Jenifer Oboh (Kilkenny City Harriers) won the girls under-15 100m
Searing temperatures made for red-hot competition as athletes sweltered at the National Juvenile Relay Championships and the National B All Ireland Championships in Tullamore.
With thermostats climbing over the 30 degree mark the elements made things difficult, especially in the longer distance events, but Kilkenny athletes did very well in general.
The relay is an event all athletes love - the feeling of being part of a team - but it is the National B All-Ireland track and field championships that are often attributed to being an integral part of the development of the juvenile athlete.
These championships, which have been running for some years now, give athletes on the periphery of qualifying for National Championships another chance to compete and test their progress at a decent standard of competition.
With all those who have qualified for the Nationals eliminated, the competition can still be of a high standard, particularly in the under-12 to under-14 ages. It gives encouragement to athletes to keep competing and trying no matter what the level of competition is. Kilkenny clubs in general tend to do well at the Bs, with medal winners performing better the following year.
Eoin Aylward (St Senan’s) was left somewhat disappointed with his performance in the under-13 long jump at the Leinster championships. However there was no disappointment in Tullamore at the Bs - not only did he take the gold medal in the boys’ under-13 long jump but did so with a new personal best (PB).
Another athlete to take gold for St Senan’s was Ethan Butler in the boys’ under-15 high jump. It was great to see Ethan return to competition after he had been battling a knee injury for the last year. Juliet Evans (St Senan’s) was somewhat unlucky when she was fourth in the girls’ under-13 80m final. However, she bettered her Leinster time by half a second.
Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) had a great return at the championships, bringing home a total of five gold, three silver and two bronze medals.
It was a fantastic medal haul from a talented bunch - expect to see them deliver some much improved performances next year.
Top marks went to Louis Raggett who delivered gold medal performances in the high jump and long jump. He managed to set a new championship best performance of 1m 30cm in the high jump. Louis is no stranger to the high jump having already won the Leinster indoor under-12 high jump earlier this year.
Luke Dunne is normally associated with middle distance running, but this year he turned his attention to the shot-put.
Having finished sixth in the recent Leinster championships he was keen to continue to test his strength at this event. He did just that, winning gold in the boys’ under-15 shot-put.
Luke was also second in the under-15 800m, finishing in a time of 2.19 - one second behind the race winner, Andrew Brennan of Greystones.
Another athlete who brought a gold medal back to the county was KCH’s Jenifer Oboh.
Winning the girls’ under-15 100m came as a welcome surprise for Oboh, who came third in her heat when finishing in a time of 13.78 seconds. She had an amazing start in final, taking the overall victory in 13.38.
Also at under-15 level Tara McGuire (KCH) produced a PB of 8.59m to win the shot-put. Tara also had a great run in 100m.
Patrick Lacey appeared on the podium twice, coming away with a silver in the under-13 long jump and bronze in the 60m. Bronze medals were also collected by Ella Wall (KCH) in the under-12 long jump and Roisin Burns (KCH) in the under-12 high jump.
Gowran AC had two gold medal winners on the day. Anna Brennan won the girls’ under-13 shot, finishing with a massive PB of 9.15. To put this in perspective, Anna was fifth in the Leinster under-13 shot in 8.78 - her new PB would have earned her third place instead of her actual fifth place finish.
David Byrne was Gowran’s other golden great, taking the top prize in the under-16 high jump. David doubled his medal tally when finishing second in the under-16 shot-put. Maria Connolly secured another medal for the Gowran collection, finishing third in the under-14 high jump.
Brow Rangers had one athlete competing in the Bs - all their throwers are so good they usually get through Leinster to the Nationals. Brow are in the process of building up their younger athletes and these B Championships are a perfect platform for this.
Eli Dunne was a hair’s breadth off third when finishing fourth in the boys’ under-12 shot-put. So close to the podium, Eli was just 1cm off the third place finisher, but he can be pleased with his performance as he gained a new personal best.
