Round two of the National Indoor senior track & field league took place in Athlone ITs fabulous indoor facility last Sunday morning. Carraig Na BhFear AC had a women’s team participating in the League for the first year ever trying to defend a fantastic 5th place from round one hoping to secure one of the eight places in the final. First up on the day at 1100hrs after an early start and a 200km journey was Abbie Akinkoulie in the triple jump. In only her second ever competition in the discipline, having volunteered to cover the event for team points Abbie secured a valuable 7 points with a 10th place finish from the 16 teams.
Orla Coffey was next up in the quick-fire timetable of events as everything ran on schedule like clockwork. 60m hurdles this time for the uber versatile athlete who was an accomplished multi- eventer as a juvenile. 4th place overall for Orla and 13 team points in an amazing PB time of 9:41.
Aine Sheridan toed the line in a very competitive 1500 field for her first ever senior middle-distance race. Another versatile athlete Aine had a very credible 8th place and 9 team points.
The weight for distance stood out as a potential banana skin when looking at the list of events when the athletes at your disposal were predominantly endurance runners, but Rhona Lynch toed the line and hoisted the 26lb weight far enough into the sand pit for 5 team points.
Orla Coffey returned to the track for her 4th individual event over both days when she set up her blocks for the 400-meter sprint. In a fast heat where a European masters record was broken by Leevale AC Annette Quaid, Orla ran yet another PB performance for seventh fastest overall and 10 team points. Over both days Orla contributed a terrific 48 points in the four individual events she participated in showing what a great team leader she’s been.
In the 1500-meter walk Odhrna Hurley put aside her hurley for a weekend to take a magnificent 4th place finish in what was a very competitive field where every team fielded an athlete. This very technical discipline had its fair share of disqualifications as those not proficient fell foul to the judges red cards. Odhrna, always an excellent exponent of the art held her position to take a magnificent 13 team points. Another of our “older “girls in action was Katie Walsh in the high jump. At the ripe old age of 23 she is an accomplished multi-eventer with national junior & senior medals in her palmares. Katie put on her high jump spikes after a couple of years out of practice to pop over 1:55 and gather 12 points for her 5th place finish. Katie bounced from her high jump to lead off the 4 X 200 team of Emma Akinkoulie, Isobel O’Meara and Caoimhe Geoghegan to 9th place overall in what was a competitive field of relay teams with Leevale ACs team breaking the national senior record along with taking the junior record also as they were all under 20 years of age. Second in their heat, thanks to a storming last leg by Caoimhe, to Finn Valley AC who broke the Ulster record with their winning time.
After all the excitement and the busy morning schedule the announcement that we had finished in third place overall after the two days was unexpected and met with giddy excitement. Later there was some readjustment of the scoreboard and we were in a brilliant 5th overall, a position that if offered on the morning of day one we would have snapped up. Onto the final on the 11th of February with a spring in our step and looking forward to our day out in the knowledge that everything from here on is a bonus.
Park Run : Preparations for the upcoming all-Ireland ‘B’ Cross-Country were in full swing at the Glen River parkrun on Saturday morning. A damp morning but a very competitive field of runners on the day providing a good challenge on the hilly course. Timmy Colbert finished in 5th place overall for his second fastest time on the course, pushed all the way by Cathal Whooley in a pb time of 20:07. Ellie Cafferkey, building on her recent good form on the course ran another PB of 22:45 to finish 2nd female, pushed all the way again by dad Anthony in a pb of 22:47. Great running lads and we would hope to see more athletes out in the coming weeks utilizing this great resource which is ideal for race preparation.
BHAA: We had a strong contingent of runners among the 397 finishers in the DuPont 5k in Little Island. Despite recently celebrating their 40th anniversary, the Cork BHAA showed great innovation introducing their own chip timing system on a day that also saw a change to the traditional route. A new starting point below the Little Island Community Centre and the bulk of the route on the Eastgate circuit made for a super-fast course, ideal for pb’s. The new course does mean there is some lapping of tail runners but there was sufficient space on the route to ensure the race was seamless in its execution.
Michael Mulcahy was first home in 40th place in a fast time of 18:14. Richard Hawkins ran a 54 second pb to dip under the 19-minute mark for the first time in 18:57, taking 3rd place in the M55 category. Darragh O’Keefe ran an excellent 19:03 despite being in recovery from a 25k Saturday long run, in preparation for the Rome Marathon. Jennifer Goggin-Walsh continued her recovery from injury, running well in 20:08 and taking a 3rd place category finish with son MJ running a cracking 22 mins flat, MJ also in great form preparing for the All-Ireland B’s. Siobhan Walsh (20:47), Eileen O’Riordan (23:31), Rachel O’Callaghan (24:29) and Siobhan Murphy (24:45) showing good form also for our Ladies team. Well done all!
Other News: Three of our club steeplechase specialists (Aidan Maher, David Maher, and Timmy Hawkins) availed of a rare opportunity to partake in a training session in this technical and grueling event at the UCC track on Sunday 22nd. Over three hours were spent being put through their paces by Regional Development Officer for Athletics Ireland Bashir Hussein. Bashir has vast experience in the discipline both as an athlete and coach to elite athletes and the session was hugely valuable as a learning experience for the experienced athletes and for some younger athletes in the East Cork division looking to try the event, which can be daunting for the first time. Many thanks to Bashir for his time and the individual advice given to each athlete.
Look Ahead: Preparations for the ladies National League final in the National Indoor Arena in Abbottstown on February 11th will be the focus in the coming weeks. A reminder to all our members that the Club AGM will take place in the Arches Bar on Sunday night 19th February. Also, Club registration is due for all members by the end of January, forms available from the clubhouse if required, thank you.
Report by Richard Hawkins