Ciara Deely performed well at the World Junior Championships in Finland
As one athletics season ends, another campaign begins.
The national track and field season may be on the last lap, but the international campaign has exploded from the traps in fine style.
Kilkenny athletics was represented on both scenes, with athletes in action at the first and second days of the National Juvenile Indoors in Tullamore as well as the World Juniors in Tampere, Finland.
The sun blazed down on Tullamore as the opening day of the National Juvenile Championships saw Kilkenny athletes deliver some stunning performances.
Held over three days, the nationals feature a packed programme of events to cater for athletes aged from under-12 to under-19.
The finals traditionally marks the end of the juvenile track and field season at a domestic level. The most competitive events on our island, each athlete’s skill, training and determination is tested to the utmost.
The first championship event of the weekend started off on a high for Kilkenny clubs when Peter McDonald (St Senan’s) produced not only a brilliant silver medal-winning performance but a new personal best (PB) to boost in the boys’ under-15 javelin.
This success was quickly followed up by another under-15 St Senan’s athletes, as Tadgh Connolly finished third in the shot-put.
The under-15 girls’ 800m saw records tumble when Emma Moore of South Galway set a new record of 2.11.
This extremely fast race saw the first three athletes race home inside the old record time. Fiona Dillon of Thomastown was one of the three, running 2.14 to finish third. Fiona recently broke the Leinster 800m and 1,500m records and will be back in action in the 1,500m next weekend.
The girls’ under-17 800m saw another bronze medal, this time for another St Senan’s athlete, Tara Ramasawmy.
Tara was up with the leaders all the way. With 100m metres to go Lucy Holmes of West Waterford forged ahead, taking both Tara and Donegal’s Danielle Jansen with her. A mere 0.2 of a second separated Tara from the silver medal.
Back at the hurdles, Jordan Knight recovered well from rattling the second hurdle to finish third in the under-16 100m hurdles. He also finished second in the long jump with a fantastic jump of 6.04 metres, a new PB.
The final races of the day were the steeplechase events and brought two more medals for Kilkenny.
Aoife Allen (St Senan’s) was first on the podium, producing a PB to finish second in the girls’ under-18 2km steeplechase. Cathal Kearney (Kilkenny City Harriers - KCH) followed this by taking home a bronze in the boys’ under-17 3km steeplechase.
What a contrast day two proved to be! If Saturday was like the golden rolling plains of Nebraska, then Sunday was most definitely back to the traditional Ireland. Rain rolled in from the West and a steady fall pursued all day, making conditions difficult for most athletes.
Despite this obvious weather glitch, the county mined two gold medals.
Nicky Connolly (Castlecomer) picked up the first, storming to victory in the under-15 boys walk. He finished strongly, coming home with a full minute to spare over his Sligo rival.
The second gold medal came from Shay McEvoy (KCH) in the boys’ under-16 steeplechase.
Shay took the lead after 200m and never relinquished it. He was pushed all the way on the last 400m by Shane Coffey of Naas, who could not produce the last bit of energy to catch the flying Harrier.
The third and final medal won on day two came from Keelin Duggan of St Joseph’s, who finished third in the boys’ under-14 high jump.
Keelin came into Sunday’s event as Leinster Champion and held his ranking within Leinster. Shane Buggy of Brow Rangers was very unlucky as he was just 4cm off the third spot in the boys’ under-16 shot-put.
On the medal front St Senan’s came out of the championships with the biggest medal haul with two silver and three bronze.
This is interesting as within the county, St Senan’s could only manage third place in the county championship’s best club competition, finishing behind eventual winners KCH and close runners-up Gowran.
KCH secured two national medals, one gold and one bronze. St Joseph’s won a silver and bronze, with Thomastown and Castlecomer earning one medal each (bronze and gold respectively).
The action draws to a close when the third and final day of the national championships are held in Tullamore this Sunday.
