In the club’s first competitive event since the tragic death of juvenile member Kyle McCrann, Athletics Ireland marked Kyle’s death with a minute's silence at day 3 of the National Juvenile Track & Field Championships in Tullamore. The PA announcer said a few very nice words of sympathy to Kyle's family and friends and the club are grateful to Athletics Ireland for their mark of respect. I believe a similar mark of respect was paid at the Headford 10k road race in Galway today.
On a day tinged with sadness, the club had six athletes in action with the highlights being Niall Rooney's bronze medal in the U16 boys triple jump and Cathriona Farrell's silver in the U17 girls high jump.
Paul Fitzpatrick was first in action in the U14 boys 1500m. It was Paul’s first time to qualify in an individual event in the National finals and he ran a very intelligent race to knock almost 7 seconds off his PB and come home in a time of 5.11.89.
Linda Porter was next into the fray, fresh from her tremendous bronze medal in Antrim last weekend in the 800m. This time it was the U15 girls 1500m. The early laps of the race set off at a slow pace, possibly not suiting Linda. The group were still tightly bunched after two laps and Linda was lying in the middle of the bunch. With 600m remaining, the pace started to pick up and the group started to string out a little. Unfortunately on this occasion, Linda’s finishing burst was not enough to put her in the medals and she finished in 6th in a time of 5.06.95.
The remaining four of the club’s competitors were all in the jumping events – with Cathriona Farrell and Sophie Ralston in the U17 girls high jump. Rachel Finnegan in the U17 girls triple jump and Niall Rooney in the U16 boys triple jump. Cathriona performed to her usual high standards up to the point where only she and Mary Kate Lanigan from Kilkenny remained. Sophie went out of the competition at 1.40m. Cathriona had a slight glitch at 1.65m when she knocked the bar on her first attempt, clearing it on the 2nd attempt. The Kilkenny athlete cleared it first time, putting her in the lead. Up to 1.70m, Cathriona made 3 superb attempts at this height – soaring at least 10cm above the bar each time but her timing was slightly off and her heel just clipped the bar each time as she flicked herself over it. Her competitor struggled to attempt this height, fouling on each attempt but her earlier first time clearance was good enough to claim the gold. So silver on this occasion for Cathriona to add to her collection of National medals.
Niall Rooney was competing in the triple jump at the same time as this. On his first jump, he powered to an amazing 11.35m with a super leap – over 40cm of an improvement on his PB from the Connacht championships. His remaining attempts came close to but didn’t surpass this fine first attempt. With his first jump putting him in the top three, Niall had some nervous moments as the competition concluded and each athlete took his final jump. But Niall’s 11.35m was good enough for bronze and earned Niall his second medal of these National Championships (having won bronze in high jump the previous weekend).
Rachel Finnegan was the club’s last competitor of the day, competing in the triple jump for the first time and setting a PB of 8.95m in a competition which saw 2 athletes jointly set a new National record of 11.24m in the U17 girls’ triple jump.
So over the 3 days of the National finals, the club won a total of 7 medals – 2 on the track (800m and race walk) and 5 in the jumps (3 high jump, 1 long jump and 1 triple jump). Next up is the National finals of the inter-club relays on 26th July. The club have 7 teams qualified for this but due to holidays, may not have all that many going. More on this at training sessions.