The national juvenile indoor athletics championships saw the cream of Ireland’s young athletes travel to Athlone’s AIT Arena at the weekend.
Kilkenny athletes put in some great performances, bringing back a respectable medal haul from an event where the competition was white hot.
One of the big stars of the weekend was Gowran’s Donagh Mahon. Competing in the under-18 high jump, Donagh took the gold medal with a new personal best (PB) clearance of 2m 10cms. This height broke the existing championship record by 6cm and set a new Irish Youths record.
There was another PB set in the high jump as Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) athlete Ciara Deeley recorded a new personal best of 1.64m to win the girls’ under-15 event on Saturday. She added a second gold to her collection on Sunday, finishing first in the 60m hurdles.
The county’s other gold medal winner was KCH sprinter Sarah Kate Lacey, who was first to cross the finish line in the under-19 60m race. Sarah Kate followed up her gold medal performance in the 60m by winning a third place bronze in her 200m event.
The success continued as St Joseph’s athlete Jack Elliot and David Murphy (Gowran) won silver medals in their respective 60m races. St Joseph’s earned their second medal of the championships when Sophie Becker ran an excellent race to finish in third in the girls’ under-18 200m.
The 800m runners faced the daunting task of running heats and then having to run the final a hour or so later. The four Kilkenny athletes who competed in their heats all made the finals.
The girls’ under-19 event was a straight final, with Anna Sheehan finishing third to claim the bronze medal. There were track medals also for the walkers with Nicky Connolly (Castlecomer) taking under-14 bronze and Isabel Morgan (St Senan’s) silver in the girls’ under-16 race.
The shot-put brought silver medals for Kieran O’Neill (Gowran) in the boys’ under-13 event and John Joe Kelly (Brow Rangers) in the under-18 event. David Murphy picked up his second medal of the championships, winning bronze in the under-15 shot while Jack Manning (KCH) won bronze in the shot-put. The medal go some way to alleviate his disappointment of finishing third in the 200m race, only to find himself disqualified on a technicality.
The sprinters will be back in Athlone for the relay championships next weekend. Kilkenny teams performed very well at Leinster, but will face a tougher test in the national championships.
Kilkenny results, national juvenile indoor championships (club code: BR = Brow Rangers, CC = Castlecomer, G = Gowran, KCH = Kilkenny City Harriers, SJ = St Joseph’s, SS = St Senan’s, TT = Thomastown):
Boys’ U-12 60m: 5 Jordan Knight (TT). Boys’ U-14 60m: 2 Jack Elliot (SJ). Boys’ U-15 60m: 2 David Murphy (G). Girls’ U-18 60m: 4 Sophie Becker (SJ). Boys’ U-18 60m: 7 Callan Byrne (KCH). Girls’ U-19 60m: 1 Sarah Kate Lacey (KCH); 3 Margaret Caldbeck (KCH).
Girls’ U-15 60m hurdles: 1 Ciara Deeley (KCH). Boys’ U-16 60m hurdles: 6 Daragh Roberts (KCH).
Girls’ U-18 200m: 3 Sophie Becker (SJ). Girls’ U-19 200m: 3 Sarah Kate Lacey (KCH); 5 Margaret Caldbeck (KCH).
Boys’ U-12 600m: 14 Cathal Beirne (SJ). Boys’ U-13 600m: 4 Killian Griffin (SJ).
Boys’ U-14 800m: 6 Oisin Griffin (SJ). Boys’ U-15 800m: 6 Adam Fitzpatrick (KCH). Boys’ U-16 800m: 6 Luke Fitzpatrick (KCH). Girls’ U-17 800m: 5 Aoibhe O’Shea (KCH). Girls’ U-19 800m: 3 Anna Sheehan (KCH).
Girls’ U-14 walk: 5 Sinead O’Keeffe (TT). Boys’ U-14 walk: 3 Nicky Connolly (CC). Girls’ U-16 walk: 2 Isabel Morgan (SS).
Boys’ U-12 long jump: 4 Jordan Knight (TT).
Boys’ U-12 shot-put: 9 Oisin Kelly (BR). Boys’ U-13 shot-put: 2 Kieran O’Neill (G). Boys’ U-15 shot-put: 3 David Murphy (G). Boys’ U-16 shot-put: 4 Patrick Darcy (BR). Boys’ U-17 shot-put: 3 Jack Manning (KCH). Girls’ U-19 shot-put: 5 Grainne Kenny (BR). Boys’ U-18 shot-put: 2 John Joe Kelly (BR).
Girls’ U-15 high jump: 1 Ciara Deeley (KCH). Boys’ U-18 high jump: 1 Donagh Mahon (G), 2m 10cm.
While the track and field athletes were competing in the air-condtioned luxury of the AIT Arena another Kilkenny athlete was in action in very different conditions. Peter Lynch (KCH) was part of the Irish schools under-17 boys’ team who competed at the Aviva international cross-country championships in Bolton.
Peter, who earned his place thanks to his fourth place finish in the recent schools cross-country championships, made light of the wintry weather and tough underfoot conditions and scored a top 10 finish. The second Irish athlete across the finish line, he was an important part of the silver medal-winning team. It was a great end to the season for an athlete who has shown remarkable progress in the last year.