Around the clubs
United Striders A.C: Well done to the ten Senior Striders who competed at the Wexford cross-country Masters event at Coolgreany on a tough undulating course.
Lettie Roche and Sinéad McCarthy were excellent in the ladies' event. In the men's event, the Striders squad of John McGrath, Pat O'Callaghan, Matt Flannelly, Ted Flannelly, Emmett Malone, John Kent, Mick O'Gorman and Martin Kehoe took an excellent bronze in the team event.
Pat was the star of the day, winning his category, in addition to scoring for the team. Well done to all Seniors in action.
The Juvenile Striders started the year in great form with eight teams in action at the Wexford cross-country relay championships, also at Coolgreany. Congratulations to the hosting club, Croghan, who put on a great show in the winter sunshine.
County gold medals went to the boys' Under-12 team (Myles Hewlett, Cosmo Hewlett, Finn Kelly and Eoin Shannon), the boys' Under-14 team (Aidan Shannon, Darragh Flannelly, Adam O'Connor and Owen Lennon), and the girls' Under-16 team (Grace Costello, Rebecca Bawden, Gráinne Flannelly and Joanne Kelly).
Silver medals were won by the boys' Under-10 team (Ronan Shannon, Sam Myers, Liam Murphy and Donnacha McCarthy), the girls' Under-12 team (Chloe Berry, Leona Berry, Isabel Bawden and Ruby Murphy), and the boys' Under-16 team (Travis Phillips, Conor Murphy, Ryan Kielthy and Patrick Doyle).
Our only bronze medal went to our second boys' Under-12 team (Seán Lennon, Luca O'Connor, Caolan Costello and Ben Myers). The girls' Under-14 team (Louise Doyle, Erinn Shannon, Clodagh Foran and Ciara Murphy) were excellent and finished fourth in a very competitive race. Well done to all athletes who participated and thanks to the coaches for organising the teams.
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Snooker players were given a rare treat with Dillon Wickham and Declan Ryan providing all the ingredients of a sporting encounter, having met in the final of the Stafford's Cup.
The competition attracted a sizeable entry. The final was played over five frames, with Wickham making his intentions clear from the start by quickly establishing a two-frame lead. Ryan quickly recovered and won the next two frames to make the match all square, two frames all.
The deciding frame proved to be a nail-biting experience and it went to the colours, with Wickham potting the last five balls to win the frame and match 3-2. The match was refereed by Stephen Bolger.
The winner was presented with a Galway Crystal vase and the runner-up received a Galway Crystal bowl. The beaten semi-finalists, Jim Howlett and Liam Connolly, received Galway Crystal.
The club would like to thank our sponsor, Stafford Fuels (Raheen), and all who took part in the competition.
Despite conceding 40 points, Jamie Lennon had too much experience when he defeated Jordan Kennedy 3-1 in an entertaining finale to the Albatros Cup snooker in the Workman's club.
The first frame was very close. Kennedy was leading on the colours and with the blue, pink and black left to win the frame, he potted blue and pink but missed a simple black to the middle pocket, so it was a re-potted black and Lennon made no mistake to go one nil up.
The second frame was much the same, with Kennedy taking an early lead. Lennon responded by cutting the lead back to ten points, so it was down to the colours again. Lennon potted yellow, green and brown, while Kennedy potted blue, so it was a black ball game again and Lennon obliged to go two nil up.
The third frame was one-way as Kennedy took an early lead and never looked back, winning on a score of 72-40.
The fourth frame was much like the second; tit-for-tat potting and some great safety play, with Lennon's experience showing as he potted brown, blue and pink to take the frame and match on a 3-1 score. Kennedy out up a great show for his first final and was very unlucky to lose on two blacks and a pink ball game.
The club would like to thank our sponsor and all who took part. Semi-finalists were Michael Cullen and Gerry Kielthy, while the referee was John Bennett.
We are now left with only six more ranking events this year, and we had some movement taking place amongst the front runners for the league title which we will get to later.
The ladies were back from the festive break with a vengeance as they served up a host of closely-fought games in the groups, after which we were left with Inez Brennan and Caroline Bradley to contest the final.
Both of the girls were showing no side effects from the break as they traded blow by blow in the final match, and both were on two legs apiece and needed the fifth leg to decide the winner. In a close last leg, Caroline just edged it to extend her lead at the top of the table and she is now in poll position to take the league for this season.
