Craughwell Youngsters Battle for National Honours in Tullamore
Despite a brief skirmish with the rain during the morning in Tullamore, the large number of families from Craughwell and its surrounds enjoyed a mostly sunny day in Tullamore for the National finals of the U9-12 track and field. In fact, at times one could be forgiven for thinking it was the local community games such was the large number of local families in attendance.
Craughwell had a huge number of qualifiers for these championships and all performed incredibly well. I will update this article with the times/distances for each athlete/team when they become available.
In the sprints, the action got underway with Shonagh Gilligan and Erin Fitzpatrick in the U10 girls 60m, followed by Tara McNally and Grainne McDaid in the U11 girls 60m, Gary Clay/Niall Broderick and Eddie Madden/Ian Connolly in the U11 boys 60m, Sineád Treacy/Dandy Murray in the U12 girls 80m and Aidan Conneely/Conor Duggan in the U12 boys 80m. Tara had the honour of having the fastest U11 girl’s sprint time of the day, recording a time of 9.21 in her 60m race. But the highlight of the sprints was the U12 boys. In his heat, Aidan raced away to win the heat in style and put the team in pole position for a medal. In the following heat, Conor wasn’t going to let the advantage slip and ran a fantastic race to take 2nd place in his heat – only a half metre behind the winner. Confidence was high that their combined times were good enough for gold or silver – and shortly afterwards the result was posted that they had won! It was Conor’s first National sprint title and Aidan’s third (having won last year’s National Community Games final and this year’s AAI Indoor 60m).
In the long jump, we had several teams in action – no medals, but many PBs – I will wait until the results are published in case I get the PBs wrong! The teams in action were Shonagh Gilligan/Michelle Duggan in the U10 girls, Jack Lally/Hugh Lane and Liam Moran/Ronan Nevin in the U10 boys, Jean Waters/Lisa Doran in the U11 girls, Gary Clay/Niall Broderick and Eddie Madden/Ian Connolly in the U11 boys, Aidan Conneely/Gavin O’Toole in U12 boys. In the shot putt, we had 1 team in action – Cillian McDaid and Christopher McDonnell in the U12 boys.
In the middle-distance races, we withdrew a few teams because of injury or illness – Grainne McDaid picked up an injury in the Galway City Sports last Tuesday so her and her partner Caoimhe Reidy stayed out of the U11 girls 500m in order to be fresher for the relay – a very wise decision as it turned out! Jamie Spelman was ill during the week so he and Gavin O’Toole didn’t take prt in the U12 boys 600m in order to also rest for their relay. So our only middle distance race of the day was Emma Gaffney and Erin Fitzpatrick in the U10 girls 300m. Both girls ran superbly in what turned out to be very fast races and I am sure when we get the results, they will be very close to or better than their personal bests for this distance.
In the U12 girls high jump, the club had 2 teams in action – Ellen Fitzpatrick/Aisling Connolly and Dandy Murray/Ellen Treacy. Each of the girls jumped well but medals weren’t to come their way on this occasion. Ellen Treacy did very well to participate having been sick all week and jumped a very impressive 1.21m considering the week she had.
Final action for the club in the 2-person team events was Tara McNally and Andrea Tobin in the U11 girls ball throw, where each girl threw personal bests – with Andrea over 21m and Tara over 23m. They knew they had a chance of bronze medals but when the results were announced later, they had to settle for 4th place by about a metre. Onto the relays then which deserve an article all of their own ….