the club’s total medal haul over the 2 days to 34 gold, 30 silver and 25 bronze – almost a quarter of the medals over the 2 days and a significant improvement on last year’s total of 23 gold, 29 silver and 22 bronze.

As always, it’s not all about medals and the club also had the largest participation over the 2 days and the athletes had plenty of fun at the Claremorris and Nenagh venues. The same probably cannot be said for the parents and officials on day 2 as the day was particularly long with the last event of the day concluding just after 7.30pm – a nine and half hour day if you were there (like me) since 10am. I’m sure there will be lots of comments on this and feel free to send me or the other coaches email if you like to comment – but try to phrase your comments constructively as everyone officiating at these events is a volunteer and doing their best to make the event go smoothly.


Anyway getting back to the athletics events, there were many fine performances from Craughwell athletes across all age groups but in particular from the ‘hardy boys’ who ran in the Irish Schools Cross Country the previous day and ran 2 or more races the next day in Nenagh including Matthew Barrett, James Delaney, Jamie Spellman, Conor Gillen, Nicholas Sheehan, Matthew Moran, John Cormican and Damien O’Boyle.The day got underway with the even ages relays, with the U12 girls on the track first. With all of the outer track races decided on times rather than heats/finals, the athletes had to wait nervously after each race for the results of the top 3 to be announced after all the heats had completed.

The U12 girls took silver in 64.09 with Caoimhe Allen, Roisin Hansbury, Clare Broderick and Siona Lawless while the U12 B and C teams finished 6th and 8th in times of 69.02 and 74.04 (Craughwell B: Tara Slattery, Emma Urquhart, Niamh Treacy, Sarah Callanan; Craughwell C: Abigail McNally, Catherine Noonan, Grace Mortimer, Leigha O’Boyle). The U12 boys 4x100m team were unlucky to place 4th in 61.39 (Darren Lyons, Michael Hand, David McDonnell, Micheál McFadden) while the B team placed 7th in 65.82 (Darragh O’Connor, Sean Noonan, Conor Hughes, Patrick Noonan).

In the U14 girls 4x200m, the Craughwell team of Erin Fitzpatrick, Dearbhaile Walshe, Michelle Duggan and Eimear Loughnane struck gold in a time of 2.01.64 – over 7 seconds clear of the opposition.

The U14 boys 4x200m race provided one of the highlights of the day as Craughwell were pitted against GCH whose U14 team have routinely medalled in the All-Ireland relays. A new look Craughwell relay team featured half sprinters and half distance runners and the team really delivered the goods with a fine time of 1.57.37 from Matthew Barrett, Brian Loughnane, Jim Crowley and Dylan Finn. The B team also ran very well to take 4th place overall a time of 2.05.01 with James Cahalane, Liam Moran, Ben Sharkey and Gearoid Treacy. Both GCH and Craughwell had won their heats and it looked like Craughwell had the victory – a result that was confirmed 30 minutes later when Craughwell were announced as Connacht champions ahead of this fine GCH team who recorded a time of 1.58.69.

The U16 boys 4x200m took a creditable bronze in a time of 1.51.43 with Jamie Spellman, Conor Duggan, Conor O’Donoghue and Damien O’Boyle – behind their former clubmates Aidan and Kelvin who helped GCH to silver behind North Sligo.The U16 girls 4x200m and the U18 girls 4x200m teams provided some interesting moments as both sets of girls are chasing the club record as well as Connacht titles. The club indoor record is currently 1.52.31 set by Jessica Heneghan, Maria McNamara, Maireád McCan and Claire Ryder as U17s in 2011. On this occasion, the U16 team ran a fine time of 1.53.22 to come close to taking the club record and in the process took the silver medal with Tara McNally, Sineád Treacy, Ellen Fitzpatrick and Gráinne McDaid. The U18 team went one better to take the gold medal in convincing style ahead of GCH in 2nd place – recording a time of 1.52.90 with Jessica Heneghan, Claire Ryder, Sineád Gaffney and Maireád McCan. The performance of both teams augurs very well for setting a new club record in the National finals.