Inez will be gutted to lose this one as it could have gone her way on another night, but she will dust herself down and be back next week.
Main event semi-finals were up next and first up were Jim Roche and David Murphy who served up a real dinger of a match. Jim won the first leg and was looking in good shape in leg two when David hit a flawless 116 checkout to extend the match to the deciding leg.
As with the previous leg, Jim was playing well but again David hit a big finish with a 100 checkout to break Jim's resolve. This result was hard luck on Jim, but no better man to come back stronger, and few would bet against him going all the way to the final next week. He also gained some nice points to cement his place in the top six of the league as well.
The second semi-final saw P.J. Byrne play Kevin Leahy and both of the guys had a lot to play for here as they fought for the extra points that could define their season. Kevin, who has been a welcome addition to the club this year and who travels a long way to make these games, had to give way to P.J. on this occasion, but there is no shame in losing to P.J. as he is really hitting form at the moment.
The final then saw the two local lads, David and P.J., square up. David was trying to close the gap to Jeff Nolan at the top of the league with a win to leave a real nail-biter of a finish with six or seven players in the mix. A win for P.J. would have launched his bid for the league title as well.
Liz Byrne, my go to girl for marking the final, had to make way for Jim Roche on this occasion as she watched P.J. from the sideline and cheered on the hubby, but I must take this opportunity to thank her for all the games she marks and not one word of complaint to be heard either.
The final saw the full five legs thrown and 21 throws of 90+ between the two players shows the standard they were at. P.J. took the first leg P.J. with a 64 checkout but David hit back with a 54 checkout to level matters.
Leg three went to David but P.J. was so unlucky as he wired the bullseye with his last dart to just miss out by a whisker on a 164 finish. Undaunted by this, P.J. hit three consecutive 100 plus throws in the fourth leg to help him win and to take us to the deciding and final leg.
David hit three consecutive 100s in the final leg and a 77 checkout saw him win the match, but what a game we saw and it was a pity to see a loser in this one.
Finally, a big word of thanks to Ted Bradley who has been so good to the club in loaning us his sound gear and speakers since the start of the season. He even sets it up for us each night and indeed did so for the Newbawn open over Christmas as well. It's really appreciated Ted and we own you a good drink before we wrap up this year.
ST. JOSEPH'S A.C.
The first medals for St. Joseph's club athletes in 2016 were won by race walking family duo John Joe and Bríd Lawlor. Competing as guests at the Munster indoors championships in Nenagh, Bríd won gold in the Masters event with John Joe a very respectable fourth.
The action moved on to the Waterford half-marathon on Saturday with ten club athletes on the start line. A series of great times followed, led by Sally Forristal in 1.25.31. Next were David Lanigan (1.29.43), Dean Rowe (1.30.40) and Paul Sheehan (1.30.25).
Just three seconds separated Maria Griffin (1.32.55) and Tom McDonald (1.32.58). Mary Doolan finished in 1.38.07 with Duncan O'Shaughnessy (1.43.41), Mary McDonald (2.07.28) and Catherine Hennessy (2.19.46) all getting their competitive year off to a great start.
Sunday saw the action switch to cross-country at the traditional venue of Bramblestown, Gowran. A flooded area resulted in an altered course but the tough hills remained.
Aisleann Mullally and Kyle Bolger were the first club athletes in action in the Under-8 race and they finished fourth and second respectively. Eabha Mullally in third and Sarah Foley (sixth) kept the club colours flying in the Under-10 girls' race.
The club performance of the day arrived in the Under-10 boys' race where Joss O'Connor powered to victory. The girls' Under-14 team of Áine McDonald (seventh), Erin Foley (eighth) and Naoimh O'Connor (eleventh) won third team medals. Jamie O'Connor in fourth place and Danny Glennon in seventh ran fine races in the boys' Under-14 event.
The county Over-30 women's race and the men's Over-35 race saw both St. Joseph's teams win second team medals. Hanora O'Connor in sixth position led the women's team home followed closely by Siobhán Mullally (seventh) and Maggie Helen O'Connor in eighth.
An excellent performance by Stephen O'Connor in fifth place concluded a day of great races for the O'Connor family. Stephen was followed home by Patrick Bookle in seventh position with Paul Sheehan eleventh and John Joe Lawlor in 15th place.
Paul Sheehan ran a tough 6,000m cross-country race within 24 hours of completing the Waterford half-marathon, thus setting the standard for club commitment for 2016.
