Young athletes all set for long trip to Donegal

ATHLETES FROM clubs throughout Co Wexford competed in the county finals of the Community Games in Bree on Saturday last.

Juveniles aged from between Under-8 to Under-16 performed in numerous disciplines with the aim of achieving gold medals and qualifying to represent Wexford in the national Community Games finals in Athlone at the end of August.

With very little exception, medal winners were from 16 Juvenile athletics clubs throughout the county, demonstrating the benefits of being part of a club. Each club has specific programmes in place to develop children's natural athletic abilities, flexibility and fitness in a fun environment with plenty of opportunity for competitive participation, socialising and teamwork.

Full details of local clubs can be found on www.wexfordathletics.com or through the Wexford Athletics Facebook page.

Wexford's youngest athletes will be competing on the national stage next Saturday, June 28, in Finn Valley A.C. in Stranrolar, Co. Donegal. Following qualification at provincial level last month, a number of pairs from Under-9 to Under-11 will be making the long trip to the fantastic facilities hoping to bring home medals from the All-Ireland team event.

Craanford Harriers will be out in force and have four teams taking part, all of which are in the new turbo javelin event, and they will have the privilege of being among the first competitors ever to take part in this event at national level. The club will be represented by Under-9s Brídín Doyle, Sadhbh Buttle, Tim Ivers and Tadhg McShane, Under-10s Kate Butler and Aoife Kinsella, and Under-11s Catríona Doyle and Laura Ivers.

Taghmon will be represented in both the long jump and the 600m by the Under-11 team of Aisling Kelly and Dearbhla O'Hanlon. Neighbouring club, Adamstown, will be represented in the Under-11 turbo javelin by Cormac Byrne and Colin Stephenson, with Ben and Robert Wall competing in both the Under-10 long jump and 500m.

Menapians have one team which has qualified for two events at Under-9 level, Joe Gilhooly and Mark Hennessy in the 300m and in the 60m. Bree will also compete in two events at Under-9 level, the 60m and the long jump, represented by Seán Rowley, Ryan Whelan and Shane Doran. In the Under-11 long jump, Jack Forde and Conor Bernard will compete in the colours of St. Killian's.

The final event in the county track and field season will take place this coming Friday, June 28, in Adamstown Community Centre. The Wexford Creamery 'B' championships are an evening of development events catering for children from Under-9 to Under-13 who did not already win individual medals at the county championships held in early May. Gold relay team medalists are also ineligible to compete.

Registration for the championships is at 5.30 p.m. for a 6 p.m. start. Field events begin at 6 p.m. with track events commencing at 6.30 p.m. Each athlete may only win one individual track medal and one individual field medal, ensuring maximum participation and fair competition for all who compete, with the focus on developing skills within a competitive environment.

Adamstown, who are hosting the championships, are also putting on a barbeque and refreshments. All athletes taking part must be registered members of A.A.I. and members of clubs affiliated to Athletics Wexford and must compete in their own age group, except in relays, where they can move up an age group.

A Wexford Creamery sticker with club, age group and name clearly marked on it must be worn by all athletes and the age group should be the most dominant feature. Stickers will be available to club officials at registration and each club is also reminded that they must provide officials for the event.

This event will be the finale for the local track and field season and is a great opportunity for the youngest of Wexford's Juveniles to compete for a county medal and a place on the podium.

Next Sunday, June 30, will see two Wexford Junior athletes compete in the national Junior track and field championships in Tullamore.

Leinster steeplechase champion, Claire Stephenson from Adamstown, will compete in her strong event over 2,000m. In the 1,500m, Patrice O'Gorman, also from Adamstown, is in top form following her gold medal win in the Leinster Juniors and will be looking for a place on the podium. Patrice will also compete in the 800m where she took silver at Leinster level in late May.

Wexford's David Hynes had the great honour of being selected to lead out the Irish men's 4 x 100m relay team at last weekend's European team championships in Morton Stadium in Santry. Run simultaneously with the BBC televised event in Gateshead, Ireland competed in League 1 of the Europeans on home ground.

Saturday saw the Menapians man line out for his country in the starting blocks of the relays. His team featuring Craig Lynch (Shercock), Dean Adams (Ballymena and Antrim) and Marcus Lawler (St. Laurence O'Toole) unfortunately didn't fare well as they failed to get the baton around successfully. David was fast out of the blocks and made a successful first baton change, however the baton was dropped between the second and third handover.

While the team was understandably very disappointed with the handover, it didn't take away from an all-round uplifting and spirited performance put in by this Irish team throughout the two days of top-class European competition. The Irish team delighted the home crowd by finishing seventh and achieving the best-ever result at these championships.

David will take a few days' rest before heading out to Belgium next weekend for two weeks' competition, accompanied by clubmate Barry Upton.

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