Craughwell U18 Girls 4x200m – Connacht Indoor Champions 2012
Maireád McCan, Sineád Gaffney, Jessica Heneghan, Claire Ryder

Once the even ages relays were out of the way, the sprints got underway and I have to admit in my predictions of the schedule for the sprints, I was way off having estimated 2 minutes per heat but it seemed to take 3 times that long – with us still on the U13 girls heats by the time I had estimated all the sprints would be over!

But notwithstanding the delays, Craughwell had some outstanding results in the sprints – particularly amongst the older girls. With the club’s 60m record being held by Claire Ryder at the start of 2012 in a time of 8.44, Katie O’Donoghue claimed the record in January with a 8.32 at the AAI Indoor Games. Then along came Scotland where Tara McNally broke Katie’s record in the 60m heats in a time of 8.20. Then along came the semi-finals in Scotland where Sineád Treacy broke Tara’s record in a time of 8.16.

With all of these girls in action at the Connacht finals, there were some outstanding times yet again from all of the above athletes and with Maireád McCan and Jessica Heneghan also in the mix, the club has some outstanding sprinters coming through amongst the girls. All of these girls medalled in the Connacht’s with Katie having the leading time on the day and the club record will surely fall again in the All-Irelands. The times/results were

     –   8.20: Katie to take the U19 Girls 60m title
      8.21: Sineád to take bronze in the U16 Girls 60m
      8.31: Tara to take the U15 Girls 60m title
      8.59: Jessica to take the U18 Girls 60m title
     8.60: Claire to take bronze in the U17 Girls 60m
     8.64: Maireád to take silver in the U18 Girls 60m

With a good start out of the blocks, any of the six athletes could take the club record in the All-Irelands so watch this space!

Craughwell U17, U18 and U19 Sprint Medallists
Maireád McCan, Jessica Heneghan, Claire Ryder and Katie O'Donoghue

In the boy’s sprints, Daniel Callanan-Forde took silver in the final of the U13 60m in 8.74s while Micheál McFadden was unlucky to place 4th in the final of the U12 60m in 9.28. Dylan Finn had the same experience when placing 4th in the final of the U14 60m in 8.83 as had Conor Duggan in the final of the U17 60m in a time of 7.88, while Jim Crowley placed 5th in the U14 60m in 8.98.

Back to the girls, Eimear Loughnane and Michelle Duggan placed 5th and 7th in the final of the U14 Girls 60m in times of 9.27 and 9.40.In the middle-distance races, we again saw some exceptional performances across the age groups – but particularly in the U14 boys where the club recorded a 1-2-3 in the 800m. I guess it was a predictable result as we are the All-Ireland Cross Country Champions after all! On this occasion, Matthew Barrett took the honours and the Connacht title in 2.30.16, James Cahalane 2nd in 2.30.81 and Liam Moran 3rd in 2.32.16. And not far behind, Brian Loughnane took 5th place in 2.35.09. Ben Sharkey also ran in the same race and was not far off Brian’s time but for some reason his race number was not recorded in the results.

The U14 girls 800m saw an intense battle at the end of her heat for Dearbhaile Walshe. Leading the race with a lap to go, Dearbhaile looked to be comfortable for the victory in the heat ahead of Loughrea’s Grace Finnerty when Athenry’s Shannon Lee put in an almighty burst of speed from 20m out to take both herself and Grace Finnerty past Dearbhaile on the line. When the results of the different heats were computed, it left Dearbhaile in 5th place overall in a time of 2.38.56. This was unlucky for Dearbhaile as I am sure if it were a final, Dearbhaile would definitely have placed in the top three. In the U15 800m, Gráinne McDaid placed 8th in a time of 2.41.44 while James Delaney placed 12th in a time of 2.42.23.

In the U16 800m, Damien O’Boyle knocked 9 seconds of his time from last year with a 2.10.80 to take the bronze medal, while Conor Gillen took the U17 title in 2.11.05. John Cormican took an impressive silver medal in the U17 race and in the process improved his time from last year’s indoors by an absolutely incredible 32 seconds to record a time of 2.13.52. Paul Joyce was another to take a serious chunk off his indoor 800m PB when running an impressive 2.16.0 to take 4th place in the U18 800m – knocking 21 seconds off his PB! Although in Paul’s case that earlier time was set in his previous athletic life as an U14 athlete before he took some time out from the sport!

