For the second weekend in-a-row Kilkenny athletes were competing in cross-country and indoor competitions.
With so much competition on at the moment, parents, athletes and even the schools are kept busy with the athletics calendar.
Stars of the week are Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s AC), who has achieved the qualifying time for the European Indoor 400m and the county ladies intermediate team of Lauren Dearmody (Castlecomer), Bronagh Kearns (St Senan’s), Sally Forristal (St Joseph’s) and Aine Kinsella (St Senan’s) who won the National title for the first time in many decades.
The Athletics Ireland Indoor games were held in Abbotstown on Saturday, with many top Irish athletes competing.
Amongst them was Sophie Becker of St Joseph’s AC. Sophie is the current Irish under-23 indoor 60m and 200m champion, having won this double accolade a week ago in the National Championships.
However, at the Indoor Games she was participating in her specialist event, the 400m.
With strong opposition from the current under-23 400m record holder, Jemma Brommell (Limerick) and the junior record holder, Davicha Patterson (Beechmount Harriers), winning this event was never going to be an easy task.
At the starting gun Sophie was the first athlete out of the blocks. She quickly ate up ground on the two athletes on the inside lanes.
At the 200m mark she displayed signs of taking a slight lead. By 300m this lead was beyond question or doubt.
She was first across the line in a time of 53.66 ahead of Davicia Patterson, who clocked 54.29.
What a consumate display this was from this St Joseph’s athlete.
Sophie will now compete in the European Indoors in Glasgow which will be held from March 1 to 3.
Shane Power (St Joseph’s) competed in the pole vault and finished third, vaulting the same height as he did last week, 4m 10cm.
Another athlete who sealed an international trip for 2019 was Ciara Deely (KCH).
Ciara is another 400m specialist who has her sights set on individual 400m qualification for the European juniors in Boras, Sweden later this summer.
Ciara may not have achieved her goal last Saturday. However, she did manage to secure her qualification for Boras as part of the Irish junior 4x400m relay squad.
This team also set a new Irish indoor junior record. Earlier in the day Ciara won the 200m.
Kilkenny’s golden girls
In Dundalk there was plenty of cross-country action for the national intermediate, Masters and juvenile B All-Irelands.
In the ladies intermediate the Kilkenny county team of Lauren Dearmody, Bronagh Kearns, Sally Forristal and Aine Kinsella all ran superb races to take the gold medal in the county section.
Up front Lauren had a ding dog battle with strong pace setters. Having finished fourth in this race last year, Lauren was not going to come home with anything but a medal.
From the start she was in the leading group of five athletes and she never left the pace wane.
She dropped the other three leading contenders at 3km. Lauren increased the gap but was edged out in the home straight.
Back in fifth place was Bronagh Kearns (St Senan’s), who was showing a glimpse of her former juvenile star years.
She had her best race yet and is showing some a great return to form. Sally Forristal was 7th and Aine Kinsella 17th.
In the juvenile ‘B’ All-Irelands, Ben Wallis (St Senan's) produced a brilliant race and he finished third in the boys under-13 section.
Ben was up with the leaders all the way and was never in danger of being out of the top three.
Meanwhile in the boys under-15 section Naoise Girlmartin (St Senan’s) finished sixth.
Orlaith Kirwan (Thomastown) was the best performer amongst the girls when she finished in eight place in the under-13 race.
The Gowran team were second club with the county placed third.
In the girls under-11 section, Thomastown were the third club. Tom Kehoe (Gowran) was 11th in the boys under-11 race.
Last Thursday Kilkenny juvenile athletes displayed bravery and abilities commiserate with that of an artic explorer when they competed in sub-zero temperatures and icy conditions in the East Munster and South Munster schools cross-country championships.
In Carriagnore, Waterford, athletes from St Senan’s and St Joseph’s AC competed for their respective schools.
Tadgh Connolly swapped his St Senan’s AC jersey for that of the Abbey CC. In doing so he was equally as impressive.
He stormed home with a lead of 300m to take the junior boys title.
Another St Senan’s athlete to achieve race victory was Tara Ramasawmy, racing for the Ursuline Waterford. She won the senior girls event from clubmate, Aoife Allen, who was representing the Mercy, Waterford.
Ben Wallis (Newtown School) was so close to winning the minor boys race. This young St Senan’s athlete led for most of the way only to be passed in the final 20 metres.
He finished second ahead of clubmate, Naoise Gilmartin (Abbey CC).
In the South Leinster Schools in Carlow Town, the same sub-zero conditions prevailed.
Athletes from St Senan’s, St Joseph’s, Thomastown, Castlecomer, Gowran and Kilkenny City Harriers represented their various schools.
Spectators were left in no doubt as to the supremacy of St Kieran’s College and the Loreto secondary school, Kilkenny.
St Kieran’s won all the boys team events, while the Loreto won all but the juniors in the girls races.
In the minor girls seection, Loreto had a 1,2 with Orlaith Kirwan passing the long-time leader, Maria O’Keeffe with 30 metres to go.
Both these Thomastown AC athletes led their Loreto team to victory.
Billy Coogan (CBS Kilkenny) was second in the minor boys with rivals St Kieran’s Colleeg winning the team event.
In the junior girls, the diminutive figure of Hannah Kehoe got no real challenge from the opposition.
She stormed to victory with 150m to spare over her nearest rivals.
Castlecomer CC finished third in the team event.
The junior boys produced a 1,2 for St Kieran’s College with Tom Lodge winning the race from David Williams.
These KCH and St Senan’s athletes led their team to another victory and are posed to emulate their national podium performance from 2018.
Fiona Dillon of Loreto finished third in a highly competitive inter girls race that was won by two Irish internationals, Clara Keane and Roisin O’Rielly, both from Wexford.
