Happy New Year and The Year In Review

Happy New Year and The Year In Review

Wishing all of our athletes, coaches and parents a very happy and healthy New Year!!

Apologies in advance for the length of the article, it was a busy year!


The club continues to grow from strength to strength on all fronts and 2012 was one of our most successful ever. Read on for a full review of track & field and cross country  action during the year.

A couple of administrative notes first:-


 The club’s AGM will take place on Wednesday 16th January at 8pm in Craughwell Community Centre. It is hoped that parents and coaches and athletes can attend to voice their opinion on how the year went and make any suggestions for the coming year. It’s important for the successful running of the club to have a good attendance at the AGM so it is hoped that you can attend.

The senior committee’s AGM will also take place in January. I will update this article as soon as the date/time and venue is announced.

The club is conducting a Cash4Clobber clothes recycling fundraiser in January. Please bring any unwanted clothes, footwear, belts and bags to training on any Tues/Thurs and leave in the green container at the school grounds. Please get your friends and neighbors involved as this is an important source of income for the club.

A registration night for juvenile members will take place on Thursday 10th January from 6pm to 8pm in Craughwell Community Centre. So after you drop off your kids at training, please pop up to register them for the year. You can get the form on the night or to speed things up, you can download it from:-




2012 was another marvelous year for the club with some great moments throughout the year and huge participation rates as has become the norm. Juvenile membership increased again by over 50 athletes to a total of 450 while senior membership despite falling a little from its 2011 highs remains strong.

The club is particularly pleased with the growth in the number of teenagers in the club – it’s our fastest growing age category with a total of 115 in the club as of the end of the year. The older teenagers combined with a handful of senior track & field athletes to dominate the Galway senior track & field scene both indoors and outdoors and also represented the club and county in the senior track & field league, the top team event on the competive scene for athletics clubs. 

And in the juvenile ages, the club continued to dominate at Galway and Connacht level, with many athletes going on to place in the top 6 at National level. A top 6 placing was the criteria used to select the new Connacht athletics squad and 25 of the club’s teenagers were selected based on this – 20% of the squad and the most from any club.

In our younger age groups, we have some fantastic performances at local, regional and National level – particularly in the long jump. As usual, we had a huge influx of new members in the U8 age group in September and luckily have 6 or 7 parents in that age group also joined as coaches. Many of these new coaches embarked on Athletics Ireland’s Assistant Coach course near the end of the year. Having parents get involved in coaching is huge for the club – it’s the number 1 reason for our success. You could have (or not!) all the facilities and money in the world, but without enthusiastic parents/coaches involved, we’d have nothing. So a big thank you to all the club’s coaches for their fantastic commitment and energy in helping to develop an active lifestyle for our members and for helping them to develop to their potential as athletes.

All of the above augurs well for the future of the club along with many other exciting developments including on the facilities front. The club has played a central role in the development of facilities in the community for many years, including

  the redevelopment of the community centre in 1999

  the development of the astroturf and narrow path/track in 2007

 the development of the current track in early 2010

The club continues to progress plans for further facilities including

  Its long-term vision of adding to the facilities at Craughwell National School, with planning permission already obtained in 2011 and discussions still ongoing regarding the purchase of a number of acres next to the school.

A 4m wide 400m running track around the soccer pitches at Coleman’s Field for which the club’s fit4life group got planning permission in 2012 to address their immediate needs.

Both projects are good news for the club given the number of people both young and old participating in athletics and in road running.

Anyway, on with the review … its a little lengthy. If you fancy more reading, you can get an index of historical articles at:


The year kicked off as usual with the early season Galway indoor track & field on 7th January. Thankfully with the opening of Athlone’s state of the art facility in January 2013, the Galway Indoors have moved to a later slot in Nenagh in February. The early January slot was a hard one for everyone being so soon after Christmas.

Craughwell AC were the top club at  the Galway Indoors with over 120 athletes from the club taking part across the range of senior and juvenile events. Highlight of the day in Nenagh was the nail-biting finish in the U17 boys 4x200m where Conor Duggan put in a ‘Boltesque’ performance to take victory on the line from 2 GCH teams with all 3 teams credited with a time of 1.46.7. It was probably the most exciting finish to a relay ever witnessed by the Craughwell supporters. 

In the senior women’s events, Craughwell dominated proceedings led by Cathriona Farrell with a notable clearance of 1.75m to win the high jump and claiming the long jump title with a leap of 5.03m. Katie O’Donoghue was also in fine form winning the 60m and 200m in impressive PB times of 7.6 and 28.1. Maria McNamara had a fine performance to win the 60m hurdles with an impressive PB of 9.6s and equalled her PB in the shot putt to take the Galway title with 8.23m. Sineád Gaffney took the senior 800m title in 2:32.7, while the Craughwell senior women’s squad wrapped up a fine performance with gold and silver in the 4x200m relay with GCH in 3rd place. The Craughwell teams were 1st Jessica Heneghan, Claire Ryder, Sineád Gaffney and Maireád McCan in a time of 1:53.9 and 2nd Orla Ryan, Katie O’Donoghue, Ashley McDonnell and Cathriona Farrell in a time of 1:55.2.

In the men’s events, David Farrell took the high jump title with 1.65m while Eamon Waters took gold in the shot putt with 11.19m. In the distance races, Finn Stoneman ran an impressive 2:11.8 to take the 800m gold while Peadar Harvey took the gold in the U20 3000m in a time of 9:24.6.


