Jordan Knight will be hoping to replicate his 2018 form for St Joseph's in the county track and field championships
With indoors and cross-country neatly tucked away for another six months the focus turns towards the track and field, with a busy schedule in store for Kilkenny athletes.
The first of the track and field competitions under Athletics Ireland rules kicks off with the St Senan’s Open in Kilmacow on Easter Monday.
This event has been running now for 42 years and is regarded as one of the best open track and fields in the country. There are races for all age groups from under-8 to under-17, juniors, seniors and masters.
United Striders won the cup for the best overall club in 2018 and will be keen to retain their title. However with clubs from Dublin, Cork, Galway, Offaly, Laois, Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny, Kildare, Tipperary and Limerick taking part it won’t be an easy task in 2019!
The programme kicks-off at 1pm. The events will be a great test for athletes ahead of the county championships, with some of the older age distance fields featuring runners of national quality.
On The Road
The streets of Kilkenny 5km will be held tomorrow (Thursday) at 7.30pm starting at the Parade.
Hosted by Kilkenny City Harriers (KCH) entry fee is €20 with prizes for the first three male and female runners and the first under-18 and masters athletes.
Register online at www.popupraces.ie or on the day from 5pm.
Part of the Kia Race Series, there will be a bonus prize for the first man and woman to break the course record.
Last year’s race was won by Michael Harty of East Cork in a new record time of 14.43 with Brian Maher of KCH second. Laura MacDonnell of Tallaght won the women’s race in 18.08.
Following the event there will be an after-run party in Langton’s from 8pm.
Gowran AC will host the Leinster Road Novice on the May Bank Holiday Monday. This race is held over 7m and 3km for men and women respectively.
A great race to run in the track season there will be club and county sections. Athletes are reminded to check their eligibilty with their clubs before competing.
The Kilkenny County Track and Field championships will be held over four dates in May. Events will start at 10am on Sunday, May 5.
Included in this first day is the senior, junior and masters hammer competition along with the senior, junior and masters 1,500m.
The championships continue on May 12, 24 and 31. KCH won the shield for the best overall club last year pipping Gowran by the narrowest of margins. The city club can expect a huge challenge for the shield again this year.
Club by club guide
Barrow Harriers will have some athletes who have now matured to championship age groups. People can expect the club’s girls’ under-10 and under-11 teams to take some medals.
Led by Katie Byrne and Megan Kinsella, their relays should also feature. There are exciting things to come from this new club.
Thomastown AC will be led by their star athlete Fiona Dillon. Fiona recently won the National Indoor 1500m and was second in the 800m. She also set two Leinster records at these distances. Fiona will race both the 800m and 1500m this season, with many expecting her to feature in the shake-up for both.
Expect to see Hannah O’Keeffe feature in the under-17 3,000m and Aine Kirwan to take to the 1,500m start line. The girls’ under-18 relay team will expect to medal in the 4x400m, both at Leinster and national levels.
St Senan’s AC have become very strong across a number of events in the past two years. Not only do they expect national medals in the distance events, but they also expect medals in the throws, jumps, walks and hurdles.
Expect to see Tara Ramsawmy and Sophie Jackman battle it out for the 800m this season. Tara will be out to defend the 1,500m title she won last year while Sophie will also challenge for medals in the 400m hurdles.
Aoife Allen will hope to do one better than her silver at last year’s Steeplechase while Tadgh Connolly and Joe Roche will compete across multiple throwing events - expect more medals in these. Peter McDonald has been throwing extremely well in the javelin and will hope to go one better than the silver he got last year.
With many other athletes hoping to feature in more events, the South Kilkenny club will hope to come into the championship season stronger than before.
St Joseph’s will be led by the brilliant Jordan Knight, who won the national indoor long jump a few weeks ago with a fantastic leap of over 6m. Also hoping to feature in the medals will be the club’s under-17 relay team.
With some more athletes maturing, expect to see a few more medal contenders this year. Athletics followers will hear more of Evan O’Toole and Katie Taylor. Some of the club’s more senior athletes will be fighting for European qualification, with Sophie Becker in the 400m and perhaps Shane Power in the pole vault.
Gowran AC will hope David Murphy will have recovered from injury in time to compete at under-23 level and possibly earn selection for the European under-23 relays.
Hannah Kehoe should be out to medal again in the 1,500m - she was second last year to Fiona Dillon. Liam O’Dwyer and Rachel Gardiner will hope to gain some podium placings in their hurdles and shot-put respectively at national level while Ailbhe Steiger, fresh from her under-12 indoor high jump victory, will be out to add the outdoor title to her collection.
Kilkenny City Harriers
KCH will have some fine senior runners this year with Cliodhna Manning back in action in the 400m and Ciara Deely still a junior.
Both these athletes will be chasing European qualifications in their respective 400m categories.
As one of the largest juvenile clubs in the country - certainly the largest in Kilkenny - KCH have the pick of athletes. Some of the club’s senior men will feature in road races.
Among the juvenile ranks Molly Daly, on the back of her magnificent under-12 600m win at the indoors, is a prospect for more glory while Shay McEvoy will be expected to feature in the 3000m and 1500m u19 as will twin sister Annie.
Rory MacGabhann will hope to defend the high jump title he won last year and avenge his indoor defeat.
The girls’ under-15 team can expect to pick up a few medals along the way, including the 4x100m relay. Alex Cullen should feature in the under-14 long jump. The girls’ under-12 relay will be out to seek the outdoor victory to add to their recent indoor one.
Brow Rangers will have a multitude of throwing events across all age groups where they can bring home their usual haul of medals.
Medals will be expected from Murty and Joe Kelly in the masters, John Joe Kelly, Patrick Darcy and Ciaran Coady in the juniors and under-23 grades as well as Emma Kelly and Aoife Coady in the women’s events. This club will continue to specialise in the weight for distance, height, shot, discus and hammer.
Castlecomer AC has fantastic potential in Sofia Kerr, who has been a revelation this indoor season. With the 200m being her better event many in the county would love to see her take on the best in Ireland - there is enormous potential in this athlete.
With Nicky Connolly now in juniors, he can continue his winning ways in the walk while Lauren Dermody will feature in the under-23 middle distance events. James Kelly will take on the best of the seniors.
Kings River will hope to gain more and more experience as a senior club and compete with the best of the county athletes in the county championships and emerge on the Leinster stage. After this, the world is their oyster!
With things looking well for Kilkenny athletes expect to be reading of their successes at regular stages throughout the season.
April 18 - Streets of Kilkenny 5k, Kilkenny City 7.30pm.
April 22 - St Senan’s AC Open track and field, Kilmacow 1pm.
May 5 - County Championships (day one), Kilkenny 10am.
May 6 - Leinster Road Novice, Gowran 11am.
May 12 - County Championships (day two), Kilkenny 10am.
May 24 - County Championships (day three), Kilkenny 6.30pm.
May 31 - Senior County Championships, Kilkenny 6.30pm.
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.