The biggest highlight of the weekend saw Ciara Deely from Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) achieve the World Junior qualifying time in the 400m.
Competing for Loreto in the Leinster Schools in Santry, Ciara ran 54.99 seconds for the 400m - just one-hundredth of a second inside the qualification time. She will now await formal selection for the event, which will be held in Tampere, Finland in July.
Ciara has been consistently running 55 seconds for 400m this year and it was only a matter of time before she broke that 55 second barrier.
Another notable performance at the Leinster Schools was that of the Loreto girls’ under-16 4x300m relay. The team of Fiona Dillon, Orla O’Keeffe, Aine Kirwan (all Thomastown AC), Jennifer Leahy and Abby Gilsenan (KCH) produced a stunning performance by not only getting the gold medal but also breaking the 18-year-old record.
The St Kieran’s College pair of Shay McEvoy and Adam Fitzpatrick (both KCH) were certainly on fire when they produced a one-two finish in the senior boys’ 1,500m. Both boys were in the leading bunch from the gun before, in the final 600m, they started to pull away from the main field.
Running side by side for most of the remainder of the race it was not until the final 50m sprint that Shay edged on to secure the gold medal.
Hannah Kehoe of Gowran was another schools gold medal winner. Competing for Loreto, Hannah won the minor girls’ 1,100m. Taking the lead on the last lap, she pushed the pace to win by a comfortable margin at the finish.
Fiona Dillon (Thomastown) finished second in the junior girls’ 1,500m, coming home behind Ava O’Connor (Portlaoise). Lauren Gleeson (KCH), wearing the Presentation colours, was second in the senior 100m.
St Senan’s athlete Peter McDonald, competing for Good Counsel, showed the increase in his prowess in the javelin. Throwing on average 10m more than this time last year, Peter picked up the silver medal.
Silver was also the colour as David Murphy (Gowran) delivered a double silver medal-winning performance for Kilkenny CBS in the senior boys’ 100m and 200m races.
Jordan Knight (St Joseph’s), running for Grennan College, was third in the boys’ under-16 200m. James Kearney (KCH) donned the black and white of Kieran’s College and also finished third in his event, the senior boys’ 2,000m steeplechase.
The Loreto minor team finished third in the 4x100m. Castlecomer CS also threw their hat in for bronze medals when Kate Cullen (Brow Rangers) threw another personal best, finishing third in the intermediate hammer.
With many more Kilkenny athletes getting top six positions it was a great schools outing for local athletes.
Meanwhile in the Munster Schools, Aoife Allen (St Senan’s) pulled out all stops and took home the gold for the Mercy Waterford in the steeplechase. Her hurdling and water jumps were superior to the rest of the field and helped her cause.
Sophie Jackman (St Senan’s) was third in the intermediate girls’ 300m hurdles, while Tadgh Connolly (St Senan’s) produced another fine performance to take home the silver medal from the minor shot-put. Fellow St Senan’s training partner Joe Roche proved that his Winter work is paying off when he finished second in the minor discus. The four St Senan’s athletes were competing for the Abbey CC.
Athletics history was made when Kilkenny hosted the Leinster Combined Events for the first time. Some good numbers in the younger age groups helped inspire some revealing performances.
The combined events see each athlete obliged to compete in up to five events in the day, with points being awarded based on time or distance. At the end of the competition, the athlete with the highest points total from all five events is the overall winner.
The event was a success for both the county as a host and its athletes, with some relishing their first ever opportunity to test their abilities over this multi-discipline event.
St Senan’s came home with two medals. Keelin Roche was second in the under-14s with Eoin Aylward winning the under-13 event. KCH had one medal winner, with Alex Cullen bagging a silver in the boys’ under-13 category.
Gowran picked up five juvenile medals with Maria Connolly producing her best ever competitive performance to come third in the girls’ under-14 pentathlon. Noah Scully followed that up with a third place finish in the boys’ under-14 category.
The Denieffe siblings Robyn and Zak produced silver and gold in their respective age groups while cross-country runner Brogan McAvinney, fresh from his Leinster Schools 1,500m run the previous day, was second in the boys’ under-16 event.
St Joseph’s had a double gold in Jordan Knight and Evan O’Toole. Knight is no stranger to these combined events, having medalled in these championships for the last two years.
