Juveniles bid for All-Irelands
Several talented young guns pass Tullamore tests
The Leinster Juvenile track and field championships kicked off in Tullamore Harriers Stadium, with the youngest of our athletes competing for All-Ireland qualification.
The Under-9s, Under-10s and Under-11s were competing in the pairs championships, while the Under-12s and Under-13s were having their first taste of individual provincial championship competition.
The Under-9s were competing at Leinster level for their first time, with many of the athletes not yet eight years old. In the boys' long jump, Adamstown's duo of Ross English and Stephen Power showed that their county medals were well deserved when the pair jumped their way into the sand for a bronze Leinster medal and All-Ireland qualification for the first time.
The first gold medal result from the pairs was the Menapians' duo of Sinéad O Reilly and Albhie White with a win in the Under-11 girls' long jump.
In the Under-10 girls' sprint there was more gold for Bree's Abbie Doyle and Gracie Kehoe, and another set of Under-10 medals in the turbo javelin, with gold this time for Grace Donohoe and Gracie Kehoe.
In the boys' Under-11 60m sprint there was more gold for Bree when Seán Rowley and Shane Doran combined in a speedy run down the track. Rowley picked up another medal, silver this time, partnering with Ryhan Whelan in the Under-11 long jump. Macamores went to the Leinster podium for their first time in the Under-11 girls' turbo javelin when Fiona Davin and Grace O'Keeffe combined great throws to earn themselves a bronze medal each to the delight of coach Des McCarthy.
In the individual championships, the star of the day was Enniscorthy's Dapo Abidoye who stole the show with two Leinster titles. His first came in the Under-12 60m hurdles following a photo finish.
Dapo went on to qualify for the sprint final and powered home to take his second gold, before switching singlets to the purple and gold to represent Wexford in the inter-county relays at Under-13 level.
Aisling Kelly from Taghmon had a great leap in the Under-13 Long Jump to become the Leinster champion, and later in the day added a bronze medal in the 60m sprint to her medal collection.
St. Killian's Jack Forde retained his Leinster indoor title when he sailed over 1.38m, way below his P.B. having just returned from injury, in the boys' Under-13 high jump to take the gold medal position on the podium.
United Striders' Aidan Shannon ran away with the boys' Under-12 600m after a definitive win through the heats. There was also gold for Sabia Doyle of Menapians in the Under-13 80m sprint final.
With large numbers in all of the field events, the Under-12 boys' long jump saw St. Anne's richly deserve their first Leinster championship medal in a long while when Liam Berry leaped to a silver medal amidst strong competition.
United Striders took home another medal in the high jump when James Quinn was third in the boys' Under-12 championship. There was bronze for Dylan Patel of Menapians in the Under-13 boys' long jump.
Rachel Gregg of D.M.P. was competing in her first Leinster individual competition and had a new P.B. of 1.20m in the Under-12 high jump, earning herself a bronze medal in the process. Adamstown's Laurence Power threw well in the Under-12 shot putt to make the silver podium position.
In the boys' Under-13 60m hurdles, the final had to be re-run, however there was no issue for Bree's Dara Casey who performed to his usual standard and took the silver medal, demonstrating outstanding technique.
There was also silver for Enniscorthy's Saidbhe Byrne in the Under-12 girls' 60m hurdles.
With four qualification places from Leinster to the national championships in July on offer in most events, a number of other Wexford athletes made the grade to go on to All-Ireland level.
Taghmon's Aisling Kelly was fourth in the Under-13 sprint hurdles, making it a hat-trick of qualification events for this all-rounder.
Her clubmate, Derbhla O'Hanlon, also went through in the Under-13 high jump.
Adamstown's Cormac Byrne had a great series of throws in the Under-13 javelin, barely pipped in to fourth place in the final, as was Enniscorthy's Maxwell Sheyjou in the Under-13 long jump.
To finish the day off, the inter-county relay teams at Under-11 and Under-13 levels all came home with medals in their purple and gold singlets, managed by County Chairman, Paddy Morgan, with Nicky Cowman in support.
The Under-11 boys' team of Malachy Catcarth (Craanford Harriers), Dannan Long (Enniscorthy), Seán Rowley and Shane Doran (Bree) had some slick baton changes to get a set of silver medals, with substitutes Conn Mernagh (St. Paul's) and Jerry Sheridan (S.B.R.).
Not to be outdone by the boys, the Under-11 girls' team of Ailbhe White (Menapians), Orlaith Byrne (S.B.R.), Abbie Doyle (Bree) and Niamh Murphy (S.B.R.) with substitutes Sinéad O'Reilly (Menapians) and Orlaith Deegan (S.B.R.) also had a fine 4 x 100m run to also take silver.
In the Under-13 girls, the bronze medal-winning team was made up of Aisling Kelly (Taghmon), Ciara O'Connor (Enniscorthy), Chloe O'Toole (Taghmon) and anchor Sabia Doyle (Menapians), with Leah Nolan (Bree) and Emma Carr (St. Paul's) making up the Wexford team.
In the boys' Under-13, silver medals went to Dapo Abidoye and Maxwell Sheyjou (both E.A.C.), Liam Berry (St. Anne's) and Dara Casey (Bree) with Sheamie Kavanagh (S.B.R.) and Jack Forde (St. Killian's) in reserve.
With all the county relay teams bringing home medals, hopes are now high for the Under-15 and Under-17 teams which will compete on June 20 at the Under-14 to Under-19 Leinster championships.
Earlier in the week, on the Bank Holiday Monday, Tullamore played host to the Leinster team event in the wettest and windiest conditions endured at track and field in many years.
Despite the extreme weather conditions, a number of Wexford teams made it to the podium.
The sole gold medal-winning team were the Bree boys' Under-11. After over an hour waiting on the results, Rhyan Whelan, Robbie Chapman, Shane Doran and Seán Rowley were crowned Leinster champions.
In the same event the United Striders boys were bronze medal winners, demonstrating Wexford's dominance at this age.
The Striders team featured Caolan Costello and Myles Hewlett, combined with the throwing prowess of Eoin Shannon and Cosmo Hewlett.
In the Under-10 girls, Bree's Abbie Doyle, Gracie Kehoe, Leah Sinnott and Grace Donohoe took the silver medal overall and were only one point from the gold.
Adamstown's boys' Under-13 team of Conor Whelan, Cormac Byrne, Tomás Jackman and Nathan O'Brien won silver medals following a series of combined events which included a 200m, 60m hurdles, shot putt and long jump.
Adamstown also got a set of bronze medals when their boys' Under-12 team of Robert Wall, Tadgh McDonald, Laurence Power and Ben Wall performed to their best in four events and combined their scores for third place.
United Striders' boys' Under-15 team of Alex Molloy, Conor Murphy, Aaron Browne, Patrick Doyle and Cian Flanagan also won bronze medals with all of the boys competing out of age.