There were many fine performances in the juvenile events, particularly Ellen Fitzpatrick’s 1.50m to win the U15 high jump and Aisling Keady-Cummins 1.46m to win the U14 high jump. Full details of the other gold medal winners in individual track events were as follows:-

U15 Girls Tara McNally, U13 Boys Daniel Callanan-Forde 8.9, U15 Boys Jordan Connaughton 8.3

U10 350m Ava Finn 1.15.0, U11 550m Sarah McCartin 2.04.4, U12 600m Roisin Hansberry 2.15.5, U14 800m Dearbhaile Walshe 2.47.6, U15 800m Grainne McDaid 2.53.7, U11 550m Finbar Mc Fadden 1.54.3, U14 800m Liam Moran 2.43.6, U15 800m Jordan Connaughton 2.33.0, U17 800m Conor Gillen 2.16.2

60m Hurdles
U14 Emma Gaffney, U13 Jerry Keary, U15 Damien O'Boyle 10.3

U14 600m Walk Eva Prendergast.  U17 1000m Walk Christopher O'Connor 5.02.0

U10 4x100m Kate Reilly, Leanne Lynskey, Aíne Kelly, Ava Finn, Sub: Emma Malone 1.10.2; U12 4x100m Claire Broderick, Caoimhe Allen, Roisin Hansbury, Siona Lawless, Sub: Tara Stephens 1.05.6;  U14 4x200m Eimear Loughnane, Dearbhaile Walshe, Erin Fitzpatrick, Michelle Duggan 2.00.7; U15 4x200m Eimear Loughnane, Michelle Duggan, Grainne McDaid, Tara McNally, Sub: Andrea Tobin 2.02.4;.  U13 4x100m Jerry Keary, Peter Martyn, Micheál McFadden, Daniel Callanan-Forde, Sub: Mark O'Brien; U17 4x200m John Cormican, Damien O'Boyle, Conor Gillen, Conor Duggan 1.46.7.

Long jump
U10 Girls Kate Reilly 3.05; U12 Girls Siona Lawless 3.69; U13 Girls Laura Cunningham 3.76; U14 Girls Emma Gaffney 4.00; U17 Girls Sinead Treacy 4.43, U10 Boys Fionn McArdle 3.14, U12 Boys Micheal McFadden 3.92, U13 Boys Daniel Callanan-Forde 3.84.

High jump
U13s Aoife Walsh 1.25 and Jerry Keary 1.20, U14s Dylan Finn 1.30.

Shot putt
U13s Cian Waters 9.09, U14s Eva Prendergast 8.02 and Sam McArdle 7.10, U15s Cathal O'Brien 10.22. 

The indoor season continued at pace later in January with both Sineád Gaffney and Peadar Harvey making the podium in National finals. Sineád had a fine performance to finish in 3rd place in the Junior Pentathlon with a score of 2504 points which included PBs in the 60m hurdles (10.87), shot putt (6.55m) and high jump (1.44m). Peadar had an exceptional run to take the silver medal in the National Junior 1500m, setting a new club record for the distance of 4.12.29. 

Meanwhile in the AAI Games which were also held in Nenagh, Ashley McDonnell recorded a new best in the long jump when leaping 5.05m. Katie O’Donoghue had a fine series of performances setting a new club record in both the 60m and shot putt – with a time of 8.32s in the sprint and a distance of 8.25m in the shot.

Sineád Gaffney
National Junior Pentathlon Bronze Medallist

Peadar Harvey
National Junior 1500m Silver Medallist

Katie O'Donoghue went even 1 better the following weekend when winning the National U19 Pentathlon in Nenagh. Katie racked up a score of 2554 points (60m hurdles 10.47, LJ 4.50, SP 8.22, HJ 1.56, 800m 2.40.54) to win by the narrow margin of 18 points. Maria McNamara added a silver in the U18 Girls Pentathlon while Dylan Finn claimed his first National medal with bronze in the U14 Boys Pentathlon.

Maria McNamara, Katie O'Donoghue, Sineád Gaffney
National Pentathlon Squad 2012

There were some fine performances from our older cross country athletes during January also at the South Connacht Schools Secondary Schools cross country championships which were held in Bushfield, Loughrea. 8 athletes from the club featuring in the top 3 individuals across the 8 races and several more featuring on the top 3 teams. In Minor Girls’ 1500m, Gráinne McDaid and Leanne Freaney placed 5th and 6th to help the Pres Athenry team to team gold while in the Minor Boys 1500m, Oisin Doyle took the individual title and led Calasantious Oranmore a comprehensive victory in the team event with Matthew Barrett (2nd), Michael O’Dowd (5th), James Delaney (13th) and Andrew O’Boyle (25th). In the Junior Girls race, Ciara Greene led from gun to tape to take the individual victory and also lead her school The Bower to team victory.

In the Intermediate Boys 4500m race, Conor Gillen (Athenry VS) had a fine individual victory while Calasantious Oranmore easily took the team title with Jamie Spellman in 2nd, Neil Greaney 4th, Nicholas Sheehan 5th,  Matthew Moran 6th, John Cormican 9th and Damien O’Boyle 10th, while in the Senior Boys event, Finn Stoneman led his school St. Enda’s to team victory. 


Cathriona Farrell (DCU) made it 3-in-a-row National indoor titles when winning the high jump with a good early season jump of 1.69m at the Irish Universities Track & Field Championships in Nenagh. In her first outing at these Championships, Maeve Curley made it a double success for Craughwell athletes when racing to victory in the 1500m race walk in a time of 6.41.15. Maeve was representing the University of Limerick. Both athletes had cause to celebrate again at the National Senior Indoor Track & Field in The Odyssey Arena in Belfast. Cathriona Farrell retained her indoor high jump title with some exquisite jumping against a quality field of 12 athletes. Clearing every height on her first attempt, Cathriona was the only athlete to clear 1.70m to claim the gold medal. And making her debut at the National Senior Indoors, Maeve Curley took a fine bronze in the 3000m race walk with a PB of 13.44.10. It was an impressive performance by the club to claim 2 medals in the program of 13 events.

Cathriona Farrell
National Senior Indoors
High Jump Champion 2010-2012

Maeve Curley
National Senior Indoor
Bronze Medallist in 3000m Walk

Peter O’Sullivan celebrated one of the greatest days in the history of Craughwell’s senior men’s team when finishing in individual 3rd place in the National Masters Cross Country Championships which were held in Boyle. Also in action in the juvenile B cross country, Dearbhaile Walshe had an outstanding run in the U13 Girls race to take the gold medal. In the U17 Girls race, Ciara Greene had a fine run to take 5th place.

