The National Senior Track and Field Championships is the premier event in Irish Domestic Athletics, and takes place this weekend in historic Santry. Athletics is one of those few sports where you actually get to compete against your sporting heros, and the men and women of Craughwell will be lining up against Olympians and prospective World and European Championship competitors. Craughwell AC have a record 9 brave competitors entered.
Live streams are perhaps the greatest contribution of the internet and there will definitely be one in operation – I still hold out forlorn hopes that the legendary Dennehy and Duggan duo will be on the mikes but in either case it should be possible to follow the action remotely on the Athletics Ireland youtube channel – See below for profiles of the Craughwell competiors in the order that their events are on, and also keep an eye on the videos embedded below!
3000m S/C – Sat 14:40
Name: Paddy Noonan
Honours: Indoor U23 1500m Gold, IUAA Steeple Bronze
Patrick has had his best run of consistency ever this year and the performances have reflected it. Before a fine Cross Country season for Club and College he ran one of the fastest miles in the entire field for IUAA Road Relays which showed the speed he has. He then turned heads and made grown men cry when he came out a dominant winner in the National U23 1500m ahead of strong competition, cementing his reputation as one of Galways top-tier athletes. Unlike a lot of the crew, he showed some flexibility in the stretches so with his strength and speed we decided it was worth tackling the Steeplechase this year. Paddy made his 3km Steeple debut at the IUAA Championships in Carlow where he set a new Club and NUIG Record of 9:30.27 to win Bronze in a largely solo run. Conditions willing, Paddy is well prepared and fitter than april so can go faster.
The field of 10 athletes is small but very talented. Multiple national champion Rory Chesser has the experience to cause a shock. Jayme Rossiter is another one to watch, as will Finley Daly who broke 9 famously last year in one of the race of the year. National Novices Champion Liam Harris makes a habit of just pipping Craughwell boys in big races and will also be strong. The popular Abas Edris from Castlegar is a serious athlete too with a lot of steeple experience. It should be good!
800m – Sat 15:15
Name: Kyle Moorhead
PB: 1:54.71 (outdoor)
Honours: National Indoor u23 800m Bronze, IUAA 800m Bronze
Speed merchant Kyle is reigning club record holder over 800m and 1500m. He showed his superb gains in aerobic strength earlier this year with an outstanding performance in Belfast to knock a whopping 9 seconds from his personal best over 3 weeks and run a cracking 3:53. With the new strength added to his speed, “Money” Moorhead has nothing to fear from anyone!
The event itself is ridiculously stacked with over 45 top runners. Just to pick out a few names – Harry Purcell who pipped Griggs in a sprint finish last week.., John Fitsimons who is Ireland’s fastest man over the distance this year and tearing up the european circuit.. Cian McPhillips the Eu20 1500m Champion hopefully making a return to action.. Roland Surlis of Analee and NUIG. All of these are awesome runners but it would be a brave man to bet against the king of Irish 800m, Mark English who is my pick. The final should be some race!!
High Jump – Sat 15:50
Name: Jade Moorhead
Honours: Scottish Indoor, Galway, Connacht High Jump Champion
The second of the mighty Moorhead clan to compete on Saturday will be Jade who takes on Ireland’s best at the High Jump. Jade has been consistently jumping over 1.60m this year and is looking to use this to gain experience at top level competition as an ideal tune up for her own age group.
Of the 14 strong entries in the competition, Finn Valley’s Sommer Lecky, Sli Cualainn’s Phillippa Rogan and Ava Rochford will all be forces to be reckoned with.
400m – Sat 17:30
Name: Sinéad Treacy
PB: 56.15 (Club Record!)
Honours: IUAA 400m Champion 2022
Sinead has had an unbelievable year – highlighted by her victory in the National IUAA 400m to cap off a brilliant memorable University Athletic Career. More recently in Belgium, Sinéad had the honour of representing Ireland in a 4.x400m relay. Sinead is the best sprinter in Craughwell AC history -holding all the Sprint records from 100m to 400m, indoor and outdoor. It is hard to predict the sprints (for me at least) but Sinead is the kind of athlete who always delivers on the big days so expect her give it a good lash!
The competition of course is ridiculous at the moment with Irish women’s sprinting.. even with Rhasidat in the States. Sophie Becker and Charlene Mawdsley will be up there, but there really is no looking beyond Phil Healy for the win.
