Kilkenny's competing trio in the girls under-14 hammer - Aine Cooper (St Senan's), Charlotte Hutchinson (Brow Rangers) and Anna Brennan (Gowran)
Kilkenny athletes made a promising start to the opening day of the National Juvenile Championships, with the county delivering some gold medal performances in Tullamore.
There was Kilkenny representation across the 800s, steeplechase, hammer and hurdles in the events for under-14s to under-19s, with the steeplechase delivering two gold medals and one silver.
Aoife Allen (St Senan’s) competed in the under-19 3000m steeplechase. She was ahead from the gun, with well over 600m to spare from her nearest rival Hannah Burke of Waterford AC. This was despite suffering a foot injury with 1,000m to go.
Cathal O’Reilly (Castlecomer) was in a similar position in the boys’ under-17 2000m event. He led from the start to bring home the first gold steeplechase medal to the north Kilkenny club.
There was further steeplechase success when Kevin Burns (Kilkenny City Harriers - KCH) finished second in the boys’ under-19 3,000m steeplechase. Burns took the lead with 1,200m to go and looked like he was going to bring home a third gold medal to Kilkenny, only to be caught by Dundrum’s Oisin Kelly with 400m to go.
In the 800m success came to St Senan’s again when Sophie Jackman and Tara Ramasawmy competed in the girls’ under-18 event. For the entire race there was a group of six girls bunched together, with the gold going to any of them.
Strategy of the highest order was called for. With 200m to go Corrine Kenny (St Laurence O’Tooles) made a break with Danielle Jensen (Finn Valley) moving to her shoulder. The St Senan’s pair of Jackman and Ramasawmy, along with West Waterford’s Lucy Holmes, held tight right behind them.
With 120m to go Holmes, who was last year’s champion, increased the pace and was followed by St Senan’s Sophie Jackman. These two athletes pulled away going down the home straight, with Sophie Jackman taking the silver.
Back behind the real battle took place. Sarah Lane (Nenagh) looked safe in third place when she passed the initial pace-setter Corrine Kenny. However Tara Ramasawmy came storming through and just ran out of track to be narrowly beaten for the bronze medal.
In the girls’ under-16 800m Fiona Dillon (Thomastown) did not use her usual strategy of creating a large initial lead. A gap in training due to injury saw to that but she was happy to sit in the main bunch for the first 600m and settle for what speed she could conjure up for the final 200m. With an absence of full training for a number of weeks, Fiona had on this occasion, to settle for fourth place.
David Williams (St Senan’s), competing in the boys’ under-15 800m, and Cathal Kearney (KCH), who ran in the boys’ under-18 event, were ninth and 11th respectively.
There were two Kilkenny athletes competing in the high jump. Evan O’Toole (St Joseph’s) was placed fifth, equalling his personal best (PB). In the girls’ under-16 high jump Rose Sheridan (St Senan’s) was also fifth, just 2cm off her PB. Erin Foley (St Joseph’s) finished ninth in the girls’ under-16 triple jump, jumping a little below par due to a back strain sustained at training last week.
In the girls’ under-14 75m hurdles Blaithin Holden (KCH) finished third in her heat and qualified for the final. In doing so she also got a new PB. The KCH athlete finished seventh in the final.
Gowran AC’s Liam O’Dwyer finished seventh in the first heat of the boys’ under-13 hurdles but his time was not enough to get to the final. In the second heat Evan Cullen (KCH) was very close to qualification but did get a new PB. Older brother Alex qualified for the final of the under-14 hurdles, finishing in seventh place.
The county only had one javelin representative on Sunday. Eli Dunne of Brow Rangers finished 12th in a very competitive field in the boys’ under-14 event.
The hammer attracted quite a large number of athletes in the counties this year, with some great Leinster successes. The rise of hammer throwing in the county was evident as three out of four of the Leinster participants in the girls’ under-14 hammer competition were from Kilkenny.
The trio - Anna Brennan (Gowran), Charlotte Hutchinson (Brow Rangers) and Aine Cooper (St Senan’s) - all finished in the top eight. Brennan was in third spot all the way until the last throw when Eadaoin Towey (Fanahan McSweeney AC) threw a PB to move into third. All three Kilkenny athletes finished with new PBs, Brennan finishing fourth with Hutchinson fifth and Cooper eighth.
In the girls’ under-15 hammer Kilkenny was represented by St Senan’s duo Sallyann O’Brien and Sophie Roche. Both girls got new PBs, O’Brien finishing eighth.
The girl’s under-17 event had another Kilkenny athlete in the top eight. Eve O’Dwyer (Gowran) finished in sixth place, capping her performance with a new PB. There was more good news in the girls’ under-18 hammer, where Kate Cullen (Brow Rangers) was fourth with a new PB.
With days two and three of the All Irelands scheduled for next weekend there could be a lot more medals coming back to the county.
A mild but wet Tullamore played host to the All-Ireland Junior (under-20) and under-23 Championships. There was a great crop of Kilkenny athletes on show but the representation was hindered by the juvenile All-Irelands, denying some hurdlers, 800m and steeplechase runners from participating on consecutive days.
Brow Rangers were in top form, taking home a pot of six medals containing two gold, three silver and one bronze, all from their under-23 athletes. John Joe Kelly lay claim to three of these medals with a gold in the shot-put, silver in the weight for distance and silver in the discus. His weight for distance was a new personal best.
Also claiming a new PB in the weight for distance was Patrick Darcy. Patrick, who won his event, also took home a silver medal in the shot. The final medal-winning performance came from Ciaran Coady in the hammer, also with a new personal best.
Lauren Dermody of Castlecomer had a fantastic race to win the under-23 3,000m in 10.03. Lauren has been running well this year and looks to be in great form ahead of the Senior All-Irelands.