The history-making continued for the Senior Men’s team when they took the bronze medals in Division C of the National Senior Cross Country Championships which were held in Santry. The team were led home by Peter O'Sullivan in 34th place, followed by Mark Davis 59th, Martin Corcoran 60th and Paul Keane 73rd. This is great progress for the club who can look forward with anticipation to building on this in future years.

Peter, Mark, Martin and Paul after their historic achivement
at the National Senior Inter-Clubs Cross Country

The Connacht Secondary Schools cross country finals saw some exceptional performances on the grounds of St Marys College Galway. Gráinne McDaid and Leanne Freaney helped The Pres Athenry to team victory in the Minor Girls 1500m. In the minor boys 1500m, Matthew Barrett had an impressive performance when taking the Connacht title and in the process leading Calasantious Oranmore to silver medals with Oisin Doyle 4th, Michael O’Dowd 31st and James Delaney 37th. In the Junior Girls 2000m, Ciara Greene (Bower Athlone) was the runaway leader. In the Intermediate Boys 5000m, Jamie Spellman and Conor Gillen had a big battle in the latter half of the race to take 2ndand 3rd place, with Jamie leading his Calasantious Oranmore team to victory by a handsome margin – with Neil Greaney 7th, John Cormican 13th and Damien O’Boyle 18th. The Senior Girls race saw Linda Porter (Loughrea VS) take 4th place. In the final race of the day, Finn Stoneman led his St Enda’s College team to victory when finishing in 7thplace.

The first day of the Connacht Indoor T&F took place in Claremorris’s new indoor facility. The club dominated proceedings taking home over one-third of the silverware handed out on the day. Cathriona Farrell led the way with double gold in the senior women’s high jump (1.65m) and long jump (4.81m). Katie O’Donoghue also took double gold with a fine 1.55m in the U19 high jump and 8.22m in the shot putt – a feat repeated by Diarmuid Prendergast in the U17 boys’ high jump (1.55) and shot putt (9.11).

Katie O'Donoghue attempting 1.60m in the U19 Girls High Jump in Claremorris 

There were many other notable performances including Dylan Finn’s 1.40m leap to win the U14 high jump, Sineád Treacy’s 4.54m jump to win the U16 girls long jump, Cian Waters victory in the U13 boys shot with a throw of 9.72m, Cathal O’Brien’s throw of 10.81m to win the U15 boys shot, Michael Hand’s victory in the U12 shot with 7.15m, Micheál McFadden’s victory in the U12 long jump with 3.92m, Jerry Keary’s 1.38m to win the U13 high jump, Sam McArdle’ victory in the U14 shot putt (8.89), U16 Girls High Jump victory for Ellen Fitzpatrick (1.40),  U17 Girls Long Jump title for Claire Ryder (4.47);  U18 Girls High Jump title for Maria McNamara (1.45); Maireád McCan 4.82m to win the U18 long jump, Triple Jump title for Melissa Mullins (9.10) in the U18 girls and Senior Women’s  Shot Putt title for Ashley McDonnell with 5.72.





Craughwell AC made its annual trip to the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow at the weekend for the Scottish Indoor Track & Field Championships. The party of 29 included 17 athletes who put in some remarkable performances to take home two Scottish titles, a silver medal, five 4th placed finishes, a fistful of 5th and 6th placed finishes together with many personal best performances. The highlight performance came from Aisling Keady-Cummins with a huge PB of 1.50m to win the U14 Scottish high jump title. The Scottish Champion proceeded to take 4th place in the long jump immediately afterwards – leaping 4.20m with no time to recover after a strength-sapping high jump competition. Ciara Greene made it a double for the club with a fantastic 5.16.25 to win the U16 girls 1500m with a tactically perfect race.

Aisling Keady-Cummins
Scottish Indoor High Jump Champion 2012

Ciara Greene
Scottish Indoor 1500m Champion 2012

Conor Gillen also had a fine performance to take the silver medal in the U18 1500m in a time of 4.27.69. There were some remarkable performances in the sprints where Sinead Treacy finished 4th in the U16 60m with a new PB and club record of 8.16 and Tara McNally did likewise in the U14 200m with a time of 27.25. Disaster struck Damien O'Boyle in the last 30m of the 400m final when he was holding 2nd place and took a tumble only 10m from the line. Damien also took 4th place in the high jump later in the day. In the U18 800m, Nicholas Sheehan had a towering performance to record a time of 2.04.99 in the heats and followed this up with 2.02.95 to take 4th place in the final.  

Conor Gillen, Matthew Moran and Neil Greaney
after running the final of the 1500m
at the Scottish Indoor Championships 2012

Sineád Treacy and Tara McNally
after running the sprint finals
at the Scottish Indoor Championships 2012

Maria McNamara
lining up to take her high jump
at the Scottish Indoor Championships 2012

Nicholas Sheehan
after running in the 800m final
at the Scottish Indoor Championships 2012

Meanwhile back at home, the All-Ireland Schools Cross Country finals were held in St Mary’s Galway and saw exceptional runs from Gráinne McDaid and Leanne Freaney in the Minor Girls race to help the Pres Athenry to claim the bronze medals in the team event. 

Grainne McDaid and Leanne Freaney
Bronze Medallists with the Pres Athenry Minor Girls team
at the National finals of the Irish Schools Cross Country

Back on the track at the Connacht Indoors in Nenagh, the club again enjoyed huge success taking home 14 gold, 14 silver and 9 bronze from the range of events which included sprints, walks, middle-distance and relays.

The club had some particularly impressive performances in the sprints with Katie O’Donoghue taking the U19 Connacht title in a time of 8.20s, Jessica Heneghan repeating this feat with 8.59s in the U18 60m, Tara McNally taking the Connacht title in the U15 60m in 8.31s. Ashley McDonnell set a club record of 63.49s to win the Senior 400m, while Maria McNamara took the U18 300m title in a fine time of 46.07. In the 200m races, Jessica Heneghan took the Connacht title in the U18s in 28.23. In the U14 boys 800m, Matthew Barrett took the title in 2.30.16, while Conor Gillen took the U17 title in 2.11.05. Nicholas Sheehan took the honours in the U18 1500m in 4.26.24.

