Super Performances in South Connacht Schools T&F

Super Performances in South Connacht Schools T&F

An action-packed day of athletics took place at the South Connacht Schools Track & Field Championships last Thursday in Dangan with many fine performances from our athletes while representing their schools – particularly in the middle-distance races, where 3 athletes smashed the 2:10 barrier for the first time in the intermediate boys 800m and the cast-wielding Sineád Gaffney took the gold in the intermediate girls 800m despite a suspected fracture of her left arm.

The day kicked off at 10am and provided non-stop athletics action all the way until 6pm that evening! Last year 38 athletes from the club featured in the top four in the individuals events, providing the best ever performance at these championships.  But this performance was topped this year with 44 top four placing based on my unofficial results of the day.

In the 800m races, Ellen Fitzpatrick got the ball rolling in the minor girls race where she blasted out to an early lead of perhaps 20m or more and with more experience over this distance Ellen will make a fine 800m runner. She was caught on the 2nd lap and looked like she was going to fade further with 200m to go – but discovered an extra battery somewhere and powered her way to the finish to take 2nd place in possibly her first ever 800m.  In the junior girls 800m, Gabrielle Tobin ran a new PB of 2:46 to take 4th place with a strong finish.

Next into the 800m fray were Nicholas Sheehan and Damien O’Boyle. Strong running saw both athletes breakaway with a leading group of four. Four became three as they hit the last lap and as the race entered its final stages, Nicholas pulled away to take the gold in a time of 2.13.8 with Damien taking third place in a time of 2.14.9 – both new PBs. Sineád Gaffney was next into action in the intermediate girls 800m. With her arm in a temporary cast due to a suspected fracture from a football match a week ago, it showed a streak of toughness to even be lining out for an 800m today. But Sineád wasn’t content with just lining out, settling into a nice pace at the front with Kate Burke from Ballinasloe and Michelle Maher from GCH. As the race entered the 2nd lap Michelle and Sineád started to pull away and with 200m to go Sineád made her break for the line, racing to a very impressive victory in a time of 2.32.3 – all the more impressive because of the quality of the opposition in Kate Burke and Michelle Maher who are 2 of the leading juvenile athletes in the country with Michelle having medalled in the National indoors earlier this year.

Next, an incredible intermediate boys 800m race provided one of the most exciting races in years at these championships with 4 athletes going well under 2:10 in a sprint finish. The race was led out by GCH’s Anthony Hebron who had finished in 6th place in the National indoors final, shadowed closely by Finn Stoneman and Conor Gillen with Pádraic Tobin joining them in the leading four at the bell. These four athletes began to pull away from the field at this stage, winding up the pace down the back straight. As the race entered the closing stages, the GCH was metres clear in first place but an almighty battle took place for 2nd, with Finn holding on to record a time of 2.06.7, Conor on his heels in 2.06.8 and Pádraic just behind in 2.08.9 – great running by all 3 athletes with a 12 second PB for Finn, 10 seconds for Conor and 11 seconds for Pádraic.

Later in the day in the 1500s, Finn had an equally tough lung-busting sprint finish with another GCH athlete – Adrian Hardiman. With both athletes hitting a flat-out sprint from about 150m out, it was neck and neck all the way to the line with Finn holding out for the gold with an impressive 4.27.9. Peadar Harvey followed this up in the senior boys 1500m with a strong run to take 2nd place behind Keith Fallon in a good time of 4.18.4. Younger brother Diarmuid had his best run to date when placing 4th in the minor boys 1500m while Jamie Spellman raced to an impressive victory in the junior boys 1500m with a time of 4.42.5, with Matthew Moran 2nd in 5.01.0 and Keelan Ryan 5th in 5.07.0. In the girls 1500m Ciara Greene had a fantastic race in the minor girls category, racing to a big lead to record a time of 5.13.1 with Emma Byrne 3rd in 5.44.7 and Andrea Tobin 8th in 6.19.1. Derbhla Maloney took 5th place in the junior girls 1500m in a time of 5.46.3 while Linda Porter made a welcome return to competition to take the intermediate girls title in a sprint finish in a time of 5.22.2.Last of the distance races saw Conor Gillen race to a big victory in the intermediate boys 3000m with Paul Joyce 3rd, while in the girls 3000m Muireann Maloney took 3rd place with Laura Porter in 4th.

In the sprints, there were further impressive performances with Sinead  Tracey victorius in the minor girls 100m followed by the in-form Ciara Greene in 3rd place, Tara McNally taking gold in the minor girls 200m, Aidan Conneely 1st in the minor boys 100m, Maireád McCan 2nd in the intermediate girls 100m, Niall Higgins 4th in the senior boys 100m, Cathal Cronin 6th in the intermediate boys 200m, Conor Duggan 6th or 7th in the junior boys 200m, Katie O’Donoghue placing 2nd in the intermediate girls 200m (her first ever 200m) in a time of 27.9 and Jessica Heneghan 3rd  in the same 200m in a time of 28.2. Also in their first time over this distance, both Sineád Gaffney and Claire Ryder had excellent runs in the intermediate girls 300m with Sineád taking 1st place in a time of 44.5 and Claire 2nd in a time of 45.9. There were good performances also from John Cormican who placed 4th in his heat of the 200m and from Conor O’Donoghue who placed 3rd in his heat of the minor boys 100m behind the 2 athletes who eventually took gold and silver in the final.

