There was great success for Kilkenny athletes across a wide spectrum of events and disciplines.
With the cross-country and the indoor meetings passing each other at the exchange of seasons, the great run of results moved from the field to success on the boards.
With local athletes competing in two provinces, Kilkenny tasted Leinster and Munster schools success during the week - and what a contrast both days produced!
With the sun hanging high in the Spring sky, the conditions in Santry were both warm and fruitful for Leinster competitors. By contrast, the hills of Carriganore in Waterford were shrouded in a Siberian chill that cut through the bones of every man, woman and child at the Munster event.
In Dublin, St Kieran’s College won the best overall school in the boys category with Loreto Kilkenny enjoying similar success in the girls.
The most impressive winner of the day was Fiona Dillon who, running well of late, triumphed in remarkable return to form. Hannah Kehoe, also representing Loreto, suffered a fall at the start but ran strongly to regain her composure and finish second. Eleanor Goddin finished fourth helping the Loreto, who were the most convincing winners of the day, to take the junior girls’ team event.
In the junior boys category St Kieran’s College, led home by David Williams in seventh place, took the minor boys team title for the first time since 2003.
St Kieran’s finished second in the senior boys, with Shay McEvoy leading them home. Loreto also won the intermediate girls title with Hannah O’Keeffe finishing fifth. The Loreto senior girls were second in the team category.
Meanwhile in the lofty heights of the Carriagnore hills, St Senan’s athletes had two bronze medals.
Tadgh Connolly, representing the Abbey CC, finished third in the minor boys whilst Tara Ramasawmy, representing the Presentation, finished third in the intermediate girls, almost catching the second-placed finisher.
The All-Ireland schools finals will be held in Carriagnore on March 10.
With Abbottstown being the venue for day two of the Leinster juvenile relays and juvenile indoors, focus shifted to the relay events and some of the older age group field events. St Senan’s sole representative, Sophie Jackman, finished a very creditable third in the under-17 long jump.
Gowran had several relay teams represented. None medalled, but the club had considerable success in the field events.
It was good to see Zac Denieffe return to competitive athletics as he picked up two silvers in the under-18 shot and triple jump. Eve O’Dwyer was third in the under-16 triple jump while there was gold for Peter Dunne in the under-17 high jump.
There was some super running from the Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) relay teams. The city club’s girls’ under-14 team led the way when they set a new championship best performances in the under-14 relay. The girls - Ella Delahunty, Amelie Foley, Orla Kenny and Abbie O’Brien - led from start to finish.
There was another medal for the club when their boys’ under-14 team earned the bronze.
There was gold for Thomastown’s girls’ under-17 team of Aine Kirwan, Orla O’Keeffe, Ciara O’Keeffe and Ellen Ryan in the 4x200m relay. This versatile team, who matched their success from last year with this fine win, seem to perform on both cross-country and track. Later in the day Ciara, Ellen and Orla teamed up with Sinead O’Keeffe to take bronze in the under-18 4x200m relay.
St Joseph’s AC came home with three sets of medals. The club won gold at boys’ under-16 level with Danny Glennon, Eoin Kennedy, Cathal Beirne, Jordan Knight and Evan O’Toole taking the honours. The girls’ under-15 teams produced a silver medal finish while the girls’ under-13 relay team took bronze.
Brow Rangers had an extremely successful day at the Leinster senior, junior and masters indoors in Abbottstown with all their competing athletes winning medals.
John Joe Kelly won the senior shot-put and was second in the weight throw. Aoife Coady finished third in the senior women’s weight throw.
Patrick Darcy and Andrew Buggy finished first and second in the junior shot-put and were second and third respectively in the weight throw. Emma Kelly won a further two medals for the club, coming first and second in the junior women’s weight throw and shot.
A quintet of Rangers’ master men - all Kellys - won five medals. Kieran Kelly was first in the men’s over-35 shot, Murty was second in the over-65s shot and weight throw, while Joe Kelly finished first in the men’s over-45 shot and weight throw. The day’s efforts produced 14 medals in total - a good day’s throwing for any club!
St Joseph’s had two representatives in Austin Lee and Mary Breen. Austin won three medals in the over-35 category. He was second in the shot and hurdles and third in the long jump. Mary set a new championship best performance in the over-55 weight for distance and finished second in the shot.
Gowran had representatives in the junior and masters events. David Murphy, the outstanding 200m specialist, won his junior 200m event comfortably.
In the masters David Denieffe swapped his coaching mantle for that of the competitor’s cloak. Participating in his first ever Leinsters he was second in the weight for distance and third in the shot-put. David, who has been training for the 5km race walking event, is due to make his championship debut in Kilkenny in May.
Derek Keogh, on his first indoor appearance, was inspired by the opportunity to race his elder brother David (Slaney Olympic) over the 3,000m event. With youth on his side Derek emerged victorious by just four seconds.
Padraig Comerford took home a plethora of medals, with success in four out of the five events he competed in. He was second in the over-35 60m hurdles, high jump and long jump, third in the 60m and fourth in the 200m.
Sinead O’Donohue (KCH) was third in the senior long jump and 60m. Lauren Gleeson won the junior 60m, equalling her personal best of 7.25 seconds.
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