With another busy weekend at home and abroad, Kilkenny athletes played their part in keeping the county at the centre of attention.
Athletes from all over Kilkenny featured on a great day out at the Leinster juvenile relays and intermediate and masters cross-country championships.
Lauren Dermody (Castlecomer) continued to be the in-form Kilkenny female athlete of this year, finishing second in the intermediate ladies Leinster championships. This adds to her silver in the Leinster Novice, All-Ireland Novice and her All-Ireland under-23 titles - not a bad collection of medals for a season’s work!
Sally Forristal (St Joseph’s) marked her return from an injury that saw her miss the national seniors by scoring an intermediate podium berth with a bronze medal finish.
Both Lauren and Sally were part of the county team that scored a magnificent victory in the inter-county Section. Bronagh Kearns and Michelle McDonald, who finished sixth and eighth respectively, secured the team’s placings.
With four runners in the top eight this was an excellent result for such a young squad. St Senan’s capped off a great day by finishing third in the club section.
Adele Walsh continued her good form by finishing second in the Masters over-40 category.
This matched her second spot in the Masters Team Trials last November, which earned her the chance to represent Ireland in the home countries event.
It also sets Adele up nicely for the National Masters in Galway in February.
Kilkenny finished third in the inter-county event. Scorers were Adele Walsh (St Senan’s), Imelda Kennedy (Castlecomer) and Catriona Corr (Gowran).
The intermediate men were down on numbers, but Castlecomer’s James Kelly had the Kilkenny flag flying high when he had a storming race to finish fifth.
James, who has been running very well this year, will focus his attention on the Nationals in Galway next month, where he will have some strong team-mates to support him.
The men’s Masters event was more successful for Kilkenny in terms of numbers. The flying Sean Caulfield (St Senan’s AC) led the way with distinction. He was first in the over-50s race - not only did he finish with plenty to spare from the next over-50 athlete, he also outsprinted men 20 years his junior!
Good county results kept coming in all day. The juvenile relays saw three golds for Kilkenny teams and a bronze. Gowran were the club of the day, finishing with two gold and one bronze.
In the boys’ under-12 event some superb running by Gowran on the last changeover saw them overcome a 20m deficit to beat favourites and last year’s winners Rathoath.
The girls’ under-14 race saw Gowran earn their second gold. Maria Connolly had an amazing run as second leg for the club, moving the team from fifth place into the lead.
The club held on to that advantage, with Elizabeth Connolly sailing down the home straight to her first ever Leinster medal.
St Joseph’s were in hard luck. Having held on to third place for so long they were outsprinted in the final few metres, relinquishing the bronze medal five metres before the finishing line. Thomastown finished in fifth spot.
At under-16 level the Thomastown girls proved their dominance in this age group by repeating their victory from last year.
With Hannah O’Keeffe fresh from her international debut and Aine Kirwan coming back to form all the time from her injury in September, it would have taken a powerhouse to beat them.
Thomastown led from start to finish with no opposition coming close to them. Credit is also due to the Gowran girls who finished third overall. Led by Hannah Kehoe it was an excellent race from these girls who have competed in counties and Leinsters this year.
The good results continued as St Joseph’s finished in fifth spot - not a bad result to have three Kilkenny teams in the top five!
The Kilkenny County Athletics Board held its first ever county Sports Hall Athletics event in the Watershed on Saturday.
The event, which catered for athletes from under-8 to under-11, was designed to encourage youngsters to participate in a range of events all contributing to skills needed for various field events that they will tackle in the years to come.
There were some 300 athletes and parents present in the Watershed – with various activities such as standing long jump, turbo javelin, speed bounces, chest pushes and obstacle course runs to name but a few of the events, which were a big hit on the day.
Eoin Everard participated in the Great Edinburgh Mixed Relay event as part of the Irish Team. Eoin was the first runner and handed over the baton in hot pursuit of the flying Belgians.
Despite good running from all the team, they finished up in fourth spot behind the Spaniards, British and Belgians.
Kilkenny results, Leinster intermediate, masters and juvenile relays (club code: CC = Castlecomer, G = Gowran, SJ = St Joseph’s, SS = St Senan’s, TT = Thomastown):
Intermediate Ladies: 2 Lauren Dermody (CC), 3 Sally Forristal (SJ), 6 Bronagh Kearns (SS), 8 Michelle McDonald (SS), 11 Aine Kinsella (SS), 29 Rachael Butler (SS). Inter-county: 1 Kilkenny. Inter-club: 3 St Senan’s.
Intermediate Men: 5 James Kelly (CC).
Masters Ladies Over-40: 2 Adele Walsh (SS), 8 Imelda Kennedy (CC), 10 Caitriona Corr (G), 21 Michelle Ryan (G). Over-45: 7 Esther Kennedy (CC), 15 Siobhan O’Dwyer (G). Inter-county: 3 Kilkenny (Adele Walsh, Imelda Kennedy, Catriona Corr).
Masters Men Over-35: 23 Danny Shanahan (TT), 30 Tom Corrigan (G). Over-45: 9 Derek Kehoe (G), 12 Simon O’Dwyer (G). Over-50: 1 Sean Caulfield (SS), 21 John Davis (TT), 31 Pat Lenehan (G). Over-55: 7 David Farrell (G). Inter-county: 7 Kilkenny. Inter-club: 11 Gowran.
Girls’ U-12 relay: 6 St Joseph’s (Lily Ryan, Keelin Byrne, Lilly Doyle, Eabha Mullally).
Boys’ U-12 relay: 1 Gowran (Aaron Doyle, Liam O’Dwyer, Darragh Dunne, Ruairi Murphy, Tom Kehoe).
Girls’ U-14 relay: 1 Gowran (Sara Kehoe, Maria Connolly, Aisling Fitzpatrick, Rachel O’Neill, Ellie Murray), 4 St Joseph’s (Rachel Foley, Grace Glennon, Meave Bookle, Aine Purcell), 5 Thomastown (Orlaith O’Keeffe, Maria O’Keeffe, Tara Fenlon, Laura Challoner).
Girls’ U-16 relay: 1 Thomastown (Aine Kirwan, Fiona Dillon, Hannah O’Keeffe, Emma Manogue), 3 Gowran (Hannah Kehoe, Eve O’Dwyer, Leah Bracken, Elizabeth Maley, Robyn Denieffe, Anna Connolly), 5 St Joseph’s (Danielle Griffin, Ciara Mullally, Katie Bookle, Niamh O’Connor).
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