Also showing big improvements from last year’s indoors, Sineád Gaffney knocked 14 seconds off last year’s time to record an indoor PB of 2.28.84 and take silver in the U18 Girls 800m. In fact only for a savage first lap in 31 seconds Sineád might have gone even faster for the distance. And Orla McDaid did likewise, improving her indoor best from last year by 7 seconds to record an indoor PB of 2.39.70 when taking 4th place in the U18 800 – unlucky to be pipped on the line for a medal.


In the U12 and U13 600m races, there were many good performances which augur well for the future. Times/results were:-

23463LeighaO Boyle2.33.64
  12  422?  Patrick  Noonan  2.03.74
22479DarraghO Connor2.10.27

In the U17 1500m, Nicholas Sheehan and Conor Gillen went head-to-head with Nicholas taking the honours with a fast last 300m and taking the Connacht title on this occasion in 4.26.24 – with Conor taking 2nd in 4.28.4, Matthew Moran placing 5th in 4.52.61 and Keelan Ryan 7th in 4.58.35. Paul Joyce took silver in the U18 1500m in 4.36.10.

Ashley McDonnell set a club record of 63.49 to win the Senior Women’s 400m while Maria McNamara took the U18 300m title in a fine time of 46.07.

In the 200m races, Sineád Treacy ran an impressive 27.13 to take silver in the U16 girls and in the process take Tara McNally’s club record which Tara set in Scotland this year in a time of 27.25. In the U18 girls 200m, Jessica Heneghan was a comfortable winner in a time of 28.23 – completing a very successful day for Jessica with 2 Connacht titles. And in the U17 girls 200m Claire Ryder took silver when winning her heat in 29.08 – noticeably tired after the long day in Nenagh. John Cormican continued his breathtaking improvements when placing 4th in the U17 boys 200m in 25.75 while Orla Ryan placed 5th in the U19 Girls 200m in 30.46.

In the race walks, the club had some strong performances where Eva Prendergast and Gearoid Treacy both took silver in the U14 1000m, and Shane Finn and Christopher O’Connor both took bronze in the U16 and U17 1500m.

The uneven age relays took place late in the day where the Craughwell U13 boys took the Connacht title in an impressive 58.39 (Cian Waters, Micheál McFadden, Peter Martyn, Daniel Callanan-Forde) and the B team placed 5th in 61.51 (Jerry Keary, Sean Delaney, Dean Callanan, Calum Kenny).

Craughwell's U19 Girls 4x200m Team
Maria McNamara, Sineád Gaffney, Orla Ryan, Katie O'Donoghue

In the U13 girls 4x100m, the team of Caoilin Milton, Laura Cunningham, Aoife Walshe, Ciana Reidy (sub Shauna Tobin) placed second in their heat in a time of 61.41. With Athenry clear winners in 1 of the other heats, it was touch and go as to whether 61.41 was good enough to qualify – but luckily for us when the results were announced we placed 3rd by a whisker, 0.54 of a second ahead of 4th place.  

The U15 4x200m girls took bronze in 2.01.85 with Tara McNally, Gráinne McDaid, Eimear Loughnane and Michelle Duggan while the U19  girls ran out comfortable winners in their 4x200m in a time of 1.53.74 (Maria McNamara, Katie O’Donoghue, Sineád Gaffney, Orla Ryan).

The U17 boys ran an excellent 1.43.62 to take the silver medals and in the process come within a second of the club record with their team of Conor Duggan, Nicholas Sheehan, John Cormican and Damien O’Boyle. One has to think that had 3 of the team not had to run middle distance races earlier in the day and had the same 3 not had to run a 4500m cross country race the previous day, that this team can find a couple of seconds more in their legs to break the club record in the All-Ireland finals!

So all in all it was a marvellous 2 days of action at the Connacht Indoors. In my usual hype, here’s how the medal situation panned out across the different clubs in Connacht over the 2 days. Nice to see Craughwell at the top! Full results of day 2 are here. 

North Sligo66416
Ballinasloe & District1427
Mohill & District3104
St. Ronans0022
Mayo AC0202





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