Leading lights enjoy night off
Athletes honoured at awards
Athletes, coaches and administrators from across County Wexford took a break from the drudge of winter training on Friday and slipped into the glad-rags for the annual Athletics Wexford awards presentation night.
In welcoming everybody to the Enniscorthy R.F.C. clubhouse, Chairman Paddy Morgan expressed his delight at what has been another great year for athletics in the county.
He was particularly appreciative of the effort put in by his fellow committee members along with all those who helped to organise and run events in the past year.
Paddy praised the outgoing Athletics Wexford President, Toddy Moore, for his enormous contribution to athletics in the county over many long decades. He then welcomed to the stage the new President, Nicky Cowman, and presented him with the presidential chain.
With the completion of the initial formalities, it was time to get down to the business of the awards.
The athlete of the year award went to discus supremo Marco Pons (D.M.P.). As dedicated as he is charming, Marco had triple success in the past year, taking gold at both national Senior and national Under-23 as well as taking the Inter-Varsity title in the colours of D.C.U.
The Brother Egan Cup for best Senior club in track and field went to Menapians. The club aims to cater for athletes of all ages, abilities and interests. In adopting a master and apprentice approach, younger athletes are encouraged to attend events, such as the Co. Senior track and field championships, and to observe the Senior athletes in action, the aim being that they will be inspired and encouraged to follow in their footsteps.
Aoife Muldoon of United Striders was delighted to receive the Ann O'Keefe Trophy for best Under-17 female, track and field. Her fine fifth place performance at the nationals (Under-17) last summer brought her a new P.B. of 9.34m. Taghmon's Pádraig Hore and Ross Daly (E.A.C.) were jointly awarded the Harry Keyes Trophy for top track and field male Under-17.
United Striders was rewarded for the diligent work put in over the past year when they were presented with the Jim Redmond Cup for top cross-country club. Witness the numbers of young athletes lining out for the club at recent events and you know they are on to something.
Mr Oil athlete of the month for December, 2016, was national Novice cross-country champion Fiona Kehoe. The award for January, 2017, went to Ryan Carthy-Walsh, the new national Junior indoor high jump champion.
Overall the county's athletes acquitted themselves well in 2016 at national and international levels. The ever-consistent Jackie Carthy (Kilmore) and Slaney Olympic's Jim Stafford competed in the British and Irish Masters cross-country, with Jackie delighted to place third Over-45. She also placed second Over-45 in Europe.
On the track Jackie set a new female Over-45 record of 4.51 for 1,500m. Fellow Masters athlete, Ann Gilshinan (Menapians), enjoyed double gold medal success at the British Masters over 800m and 1,500m.
She also picked up a silver at the Europeans. Nationally, she set Over-50 records for 800m (2.20) and 1,500m (4.45).
David McDonald of Menapians competed at both European Youths and World Juniors. The high point of his year was a national Youths record-breaking time of 21.76s over 200m.
Adamstown's star high-jump athlete Ryan Carthy-Walsh also competed at the European Youths. He was also selected on the team which competed in the Celtic Games along with Aoife Cloke-Rochford (Bree) and Kathlyn Furlong (D.M.P.).
Adamstown and St. Mary's (New Ross) field eventer Marguerite Furlong was a member of the Irish team at the 2016 S.I.A.B. schools international. Doubling up on shot and discus, she took third place in the latter with a throw of 36.32m.
Another Adamstown athlete, Joe Mooney, was a member of the Junior men's race walking team at the European Grand Prix meet in Pobebrady, Czech Republic.
Taking a walk, or a run, on the wild side was Ger Maloney of St. Paul's who competed for his country in the world mountain running championships in Susa, Italy.
With his fine fifth place (men 55-59), Ger led the team home to a fantastic bronze medal position.
Finally, on the performance side, Caim super-athlete Michael Bowler not only took the 2016 inter-varsity pentathlon title but broke the record in the process.
The hard-working county cross-country and road Secretary, John Moore, was the very popular recipient of the Kehoe lifetime service to athletics award.
Always first to turn up at events and last to leave, the Chairman praised his fellow Kilmore man for his selflessness and generosity of spirit.