In the long jump, Conor O’Donoghue took 2nd place in the minor boys with a leap of 4.44m, with Aidan Conneely in 4th place. Dandy Murray finished 2nd in the junior girls long jump with a leap of 4.18m. In the intermediate girls long jump, there were some excellent performances with athletes from the club taking the first 6 places to my knowledge with Maireád McCan taking 1st place with a leap of 4.80, Claire Ryder 2nd with 4.63, Debbie Kenny 3rd with 4.62 (a new PB on Debbie’s first time in action in almost a year), Karen Roche 4th with 4.39 (?), Melissa Mullins 5th and Ella Bryan 6th with 4.09m. Ashley McDonnell was another athlete making a welcome return to competition when taking 2nd place in the senior girls long jump with 4.05m. Note above like the rest of these results are provisional until I see the official results.

In the high jump, Tara McNally and Ellen Fitzpatrick placed 2nd and 3rd in the minor girls with fine jumps of 1.40 and 1.35m. Oisin McNally equalled his PB when taking first place in the junior boys high jump with a leap of 1.55m, with Damien O’Boyle in 3rd place. Maria McNamara jumped to victory in the intermediate girls event with a leap of 1.50m while Katie O’Donoghue took 2nd place with a leap of 1.40. Both athletes withdrew early so as not to aggravate niggling injuries. In the senior boys high jump, Niall Rooney and Tomas Keehan took 1st and 2nd places with leaps of 1.70 and 1.65m – again both athletes making a welcome return to competition after a long layoff due to injuries and leaving certificate. In the throwing events, only a small number of athletes from the club took part but with good performances, Cathal O’Brien placed 4th or 5th in the minor boys shot putt, while Oisin McNally took the gold in the junior boys javelin with a big throw of 32m.

In the 4x100m relays, the Pres Athenry put in a powerful display in the intermediate girls grade where Jessica Heneghan, Katie O’Donoghue, Maria McNamara and Claire Ryder sprinted to victory and the school’s second team took 4th place with Debbie Kenny and Sineád Gaffney featuring strongly on the team. Loughrea VS took 3rd place with Linda Porter finishing strongly, while the Athenry VS team anchored by Maireád McCan narrowly missed out on the qualifying places for the Connacht finals when finishing 5th. In the senior girls relay, the Pres Athenry team on which Ashley McDonnell ran took the silver medals behind a strong Taylor’s Hill team while in the junior boys relay, Calasanctius Oranmore took the bronze medals with the team featuring Nicholas Sheehan, Damien O’Boyle and Aidan Conneely. I’m sure I am missing other individual and relay results so I will update this article as I piece it all together.            

Following is a list of the results. 

Minor Girls
100m 1 Sinead Treacy, 3 Ciara Greene
200m 1 Tara McNally
800m 2 Ellen Fitzpatrick
1500m 1 Ciara Greene 5.13.1, 3 Emma Byrne 5.44.7, 8 Andrea Tobin 6.19.1
High Jump 2 Tara McNally 1.40, 3 Ellen Fitzpatrick 1.35 

Minor Boys
100m 1 Aidan Conneely, 3h Conor O’Donoghue
200m 6? Conor Duggan
1500m 4 Diarmuid Harvey
Long Jump 2 Conor O’Donoghue 4.44m, 4 Aidan Conneely
Shot Putt 4/5 Cathal O’Brien 

Junior Girls
800m 4 Gabrielle Tobin 2.46.0
1500m 5 Dearbhla Maloney 5.46.3
Long Jump 2 Dandy Murray 4.18

Junior Boys
200m 4h John Corrnican
800m 1 Nicholas Sheehan 2.13.8, 3 Damien O’Boyle 2.14.9
1500m 1 Jamie Spellman 4.42.5, 3 Matthew Moran 5.01.0, 5 Keelan Ryan 5.07.0
High Jump 1 Oisin McNally 1.55, 3 Damien O’Boyle
Javelin 1 Oisin McNally 32.0
4x100m 3 Calasanctius Oranmore (Nicholas Sheehan, Damien O’Boyle, Aidan Conneely)  

Intermediate Girls
100m 2 Maireád McCan
200m 2 Katie O’Donoghue 27.9, 3 Jessica Heneghan 28.2
300m 1 Sineád Gaffney 44.5, 2 Claire Ryder 45.9
800m 1 Sineád Gaffney 2.32.3
1500m 1 Linda Porter 5.22.2
3000m 3 Muireann Maloney, 4 Laura Porter
Long Jump 1 Maireád McCan 4.80, 2 Claire Ryder 4.63, 3 Debbie Kenny 4.62, 4 Karen Roche 4.39?, 5 Melissa Mullins 4.28?, 6 Ella Bryan 4.09
High Jump 1 Maria McNamara 1.50, 2 Katie O’Donoghue 1.40
4x100m1 Pres Athenry (Jessica Heneghan, Katie O’Donoghue, Maria McNamara, Claire Ryder)
3 Loughrea VS (Linda Porter)
4 Pres Athenry (Debbie Kenny, Sineád Gaffney)
5 Athenry VS (Maireád McCan) 

Intermediate Boys
200m 6 Cathal Cronin
800m 2 Finn Stoneman 2.06.7, 3 Conor Gillen 2.06.8, 4 Pádraic Tobin 2.08.9
1500m 1 Finn Stoneman 4.27.9
3000m 1 Conor Gillen, 3 Paul Joyce 

Senior Girls
Long Jump 2 Ashley McDonnell 4.05m
4x100m 2 Pres Athenry (Ashley McDonnell) 

Senior Boys
1500m 2 Peadar Harvey 4.18.4
High Jump 1 Niall Rooney 1.70, 2 Tomás Keehan 1.65
100m 4 Niall Higgins

Comments are closed.