The Irish Life Health schools track and field championships took place in Tullamore last Saturday.
As anyone involved in Irish athletics will tell you, this is one of the great days in the calendar. You get it all: raw talent, gut-busting duels, superlative performances and great sportsmanship. Records tumble, reputations are made and hearts are broken.
Many of the athletes taking part will go on to greater things at Senior level, others will dominate in other sports. All will remember, and treasure, the epic struggles they had in this competition from Minor through Intermediate up to Senior.
The top young athletes of Co. Wexford had a good innings at this year's event. Some who would have expected to be among the medals fell just short. Most are sufficiently battle-hardened at this stage to know that you just gotta suck it up and learn from the experience.
There were four fine individual wins for our athletes: Marguerite Furlong, St. Mary's (New Ross) in the Inter girls' discus, Grace Furlong (C.B.S. New Ross) in the Senior triple jump, Ryan Carthy-Walsh (Good Counsel New Ross) in the Senior high jump, and James Hanlon (Ramsgrange C.S.) in the Junior 1,200m walk.
The Senior boys' 4 x 100m team from C.B.S. Wexford looked lethal as they swept to victory in a time of 43.58s (see below). There was further cause for joy for the school as, when results were tallied at day's end, the Senior boys placed third in overall team rankings.
Pádraig Hoare (C.B.S. New Ross) was delighted with his silver in the Senior discus. He also placed sixth in the shot.
Lystus Eboselte (C.B. Wexford) picked up a pair of bronzes in the Inter shot and discus.
St. Peter's Wexford student Shane Parle won bronze in the Senior long jump.
Sprinter David McDonald of C.B.S. Wexford was third in the Senior 100m and fifth in the 200m. Not bad when you consider that David has, of late, been getting to know his G.P. as well as he does his coach and has been somewhat below his best. Expect to see him firing on all cylinders again over the summer.
Loreto Wexford's multi-eventers Aisling Kelly and Maeve Hayes, while outside the medals, will be happy enough with their performances.
One imagines that the same might not be the case with Gorey C.S. student Corrine Kenny who placed fifth in the Junior 800m. Last year Corinne ran almost three seconds faster for the distance and won herself a bronze medal.
And last August she covered the same distance in a time close to ten seconds faster than her time last weekend. Maybe one thing to read from this is that championship running is no respecter of times. The other thing worth saying is, regardless of her place last Saturday, this young lady is still a phenomenal talent.
Well done to all our athletes. And remember…treasure the memories!
Results (Junior girls) - 800m: 5, Corrine Kenny, Gorey C.S. (2.22.51); long jump: 5, Aisling Kelly, Loreto Wexford (5.01m).
Inter girls - discus: 1, Marguerite Furlong, St. Mary's New Ross (35.82m); high jump: 6, Maeve Hayes, Loreto Wexford (1.55m); triple jump: 7, Tara Doyle, St. Mary's New Ross (10.29m); shot putt (3 kg.): 3, Lystus Eboselte, C.B. Wexford (11.86m); discus (1 kg.): 3, Lystus Eboselte, C.B. Wexford (30.33m); hammer (3 kg.): 5, Bronagh O'Hanlon, Pres Wexford (37.43m).
Senior girls - 100m: 4, Aoife Rochford, C.B. Enniscorthy (12.30s); triple jump: 1, Grace Furlong, C.B.S. New Ross (11.41m); hammer (4 kg.): 5, Amy Forde, Loreto Wexford (34.74m); 3,000m walk: 4, Triona Mooney, St. Mary's, New Ross (17m 7.16s).
Minor boys - 4 x 100m relay: 4, C.B.S. Enniscorthy (51.03s).
Junior boys - high jump: 5, Jack Forde, C.B.S. Wexford (1.65m); shot putt (4 kg.): 4, Jack Forde, C.B.S. Wexford (11.72m); discus (1 kg.): 9, Nathan Murphy, C.B.S. Wexford (27.91m); hammer: (4 kg.): 4, Gergely Pap, C.B.S. Wexford (34.22m); 1,200m walk: 1, James Hanlon, Ramsgrange C.S. (6m 0.8s).
Inter boys - javelin (700g): 3, Joshua Hewlett, C.B.S. New Ross (51m).
Senior boys - 100m: 3, David McDonald, C.B.S. Wexford (10.75s); 200m: 5, David McDonald, C.B.S. Wexford (22.69s); 100m hurdles: 4, Aaron Smith, C.B.S. Wexford (15.74s); 4 x 100m relay: 1, C.B.S. Wexford (43.58s); high jump: 1, Ryan Carthy-Walsh, Good Counsel New Ross (2.00m); long jump: 3, Shane Parle, St. Peter's Wexford (6.66m); shot putt (6 kg.): 6, Pádraig Hoare, C.B.S. New Ross (13.36m); discus (1.75 kg.): 2, Pádraig Hoare, C.B.S. New Ross (41.91m); javelin (800g): 4, Peter O'Shea, St. Peter's Wexford (49.95m, P.B.).
Three different Leinster championship competitions took place in Tullamore last Sunday - Under-23, Senior and Masters.
Peter O'Connor (Enniscorthy A.C.) won the Senior 110m hurdles. Joe Mooney (Adamstown) won a gold medal in the Senior 5k walk.
Chris St. Clare Johnson (E.A.C.) won in the heats of both the Senior 200m and 400m and placed fourth in the final of both. Hezekiah Shoyeju (E.A.C.) won the Masters javelin.
Menapians had a good day in the Under-23s with silver medals for Conor Gaffney (400m hurdles) and Mikey Cullen (long jump), and bronze for Shaun Donohoe (400m). Jack Hayden ran a P.B. of 23.06s in the 200m.
The biggest medal haul for the county's clubs came in the Masters events. Hezekiah Shoyeju (E.A.C.) won the javelin. Siobhán Doyle (Menapians) won gold in both the 100m and 200m. Siobhán is having quite a year as she also won both the 100m and the 200m at the national indoors.
Christine Stone (D.M.P.) was first in the 3,000m and third in 1,500m.
The athletes of United Striders had a particularly fruitful outing. John McGrath won the 800m and placed third in the 400m; Áine Cullen won gold in the high jump, silver in the shot and bronze in the discus; there were bronze medals for both Ted Flannelly and Alan O'Connor in the 5,000m and for Sonya Byrne in the 1,500m; Sonya also placed second over 800m.
Pat Gately (D.M.P.) took silver medals in both high jump and long jump and placed third in the javelin.
A small crew of Wexford athletes recently made the trip to Belgium for the highly-regarded I.F.A.M. meet. All gained valuable experience and benefited from the opportunity to compete against some of the top athletes in Europe.
Ryan Carthy-Walsh (Adamstown) cleared 2.10m in the high jump yet again. One of these days Ryan will be adding another 10 cms. to that!
Also at the meet were a squad of sprinters from Menapians. Every one of them came away with either a season's best or a new personal best.
David McDonald lowered his 200m best to 21.81s. Considering that David has, on medical advice, been taking his foot off the gas of late, he is still flying.
Conor Gaffney achieved a 200m P.B. of 24.28s as well as achieving a season's best for 400m hurdles.
There were 100m P.B's for Ciarán Maher, Mikey Cullen and Shaun Donohue. Both Conor Wilson and Jack Hayden bagged 400m P.B's, with the former also getting a season's best over 100m (11.16s).
See the latest results and news at http://wexfordathletics.com.