Loreto girls were first and third in the team section.
In the senior boys and girls it was double victory for the McEvoy household when twins, Annie and Shay McEvoy won their respective races.
AAI Games results - ladies 400m, 1 Sophie Becker (St Jospeh’s), 200m, 1 Ciara Deely (KCH).
Men pole vault, 3 Shane Power (St Joseph’s); 1500m, 4 Eoin Everard (KCH); 3000m Race A, 8 Shay McEvoyl Race B, 7 Kevin Burns, 9 James Kearney, 11 Luke Whelan; 60m, 7 Jack Manning.
National intermediate, Masters and juvenile ‘B’ All-Irelands - girls under-11, 3rd team Thomastown (25 Katie O’Shea, 29 Megan O’Reilly, 46 Amy O’Shea, 48 Erin Morrissey); under-13, 8 Orlaith Kirwan (Thomastown).
Team - 2nd Gowran (15 Sara Kehoe, 16 Rachel O’Neill, 26 Hazel Coogan 35 Alexandra Brennan); county, 3rd (Orlaith, Sara, Rachel, Hazel, Alexandra and Abha Mullally (St Joseph’s).
Boys under-13, 3 Ben Wallis (St Senan’s); under15, 6 Naoise Gilmartin (St Senan’s).
Intermediate ladies - 2 Lauren Dearmody (Castlecomer); county, 1st (2 Lauren Dearmody (Castlecomer), 7 Bronagh Kearns (St Senan’s), 9 Sally Forristal (St Joseph’s), 17 Aine Kinsella (St Senan’s).
South Leinster schools, Carlow - minor girls, 1 Orlaith Kirwan (Loreto), 2 Maria O'Keeffe (Loreto), 7 Meave Booklet (Our Lady of Lourdes).
Team, 1 Loreto SS (Orlaith Kirwan, Marie O’Keefe, Rachel O’Neill, Emily Murphy, Aisling Fitzpatrick, Clodagh Duggan).
Minor boys, 2 Billy Coogan (CBS Kilkenny), 5 Harry Boyle (SKC), 6 Luke Phelan, 7 Sean Bergin (SKC), 10 Aidan Buggy (Castlecomer cc).
Team, 1 St Kieran’s College (Harry Boyle, Sean Bergin, Luke Phelan, Charlie Fitzgerald, Kealon Grey, Sean Young, Tim Brennan, Jake O’Brien).
Junior girls, 1 Hannah Kehoe (Loreto), 7 Sophie Kerr (Castlecomer CC), 9 Molly O’ Dornan (Castlecomer CC), 12 Ciara Mullally (Our Lady of Lourdes).
Team, 3 Castlecomer CC (Sofia Kerr, Aoibhinn Ruane, Molly O’Durnan, Kate O’Neill, Holly Delaney).
Junior boys, 1 Tom Lodge (SKC), 2 David Williams (SKC), 7 Killian Doyle (SKC).
Team, 1 St Kieran’s College (Tom Lodge, David Williams, Killian Doyle, Joe Kearns, Pauric Naddy, Rob Ring, Joey Dalton, Paul Mahon).
Inter girls, 3 Fiona Dillon (Loreto SS), 4 Hannah O'Keeffe, 5 Aine Kirwan (Loreto SS), 6 Hannah O'Keeffe (Loreto SS), 7 Eleanor Goddan (Loreto SS), 9 Orla O'Keeffe (Loreto SS).
Team, 1 Loreto A (Fiona Dillon, Hannah O’Keeffe, Aine Kirwan, Elanor Goddan, Orla O’Keeffe, Abby Gilseann), 3 Loreto B (Ellen Fitzgerald. Rachel White, Naoise Trait, Emma Kehoe, Daire Murray, Fabiola Ferriera).
Inter boys, 4 Brogan McAvinney, 9 John Muldowney, 10 Will Fox, 12 Cathal Kearney.
Team, 1 St Kieran’s (Brogan McAviney, John Muldowney, Will Fox, Cathal Kearney, Alan Dunphy, Robbie Cord, Jack Archbold, Cian Moore), 3 Good Council with two St Joseph’s athletes, Danny Glennon and Evan O'Toole.
Senior girls, 1 Annie McEvoy (Loreto SS).
Teams, Loreto A (1 Annie McEvoy, 5 Ella Richardson, 15 Lzzy Shine), 3 Loreto B (16 Sinead O’Keeffe, 17 Ciara Murphy, 19 Lizzy McGinn).
Senior boys, 1 Shay McEvoy (SKC), 4 Kevin Burns, 6 James Kearney.
Team, 1 St Kieran’s (Shay McEvoy, Kevin Burns, James Kearney, Eoin Walsh, Mike Whelan, Sennan Forristal, Eoin Morgan, Eoin De Buitlear).
East Munster Schools - minor girls, 6 Caoimhe Phelan (Abbey CC), 7 Molly Long (Abbey CC).
Team, 3rd Abbey CC (6 Caoimhe Phelan, 7 Molly Long, 25 Sophie Williams, 27 Niamh Cuddihy).
Minor boys, 2 Ben Wallis (Newtown), 3 Naoise Gilmartin (Abbey CC), 5 Gearoid Long (Abbey CC).
Team, 3rd Abbey CC (3 Naoise Gilmartin, 5 Gearoid Long, 21 Shane Morrissey, 46 Keelin Roche).
Junior boys, 1 Tadgh Connolly (Abbey CC), 16 Colm Roche (Abbey CC).
Inter girls, 11 Saoirse Allen (Mercy, Waterford).
Senior girls, 1 Tara Ramasawmy (Ursuline Waterford), 2 Aoife Allen (Mercy Waterford).
Team, 1 Ursuline Waterford.
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.