The relays threw up its fair share of excitement. The U14 boys took the Connacht title in a time of 1.57.37 with the team being Matthew Barrett, Brian Loughnane, Jim Crowley and Dylan Finn. The U14 girls also struck gold in a time of 2.01.64 with Erin Fitzpatrick, Dearbhaile Walshe, Michelle Duggan and Eimear Loughnane. The U13 boys took the Connacht title in an impressive 58.39 (Cian Waters, Micheál McFadden, Peter Martyn, Daniel Callanan-Forde), the U18 girls took gold in 1.52.90 (Jessica Heneghan, Claire Ryder, Sineád Gaffney, Maireád McCan) and the U19s took gold in 1.53.74 (Maria McNamara, Katie O’Donoghue, Sineád Gaffney, Orla Ryan).

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

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

 Many of these athletes competed later in the month at the first weekend of the National Juvenile Indoors which was held in Nenagh. The highlight performances on this occasion were in the U12 shot putt and long jump with Michael Hand claiming a fine silver medal with a throw of 8.80m in the shot putt and Micheál McFadden leaping to bronze in the long jump with a jump of 4.06m, and also in the sprints where Tara McNally raced to a bronze medal in a time of 8.13. One of the most deserving performances of the day to just miss out on a medal was Katie O’Donoghue’s 4th place finish in the final of the U19 girls 60m in a club record time of 8.12, losing out on the bronze medal by a mere one-hundredth of a second. Equally deserving of a medal, both Aisling Keady-Cummins (U14 high jump) and Jerry Keary (U13 high jump) tied at the same height with the 2nd and 3rd placed athletes in their events but lost out on a medal on count-back. Cian Waters had a fantastic performance in the U13 hurdles to win his heat and take 4th place in the final in a time of 10.69.

Craughwell AC U12s and U13s Enjoying the Heat in Nenagh!


The final weekend of the National Juvenile Indoors saw some spectacular moments with elation and disappointment intermingled. The highlights of the weekend were the silver medals by Sineád Treacy in the 200m (26.51) and Nicholas Sheehan in the 800m, the silver medal by the U16 girls in their 4x200m in a new club record of 1.50.19 (Sineád Treacy, Tara McNally, Ellen Fitzpatrick and Ciara Greene) and the pulsating finishes by Damien O’Boyle and Sineád Gaffney in their 800m races to come with inches of a national medal. Damien finished 4th in 2.08.38, 0.18s from 3rd place while Sineád also placed 4th in a time of 2.23.93, 0.44s from 3rd place. Maria McNamara took the bronze in the U18 girl’s high jump with a 1.50m clearance. Orla Ryan quickly added another medal with a similar clearance to take the bronze in the U19 high jump. Christopher O’Connor took a fine bronze medal in the U17 1500m walk in a new PB of 7.39.91. There was heartbreak however for the U18 girl’s team who were in silver medal position for most of their 4x200m final only to be cruelly disqualified for a zone fault.

U16 Girls 4x200m Relay Team – National Silver Medallists
Sineád Treacy, Ellen Fitzpatrick, Tara McNally, Ciara Greene

The Galway Community Games Cross Country finals saw victories for Oisin Doyle in the U14 boy’s race, Dearbhaile Walshe in the U13 girls and James Cahalane in the U13 boys 1200m.

The Irish Universities Track & Field took place in Athlone, where Maeve Curley (UL) won the 1500m race walk in a time of 6.38.40 adding to the National indoor title she won earlier in the year. For the first time in her college years, Cathriona Farrell (DCU) was ousted from the gold medal position in the high jump – beaten by none other than Irish senior record holder and Olympic qualifier Deirdre Ryan. It was a close encounter between the two athletes, with Cathriona leading at 1.65m and only beaten when Ryan cleared 1.70m on her final attempt in windy conditions.  

Craughwell’s Senior Men took part in the AAI National Senior Road Relays for the first time. The Craughwell quartet put in a fine performance in its debut in this event, taking 6th place overall in a time of 40.05 (Peter O’Sullivan – 2 miles 10.01, Peadar Harvey – 1 mile 4.43, Gerry Ryan – 3miles 14.58, Mark Davis – 2 miles 10.23). For Peter, this followed a week on from another fine run in the National 10k Road Championships where he took the bronze medal in the O35 grade with an impressive 33:06.

Gerry Ryan handing off to Mark Davis
at the National Road Relays 


May sees the beginning of the outdoor track & field with the Galway championships where Craughwell had many fine performances and a truck-load of medals. Galway titles are highlighted here. In the U9 age group, Craughwell took a clean sweep of the medals in the boys ball throw with Oisin Quirke (17.38) and Finlay Budge (17.28) taking the gold. Craughwell dominated the U10 girls age group with Ava Finn and Leanne Lynskey taking the gold medals in the 60m with times of 9.9 and 10.0 and Ava combined with Aíne Kelly to take the gold medals in the long jump (3.46m and 3.33m).

In the U10 boys 60m, Pádraig Martyn and Sean Cahill took the Galway title in times of 9.8 and 9.9. The club took all 3 podium places in the ball throw with Sean Cahill (26.89) and Lewis Ryan (20.67) taking gold. In the U11 age group, Mia Waters combined with Leannagh Gilligan to take the gold medals in the long jump with impressive jumps of 3.57m and 3.56m. The club also took gold in the ball throw with Leannagh Gilligan (17.75) and Zoe Gilligan (15.15). The 4x100m relays saw strong performances from the Craughwell teams across all of the ages with 2 titles coming our way in the U9 and U10 girls. 


Craughwell U11 Squad at the Galway Championships in Dangan

Micheál McFadden took gold in the U12 long jump with 4.14m while Siona Lawless repeated this feat in the girls long jump with 3.85m. Clare Broderick won the high jump with 1.20m. In the throws, Michael Hand took double gold in the ball throw (38.44m) and shot putt (7.56m). In the U13 age group, Jerry Keary took triple gold with a time of 11.6 in the 60m hurdles, clearing 1.40m in the high jump and leaping 4.11m in the long jump. Aoife Walsh won the high jump with 1.25m. Cian Waters took gold in the javelin with 18.70 while Mark O’Brien won the shot putt with 9.92m. The club had a 1-2-3 in the girls shot with Lauren Gilligan taking the title with 6.25m. Shauna Tobin added gold in the javelin with 8.85m.

