Day 2 and 3 of the National Juvenile championships took place in Tullamore over the weekend of the 9th and 10thJuly. Fine weather for competition saw many Championship best performances although as the weekend progressed, the 26deg heat on Sunday afternoon became a challenge for the track athletes on the tartan tack. Carraig Na Bhfear Ac had good representation over both days with all athletes doing the club proud with some terrific performances with new PB’s or performances close to their previous best.
Our Race walkers have been training six days a week for the last seven weeks preparing for the All Irelands. All three, Robyn Maher, Anna Mullins U14 and Aoife Martin U15 put all their hard training to great effect in their races. Robyn got a PB by 20 seconds for a time of 11.08 finishing fourth and had the race of her life. In the same race was Anna who got an unbelievable PB of 52 secs, clocking 12.10 and finishing 8th overall with many more competitors behind her. Next up was Aoife who despite not getting a PB still finished fifth in a time of 10.44. Just to show the quality of this race, Aoife's time would have got a medal in the previous eight years. Aoife's race has six unbelievable walkers of which any of the six can medal on their day. Aoife's time will come and has made her even more focused for next season having had a brilliant 2022. Congrats to all three girls who showed what hard work can do, well done to all for a great season.
Field events: Our Javelin throwers both had a good series of throws, Lily O’Riordan very consistent and a PB throw of 33.98m on her 6th and final throw enough to secure the bronze medal in the U19 girls competition and round off an excellent year of competition for Lily. In the U17 boys Javelin (700g), Timmy Colbert had a best throw of 43.25m, just outside his personal best to finish in 4th place, unfortunately a tough position outside the podium places but an excellent performance at national level. Caoimhe Geoghegan had a breakthrough performance in the U18 girls long jump, breaking through the 5m barrier not once but 3 times with a best jump of 5.05m on her final attempt to finish a fantastic 6th out of a field of 12 competitors. Well done Caoimhe and great to see the new long-jump pit in Carraig paying dividends already! We had 2 competitors in the U18 boys high jump with George Alamu winning the bronze with a best jump of 1.65m. The versatile Rian O’Luasa finished in 4th place, in his first field competition at National level Rian progressed to the 4th round with a best of jump of 1.60m. well done to both lads!
Our sole competitor in the field events on Sunday was Josh Judd, another breakthrough performance with Josh throwing a big PB distance of 37.91m in the U15 boys 3kg hammer for an excellent 4th position, just 73cm outside the medals. However, Josh can take a lot of confidence from a great season and looked very confident in his ability in this very technical event. A feature of this competition was the impressive performance from the winner, Thomas Williams of Shercock AC. Hammer throwing is very much the family business and Thomas who has been practicing since the age of 9 had a best throw of 70.20m, eclipsing the previous Championship best by almost 12 metres!
Track: Timmy Hawkins was competing in the final of the U18 boys 1500m. A fast race from the outset with the winning time of 3:59:02 only bettered once previously in the championship by Nick Griggs last year. Timmy sensibly decided to let the field go and as some runners wilted in the heat, Timmy put in a fast last lap to come through strongly and record a pb of 4:21:59. Just rewards for Timmy who kept a cool head on a hot track on the big day! Our U17 long hurdlers competed in the last track events of the day. Aine Sheridan had an excellent heat in the U17 girls 300mH (0.762m) to come through in 3rd place and qualify in a time of 50.82. In the final Aine again ran well and a 7th place in National an impressive result for Aine in her first year at the event. In the U17 boys 300mH (0.762m) Ruaidhri Boyle had a steep learning curve in the heat from a technical perspective and qualified from 5th place as a fastest loser. Having this in the back of his mind as he took his place in the final made his performance even more impressive, near flawless in his execution Ruaidhri showed great focus and determination to lead until the final barrier, ultimately taking a brilliant bronze medal in a blanket finish taking over 2 seconds off his heat time. Again, all the more impressive because it is also his first year in this very technical event.
In summary, an excellent weekends competition with our athletes quite at home at this level across the full range of disciplines. Great credit is due to Ger Foley and Martin Hurley who were there as the gates opened on Saturday morning (Martin also officiating in the walks) and were still there as the gates were closing on Sunday evening. Great advice and support given to both athletes and parents over the weekend!
Look forward: The East Cork 5k championship race will take place on the MTU track on Wednesday 13th July. The following weekend Carraig athletes will be back in Tullamore to compete in the National Juvenile Relays on Saturday and the U23 track championships on Sunday. Best of luck to all competing!
Report by Richard Hawkins