Also producing a fine win was Shane Power (St Joseph’s) who claimed another victory in the pole vault. Another St Joseph’s athlete to take home a medal was Sophie Becker who opted for the shorter distance of 200m on this occasion. Sophie was second in a new PB of 24.05 behind Sharlene Mawdsley (Emerald AC), who won in a time of 23.74.
With the opening day of the National Juveniles the next day the juniors from Kilkenny were able to compete. Shay McEvoy (KCH) won the junior men’s 3,000m in a time of 8.24, making this the second time he has gone under the junior qualifying time for the Europeans in Sweden this month. His twin sister Annie was second in the 1,500m in a new PB of 4.42.
Hannah O’Keeffe (Thomastown) ran a magnificent race to finish second in the 3,000m in a time of 10.22, also a PB. Hannah is an under-17 athlete so she has another three years at this age level. The Thomastown athletes followed Hannah’s success up with a silver in the 4x400m relay, just three seconds adrift of Galway City Harriers.
European 10km Cup
Aoibhe Richardson (KCH) was representing Ireland in the European 10km Road Cup in London on Saturday.
Coming into the race Scottish star Eilish McColgan, daughter of Liz McColgan, was red hot favourite having run 31.27 earlier this year in the Great Ireland Run. However, it was Stephanie Twell of Germany who scooped victory in 31.08. McColgan was third in 31.16, finishing one second adrift of Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter. Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack was fifth overall in a time of 32.05. Ann Marie McGlynn was 27th, with Emma Mitchell 33rd.
This event also had a B race for developing athletes. Aoibhe Richardson was 10th in the B race in a time of 33.41. This time is 18 seconds better than her previous best time of 33.59. It was a great race for Aoibhe, who will now take a well-earned rest ahead of the cross-country season.
CSIT Games Spain
At the CSIT Games in Tortosa, Spain Callan Byrne (KCH) was third in the 200m.
These games are European and focus on the intercultural and community spirit of sport. With not just track and field on offer, the games boost a variety of sports.
Participation is confined to athletes who have not yet competed in a major European or World Championships, fashioning an environment where the development potential of an athlete can foster.
A team of 12 athletes from Leinster travelled for the games, with Callan competing in the 100m and 200m. He had earlier in the morning won his 200m heat and then came with a storming last 50m to finish third in the final.
Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s) has been ratified for qualification for the European under-23 championships later this month. Sophie will run in both the 200m and 400m in the championships, which will be held in Sweden, later this month.
Also ratified to run is Donagh Mahon of Gowran. As an under-19 high jumper Mahon had enormous potential, but stopped competing to concentrate on his studies. Having attracted the attention of colleges in the USA he resumed his athletics career and recorded a new PB of 2.18 at a meet in Cambridge, Massachusetts. With another 2.13 recorded in March his form was good enough to earn selection for the high jump for the Europeans.
Kilkenny results, junior, juvenile and under-23 All-Ireland Championships (club code: BR = Brow Rangers, CC = Castlecomer, G = Gowran, KCH = Kilkenny City Harriers, SJ = St Joseph’s, SS = St Senan’s, TT = Thomastown):
3,000m: 2 Hannah O’Keeffe (TT).
1,500m: 2 Annie McEvoy (KCH).
Discus: 6 Emma Kelly (BR).
Weight for Distance: 5 Emma Kelly (BR).
4 x 400m Relay: 2 Thomastown (Ciara O’Keeffe, Ellen Ryan, Orla O’Keeffe, Aine Kirwan)
3,000m: 1 Shay McEvoy (KCH).
400m: 6 Jack Manning (KCH).
Under-23 All Irelands
3,000m: 1 Lauren Dermody (CC).
200m: 2 Sophie Becker (SJ)
Pole Vault: 1 Shane Power (SJ).
Shot: 1 John Joe Kelly (BR), 2 Patrick Darcy (BR), 7 Adam Kelly (BR).
Discus: 2 John Joe Kelly (BR), 4 Adam Kelly (BR), 6 Ciaran Coady (BR).
Hammer: 3 Ciaran Coady (BR).
Weight for Distance: 1 Patrick Darcy (BR), 2 John Joe Kelly (BR), 5 Ciaran Coady (BR).
Girls’ Under-19 Steeplechase: 1 Aoife Allen (SS).
Boys’ Under-17 Steeplechase: 1 Cathal O’Reilly (CC).
Boys’ Under-19 Steeplechase: 2 Kevin Burns (KCH).
Girls’ Under-18 800m: 2 Sophie Jackman (SS), 4 Tara Ramasawmy (SS).
Girls’ Under-16 800m: 4 Fiona Dillon (TT).
Boys’ Under-15 800m: 9 David Williams (SS).
Boys’ Under-18 800m: 11 Cathal Kearney (KCH).
Girls’ Under-14 hurdles: 7 Blaithin Holden (KCH).
Boys’ Under-14 hurdles: 7 Alex Cullen (KCH).
Boys’ Under-13 hurdles: 9 Evan Cullen (KCH), 12 Liam O’Dwyer (Gowran).
Girls’ Under-16 high jump: 5 Rose Sheridan (SS).
Boys’ Under-16 high jump: 5 Evan O’Toole (SJ).
Girls’ Under-16 triple jump: 9 Erin Foley (SJ).
Boys’ Under-14 javelin: 12 Eli Dunne (BR).
Girls’ Under-14 hammer: 4 Anna Brennan (G), 5 Charlotte Hutchinson (BR), 8 Aine Cooper (SS).
Girls’ Under-15 hammer: 8 Sallyann O’Brien (SS), 10 Sophie Roche (SS).
Girls’ Under-17 hammer: 6 Eve O’Dwyer (G).
Girls’ Under-18 hammer: 4 Kate Cullen (BR).
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.