There were some outstanding performances from Craughwell NS and Oranmore Boys Schools at the Galway City Sports on Tuesday in Dangan. This event is probably the highest standard of athletics for primary school children in the county and it is very difficult to get a medal of any colour here.
Craughwell NS have a short but colourful history in this event. In 2005, the school entered it for the very first time and came home with 2 gold medals – Ashley McDonnell in the U13 Girls 800m and the U11 girls relay team in their 4x100m. if memory serves me right that team was Katie O’Donoghue, Debi Kenny, Orla McDaid, Maireád McCan and Maria McNamara.
In 2006, the school brought home even more silverware, with Ashley again medalling in the U13 girlsl 800m – taking the silver medal despite a very bad fall early in the race. Sinead Gaffney and Orla McDaid raced to silver and bronze in the U11 girls 400m while Mairead McCan claimed bronze in the U11 girls 100m and anchored her team to gold in the 4x100m – with Orla McDaid, Maria McNamara and Sinead Gaffney completing the team.
In 2007, the school didn't take part in the event but came back in style in 2008 to put in their strongest performance yet. Sineád Gaffney led the charge with a super victory in the U13 girls 800m – becoming the schools second champion in this race. Mairead McCan and Maria McNamara completed a remarkable 6th class performance by taking 3rd and 4th place in the U13 100m. These 3 girls along with Ailbhe Greaney completed the school's dominance of this age group to take gold by a margin of 15m in the U13 relay. The heroine of the team was Ailbhe who was quite ill after a tough 800m, but showed tremendous strength of character to line out for the team as their 3rd runner. Ailbhe was physically sick just before and just after the semifinal of the relay but thankfully the nausia passed and she was fine during and after the final. Well done Ailbhe! Without her, the team could not take part as we did not have a substitute.
In the U9 girls 100m, Michelle Duggan and Ashling Keady both made the final, with Michelle powering her way to a silver medal in the final. In the U9 400m, Emma Gaffney almost emulated her older sister Sinead's middle distance achievement but ran out of track and had to settle for 4th place. Grainne McDaid was in a similar position in the U11 girlsl 400m, losing out on a medal by the slimmest of margins on the line.
And finally, for the first time, the boys in the school brought home some medals in this event with Conor Duggan racing to a silver medal in the U11 boys 100m and anchoring his relay team to bronze medals in the 4x100m – with the rest of the team been Oisin Coppinger, Conor O’Donoghue and Cillian McDaid. Only for a runner from another school obstructing Cillian in lane 3, the team would almost certainly have taken the silver medals.
There were fine performances also from Oranmore Boys School, with Aidan Conneely and Jamie Spelman dominating the U11 boys events – Aidan taking the gold in the 100m and Jamie in the 400m. The boys continued this dominance into the relay, taking the gold in the 4x100m.
For the record, a short summary of Craughwell NS's performance in this competition:-
– 2005: 2 golds
– 2006: 1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze
– 2007: Didn't enter
– 2008: 2 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze, 3 fourth