Menapians finished in third place in the 2015 winter league, a great result for the club. Over the four days of competition, 57 Juvenile athletes ran.
Two athletes received star awards for winning all four races in their age group: Danika Gilshinan in Under-13 and Róisín O'Reilly in Under-14.
On Sunday in glorious sunshine against the backdrop of a snowy Mount Leinster, the girls and boys from the club contested the final round.
Millie Stone continued her good form throughout the league with a tenth place finish in the Under-8. Lucia Goggins, also a solid performer throughout, finished fifth in the Under-9.
Angelina Juddimon put in her best performance yet with a fantastic fourth place in the Under-10. Sinéad O'Reilly battled hard in her Under-11 race, finishing second, with Cara Corkery seventh and Sarah Leahy 14th.
Eimear Halpin ran well to finish fourth in the Under-12, and Anoushka Nolan had her best run so far to finish sixth with Ava Kearney eighth.
Danika Gilshinan was an easy winner of the Under-13, backed up well by Ciara Dolan in seventh. Róisín O'Reilly put in a strong performance to shake off any opposition, winning the Under-14 with a good run from Suzie Brennan in fifth place.
There were very good results in the boys' Under-8. Charlie Ryan had a great run to finish second. Jack McCormack was fourth followed by Alex Norval in fifth, Ronan Corkery sixth and Conor Corbett seventh, Rory Mulvaney 12th, Harry Purcell 13th, Tommy Ryan 14th and Ciarán Meyler 16th. It was great to see so many in the one age group.
Luke Mulvaney ran well to finish tenth in the Under-9. Nathan Murphy had a fine run also in the Under-13, finishing fourth. Nathan has been a strong performer in the league this year. Cillian Corkery finished fourth in the Under-14 boys with Adam Leahy seventh.
Well done to all. Thanks to the parents for bringing the children to the races and to the coaches for helping.
Next weekend sees the start of our indoor season for 2016 and a number of Menapians will compete at home and abroad. We will have a strong presence in Athlone for the start of the national indoor league and a squad will also travel to Glasgow to compete in the Scottish open at the Emirates arena.
Training continues for Juvenile athletes: Tuesday, 7 p.m., track Rosslare, sprint hurdles group; 6.30 p.m., County Council hills for middle distance; Wednesday, 6 p.m. Presentation Hall for seven- to nine-year-olds; Thursday, 6 p.m. Presentation Hall for nine- to 12-year-olds; Thursday, 7 p.m., track Rosslare for Under-12 upwards; Saturday, 10 a.m., track Rosslare.
ST. KILLIAN'S A.C.
It was great to see St. Killian's own Nicky Cowman getting the recognition he truly deserved on Saturday at the Leinster All-Star gala presentation night where he received an award for his outstanding commitment to athletics.
Nicky has been a real legend of the sport and gives his time, commitment and expertise without question for any athlete who requires assistance. He is the backbone of the club and a genuine unsung hero.
Thanks and well done Nicky. He is known in athletic circles the length and breadth of Ireland and it has been a part of his life since his first taste of athletics at his primary school sports. As a teenager he went on to run cross-country and was on the Wexford Senior team which competed in Fairyhouse.
His dedication to the sport is not confined to the fields, tracks and indoor halls of County Wexford. Over the years he was instrumental in the setting up of the senior Enniscorthy club, Slaney Olympic, of which he is a life member and President, and he was also a founding member of St. Killian's in 2006, as well as being a coach, life member and President.
He has also served as Chairman of Wexford Athletics and Leinster Athletics as well as being a member of the national Juvenile committee. He is a regular track and field referee at many championships and is a true diplomat when dealing with a question or a complaint and rarely has to refer to the rule book as he knows the answer off by heart. We hope he will continue to influence and shape the sport for many years to come.
Waterford was a hive of activity on Saturday morning for the re-scheduled half-marathon. Thankfully the conditions were ideal and it resulted in a great race with a lot of good times.
Rio-bound Mick Clohisey looked the business in a performance suitable for a future Olympian, taking the win in style in a time of 64 minutes, 25 seconds. St. Killian's had a number of athletes competing and first home for the club was Jay Kehoe in a super time of 85 minutes, 56 seconds.
Next was Deirdre O'Grady in a time of one hour, 54 minutes, sneaking in just ahead of her husband, Gerry Moran, who finished in a time of one hour, 57 minutes. Well done to all involved.