Some of Craughwell AC's U14 Girls at the Galway Championships in Dangan

In the older juvenile ages, also in athletes competed in large numbers on a fine sunny day in Dangan. The day kicked off with the relays where Craughwell took home 5 Galway titles:- U12 Girls 4x100m (62.0), U13 Boys 4x100m (59.5), U15 Girls 4x100m (55.6), U18 Girls 4x100m (52.2) and U19 Girls 4x100m (52.7). In the U19 age group, Linda Porter made a welcome return to action with 2.38.2 to win the 800m. Katie O’Donoghue blasted away her own club record with a 8.80m throw to win the shot putt and added gold in the 200m (26.7). Orla Ryan took gold in the high jump (1.55m). The U18 age group saw some of the best performances of the day, notably Conor Gillen’s 2.05 to win the 800m and a 2nd gold in the 1500m, Maireád McCan’s 5.25m leap to win the long jump and Maria McNamara’s trojan performances to take home 8 medals between individual events and relays. Sineád Gaffney showed her mental toughness to win the 300m hurdles in a time of 53.2 despite a fall halfway around. Maria McNamara had an amazing sequence of performances which yielded 5 gold medals in the high jump (1.50m), 100m hurdles (17.4), discus (18.29m), javelin (23.37m) and shot putt (8.30m), with silver in the triple jump for good measure.

Maireád McCan flying high in the long jump in Tullamore in 2011

Christopher O'Connor won the walk in 3.33.1.Damien O’Boyle took triple gold in the U16s – 250m hurdles (36.7), high jump (1.55m) and 800m (2.11). Galway titles were also won by Jamie Spellman in the 1500m, Sinead Treacy in the 100m (12.6) and in the long jump (4.67m), Ellen Fitzpatrick in the high jump (1.40m), Jordan Connaughton in the 800m (2.32.6) and in the long jump (4.77m), Eimear Loughnane in the U14 girls 80m, Aisling Keady-Cummins in the high jump (1.40m) and long jump (4.45m), Michelle Duggan in the javelin and shot with 16.41m and 7.93m, James Cahalane in the U14 boys 1500m (5.00.1), Matthew Barrett in the 800m (2.29.6), Gearoid Treacy in the walk (5.09.3) and Sam McArdle in the shot putt (9.55m).

Mary Dumphy hits the deck
at the Galway Championships

Damien O'Boyle and Jamie Spellman looking comfortable
in the U16 1500m at the Galway Championships

The Connacht Secondary Schools Track & Field Championships saw many more fine performances. Katie O’Donoghue took both the Senior Girls 100m and high jump titles with a new PB of 1.60m in the latter. Claire Ryder won the Intermediate Girls long jump with 4.87m and combined with Jessica Heneghan and Sineád Gaffney to win the 4x100m and also help the Pres Athenry to win the Connacht Shield by a convincing margin. The Pres Athenry also won the Connacht Shield in the Minor Girls grade helped by exceptional performances from Aisling Keady-Cummins and Michelle Duggan. Michelle took silver in the 100m while Aisling took double medals with gold in the long jump 4.33m and silver in the high jump 1.45m. Linda Porter won the Senior Girls 800m in 2.33. Cathal O’Brien won the Junior Shot Putt with 10.42m. Ciara Greene won the Junior Girls 1500m in 5.13.

Aisling Keady-Cummins and Maria McNamara
Sharing Their Medal Haul at the Galway Championships


Probably the busiest month of the year for athletics, the month got underway with the Irish Schools Track & Field and the Galway Community Games all on at the bank holiday weekend. The Pres Athenry 4x100m relay team put in a fantastic effort in the Intermediate Girls grade at the Irish Schools finals to take the bronze medals in an impressive time of 51.43. Most of the team was from the club with Jessica Heneghan, Claire Ryder and Sineád Gaffney joined by GCH’s Alanna Lally. 

The Pres Athenry Intermediate Girls 4x100m – National Bronze Medallists
Claire Ryder, Sineád Gaffney, Jessica Heneghan, Alanna Lally

The Galway Community Games saw some exceptional performances from the club’s athletes when representing their parishes. Highlights were Conor Duggan’s breathtaking victory in the U16 boys 100m and the gold winning performance of the U14 girls’ 4x100m relay (Katie Stephens, Erin Fitzpatrick, Mary Dunphy, Aisling Keady-Cummins and Leanne Freaney). Oisin Doyle raced to victory in the U14 boys 800m. Damien O’Boyle won the gold in the U16 high jump while the club took double gold in the U14 long jump with Aisling Keady-Cummins winning the girls event with a 4.47m leap and Nathan Lynskey winning the boys with a 4.23m leap. Mark O’Brien took the gold in the U14 shot putt. 

Craughwell U14 Girls 4x100m representing Galway at the Community Games FInals
Erin Fitzpatrick, Aisling Keady-Cummins, Katie Stephens, Leanne Freaney, Mary Dunphy

The National Senior League kicked off with round one seeing the club’s athletes participate on the Craughwell men’s team and on the Galway women’s team. Most notable performances came from Gerry Ryan with a 1st place finish in the Division 1 5000m in an impressive time of 15:02, victory for Christopher O’Connor in the 3000m race walk, victory for Maria McNamara in the pole vault with a new PB of 2.30m – only her second time ever competing in the event and the almost routine victories for Cathriona Farrell and Maeve Curley in the high jump and the race walk.  

At the U9-12 Connacht Championships in Dangan, the club won a bucketful of medals – too many to mention here. Top performances were Micheál McFadden’s 4.17 to win the U12 long jump, the U12 Girls 4x100m who took the Connacht title in a time of 60.9 (Siona Lawless, Caoimhe Allen, Roisin Hansbury, Claire Broderick, Tara Slattery), the U11 girls long jump team of Mia Waters and Lenagh Gilligan who took the Connacht title with a combined jump of 6.83m, the U11 Boys 600m team who did likewise in a combined time of 3:54.1 (Finbar McFadden/Alex Evans) and the U9 girls long jump team of Emily Miskella and Rebekah Flynn who landed another Connacht title for the club with a combined leap of 5.81m. 

