Indoor honours in Athlone
The first weekend of the Athletics Leinster indoor championships took place in Athone International Arena last weekend, with a strong Wexford showing making their mark on the podium.
In the relays, the Menapians Under-15 girls qualified for their final with the fastest time out of the heats. They finished third in the final to earn a set of bronze medals for Liadh Dwyer, Suzie Brennan, April Keeling and Sabia Doyle.
The walks saw Wexford success with three golds: James Hanlon (Taghmon) in the boys' Under-15, his brother Joseph in the boys' Under-17, and Joe Mooney (Adamstown) in the boys' Under-19. Triona Mooney (Adamstown) won a bronze in the girls' Under-17 too.
Also on the track, United Striders showed their strength in middle distance when Aaron Browne ran a speedy 2:14 in the 800m to earn himself a silver medal podium position. Aaron was Wexford's sole medal winner in the middle distance races over both days.
Meanwhile, on the field the triple jump was amassing medals for Wexford athletes with Adamstown's Ryan Carthy-Walsh winning his first gold with a jump of 12.63m. Also winning bronze medals in the triple jump were Adamstown's Grace Cloney (Under-16) and Shannon Wall (Under-18), and Menapians' Jack Hayden (Under-17).
Ryan Carthy-Walsh retained his high jump title at Under-18 with a jump of 1.95m. Another high jump champion was St. Paul's Maeve Hayes, jumping a very good 1.56m at the Under-15 grade. Ciara Kelly from United Striders won a bronze in the girls' Under-17 high jump.
At Under-19, D.M.P's Shane Parle won silver with a jump of 1.75m and clubmate Conor Brennan also won high jump silver Under-15 with a P.B. of 1.53m.
In the shot putt, Gergely Pap from St. Paul's threw a personal best of 12.64m in the Under-15 competition to be crowned Leinster champion once more, and in the same competition his clubmate Milan Kovacs also threw a P.B. to finish just outside All-Ireland qualification in fourth with a throw of 10.58m.
Adamstown's Marguerite Furlong retained her long-held shot title at Under-17 with a 12.11m throw. In the boys' Under-17, Taghmon's Pádraig Hore took a silver medal home from Athlone.
The long jump pits also saw success with Aisling Kelly from Taghmon winning the Under-14 event with 4.85m, Aisling later went on to win double gold with victory in the Under-14 60m hurdles. Ryan Carthy-Walsh also won long jump silver Under-18, earning his third medal of the weekend.
There were a number of great results in the 60m hurdles. Sam O'Neill (Menapians) won gold in the Under-18 while fellow Menapians, Aaron Tierney-Smith (Under-17), Chloe Whelan (Under-19) and Shane O'Neill (Under-15) all took silver as did Karyn Murphy of Enniscorthy in the Under-16 girls.
Liadh Dwyer had an agonising wait while a photo finish was examined before she was awarded the bronze in the Under-15.
The sprint medal of the weekend went to Menapians' David McDonald who was a comfortable winner of the Under-18 200m in spite of a bad start.
All medal winners go forward to the national championships in Athlone in mid-March, with another weekend of qualification events at Leinster level in early March.
An All-Ireland title can be hard to win at the best of times, but it is very rare for a father and son to be crowned national champions on the same day. The O'Connor household in Enniscorthy had much to cheer about recently, when father John and son Peter both made the top spots on the podium in the national combined events indoor championships.
Peter, who is a member of Enniscorthy A.C., performed strongly across all disciplines to take the national youths title. John, a member of Slaney Olympic, followed through with his gold in the Over-50 age grade in the Athlone International Arena.
Also on the podium in Athlone that day was Taghmon's Aisling Kelly in the Under-14 girls with five events and personal bests in many and particularly strong in a fast 800m.
This marked the start of a great weekend for Aisling at national events, medalling in the 'B' cross-country championships the following day, both as an individual and with the Wexford Under-13 girls' team.
The County Board held its A.G.M. in Treacy's Hotel, Enniscorthy, recently Though numbers of delegates were below last year's record turn-out, discussion was nevertheless lively and all motions were debated with many recommendations being accepted.
In terms of officers, there was little change. County Chairman, Paddy Morgan of Kilmore, remained unopposed and accepted the job for 2016. The new Vice-Chairman is Peter Connick of St. Paul's who was elected unopposed.
With the County Secretary of two years, Jane Porter of Slaney Olympic, not standing, former Track and Field Secretary, Linda Rodgers of United Striders, moved into the role of Secretary.
All acknowledged that Jane had raised the professionalism of the role during her term and the County Chairman thanked her for her contribution to athletics.
Emmett Malone of Striders will serve another year as Treasurer as will the Road and Cross-Country Secretary, Kilmore's John Moore. With the role of Track and Field Secretary left vacant, former Vice-Chair, Michelle Byrne of Macamores, stepped into one of the busiest roles on the committee.
The Public Relations Officer's position was retained by Adamstown's Marie Louise Byrne. Representatives to Leinster elected unopposed were Bree's Pat O'Leary and Jim Corcoran. A new County Child Welfare Officer was appointed, and Catherine Power-Ronan of United Striders accepted the position.
Small changes were made to the athlete of the month selection committee which now consists of Paddy Morgan (Kilmore), John Hayes (St. Paul's), Michael Farrell (D.M.P.), Jim Corcoran (Bree) and Anne Marie Forde (St. Killian's).
Both the President, Toddy Moore (Kilmore), and Vice-President, Nicky Cowman (St. Killian's), remain in their positions.
The Athletics Wexford awards night for 2015 takes place in the rugby club in Enniscorthy on Saturday, February 20.
All Senior grade road, cross-country and track and field medals will be presented, including Novice, Intermediate and Masters categories.
As well as the medals, the County Board of Athletics Wexford will acknowledge outstanding achievement in the sport with a number of special awards, including the prestigious Mr Oil athlete of the year award.
The Anne O'Keeffe Cup will be presented to the best Under-17 Girl from last year, with the Harry Keyes Cup going to the best Under-17 boy.
The Brother Egan Cup will go to the best Senior track and field club, and the Kehoe Foods award will be presented in recognition of outstanding service to the sport.
All athletes who represented Ireland in 2015 will receive merit awards this year, and a number of special awards will go to those who broke national championship records over the calendar year.
All clubs are invited to attend from 7.30 p.m. with medal presentations starting at 8 p.m. Following the awards ceremony and refreshments, D.M.P's Ronnie Bent will depart from his usual cross-country M.C. duties to provide music and dancing for all.