Galway/South Connacht Secondary Schools Track & Field
The 1st round of the schools track & field took place today in Dangan in some of the worst conditions I’ve seen for a track & field meet. The day started off looking like the weather would be ok, after an hour the drizzle started, an hour later it had stepped up to a shower, an hour later it has stepped up to a downpour, an hour later the downpour continued.
It was unending for almost 5 hours and then when everyone was well and truly soaked to the skin, it stopped.
And we only had the bitterly cold day to deal with then, weighed down by a few litres of water distributed throughout your clothes. Besides that, it was a fantastic day for athletes from the club who were to the fore in many events. Not many came away with PBs on the day due to the conditions, but nonetheless gave it 100% with many qualifying for the Connacht finals. To my knowledge, the top 6 in most events go forwards to the Connacht finals.
Over the last number of years, athletes entering secondary school have remained with the club and most have stayed in the sport as they progress through secondary school – with the result that the schools competition is becoming more and more important to the club. This year, over 30 athletes from the club took part, with remarkable success.
Following is a partial list of results/participation from the club. I will update this as much as possible over the next few days as more results come to hand. If anyone sees any omissions, let me know. If the full results are made available, I will update all below with official times/distances. The times/distances noted are from my own notes on the day.
Two athletes in action in this age group – Cathriona Farrell (Athenry VS) and Kelly O'Donoghue (Pres Athenry). Cathriona took her customary double gold in long jump (5.07m) and high jump but was dissapointed that the high jump was not really run as a competition – with herself as the only competitor and only allowed to take one jump at a low height in order to officially qualify.
Kelly threw the 4kg shot putt to a big PB of 6.82m, taking the silver medal. Kelly was also entered in triple jump but that event was not held and the entrants go straight through to the Connacht finals.
6 athletes in action in this age group. Ashley McDonnell (Pres Athenry) made a very welcome return to 800m running, holding her position in the leading group the whole way around and putting in a strong finish to take the gold in a time of 2.39.4. Ashley also ran the first leg on the Pres 4x100m relay team which took 3rd place and qualified for the Connacht finals.
Rachel Finnegan (Loughrea VS) took 1st place in the 80m hurdles in a time of 13.1 and 4th place in the 1500m in a time of 5.46.0, with Shannen Freaney (Pres Athenry) putting in a strong performance in the 1500m, just fading slightly in the last 200m to finish in 7th place in a time of 6.00.4.
Sarah Helebert (Gort CS) who is a former member of the club returned to athletics action today. Unfortunately for Sarah she suffered a suspected foot fracture when competing in the long jump, where she came in 2nd place (4.01m). Sarah also finished amongst the qualifiers in the high jump with a jump of 1.40m, as did Orla Ryan (Gort CS) with 1.40m and Sophie Ralston (St Raphael's) with 1.35m.
Seven athletes in action in the intermediate boys. Tomás Keehan (Gort CS) led the way winning his heat in the 100m and taking 2nd place in the final. Tomás and Niall Rooney (Athenry VS) were also competing in the high jump where both qualified for the Connacht finals with jumps of 1.50m. Tomás anchored the Gort 4x100m relay team to gold medals with Ruairi Finnegan running the first leg on the same team. Paul McGill missed out on this relay, having had the misfortune of fracturing his wrist in the shot putt competition earlier in the day where he took 5th place with a throw of 9.67m. Niall Rooney anchored his Athenry VS 4x100m to 4th place in the same race and also qualifies automatically in the triple jump.
Peadar Harvey (Col. an Eachreidh) collected double silver in the 800m and 1500m, just pipping GCH's Keith Fallon for 2nd place on the line in the 800m and running a strong time in the miserable conditions of 4.39.6 to take 2nd place in the 1500m. David Concannon (Pres Athenry) took 3rd place in the same race just seconds behind Peadar in a time of 4.42.4.
Other events for which I don't have results for include Ruairi Finnegan in the 200m, Shaun Gallagher (St Raphael’s Loughrea) in the 400m and Liam Dundon (Pres Athenry) in the long jump.
