The third day of the Connacht outdoor track and field took place last Saturday with the U16s and older athletes in action.
Craughwell had a much smaller group in action than the other days – partly because there are less numbers in these age groups and partly because its not at a great time of the year been sandwiched between junior/leaving certificate examinations and holidays/Gaeltacht excursions. The same was true of the other Connacht clubs.
Despite the smaller numbers, Craughwell athletes had an incredible day of success with every single athlete either obtaining a PB or winning a medal or both of the above.
The highlights of the day both came in the long jump pit where Niall Rooney and Tomas Keehan added over a metre to their long jump PB if you combined them together and Ashley McDonnell broke the club's senior triple jump record in her first competitive outing.
The middle distance events saw Katie O'Donoghue put in a trojan effort to run a new PB of 2:36.43, over 5 seconds faster than her previous PB from the Galway championships and good enough to take the silver medal. Katie ran her race to perfection, setting out to run a 2:36 which equates to 200m splits of 39 seconds and actually running 35.94, 39.86, 42.51 and 38.12. Pádraic Tobin was another to run a perfect 800m, setting out to run a 2:24 which required 36 second splits and finishing in 6th place in the U16 boys race in a time of 2:24.83 (with splits 32.2, 36.64, 39.59 and 36.4). Peadar Harvey completed our middle distance endevours with a gold and a bronze in the 1500m and 800m in times of 4:32.1 and 2:13.87 – a PB for the outdoor 1500m and slightly off his PB for the 800m, hard to PB in both on the same day.
Paul McGill took double gold in the U16 boys discus with a throw of 28.41 and in the javelin with 30.64m, while Kelly O’Donoghue added gold in the U18 girls shot putt with a throw of 6.99m.
Ashley McDonnell was another athlete in top form, the Junior Certicate break doing her no harm! Ashley jumped to a new PB to take gold in the U17 girls long jump with a jump of 4.74m and then surprised us all with a huge jump in the triple jump on her first competitve outing. The plan was for Ashley to jump from the 7m takeoff line rather than the 9m line as we were not sure if she'd make the pit from the 9m mark. So Ashley ran out 13 strides from the 7m mark but on her first run back in chopped her stride to squeeze in 13 strides inside the 9m mark and jump from there – really pushing it to just make it less than a metre inside the sand. A huge jump and close to 10m. So some quick replanning of marks – moving back to get a better run at the 9m takeoff, Ashley bettered her jump on the 2nd and 3rd attempts, leaping 10.08 on the third one to set a new u17 and senior record for this event.
The U17 boys jumps witnessed a hugely competitive long jump competition with two 6+ jumpers in action. Whether it was the high standard, the warm day or the gentle breeze, Tomas Keehan and Niall Rooney both pulled big jumps out of the top drawer. Niall increased his PB from 4.96m to the unbelievable distance of 5.61m while Tomas was equally impressive, adding 46cm to his PB to leap 5.84m and take the bronze medal. Such was the standard today, Niall's leap was only good enough for 5th place! But he rectified this situation in the triple jump, leaping yet another PB of 11.92m to take the silver medal, with Tomas collecting the bronze with 11.62m. Tomas added yet another medal to his collection when equalling his PB of 1.75m to win gold in the high jump, with Niall taking the silver with a jump of 1.65m.
Kelly O'Donoghue had a very successful first competitive outing in the U18 girls long jump, leaping 4.56m on her third attempt to take silver and also winning the triple jump with a new PB of 9.39m. The jumping was wrapped up by Sarah Finnegan with double gold in the senior women's long jump with 4.69m and in the triple jump with 9.89m.
Back on the track, Ruairi Finnegan knocked a full second off his 200m PB when finishing 6th in the U17 boys 200m in a time of 25.21 and claimed another PB of 56.06 in the 400m which was good enough to take the bronze medal. Maeve Curley raced to a big PB in the U18 girls 3000m walk when winning gold in a time of 15:26.1, while Rachel Finnegan took double silver in the U18 girls 100m hurdles and 300m hurdles in times of 16.84 and 50.42.
Final events of the day were the relays where Craughwell had just 1 team in action in the U17 boys 4x100m. The team lined up with Ruairi Finnegan, Peadar Harvey, Niall Rooney and Tomas Keehan. Strong sprinting and good baton passing saw the team in contention for the honours as the race entered the home straight. Straining every sinew, Tomas Keehan just about hung on for the gold medal ahead of GCH's Simon Callaghan – winning in a time of 48.92, just 3 milliseconds ahead of GCH! That's a new club senior record, knocking almost 1.5 seconds off the previous record set in 2008 by the then U16 team of Ruari, Niall, Tomas and David Farrell.
That wrapped up a very successful day for Craughwell – 12 athletes in action, 22 medals and 14 PBs!