Kilkenny results, National B All-Ireland track and field championships (club code: BR = Brow Rangers, G = Gowran, KCH - Kilkenny City Harriers, SS = St Senan’s).
Girls’ U-12 long jump: 3 Ella Wall (KCH). Girls’ U-12 high jump: 3 Roisin Burns (KCH).
Boys’ U-12 long jump: 1 Louis Raggett (KCH), 2 Patrick Lacey (KCH). Boys’ U-12 high jump: 1 Louis Raggett (KCH). Boys’ U-12 shot-put: 4 Eli Dunne (BR). Boys’ U-12 60m: 3 Patrick Lacey (KCH).
Girls’ U-13 shot: 1 Anna Brennan (G). Girls’ U-13 80m: 4 Juliet Evans (SS).
Boys’ U-13 long jump: 1 Eoin Aylward (SS).
Girls’ U-14 high jump: 3 Maria Connolly (G).
Girls’ U-15 100m Jenifer Oboh (KCH). Girls’ U-15 long jump 4 Jenifer Oboh (KCH). Girls’ U-15 shot: 1 Tara McGuire (KCH).
Boys’ U-15 high jump: 1 Ethan Butler (SS). Boys’ U-15 shot: 1 Luke Dunne (KCH). Boys’ U-15 800m: 2 Luke Dunne (KCH).
Boys’ U-16 high jump: 1 David Byrne (G). Boys’ U-16 shot: 2 David Byrne (G).
The competition was high at this year’s national relays, despite the drop in numbers competing.
With so many National races on offer and the European and World Youths currently in competition, not every club in Kilkenny could field a team. Despite that the county had some great results; some of these great runs medalled, more of them just scored personal bests.
Kilkenny clubs came home with a set of medals, a gold, silver and a bronze, to showcase.
Leading the way were the members of the KCH girls’ under-14 team, who blazed around the track to add the 4x100m relay to their current indoor 4x200m relay title. The team of Amelie Foley, Ella Delahunty, Abbie O’Brien, Orla Kenny and Blaithin Holden have being running well as a unit all year and were elated to bring home yet another gold medal.
The silver medals came from the KCH boys’ under-13 4x100m team. Individually these boys win medals across a plethora of events but in this event Brian Moore, Daniel Ring, Alex Cullen, Seán Young and Ruairi McEvoy all came together to race as a team.
There was a bronze medal finish for Thomastown in the girls’ under-18 4x400m relay. This team has scored many a podium finish over the years, but a dreadful injury saw silver elude their grasp.
The team consisted of Ciara O’Keeffe, Sinead O’Keeffe, Ellen Ryan and Orla O’Keeffe, but Sinead pulled her hamstring with 150m remaining in her 400m leg. The race was won by the brilliant Leevale team.
After the first round in Belfast, KCH had more mixed fortunes in the second round of the National League in Santry.
Nicholas Dunphy was second in the 3,000m walk with Kevin Burns fifth in the 1,500m. Luke Whelan was sixth in the 800m while Brendan Hyland was fourth in the shot and javelin.
KCH are the only Kilkenny club to compete in the National League and do so in the top division. The next round will be held in August.
Ciara Deely jetted off to the World Juniors in Finland on Saturday, making the trip with the rest of the Irish team. A report on the KCH athlete’s race will appear in next week’s Kilkenny People.
While the holiday season is upon us, there is no rest for many of the county’s athletes with two major national events to complete over three weekends.
The first event will be held on Saturday and Sunday in Tullamore when Kilkenny’s juveniles under-12 to under-19 compete against the best of their age groups for national honours.
Athletes from St Senan’s, KCH, Brow Rangers, Castlecomer, Thomastown, Gowran and St Joseph’s will be winding down their training this week in anticipation of their 2018 track and field finale.
Events start at 10am on both days.
Read more on Kilkenny People sport here.