We had 9 athletes taking part in the junior girls, where the Pres Athenry relays were particularly impressive. Winning the relay with a metre to spare was the all-Craughwell NS team of Orla McDaid, Katie O’Donoghue, Caoimhe Quill and Debi Kenny. But the hugely impressive achievement in this age group was that in 2nd place, another Pres Athenry team in a breathtaking finish to take the silver position. Its highly unusual for the same school to take 1st and 2nd place in the relays and shows the depth of the athletics squad in this age group in the Pres.
Indeed it was a very successful day for Siobhán Gardiner, a former National high jump medal winner with the club a few years ago. Today she had a fine high jump of 1.35m to take 2nd place and a top quality long jump of 4.28m to qualify for the Connacht finals in that also. Siobhán's first love is the sport of camogie, but you never know she might give the athletics another go after these sort of performances!
Caoimhe Quill had an outstanding jump of 1.40m to take the gold in the high jump and not to be out done by her friend, Debi Kenny had an equally outstanding jump of 4.46m to take gold in the long jump – coming agonisingly close to a new PB.
Karen Roche (St Raphael's Loughrea) had a super performance in the 100m to finish 2nd in her heat and make the final. I don't have the result of the final to hand.
Running her very first individual 800m race, Katie Donoghue exceeded all expectations by running a super time of 2.40.5 to claim 2nd place. Katie had a perfectly paced race, running at the back of the pack in the first lap and moving up with 300m to go, gradually overtaking until she was in 3rd place and then attacking on the home straight to take a solid 2nd place and with a little more track would have taken gold. Unfortunately for Orla McDaid, a mistake regarding which age group led her to run the minor girls 800m which was a pity as she almost certainly would have been up alongside Katie in this race.
Linda Porter (Loughrea VS) and Muireann Maloney (St Raphael’s Loughrea) had strong races in the 1500m, with Linda setting for 3rd place on this occasion in a time of 5.36.6 and Muireann only seconds behind in 4th place and a time of 5.46.9.
Finn Stoneman was the club's leading performer in this age group where he represented St. Enda's in Galway city. Finn was a key part of their relay team which took 3rd place and earlier ran a very strong 800m to take 2nd place in a time of 2.25.0. Cormac Dillon (St Raphael’s Loughrea) jumped well to take 2nd place in the long jump with a 4.59m jump.
Brendan Gallagher (St Raphael’s Loughrea) also took part in this age group but I don't have his results to hand.
This is another age group where the club had many strong athletes taking part. In the 4x100m, Maria McNamara and Claire Ryder were part of the victorious Pres Athenry team who won by perhaps 20 or 30m in a very impressive performance.
Maria had earlier leaped 1.35m to win the high jump (not allowed to jump higher on the day) and finished 4th in the 800m, just ahead of Laura Porter (Loughrea VS) in 5th place. Claire had a comprehensive victory in the 200m in a new PB time of 28.7 just after her long jump completed. She took silver in the long jump with a super 3rd attempt of 4.47m – just fractionally ahead of Maireád McCann (Athenry VS) who leaped 4.46m. Claire's jump was a pressure jump as she had broken her two earlier jumps and had to move her mark back a safe 2 foot to make sure her third jump was valid. This led to her third jump commencing from 30 or 40cm from the break line – impressive if we were allowed to add that to the official jump of 4.47m! Our athletes domination of this long jump was completed by Sineád Gaffney (Pres Athenry) who took 4th place with a jump of 3.78m – having earlier had a 4m+ jump ruled out by a break.
Maireád also had a fantastic performance in the 100m sprint, making the final and finishing in 2nd place. Emily Nielsen (Col. an Eachreidh) was also in the 100m but I don't have her result to hand.
In the middle-distance events, Laura Porter put in a great run to take 3rd place in the 800m. Sineád completed the action in this age group with her first 1500m and a very impressive performance to take 2nd place in a time of 5.57.8.
Final category and smallest participation from our athletes! Paul Fitzpatrick (Pres Athenry) patiently waited all day in the rain to put in a top notch performance in the 1500m to win in a time of 5.19.6. Paul raced into an early lead, raising fears that he had gone out too fast. He continue to widen the gap, and increase our fears! But he held that pace right around and even had the energy to produce a sprint finish in the last 100m to record a super victory.
In the long jump, PJ Kelly (Gort CS) was in 2nd place going into the final round of jumps with his best been 4.06m. But he was overtaken in the last round and had to settle for 6th place but still qualifies for the Connacht finals as far as I know.