Victorius U12 Athletes at the Connacht Outdoors

The Connacht’s were followed 2 weeks later by the National Championships where 3 pairs of athletes saw glory in the long jump – Rebekah Flynn and Emily Miskella took bronze medals in the U9 girls’ long jump, Ava Finn and Aíne Kelly took silver in the U10 girls’ long jump, and Pádraig Martyn and Fionn McArdle combined to take silver medals in the U10 boys’ long jump. It was a particularly fine achievement for the U10s after placing 3rd and 4th in the Connacht competition. This success brings to 22 the number of athletes from the club who have medaled at National level in long jump – with 11 of these current or past pupils of Craughwell NS, 6 from Ballymana NS, 1 each from Killeeneen NS, Oranmore Boys NS, Oranmore Girls NS, Carrabane NS and Ardrahan NS.  

Some of Craughwell's U10 Squad at the National finals in Cork

The Galway City Sports saw the by now traditional domination by Craughwell NS and Oranmore Boys NS. The Craughwell NS U13 4x100m team raced to victory by a considerable margin with Aoife Walshe, Katie Stephens, Mary Dunphy, Erin Fitzpatrick and Laura Cunningham. James Cahalane helped the Oranmore Boys team to emulate this in the U13 Boys 4x100m final. Erin Fitzpatrick repeated this performance with a fine victory in the U13 800m. The 2012 Christy Kennedy Sports had possibly its largest participation ever with 5 primary schools taking part from the locality – Ballymana, Carrabane, Coldwood, Craughwell and Killeeneen. Ballymana NS won the Christy Kennedy Shield with Carrabane NS in 2nd place and only 6 points separating Carrabane, Craughwell and Killeeneen.

Craughwell NS Athletes Fuelling up For Competition
at the Galway City Sports!


Some of the Craughwell NS 4x100m Relay Teams
at the Galway City Sports in Dangan

Next it was the turn of the older athletes to shine at the Connacht track & field. Highlights included quadruple gold for Katie O’Donoghue in the U19 girls 100m (13.13), 200m (26.85), shot putt (7.80) and high jump (1.50), triple gold for Claire Ryder in the U17 girls 100m (13.82), 200m (28.89) and long jump (4.79), Nicholas Sheehan’s blistering 2.05 victory in the U17 800m, Maireád McCan’s 5.10m leap to win the U18 long jump, Tara McNally’s sprint double in the U15 100m (12.86) and 200m (26.91), Aisling Keady-Cummins 4.73m leap to win the U14 long jump and Sean Delaney’s amazing 1.48m to take gold in the U13 high  jump.

Neil Greaney and Paul Joyce who battled it out in the U18 1500m
at the Connacht Championships in Dangan with Paul just shading it to take silver and Neil bronze.

There were Connacht titles also for Aoife Walsh in the U13 high jump, Daniel Callanan-Forde in the U13 60m hurdles, Cian Waters in both the U13 javelin and shot putt, Sam McArdle in the U14 shot putt, Jordan Connaughton in the U15 200m, Sinead Treacy in the U16 long jump, Damien O’Boyle in the U16 250m hurdles, Matthew Moran in the U17 3000m, Nicholas Sheehan in the U17 400m, Sineád Gaffney in the U18 400m and Maireád McCan in the U18 javelin.


Craughwell U13 Athletes at the Connacht Outdoors in Dangan

Nine U17 athletes from the club were selected to represent Connacht at the inter-provincial Tailteann Games in Santry – the club’s highest participation ever. The highlight of the day was the victory for the Connacht team in the girls’ 4x300m relay, with Sineád Gaffney running a fine race on the third leg. This was the first time ever in the 50-year history of the event that Connacht has won the 4x300m – so it’s a particularly impressive achievement for Sineád to be part of that history making team. Maria McNamara was also impressive in the pole vault, vaulting to another personal best of 2.40m. 

The month wrapped up with the National U20/23 Track & Field and the Tailteann Games. In the National U23 Championships, Rachel Finnegan won bronze in the 400m hurdles in a time of 72.70.  

The History-making Connacht U17 4x300m Relay – Tailteann Games Champions 2012
Stacey Kerr (Sligo), Alanna Lally (Monivea), Sineád Gaffney (Craughwell), Aisling Forkan (Swinford)


A combination of Craughwell AC’s senior and junior athletes took to the track in Dangan for day 1 of the Galway Senior Track & Field Championships with plenty of success. Nicholas Sheehan and John Cormican took 2nd and 3rd place in the 100m with times of 12.2 and 12.3, while Katie O’Donoghue and Jessica Heneghan took 1st and 3rd place in the women’s event in times of 12.8 and 13.1 and combined with Claire Ryder and Maireád McCan to win the 4x100m in 52.2s.

Katie O'Donghue and Jessica Heneghan first to get away
in the 100m at the Galway Track & Field

The club took a clean sweep of the medals in the junior men’s 800m with Nicholas Sheehan claiming victory in 2.04.2 from Peadar Harvey with 2.04.7 and John Cormican with 2.06.7. Rachel Finnegan took 3rd place in the women’s 800m in 2.32.6. In the long jump, Rachel Finnegan won the senior category with a jump of 4.69m while Maireád McCan did likewise in the junior women’s event when leaping 4.94m and Claire Ryder in 3rd place with 4.57m. In the men’s event, Paul Joyce took the bronze with a jump of 4.82m. Peter O'Sullivan took the senior men's 5000m title in a time of 15.49.2, while Sarah Finnegan and Melissa Mullins took the senior and junior triple jump titles with leaps of 9.99m and 9.25m.

