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Tuesday 19 June 2018

Goals and targets for 2018

Personal highlights and plans from ten of the best

Ann Sullivan
Ann Sullivan
Claragh Keane
Aedan Rogers
Liam Turner
Maeve Hayes with her proud parents, Bríd and John
Marco Pons
Niall Sheil
Pádraig Hore
Saidhbhe Byrne

The names of the county's leading athletes are well documented weekly on these pages, but we decided to learn a little more from ten of the best about their personal highs in 2017 and goals for 2018, with the assistance of Co. P.R.O. Senan O'Reilly. Here's the outcome:

ANN SULLIVAN

Club: D.M.P.

Age category: Masters Over-55.

Personal athletics highlights of 2017: Won Leinster Masters Over-55 cross-country title in January; won National Masters Over-55 cross-counrty title in February; part of D.M.P. silver medal-winning Senior county cross-country team in October; represented Ireland as part of the Over-55 silver medal-winning team at the British and Irish Masters cross-country international in Derry in November.

Overall sports highlight of 2017: A particular highlight does not come to mind. I just embrace watching sport in general and athletics events in particular.

Personal athletics plans for 2018: Aim to compete in the Leinster Masters cross-country in January and National Masters cross-country in February; aim also to return to track competition in the summer and to compete in the National Masters track and field in July/August (I was unable to compete on track in 2017 due to a fall and tendonitis injury); I would also like to gain selection for the 2018 British and Irish Masters cross-country in Swansea.

Role models: International Irish athletes Sonia O'Sullivan and Catríona McKiernan.

CLARAGH KEANE

Club: D.M.P.

Age: 13.

Personal athletics highlight of 2017: I had a good year - All-Ireland 'B' cross-country champion Under-13 in February; 800m and 1,500m track county champion Under-14; county cross-country champion Under-14 and Under-15 (third year in a row winning both in and out of age titles); Leinster cross-country Under-14 third and Under-15 fifth.

Overall sports highlight of 2017: My camogie club, St. Martin's, winning the Senior county title for the first time, a very proud day for all the members of the club. Conor, my brother and training partner, winning his first cross-country county title, and Éabha, my sister, winning an individual medal in her first-ever Leinster cross-country.

Personal athletics plans for 2018: To try my best and achieve more than I did this year. As I am in first year in secondary school I get to compete in schools cross-country in early 2018 for the first time. I am looking forward to that and aiming to do well. On track in the summer, I'll get to compete at Leinsters this year as last year I played All-Ireland Féile camogie with my club and missed out on Leinsters. Then my favourite season, cross -country, will start again. I love to run and hope 2018 will be a good year.

Role models: Fionnuala McCormack has achieved so much in her career and is an amazing cross-country runner. I got to meet her and had a photograph taken with her at the All-Irelands in Santry in 2015 when she won the Senior title.

Ann Sullivan, another amazing cross-country runner and also my clubmate. Both these athletes inspire me to keep running and show what you can achieve when you put in the hard work.

My coach John Joe - he runs most days even though he doesn't compete any more. He loves running and athletics, he knows a lot about running, and is always there to support and help me.

KARYN MURPHY

Club: Enniscorthy.

Age category: Under-17.

Personal athletics highlight of 2017: Winning silver in both hurdles and long jump at Leinster level, achieving P.B's in both.

Overall sports highlight of 2017: As above.

Personal athletics plans for 2018: Continue to improve.

LIAM TURNER

Club: D.M.P.

Age category: Under-19 boys and Junior men.

Personal athletics highlights of 2017: Making the Leinster team for the All-Irelands in cross-country; came second in the boys' Under-19 3,000m in Leinsters; came second Junior boy in Rás na hEireann and sixth overall; achieved 16:57 in 5,000m.

Overall sports highlights of 2017: Running in All-Ireland track and field, running in All-Ireland cross-country, and running in Stormount cross-country.

Personal athletics plans for 2018: Get on D.C.U. college athletic team; get closer to breaking 16 minutes in 5k; generally improve in strength, stamina and speed.

Role model: John Joe Doyle.

MAEVE HAYES

Club: St. Paul's.

Personal athletics highlights of 2017: Retaining my Leinster high and long jump titles; representing Leinster in the Tailteann Games; improving my P.B's in both long and high jump; getting my first individual national high jump medal - bronze.

MARCO PONS

Club: D.M.P.

Age category: Senior.

Personal athletics highlight of 2017: Competing at European Winter Throws Cup.

Overall sports highlight of 2017: Ireland beating the All Blacks in Chicago (November, 2016), and a successful Lions tour with lots of Irish talent including Wexford native Tadhg Furlong.

Personal athletics plans for 2018: To compete at the European Winter Throws Cup 2018 and win the Irish Senior championship.

Role model: Brian O'Driscoll.

NIALL SHEIL

Club: St. Killian's.

Age category: Over-40.

Personal athletics highlights of 2017: Hard to choose having run more than 40 races this year. Some really important local races were included, from winning the Kilmore 10k, the Ben 5k, the Wexford Night Run, six-in-a-row County Masters road titles and five-in-a-row County Masters cross-country titles, to national events where I retained my Over-35 national indoor 1,500m title. I also won the national Over-40 5k outdoor track title, got to the final of the European Over-40 1,500m final and was ninth in the final of the 5k, but qualifying for and being part of the Over-40 Irish cross-country team to win the British and Irish championships is probably the main highlight.

Overall sports highlight of 2017: Lot to choose from again, from Mo Farah in his 10k in London to Galway in the hurling, but for me it has to be Gary O'Hanlon at 43 winning the national Senior marathon title in 2:19 that pips it.

Personal athletics plans for 2018: Retain my national indoor and outdoor titles, get to the final of the European indoor 1,500m in Madrid, and qualify again for the British and Irish cross-country championships.

Role model: Had the pleasure of witnessing Kenenisa Bekele win the final of the 10,000m in the iconic bird's nest at the Olympics in Beijing. The last 800m was unbelievable with the great Haile Gebrselassie in contention until the end. For me, Bekele is a true legend of the sport.

PADRAIG HORE

Club: Taghmon.

Age category: Under-18 (2017).

Personal athletics highlight of 2017: My selection for and participation in the Celtic Games last August, where I represented Ireland in the discus and finished second with 50.39m, my best throw to date using a 1.5 kg. discus.

Overall sports highlight of 2017: Watching my heroes in action in the London 2017 World Athletics Championships.

Personal athletics plans for 2018: Aim to throw over 50m with the 1.75 kg. discus, as I'm moving to a heavier weight.

Role model: It has to be Germany's Robert Harting.

SAIDHBHE BYRNE

Club: Enniscorthy.

Age: 13.

Personal athletics highlights of 2017: Competing in Glasgow in an international arena, winning gold in hurdles at Leinster level, and representing my county at the Leinster relays and taking gold.

Overall sports highlight of 2017: Winning gold at the Leinster and All-Ireland Combines.

Personal athletics plans for 2018: To continue to improve and emulate my success of 2017.

Role models: Thomas Barr, Derval O'Rourke and Jessica Ennis-Hill.

AEDAN ROGERS

Club: United Striders.

Age: 17.

Personal athletics highlight of 2017: Fifth in Leinster Under-19 cross-country.

Overall sports highlight of 2017: The Lions beating New Zealand.

Personal athletics plans for 2018: To get as close to four minutes in the 1,500m as possible, and challenge for the Leinster 1,500m title.

Role model: Callum Hawkins.

Wexford People