Outstanding jumping from Jack Raftery
The club had several fine jumpers in action in both long jump and high jump in Cork IT on the final day of the National Track and Field on July 16th.
First in action was Maireád McCann in the U12 girls event and Jack Raftery and PJ Kelly in the U12 boys. Maireád can be very proud of her improvement in the long jump this summer, jumping 3.04m in the Galway competition to finish in 7th place, jumping 3.74m in the Connachts to take 3rd place and completing a massive improvement to jump 4 metres on this occasion to take 10th place in Ireland – incredible progress in such a short space of time.
Jack was jumping competitively in the All-Irelands for the first time since last summer, having missed qualifying for the indoor finals through injury. Been the reigning outdoor champion in his age group, with a jump of 3.94m last year, Jack gave a splendid performance to leap 4.50m to take the silver medal – just 19cm short of first place and 26cm short of the national record for this age group. Only for difficulty in hitting the board, with 4 breaks out of the 6 jumps, Jack would have come very close to breaking the national record of 4.76m. In fact, his final jump looked to be a 4.80m jump but a slight break of about 1 inch ruled it invalid. PJ was in equally impressive jumping form, setting a new PB on his 2nd jump with a leap of 4.20m and taking 5th place overall – repeating his finishing position from the same competition last year.
The high jump competition was also underway at this point with Orla Ryan first in action for the club in the U13 girls’ event. Orla jumped 1.15m on this occasion, perhaps slightly disappointed as her PB was 1.25m from the Connachts but competing at this level is itself an achievement and some days will see improvements and others not. Next up on the high jump, we had 2 representatives in the U13 boys’ high jump with Ross Haverty and Pádraic Tobin. Pádraic did very well, equalling his PB of 1.30m to finish 8th. Ross went 1 better on this occasion, setting a new PB of 1.35m and finishing 6th overall.
Back to the long jump where Claire Ryder and Oisín McNally were competing in the U11 events. Claire jumped well, recording 3.64m just short of her PB from the Connachts of 3.70m and taking 9th place overall. Oisín was also jumping well, leaping 3.61m in the boys event – a PB and a huge improvement of almost a half-metre on his previous best from the Connachts earlier in the summer, which would have been good enough to take gold on that occasion. Last in action on the long jump was Cormac Dillon in the U13 boys’ event. Having waited patiently all day, Cormac was unlucky to break 2 of his 3 jumps but still got a good jump of 3.88m in to set a new PB – a 20cm improvement on his Connacht jump. Cormac has been threatening to make big improvements in this event in training, hitting around the 4m mark – and with more run-up practise will certainly be clearing this and further distances.
Back over at the high jump, the U12 girls were in action with Siobhán Gardiner clearing 1.15m to finish 7th and Caoimhe Quill clearing 1.10m to finish 9th. It wasn’t their day in this event with both girls having jumped higher on previous occasions – Caoimhe having a 1.15m from Galway and Connacht outdoors and Siobhán having 1.26m from the National indoors. But both girls are competitive at this level and will make further progress on another occasion.
The U12 boys were next up, with long jump duo Jack and PJ again the club’s representatives. Despite been inexperienced and uneasy at the opening height, PJ manfully stuck to his task and cleared 1.15m, setting a new PB in the process. Jack had shown great potential in high jump at his first competition back in the Galway Indoors in January, clearing 1.36m. He found it difficult to repeat this form in the Connacht and National Indoors, but still cleared 1.20m to win the National gold in this event in the indoors. Clearing 1.15m in Connachts, Jack’s form in the high jump was only just returning – getting some consistency and confidence back in training sessions. He jumped clear on the first 3 heights in Cork – with no sign of any problems. Then when the bar went to 1.30m, Jack just clipped it with his feet on his first attempt – even though he was well clear of it by over 5cm with the rest of his body. This rattled his confidence and Jack knocked it on the final 2 attempts. Only 1 other athlete cleared this height, so Jack had the silver medal claimed – his 2nd silver of the day to accompany the relay gold he had from the previous day, a super weekend for a super athlete.