Many of these athletes followed up this performance on day 2 of the Senior Track & Field in Dangan. The club dominated the women’s 200m with Katie O’Donoghue first junior in 27.2, Orla Ryan 2nd in 30.1, Rachel Finnegan 1st senior in 28.4 and Sarah Finnegan 2nd in 28.8. The club repeated this feat in the high jump with Katie O’Donoghue 1st in the junior event with 1.55m, Orla Ryan 2nd with 1.40m, Cathriona Farrell 1st in the senior event with 1.65m and Sarah Finnegan 2nd with 1.40m. In the javelin, Maireád McCan placed 2nd with 18.02m, Katie O’Donoghue 3rd with 13.77 and Sarah Finnegan first in the senior category with 12.40m. Liam Nolan won the master men’s 200m in 28.8 while Peadar Harvey took the junior men’s 1500m in 4.15.9.  

Maeve Curley claimed her first National Senior title when winning the 5k race walk at the 2012 Senior Track & Field Championships in a time of 24.41.07. This comes on the back of a solid performance in Switzerland earlier in the summer where Maeve knocked 2:11 off her PB for 10k, completing the race in a time of 48:44 and taking 3rd place in the senior race and first Irish girl home. Maeve was representing Ireland against Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and France.  

Maeve Curley
National Senior 5k Race Walk Champion 2012


Maeve Curley
at the International Race Walking Match
in Switzerland

The National Juvenile Track & Field continued with 4 days of action for the U12-19 age groups in Tullamore. Craughwell AC had the highest participation of any club in Ireland at these championships. Aisling Keady-Cummins strung together a fantastic series of jumps to take her first All-Ireland title in the U14 high jump with a new personal best of 1.54m. Daniel Callanan-Forde sealed his first National medal with a magnificent performance in the U13 60m hurdles to win the National title in an impressive time of 10.28. Tara McNally had her most successful National championships to date with the silver medal in the U15 girls 200m in a club record time of 26.25 and the bronze medal in the U15 girls 100m in a fine time of 13.09. Jamie Spellman had an outstanding run in the U16 3000m, pulling away from the field in a 2-man breakaway early in the race and running strongly to take the silver medal in a time of 9.21.82.  

Conor Duggan, Tara McNally and Sineád Treacy at the National Sprint Finals in Tullamore
where Conor and Sineád both made the 100m finals with new Personal Bests and
Tara took medals in both the 60m and 200m

The National championships was wrapped up with excellent performances from the U18 and U19 girls 4x100m relay teams with both teams medalling and in the process breaking the existing club record  of 53.02. The U18 girls’ team of Jessica Heneghan, Claire Ryder, Sineád Gaffney and Maireád McCan banished memories of their disqualification from the indoor relay finals with a splendid time of 52.77 to take the bronze medals in their final. The U19 girls’ relay team went 1 better when taking the silver medal in their final in a new club record of 52.03, with the team Jessica Heneghan, Sineád Gaffney, Orla Ryan and Katie O’Donoghue 



Craughwell U19 Girls Relay Team at the top
Craughwell U18 Girls Relay Team and a mixture of both teams representing Galway

Finally at the inaugural Connacht Pentathlon Championships in Athlone, Orla Ryan (U19), Damien O’Boyle (U18) and Daniel Callanan-Forde (U13) took the Connacht titles in their age groups while Caolin Milton placed 2nd in the U13 girls event, Shauna Tobin 3rd in the same event and Cian Waters 3rd in the U13 boys event.


August is National Community Games time. This year it was Conor Duggan’s turn to shine with a fantastic silver medal in the U16 boys 100m. To put Conor’s achievement into perspective, this is the first time in recent years that Galway has medaled in this the oldest age group in Community Games. It is notoriously difficult to medal in the Community Games, a point often made by Irish record holder and multi-Olympian Paul Hession who never made it onto the podium in the National finals. 

Conor Duggan
Silver Medallist in the U16 100m
at the National Community Games finals

Conor was joined in the medals by Jamie Spellman, Matthew Moran and Keelan Ryan who were part of the bronze medal-winning U16 Marathon team. A special mention also for Aisling Keady-Cummins who battled hard in the U14 long jump to finish just 5cm away from the medals with a leap of 4.68m.

Peter O'Sullivan continued his fantastic form this year when taking the silver medal in the 5000m at the National Masters Track & Field (O35 category) in a time of 16.02.11 and taking the bronze in the 1500m in a time of 4.15.36.

Galway U16 Marathon Team – Bronze Medallists at the National Community Games Finals
Matthew Moran, Padraic Creaven, Jamie Spellman, Keelan Ryan


Come September, come cross country. Compared to the muck and dirt of recent years and when you consider all of the rain this autumn, we were remarkably lucky with the weather for the cross country fixtures this year with mostly dry days. The cross country kicked off with the Galway Primary Schools Championships in Renmore where we had many fine performances. “Soon to be new recruitsNiamh Niland and Jennifer Hughes raced to 1st and 2nd place in the 3rd/4th class 800m with 3rd class Rebekah Flynn having a fine race in 5th place. Jennifer’s Claregalway team took 1st place in the team event with Rebekah’s Craughwell in 2nd place.

And they're off – athletes at the start of the Senior Girls 1000m in the Galway Primary Schools Cross Country

Sean Cannon took the individual honours in the boys’ race, with Phelim McCann in 3rd and leading his Killeeneen team to gold and Sean’s Oranmore team taking 2nd and Craughwell in 3rd. This was a real dominant performance from the club’s athletes in both 800m races. Oisin Lyons and Patrick Noonan were the club’s top performers in the senior boys’ race in 4th and 9th place while Rachael Hughes took that accolade in the senior girls’ race when taking 16th place. Rachael and Jennifer come from perhaps the most successful extended family that has ever competed with Craughwell AC with at least 15 cousins having represented the club and several winning National medals including high jump, relay and cross country medals. 

September also saw good performance in the Secondary Schools Pentathlon with the club’s athletes dominating the girls’ event and also doing very well in the boys. Aisling Keady-Cummins took the Minor Girls title, with Michelle Duggan in 2nd. Sineád Gaffney led a 1-2-3 in the Intermediate Girls with Maria McNamara 2nd and Ciara Greene 3rd. Damien O’Boyle placed 3rd in the Intermediate Boys event.  Katie O’Donoghue won the Senior Girls title and went on to win the National title at the end of September despite having suffered a grade 1 hamstring injury at the Connacht finals and even managed a PB of 1.61m in the high jump at the National finals.

