A Kilkenny athlete shone in the spotlight when competing at the National Senior Indoor Championships in the AIT Arena at the weekend.
Ciara Everard, competing in the colours of UCD, lived up to her pre-race favourite billing by capturing the women’s 800m title in a time of 2 minutes and 6 seconds. Her race was one of the highlights of a busy athletics meet and was shown live on national television.
Ciara, who finished sixth at the European Indoor Championships last year, will continue with her indoor race programme over the coming weeks in a bid to achieve the A qualifying standard of 2 minutes 3 seconds for the forthcoming World Indoor Championships in Poland next month.
Everard was one of many local athletes who enjoyed a good day in Athlone - her brother Eoin was another. The Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) runner competed in the very exciting and hotly contested men’s 3,000m event, taking the silver medal in a time of 8 minutes and 10 seconds.
It was also a very successful championships for St Joseph’s as well. Two of their athletes, Shannen Dawkins and Eoin Power, made the finals of their respective sprint hurdles events, with Power recording a personal best (PB) of 8.62 seconds in his heat.
In the finals Shannen was just pipped for the bronze medal, finishing fourth in a time of 8.91 seconds while Eoin Power finished sixth overall in a time of 8.79 seconds.
St Joseph’s did take home a medal from Athlone over the weekend. That was won by Shannen Dawkins in the high jump on Saturday, her clearance of 1.65m enough to give her third place and the bronze medal.
Gowran junior Donagh Mahon, who has been clearing 2m with ease this season, was in action in the men’s high jump but with a final clearance of 1.95m had to settle for fourth place in his event. Castlecomer’s Eoin Muldowney qualified for the semi-finals of the 60m.
The focus switches back to outdoors and the mud as the national intermediate and masters cross-country and juvenile development championships are held in Dunboyne this weekend. These will be followed by the national inter-clubs cross-county and juvenile relays in Dundalk the following weekend.
Kilkenny schools were well represented at the recent Leinster schools cross-country championships, which were held in Santry Demesne on Wednesday last.
All participating athletes had qualified through the regional championships, races which were held a week earlier.
In the first race of the day KCH athlete Ella Richardson, representing Loreto, was the top Kilkenny finisher with a 12th place finish in the minor girls’ race.
In the minor boys’ race KCH member Adam Fitzpatrick, representing St Kieran’s College, finished in second place to win the silver medal. There was another silver for Adam as he led his school to second place in the team race.
In the junior girls’ race there was another podium finish for a KCH athlete as Annie O’Connor, representing Loreto, led her school into second place and silver medals.
In the intermediate girls’ race Our Lady of Lourdes, Rosbercon were the top Kilkenny school but had to settle for sixth place overall.
Peter Lynch (KCH) continued in his rich vein of form by giving another fine display in the intermediate boys’ race to secure second place in a high quality field. Peter led his school team St Kieran’s to sixth place overall.
In the senior girls’ race Loreto Kilkenny came home with the team silver after their three scoring athletes - Aoibhe Richardson, Anna Sheehan and Lauren Dermody - all finished in the top 20. Sinead Whelan also featured in that group but her Grennan College team had to settle for fourth place in the same race.
The final race of the day was the senior boys’ event. St Kieran’s College finished in fourth place, with Callan CBS coming home eighth overall.
Elsewhere the Munster schools cross-country championships were held on the grounds of the Cork Institute of Technology on Thursday last.
St Senan’s athlete Aaron Donnelly, representing Abbey Community College, finished in fourth place in the minor boys’ race.
Kilkenny team results, Leinster schools cross-country championships:
Minor Girls: 7 Loreto Kilkenny, 112pts; 9 Presentation Kilkenny, 115pts.
Minor Boys: 2 St Kieran’s College, 78pts.
Junior Girls: 2 Loreto Kilkenny, 92pts.
Junior Boys: 7 St Kieran’s College, 176pts.
Intermediate Girls: 6 Our Lady of Lourdes, Rosbercon.
Intermediate Boys: 6 St Kieran’s College.
Senior Girls: 2 Loreto Kilkenny, 37pts; 4 Grennan College, 96pts.
Senior Boys: 4 St Kieran’s College, 131pts; 8 CBS Callan, 181pts.
All roads led to the Rhu Glenn Hotel on Saturday night for the annual St Joseph’s Athletic Club dinner dance.
A packed house of adult and juvenile club members, together with club supporters, gathered to celebrate the successes of over 260 registered juvenile, senior and masters club athletes in 2013 who competed at county, provincial, national and international level.
Club president Rocky Mernagh and chairwoman Anita Barry welcomed all present, in particular county secretary Margaret Dillon.
The female juvenile award was won by Shannen Dawkins. Shannen had a year to remember, blazing a trail through all competitions in 2013, winning Leinster and All-Ireland titles in the 60m hurdles and high jump disciplines while also setting a new Irish record in the hurdles.
To cap her year of incredible achievements, Shannen competed in the national senior championships and won silver in the senior ladies 100m hurdles. She followed that incredible feat by winning the senior women’s Irish high jump title. She also represented Ireland on two occasions during the year.
The juvenile male award went to Aaron Fenlon, who won Leinster medals indoors and outdoors in the 60m, 200m and 400m events, as well as in the 400m hurdles and shot-put.
The senior male award winner was Eoin Power. A talented sprint hurdler, Eoin finished fourth in the 110m hurdles in the All Ireland senior championships, in addition to scoring success in the Leinster and All-Ireland indoor championships.
The senior female winner was Emma Fenlon, who was crowned the Leinster senior and under-23 shot-put champion in 2013. In addition, she finished second and third in the shot-put at the under-23 and senior All-Ireland championships respectively.
The audience were loud in their applause when Mia Griffin was named club juvenile of the year.
Mia epitomises the idea that an older juvenile athlete can be the perfect role model to younger children. An ever-present at training and competitions, she also regularly assists St Joseph’s at fund-raising and other club events.
In addition, she has competed for the club with distinction in all cross country and track events.
In other awards news Tom McDonald was named club person of the year, a fitting tribute and recognition of the trojan work he puts into all aspects of the club. Incredibly, he also finds the time to run marathons and compete for the club.
The Hall of Fame award went to Mickey Curran, who was a star juvenile athlete for St Joseph’s in the past.