1500m – Sat 18:15
Name: Sinéad Gaffney
Honours: Multiple Connacht Champion and National Finallist, Green Mile Champ 2022
Sinead Gaffney is the greatest middle distance runner in the history of Craughwell AC, holding all our 800/1500m records, indoors and outdoors. One of the runs of the year was when she set her club record of 4:38 in Belfast in May. The busy Medical Student is gradually making a transition to the longer 1500m distance, but still has the speed in her locker that she showed in the great 2:16 800m she ran last year so won’t be worried if the races turns into a tear-up.
The women’s 1500m is another top standard race. Georgie Hartigan of ON Running will be one of the hot favourites, as will Claire Mooney and Jackie Healy. I think without the presence of Sarah Healy and Ciara McGeah, Georgie will likely take it. In terms of local interest I see Sinead’s former teacher Katheryn Casserly of pres/castlegar/gch will be in the race and also local Ellen Moran so good luck to them!
1500m – Sat 18:30
Name: Jack Miskella
Honours: Galway 1500m Champion in a classic. IUAA “fox” winning Captain
Miskey is an absolutely teak-tough competitor with a never say die attitude. He continually swaps club middle-distance records with Paul Joyce and more recently Kyle Moorhead. Jack has the distinction of being the only Craughwell man to make the National Senior final in this event which he did memorably in 2021 (read here for a break-down of that super day). Only taking up the sport in TY, at this stage, Jack is a veteran and a Craughwell legend so will have enough experience to repond appropriately to whatever situation arises.
He will need all that experience to make a final this year however! The field is beyond stacked. Andrew Coscoran has to be favourite, but around him there are absolute murderers including Luke McCann, Paul Robinson, Nick Griggs, Cathal Doyle and Connacht’s own Shane Bracken. I have Coscoran, but anything can happen on the day – expecting Sunday’s final to be a classic!
High Jump – Sun 16:20
Name: Evan Hallinan
Honours: National Senior Indoor Bronze, Scottish Junior Indoor Champion. Connacht Jumper of the year.
Evan picked up a knee niggle during the Irish Schools Triple Jump and is looking less likely to compete. However.. if he does he is probably the one of the Craughwell contingent with the most realistic chance of being in the medal shake-up. He would be by by no means one of the favourites as there are several athletes with significantly greater personal bests, however in the High Jump anything can happen and there is always a chance. Evan is a cool, calm competitor and his consistency is incredible which make him much less likely to make mistakes than many. Current forecast is a little wet and Evan will also have more experience with adverse weather conditions, he’s been training in a wet-weather training camp for the past 17 years!!
Of the competition, Kourosh Foroughi of Start of the Sea has an outstanding 2.20m pb and at least two others – Ciaran Connolly and Joe McEvoy of Nenagh Olympics have broken the magical 2m barrier.
5000m – Sun 18:05
Name: Jamie Fallon
PB: 14:35 (Club Record)
Honours: National Novices Silver, National Intermediate XC Silver, National 10k Silver
The field is so absolutely stacked on Sunday that it’s almost possible that Jamies race could be on earlier if they split the fields. I think that Jamie will likely be seeded in the A race which will be on RTE as well as the stream. Jamie is Craughwell’s greatest ever long distance runner with all the records from 5k-half marathon and his eye on the others! After a break from the sport for a few years he has really taken back to it in the last 3 years.
A massive turning point was when he moved to Dublin and we put him in touch with Emmet Dunleavy and his UCD-based training group. The impact to Jamie of having a group of similar athletes to work off was transformative. He is fresh off a 20s personal best set in Belgium two weeks ago and another massive 30:35 10k pm on the road last week.
The race will be an absolute barnstormer and nearly impossible to call, with a nearly road race sized entry of 76. Darragh McElhinney will be the slight favourite after his sick 13:17 set in Belgium recently and his equally impressive 3:37 in Denmark last week. However.. Efrem Gidey looked unassailable in Dunshaughlin and could change the narrative. Efrem ran faster than Darragh in the road relays over a similar distance just a short while ago. Not to mention Hiko who was a fair bit behind Efrem in Dunshaughlin but 5k on track is a different beast and he has done it before! There are one or two lads back from the states that could do damage as well – Fearghal Curtin could bring his NCAA racing experience to bear. I think if Darragh is to be beaten it would take something really special. Can’t wait!