Katie O'Donoghue, Irish Schools Senior Pentathlon Champion 2012


The cross country season continued in earnest in October with the county cross country championships. Loughrea played host for both days of the championships. Day 1 saw Craughwell almost take a clean sweep of the men’s and boys’ events with 3 victories and 2 second places in the team events and 4 individual victories – James Cahalane in the U14 boys, Jamie Spellman in the U16 boys, Conor Gillen in the U18 boys and Peter O’Sullivan in the Senior Men.

Craughwell U11s Cross Country Squad at the County Championships in Bushfield

October also saw juvenile membership break the 400 barrier early in the month and break the 450 barrier by month end – a remarkable achievement and keeps juvenile membership as the 3rd largest in the country. And another noteworthy achievement was the selection of many of the club’s middle-distance teenagers for the National Endurance Squad which resulted in the opportunity to meet the legend and Olympic 800m Champion David Rushida. 


National Endurance Squad Meets David Rushida, Olympic 800m Champion
C Gillen, P Joyce, K Ryan, J Cormican, D Rushida, P Harvey, N Sheehan, J Spellman, N Greaney, D O'Boyle, M Moran

The Connacht Primary Schools Cross Country saw a remarkable victory for Killeeneen’s Niamh Niland in the Junior Girls race, racing away from a strong field to take the title in style. There were individual medals also for Phelim McCann and Sean Cannon in the Junior Boys race and for Oisin Lyons in the Senior Boys race. 

Day 2 of the Galway cross country saw some more fantastic performances by Craughwell teams with again almost a clean sweep of the boys team titles and individual titles for Sean Cannon in the U11 boys, Oisin Lyons in the U13 boys and Jamie Spellman in the U17 boys. With Daniel Cahalane 3rd in the U10 boys, Patrick Noonan 4th in the U12 boys, James Cahalane 2nd in the U15 boys and Paul Fitzpatrick 4th in the U19  boys, it’s not unthinkable that the club could soon come away with all 11 Galway titles over the 2 days. 

Peter O'Sullivan after qualifying for the International Masters Cross Country

Peter O’Sullivan qualified for international selection yet again for the Irish Masters cross country team when placing 2nd in the O35 category at the Gerry Farnan cross country and went on to place 5th in the International match between Ireland and Britain. He is an inspiration for all athletes in the club, both young and old.


Craughwell U16 Boys Cross Country Team in Action at the Connacht Finals in Ballina
Diarmuid Havery, Oisin Doyle, Jamie Spellman, Andrew O'Boyle (hidden) and Damien O'Boyle 

The club equaled its best record in the Connacht cross country with 10 sets of team medals over the 2 days, a feat also achieved in 2010 and 2005. If you like statistics and names, check out this link for our history in the Connacht championships. The club won team gold in the U14 boys, U15 boys, U17 boys and Junior Men – the first time we have contested the latter, and won team silver in the U11 boys, U11 girls, U16 boys and U18 boys, and bronze in the U12 and U13 boys. If you crunch those boys’ medals together, you’ll see that we won medals in every grade except U19 where we did not have a team. Individual titles were won by Liam Moran in the U15s and Jamie Spellman in the U17s – remarkably both athletes running out of their age.

Jamie Spellman on his way to victory in the Connacht U17 Boys 5000k in St Mary College

Individual silver went to James Cahalane in the U14s, Jamie Spellman in the U16s, Conor Gillen in the U17s while individual bronze went to Phelim McCann in the U11s, James Cahalane in the U15s, Paul Joyce in the U18s and Neil Greaney in the U19s. These were all fantastic performances but the best was yet to come with Jamie Spellman’s breathtaking 6th place finish in the National U16 cross country. Another notable performance that day was multi-eventer Damien O’Boyle’s 17th place finish in the same race. Sean Cannon and Patrick Noonan secured their first National medals when finishing at 5th and 6th scorer on the Galway team which came 3rd.

Craughwell U18 Boys Cross Country Team at the National Finals in Tattersalls, Meath
Paul Fitzpatrick, Keelan Ryan, Matthew Moran, Nicholas Sheehan, Neil Greaney, Conor Gillen, Paul Joyce

And the Craughwell U18 boys’ team put in a heroic effort to just miss out on a podium place in the inter-county event by a single point and by 12 points in the inter-club event, placing 4th in both events.  These young men are practically breaking new ground for Galway athletics as this is the first time in at least 15 years that Galway fielded an U18 team. The total number of Galway competitors in the U18 grade in the previous ten years was …. wait for it … one athlete. The club is proud of these young men and is on the verge of a unique achievement in recent Galway history in developing a squad of young runners to elite National standard. 

The month was rounded off with a fantastic set of performances in the St Mary’s Invitational Cross Country with Matthew Barrett and Jamie Spellman taking the titles in the Minor Boys and Intermediate Boys race and in the process leading their Calasantious Oranmore teams to the titles with the perfect scores of 10 points.


The year ended on a massive high when the U17 boy’s team of Jamie Spellman, Conor Gillen, Nicholas Sheehan, Damien O’Boyle, Matthew Moran and Keelan Ryan raced to bronze medals in the National Cross Country finals in Wexford.

Having come close to national silverware on many occasions in the past, it was fantastic to see these young men finally make it to the top table and hopefully lots more to come from them when they enter senior ranks.  Even better, all 6 lads were the scorers on the Galway team who took silver medals in the inter-county U17 event. This was the first time in at least 15 years that a Galway county team in the older teenage years has medaled in the boys’ events – the previous best being an U14 boy’s team in 2004. Ciara Greene reignited the girls cross country season for the club with a fine 34th place finish out of her age in the U17 girls’ event in Wexford.

The season wrapped up with an evening of ice skating in Galway attended by 55 of our athletes in secondary school. It was a mighty year for the club and may 2013 be the same!


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