Leon on the double
Sprint success for Menapians ace
The Irish Life and Health National Senior indoor track and field championships were held in the National Indoor Arena in Dublin last weekend.
Wexford had high hopes of medal winners, with a number of athletes successful in this competition last year.
One of the star performers at the championships was Leon Reid of Menapians.
Leon had some good runs at the recent Athletics Ireland indoor games, winning his 60m races.
He also helped his club finish second in the national indoor track and field league, and was a member of the record-breaking Meanpians Senior men's 4 x 200m relay team.
On Saturday, Leon had a comfortable victory in the first round of the 60m, qualifying him for the semi-final on Sunday.
His performance in the first round of the 200m was relaxed and he enjoyed another comfortable victory, though his winning time was only good enough to qualify him for lane two in the final on Sunday.
On Sunday, Leon had a good win in his 60m semi-final in a time of 6.80 seconds, ranking him second going in to the final.
A great start in the 60m final saw him power ahead in the second half of the race to win his first national title of 2018 in a time of 6.72, one of the fastest times ever run on Irish soil.
Only 30 minutes after running the 60m, Leon was again in action, this time in the 200m final which was loaded with talent.
The line-up included Thomas Barr who was fourth in his event at the Rio Olympics and was the pre-race favourite.
Starting in lane two, Leon was faced with the tight bends of the 200m track, which would make it difficult to build up acceleration at the start.
Maybe the start was not great for Leon, but the rest of the race was as he was battling for the lead in the home straight.
A fantastic last 50m saw Reid cross the line in first place in a time of 21.36, completing the sprint double. This was the fastest 200m on Irish soil this year.
The sprint double completed a 'double double' for Reid as he won the 60m and 200m also in 2017.
David McDonald of Menapians made a welcome return to the competition after a frustrating outdoor season in 2017, qualifying for the 200m final where he finished fifth in a time of 22.21.
Joseph Mooney of Adamstown was in action in the men's 5k walk, finishing in fifth place.
Aaron Tierney-Smith of Menapians was in action in the 60m hurdles final.
Aaron, currently ranked in the top ten in Ireland, ran a time of 8.77 to finish seventh.
Fiona Kehoe of Kilmore has had a busy February thus far.
She finished second in the 3,000m at the Athletics Ireland indoor games, and fifth in the Athletics Ireland Intermediate cross-country in Galway.
At the Senior indoor championships last weekend, she qualified for the 1,500m final by finishing second in her heat on Saturday.
In the 1,500m on Sunday, she battled it out with the leaders for most of the race, finishing a strong eighth and only a few seconds behind the medal winners.
Conor Wilson had a good run in the 60m, qualifying for the semi-final in a time of 6.28, only a few hundredths of a seconds off his personal best.
Chris St. Claire Johnson of Enniscorthy, Conor Wilson, Kenneth Malone, Conor Gaffney and Jack Hayden of Menapians were all in action in very competitive heats in the 400m.
Despite running good times, none advanced to the final.
Good efforts were produced by Michael Deady of Menapians and Michael Fortune of Enniscorthy in their events but the athletes did not advance to the next round.
Irish number one 400m runner Phil Healy, who is coached by Wexford-based Shane McCormack, was an impressive winner of the 400m and will be competing in the world indoor track and field championships in Birmingham in two weeks' time.
Next weekend Wexford athletes are in action at the Leinster championships which will be held in the National Indoor Arena in Dublin.
Wexford results - 60m: 1, Leon Reid (Menapians), 6.83/6.80/6.72; Conor Wilson, (Menapians), 7.28/7.26; Michael Deady (Menapians), 7.31.
200m: 1, Leon Reid (Menapians), 22.33/21.36; David McDonald (Menapians), 22.04/22.21; Kenneth Malone (Menapians), 24.54.
400m: Conor Wilson (Menapians), 51.22; Chris St. Clair Johnson (Enniscorthy), 51.25; Jack Hayden (Menapians), 51.40; Conor Gaffney (Menapians), 54.07; Kenneth Malone (Menapians), 55.93.
60m hurdles: 7, Aaron Tierney-Smith (Menapians), 8.77.
1,500m: 8, Fiona Kehoe (Kilmore), 4.35.09/4.31.04.
Talented St. Killian's all-rounder Jack Forde travelled to Tullamore last weekend to collect his national Juvenile star award.
Jack was chosen for the award on the back of his achievements in 2017.
Less than two months into 2018 it very much looks like he has no intention of taking his foot off the gas.
In January he took the Under-16 title at the Irish Life Health indoor combined events championships.
Earlier this month he had double gold success at the Leinster indoors, winning the Under-16 high jump with a P.B. of 1.80m (narrowly missing 1.84m), and the shot putt (12.68m).
To crown a fine start to the year, Jack was recently named Mr. Oil athlete of the month for January.
The Wexford Sportshall finals will take place on February 28 in Astro Active, Enniscorthy, at 10.30 a.m.
Teams can arrive from 9.45 a.m. for warm-up and practice.
Further details are available from Regional Development Officer Colin Byrne (087-0632326 or e-mail email@example.com
Fixtures: February 21, A.I.T. grand prix, Athlone; February 24, Leinster Juvenile (day two) plus Junior, Senior and Masters indoor track and field championships, Abbotstown; February 25, Leinster Juvenile indoor championships day three, Abbotstown (relays and older ages field events).
NEXT WEEK: full Athletics Awards night coverage