A brilliant bronze
McDonald and Carthy-Walsh shine
With the national track and field season now well under way, Wexford's young guns showed their talent over the weekend in Tullamore. The Junior and Under-23 athletes were in action on Sunday, vying for national honours with Ireland's best.
With an extraordinary amount of talent emerging from Wexford in the younger age groups this year, there were medals at the highest of standards for our up and coming stars. Both Menapians' David McDonald and Adamstown's Ryan Carthy-Walsh have only just entered the Junior ranks, both being still just Under-17 at Juvenile level.
Both were also selected during the previous week to represent Ireland at the schools' international in Scotland on July 18. Ryan was also on the panel of 16 nominated athletes that Athletics Ireland put forward for ratification by the Irish Olympic Council to compete at the European Youth Olympics in Tbilisi, Georgia, at the end of July.
These two young athletes demonstrated composure beyond their years at the national Juniors. Ryan competed in the Junior men's high jump and entered the race for gold at 1.85m. After a shaky first jump he literally got into his stride to jump his way to his first national Junior title with a new personal best of 2.05m, two cm. above his previous best that got him his place on the Irish team for Georgia.
David went up against a very strong panel of Irish sprinters to take the bronze medal in the 100m in an excellent time of 10.97.
Other Junior medals went to Mikey Cullen of Menapians who was third in the Junior men's long jump with a jump of 6.67m on his second attempt to seal his position on the national podium. Eimear Doherty from D.M.P., also in top form this year, was third, on countback, in the Junior women's high jump with a leap of 1.60m.
Adamstown's Joe Mooney also achieved a P.B. in the Junior men's 5k walk when he completed a gruelling twelve and a half laps of the track in a time of 24.28, nearly four minutes ahead of the next placed athlete, taking the Junior bronze.
In the Under-23 competition, the sole national title went to D.M.P's Marco Pons who threw 51.02m in the discus to and take gold.
Also in the discus, Emma Owens from St. Paul's sealed herself a silver medal with her second throw of 35.81m.
Tony Stafford (Menapians) also earned silver in the Under-23 long jump with a best jump of 6.91m. Kieran Murphy (St. Paul's) threw 45.34m in the Under-23 hammer to take the bronze medal position on the podium.
With success like this from Wexford athletes on the track, in the jumps and in the throws, athletics in Wexford is truly in a good place. While we still, as a county, lack depth in middle distance running, we are developing particular strengths in the more technical events, purely down to top-class coaching and a dedicated set of coaches here in Co. Wexford.
Athletics Wexford's concentration on the development of facilities, in association with Wexford County Council, and the development of coaching skills in association with Athletics Ireland, seems to be reaping dividends for our younger talents. The challenge, as ever, is to bring these athletes to Senior level where they will certainly be contenders for the top honours in Ireland and beyond.