Kilkenny results, National Juvenile 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’ under-13 80m: 7 Alex Cullen (KCH). Boys’ under-13 60m hurdles heats: 4 Daniel Ring (KCH).
Boys’ under-14 high jump: 3 Keelin Roche (SS), 10 Darragh Nolan (G). Boys’ under-14 800m: 12 David Williams (SS).
Boys’ under-15 javelin: 2 Peter McDonald (SS). Boys’ under-15 shot-put: 3 Tadgh Connolly (SS). Boys’ under-15 hammer: 5 Tadgh Connolly (SS), 8 Joe Roche (SS). Boys’ under-15 long jump: 6 Evan O’Toole (SJ). Boys’ under-15 high jump: 5 Evan O’Toole.
Boys’ under-16 100m hurdles: 3 Jordan Knight (SJ). Boys’ under-16 long jump: 2 Jordan Knight (SJ). Boys’ under-16 hammer: 12 Eoin Murphy (G). Boys’ under-16 shot-put: 10 Eoin Murphy (G).
Boys’ under-17 100m hurdles heats: 5 Peter Dunne (G). Boys’ under-17 discus: 8 Peter Dunne (G). Boys’ under-17 high jump: 5 Peter Dunne (G). Boys’ under-17 steeplechase: 3 Cathal Kearney (KCH). Boys’ under-17 3,000m: 10 Cathal Kearney, 12 John Muldowney (KCH).
Boys’ under-18 5km walk: 1 Nicky Connolly (CC). Boys’ under-18 3,000m: 1 Shay McEvoy (KCH), 9 Kevin Burns (KCH), 14 Luke Whelan (KCH). Boys’ under-18 shot: 4 Andrew Buggy (BR).
Girls’ under-14 80m: 6 Amelie Foley (KCH). Girls’ under-14 long jump: 8 Amelie Foley (KCH). Girls’ under-14 walk: 7 Sophie Monahan (SS).
Girls’ under-15 high jump: 4 Saoirse Allen (SS), 6 Rose Sheridan (SS). Girls’ under-15 800m: 3 Fiona Dillon (TT), 5 Hannah Kehoe (G). Girls’ under-15 long jump: 10 Katie Taylor (SJ). Girls’ under-15 100m heats: 4 Katie Taylor (SJ).
Girls’ under-17 hammer: 6 Katie Cullen (BR). Girls’ under-17 800m: 3 Tara Ramsawmy (SS). Girls’ under-17 triple jump: 6 Sophie Jackman (SS).
Girls’ under-18 steeplechase: 2 Aoife Allen (SS). Girls’ under-18 3,000m: 4 Aoife Allen (SS). Girls’ under-18 100m hurdles: 5 Ellen Purcell (G).
Girls’ under-19 discus: 5 Emma Kelly (BR).
While many of the county’s juveniles were in action in Tullamore Ciara Deely (KCH) produced her third best ever 400m race to finish sixth in her 400m heat at the World Junior Championships in Tampere, Finland.
This performance was also inside the qualifying standard that Ciara has achieved over five times now. Ciara is coached by Nichola Barron, a former KCH sprinter.
The 400m final was won by Himas Das of India, who created history by being the first ever Indian woman to win a medal of any colour and at any level in a World Track and Field Championships.
This was Ciara’s first ever major championship - with some guidance she can hope to follow in the footsteps of fellow KCH athletes Cliodhna Manning and Joanne Cuddihy.
There was another Kilkenny connection at the under-20 world championships, this time in the women’s 10km race walking event. Orla O’Connor (Waterford AC) finished in 14th place and was the third European home in a new National Record of 47.55.
Orla is coached by Perri Williams (St Senan’s) and former St Senan’s member Cait Caulfield (Quinlan). Cait is now with Waterford AC, having moved across the bridge 17 years ago.
The results of Deely and O’Connor prove there are some bright and talented young athletes in the South-East of Ireland.
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.