The final weekend of the National juvenile track and field championships took place in Tullamore last weekend where Ashley McDonnell and Tara McNally both claimed bronze medals. Tara raced to a super podium finish in the U14 girls 200m in an incredible time of 26.70, breaking the old club record of 27.0 set by Ashley McDonnell in 2008. But despite relinquishing this record, it was a marvellous day for Ashley where she equalled her PB of 4.91m to claim the bronze medal in the U19 girls long jump – Ashley’s second time medalling at National level having won the 600m as an U13 in 2005 and a nice way to wrap up her juvenile career as she enters senior ranks.
There were many other excellent performances with Maria McNamara setting a new club record of 8.13m for the 3.25kg shot in the U17 girls event, taking 7th place in the triple jump with 9.59m and 7th place in the high jump with 1.45m; Melissa Mullins 5th in the U17 triple jump with 9.84m, Maireád McCan 8th in the U17 high jump with 1.40m, Tomás Keehan 5th in the U19 high jump with 1.70m and Niall Rooney 6th with 1.60m, Sineád Treacy 8th in the U15 girls 200m in a time of 27.90 having earlier set a new PB in the heats in a time of 27.49, Ciara Greene 16th in the U15 1500m in a time of 5.43.97, Oisin Doyle 11th in the U14 1500m in 5.09.61, Jamie Spellman 8th in the U15 1500m in 4.39.77, John Cormican 10th in the U16 1500m in 4.58.70, Claire Ryder 5th in her heat of the U16 200m in a time of 27.90, Jessica Heneghan 5th in her heat of the U17 200m in 28.11 and Aidan Conneely 6th in his heat of the U15 200m in 26.38.
On Sunday, the eagerly awaited National finals of the relays took place where Craughwell AC’s teams combined to produce the club’s best ever performance at the National relays – adding 3 more sets of medals to the 2 sets already won by the U9 and U10 girls earlier in the summer.
The U15 boys got the show on the road with a fantastic silver medal in their relay final. Coming into the final with the 4th fastest time from the heats, the boys were up against strong teams from Tallaght, Nenagh and Sligo. With sublime baton passing, the Craughwell team rose to the occasion and put in a storming performance to take the silver medals in a time of 49.89 with their team of Damien O’Boyle, Conor Duggan, Kelvin Olayemi, Christopher McDonnell and Aidan Conneely.
Next into the action, the U17 girls’ team outshone all expectations when winning a double set of medals in the 4x100m and 4x300m relays. Their performance was special as most of the team have been members of the club since the age of 7 and have been so close to medals on several occasions in the past – finishing in 4th place twice and 5th and 6th on two other occasions, but never reaching the podium. The team raced to a strong time of 53.28 in the 4x100m heats and followed this up with a new club record of 52.82 in the final, taking the bronze medals just ahead of Limerick outfit Dooneen. The team were Sineád Gaffney, Jessica Heneghan, Claire Ryder, Maria McNamara and Maireád McCan. Shortly afterwards Maria, Sineád and Jessica combined with Orla McDaid and Muireann Maloney to add yet another set of medals when taking the silver medals in the 4x300m in a time of 3.08.47.
There were other good performances from Craughwell teams in the remaining races, with the U13 boys making the final with 58.61 time in the heats and following it up with 58.07 to take 8th place in the final (Brian Loughnane, Jim Crowley, James Cahalane, Daniel Callanan-Forde, Gearoid Treacy, Cian Waters), the U12 boys making the final with 58.22 and finishing 8th in the final with 59.37 (Cillian Doyle, Jerry Keary, Cian Waters, Sean Delaney, Daniel Callanan-Forde), the U12 girls recording a good time of 62.83 in their heat (Aoife Walsh, Caoimhe O’Donoghue, Caolin Milton, Laura Cunningham, Shauna Tobin), the u13 girls also getting a good time of 60.59 in their heat (Eimear Loughnane, Michelle Duggan, Shonagh Gilligan, Dearbhaile Walsh, Erin Fitzpatrick) and the U15 girls unlucky not to make the final with a time of 54.27 in their heat (Ciara Greene, Sinead Treacy, Dandy Murray, Tara McNally, Ellen Fitzpatrick).
Several members of the club went on to win further honours on County Galway relay teams later in the day, with Jim Crowley on the U13 team that took gold in a time of 52.30, Sineád Treacy and Tara McNally winning silver on the U15 team in a time of 51.82, and Claire Ryder and Maireád McCann winning bronze on the U17 girls team in a time of 52.16.