What a weekend the club had at the National Juvenile Indoors. After an incredible Saturday where the club won 9 medals, the success story continued on Sunday when our athletes added another 9 medals with some outstanding performances. Over the 3 days of the finals, the club took a massive haul of 21 medals, its most successful in the history of the club and we sit proudly behind Leevale AC as the 2nd most successful club in the country and number 3 in terms of participation with 79 athletes taking part in the National finals.
Mark has already covered an outstanding Saturday so this report focuses on the Sunday and what a Sunday it was with a constant stream of medals throughout the day!
(the cover photo is of Emma O’Donovan showing perfect concentration when attacking the high jump bar and is courtesy of Michael Molamphy – check out his exceptional photos of the day at https://www.facebook.com/coolbawncross)
Evan Hallinan got the day off to a glorious start with a fantastic 1.95m leap to claim the National U19 Boys Hugh Jump title. It wasn’t plain sailing for Evan who was off school and off training all week due to illness and on his opening jump at 1.75m, he whacked his head off the upright and was lucky not to have to receive stiches. He went on to clear it on his second attempt and progressed to comfortably winning the event at 1.95m, just 1cm shy of his 1.96 PB and going very close to clearing 1.98m.
Sean Liston was in action at the same time in the U18 Boys High Jump where only for a blip at 1.65m which he knocked twice, Sean would have taken National bronze. Despite clearing 1.70 on his first attempt, Sean was tying for bronze with 2 other athletes at that height and had to settle for 5th place on countback of knocked bars.
Meanwhile on the morning session on the track, Lauren Kilduff raced to a brilliant 26.42 time in the heats of the U16 200s to make the final and followed up later in the day with 26.44 to place 5th in the final. And in the U13 600m, Donal Coyle raced to 3rd place in his half of a straight final in a time of 1.43.27 and 7th place overall. Older sister Claudia was very unlucky not to make the U15 Girls 800m final, running an excellent 2.23.86 in her heat but just missing out on qualifying for the final by 0.3 of a second. And in the U16 Boys 800m, Declan O’Connell raced to 2 PBs in the heats and finals with 2.07.02 to place 4th in the heat and followed it up with 2.04.81 to place 5th in the final – fantastic running less than 24 hours after smashing the National 1500m record. Declan’s brother Liam raced to an impressive 2:06.55 in the heats of the U18 800m – with both siblings on their way to being sub-2 minute 800m runners soon.
The U16 Boys high jumpers were up next where Conor Penney was in action and even though Conor has had an outstanding season so far, victory was by no means guaranteed with the Leevale AC athlete Ryan Onah also in the field. Conor entered the competition at 1.65m with a huge clearance but had a little wobble at 1.80 and 1.85 where he knocked the bar on his first attempt each time. With just 2 jumpers left at that stage, Conor was in 2nd place to Onah but put in a massive leap on his first attempt at 1.90 to take the victory and went on to put in a great effort at 1.94 to try to set a new National record, going particularly close on his first attempt.
Darragh Kelly was next into action in the U17 Boys High Jump where he put in a string of perfect clearances to soar over 1.60m, 1.65m, 1.70m and 1.75m on his first attempt each time. Attempting a new PB at 1.80m, Darragh put in some huge efforts and was unlucky not to clear it and had to settle for 4th place with 3 jumpers tying for the podium places on 1.80m. So not to be for Darragh on this occasion but very very close to getting back on the podium in his age group.
Kate O’Leary’s U13s high jump commenced shortly after the U17 boys and Kate jumped some lovely clearances over 1.10, 1.15, 1.20, 1.25 and 1.30 before hitting a roadblock at 1.35 .. placing 11th overall in a very competitive group .. but a lot more to come from a super-talented athlete in this event in the competitions ahead.
The afternoon session of hurdles got underway shortly afterwards with Kate back in action in the U13 hurdles where she placed 4th in her heat in a time of 10.47 to qualify for the final by virture of 1 of the fastest times. And went on to put in an incredible performance in the final to take 4th place in 10.38, just a whisker off taking the bronze which was won in 10.31.
Sean Colleran comfortably won his heat in the U13 hurdles in a time of 10.11 and Lincoln King made it 2 in the final with a fine time of 10.20 to place 2nd in his heat. Later in the final, Sean raced to a blistering 10.02 to take a fantastic silver medal with Lincoln only inches behind to race to 5th place in a time of 10.23. Oisin O’Donovan impressed in the U14 Boys Hurdles with 9.97 to place 3red in the heats and followed it up 10.15 to place 6th in the final on a busy weekend for the High Jump bronze medallist from the previous day.
Rachel Warde cruised into the U15 Girls hurdles final, winning her heat comfortably in 9.26 before going on to smash that time in the final and the National title in a brilliant 9.14. Lauren Kilduff and Emma O’Donovan also cruised into their hurdles final with Lauren winning her heat in 9.58 and Emma 3rd in her heat in 9.78. Emma was unfortunate to be DQed in the final for a false start. In the restart, Lauren powered down the track to take the silver medal in a fantastic 9.39s.
Conor Penney and Sean Hoade were next in action in the hurdles with both comfortably winning their heats in times of 8.88 and 9.12. Both went on to knock chunks off that in the final to make it a glorious 1-2 for the club with Conor taking the gold in 8.60 and Sean the silver in 8.95.
Jade Moorhead was our final hurdler in action on a very busy weekend for Jade having won high jump silver on Saturday and having her Leaving Cert Irish and French orals on Monday/Tuesday. Jade raced to a blistering 9.71 to place 2nd in the heats and in the process set a new club record for the senior hurdles heights and went onto place 4th in the final in 9.75 again inside the old club record and only just missing out on a bronze medal. Alot more to come in the hurdles from a super athlete!
Back to the jumps, Oisin O’Donovan and Kai Watters were in action in the U13 and U15 Boys long jump competition where Oisin made the final 8 to take 8th place with an impressive 4.51m and Kai jumped some huge jumps with a best of 5.14m to take 4th place overall – just missing out on the bronze by 10cm when a competitor jumped 5.24 on his final attempt.
Meanwhile, Emma O’Donovan was having a very busy day over at the U16 Girls High Jump, entering the competition at 1.40 and jumping superbly with first time clearances over 1.40, 1.45 and 1.50. Emma was the leading athlete at that stage being the only athlete to clear 1.50 on her first attempt and 4 others got it on their 2nd or 3rd attempts. But then Emma had to depart to do her 60m hurdles heats which is not the perfect preparation for the next height! But showing mental resolve far beyond her years, Emma returned after the hurdles and cleared 1.55m on her second attempt for a fantastic new PB and the National U16 title! A super weekend for the O’Donovan family!
And saving the best wine for last, Evan Hallinan made it a most memorable indoor championships when he soared out to 6.53m to take the National U19 Long Jump title on his 6th and final attempt. Coming after winning the high jump that morning and the triple jump the previous weekend .. and that coming after winning double National U20 indoor high jump and long jump titles a few weeks ago.. 5 National titles this indoor season! One of most unique achievements in the club’s history and definitely up there with the legendary Cathriona Farrell’s achievements in the jumps.
Super jumping also from Evan Quinn to place 4th with 5.68 in the U19 Boys Long Jump and from Andrew Power in 5th with 5.43m – both within touching distance of the podium.