The Leinster Relay Championships took centre stage in Enniscorthy on Sunday, with lots of Kilkenny clubs in action. With relay races from under-9 to under-19 there was a mix of all sorts of sizes gracing the track.
Kilkenny City Harriers emerged as the strongest relay club when they produced a total of five gold and one silver.
There was gold in the boys’ under-10 and 13 relays and the girls’ under-11 and 14 races, including two championship best performances. Their under-14 squad has already won the National Indoors and looks set to blaze the relay trail this Summer.
St Joseph’s, winners of the under-16 4x200m in the Leinster Indoors, won the 4x100m on the outdoor track. Gowran produced their only medal of the day to win the boys’ under-19 race. The team was completed by international star David Murphy, who stormed down the home straight to lead his side to the gold.
Thomastown have a great depth of diversity of talent in the girls’ under-17 grade. With a mixture of track and cross-country runners, they finished second in the girls’ under-17 race.
Cliodhna Manning (KCH) had a great performance when competing at the Loughborough Open Invitational Even in England at the weekend. Manning delivered a powerful performance, finishing first in the Open 400m in a time of 54 seconds flat. She was 1.24 seconds ahead of fellow Irish athlete Catherine McManus.
Fellow KCH athlete Ciara Everard was second in the 1,500m event in 4.14, three seconds behind Scottish athlete Jemma Reekie.
Girls’ minor 1,100m: 1 Hannah Kehoe (Gowran).
Girls’ minor 4x100m relay: 3 Loreto.
Girls’ junior 1,500m: 2 Fiona Dillon (Thomastown).
Girls’ intermediate 4x300m relay: 1 Loreto.
Girls’ senior 100m: 2 Lauren Gleeson (KCH). Girls’ senior 400m: 1 Ciara Deeley (KCH).
Girls’ senior hammer: 3 Kate Cullen (Brow Rangers).
Boys’ minor javelin: 2 Peter McDonald (St Senan’s).
Boys’ minor 200m: 3 Jordan Knight (St Joseph’s).
Boys’ senior 100m: 2 David Murphy (Gowran).
Boys’ senior 100m: 2 David Murphy (Gowran).
Boys’ senior 1,500m: 1 Shay McEvoy (KCH), 2 Adam Fitzpatrick (KCH).
Boys’ senior 2,000m steeplechase: 3 James Kearney (KCH).
Girls’ intermediate 300m hurdles: 3 Sophie Jackman (St Senan’s).
Girls’ intermediate 1,500m steeplechase: 1 Aoife Allen (St Senan’s).
Boys’ minor shot-put: 2 Tadgh Connolly (St Senan’s).
Boys’ junior discus: 2 Joe Roche (St Senan’s).
Boys’ under-13: 1 Eoin Aylward (St Senan’s), 2 Alex Cullen (KCH).
Boys’ under-14: 2 Keelin Roche (St Senan’s), 3 Noah Scully (Gowran).
Boys’ under-15: 1 Evan O’Toole (St Joseph’s).
Boys’ under-16: 1 Jordan Knight (St Joseph’s), 2 Brogan McAvinney (Gowran).
Boys’ under-18: 1 Zak Denieffe (Gowran).
Masters: 2 Padraig Crawford (Gowran).
Girls’ under-14: 3 Maria Connolly (Gowran).
Girls’ under-15: 2 Robyn Denieffe (Gowran).
Boys’ under-9: 2 KCH. Boys’ under-10: 1 KCH. Boys’ under-11: 2 KCH. Boys’ under-13: 1 KCH. Boys’ under-16: 1 St Joseph’s. Boys’ under-19: 1 Gowran.
Girls’ under-11: 1 KCH. Girls’ under-14: 1 KCH. Girls’ under-15: 3 St Joseph’s. Girls’ under-17: 2 Thomastown.
May 25: Kilkenny County Championships (day three), Kilkenny 6.45pm.
May 27: National Combined Events Santry, Dublin.
June 1: Kilkenny County senior championships and hammer (all ages), Kilkenny 6.45pm.
June 2: All-Ireland Schools, Tullamore.
June 4: Leinster Team Events, Tullamore.
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