The Galway Community Games finals for long jump and high jump took place on Friday 30th May at Craughwell NS. This is the 2nd year in a row that the club has hosted these finals, with the high jump taking place on the astro-turf and the long jump taking place in the 'state of the art' long jump pit and runup for which the club will be seeking to replace with a tartan runup in the not too distant future.
There were several athletes from the club in action and the club had remarkable success in the 4 events (U14 boys and girls long jump, U16 boys and girls higj jump), taking 3 out of the top four places in each event.
In the U16 girls’ high jump, Ashley McDonnell was triumphant winning with a leap of 1.40m, with Sarah Helebert (representing Gort) in 2nd with 1.35m. Having clipped 1.40m on her first attempt, Ashley sailed over it on the 2nd attempt to become the only athlete to clear that height. She didn’t advance to further heights because of schools track & field competition the following day. Orla Ryan (representing Ballinderrin) took 4th place with a jump of 1.30m. In the U16 boys’ event, Tomás Keehan (representing Gort) took the gold with 1.55m with Niall Rooney in silver position with 1.50m.
In the long jump, a riveting competition ensued between club mates Debi Kenny and Claire Ryder (representing Clarinbridge). With a best jump of 4.29m, Debi was in 3rd place going into the final round of jumps – behind Claire with a best jump of 4.38m and GCH athlete Georgina Healy with 4.40m.
With great determination, Debi commenced her run-in to her final jump and hit the board with great power as she drove off the board and leaped into the air. Stretching out for the landing, it looked like a big jump. With the excitement bubbling around the watching crowd, the officials announced 4.48m – and Debi moved into the lead with her best jump in almost a year.
Not to be outdone on her final jump, Claire tore down the runway getting faster and faster with each stride and hit the centre of the board to drive upwards and outwards with a huge jump. As the officials measured the jump, hearts thumped and the tension mounted. Vincent Conway cleared his throat and announced “4.48m” in authoritive tones. An audible gasp emerged from the crowd and sliced through the tense air.
Down to the wire, Georgina powered her way up the runway to the takeoff board and into the air – and as the officials shouted “break”, Debi and Claire breathed again as they waited for the result. Scrutinising the earlier jumps, Claire was declared the winner of the coveted gold and even more coveted trip to Mosney – with Debi’s hopes dashed by the slimmest of margins. But it was a fantastic competition and both athletes can be very proud of their performance under intense pressure. There was strong jumping also from Ella Bryan (representing Carrabane) to take 4th place.
In the boys’ long jump, the competition wasn’t as tight but nonetheless provided a very interesting battle between the competitors. Going into the final round of jumps, PJ Kelly (representing Kinvara) was in first place with a leap of 4.54m with club-mates Cormac Dillon (representing Carrabane) and Oisin McNally (representing Kilnadeemna) in 3rd and 4th place. In the final 3 jumps, Oisin produced a big PB of 4.25m to take the bronze medal and Cormac unfortunately broke slightly on his last 2 jumps and had to settle for 4th place.