Monday 20 January 2020

Medals galore in Ferrybank

Eager participants with Juvenile track and field on way

Ciara Martin and Eimear Fortune were first and second respectively in the girls’ Under-16 800m in Ferrybank
Ciara Martin and Eimear Fortune were first and second respectively in the girls’ Under-16 800m in Ferrybank

The impressive E R.S.C. was the venue for the recent Ferrybank A.C. open sports in Waterford.

As ever, the county's clubs came out in force to support this event, which always draws a good number of participants and for most acts serves as their 'season opener' on the track.

With the Mr Oil county Juvenile track and field championships on the horizon, athletes were eager to get race experience and sharpness under their belts.

The event started with the women's and men's mile. Angela Wall and Clare O Morchoe of Taghmon were first and second in the women's event.

The Senior and Masters men's race had a field of 20 taking part. Andrew Connick, formerly of St. Paul's and now wearing the green of Ferrybank, finished first.

Just behind him was the supremely talented Aedan Rodgers of United Striders who had a strong last 400m to move himself into the silver medal position.

The sprints followed the mile races on the track. Ben O'Toole of Taghmon took an impressive win in the boys' Under-14 100m.

Claire Doyle of United Striders took the win in the girls' Under-18 100m. Her clubmate, Aoife Kehoe, was second. Adam Leahy of Menapians also won gold in the Junior 100m race.

Other Wexford medal winners in the sprints included Enniscorthy's Stephanie O'Connor (second, Under-12 80m), Oisín Larkin (third, Under-12 80m), Dannan Long (second, Under-15 100m), and Margaret O'Connor (second, Masters 100m).

Also on the podium in the sprints were Bree's Ava Wilson (second, Under-9 60m), Shane Laffan (second, Under-10 60m), Jayden Kenny (second, Under-11 80m), and Cian Donovan (second, Under-12 80m).

Taghmon had three bronze medal winners in the sprints to add to Ben O'Toole's success. Chloe O'Toole was third in the Under-16 100m, Hannah Roche-Kelly was third in the Junior 100m, and Angela Wall, fresh from winning gold in the mile, was third in the Masters women's 100m.

United Striders also won additional medals in the sprints to boost their points tally. T.J. Murphy was third in the Under-9 60m and Patrick Doyle, who competed in the All-Ireland triple jump in Athlone the day before, finished third in the Under-18 boys' 100m.

Kara Morrissey of Menapians finished second in the girls' Under-13 100m, while her clubmate Anoushka Nolan was second in the Under-16 100m.

Sam Molyneux of Kilmore was third in the Junior men's 100m and won the gold in the Senior 100m.

The hurdles followed the sprints. Orlaith Byrne of S.B.R. climbed to the top of the podium in the girls' Under-15 race, having earlier finished second in the Under-15 100m.

Bree have a strong reputation of producing quality hurdlers, underlined at the national Juvenile indoors recently when Darra Casey took home a gold medal.

On Sunday, some of their younger members were attempting to emulate his success. Ciara Laffan and Katie Doyle were victorious in the girls' Under-12 and Under-13 races. Abbie Doyle was second in the girls' Under-14 hurdles.

Brothers Seán and Eoin Lennon of United Striders were second and first respectively in the boys' Under-14 and Under-16 hurdles.

Conor Wycherly of Menapians was second in the boys' Under-14 hurdles. His clubmate, Eimear Halpin, finished third in the Under-16 girls' hurdles.

Middle distance running is in good health in Wexford at the moment. That was evident on Sunday when the county's top talents brought home several medals.

United Striders have great depth in the middle distance events and have some great talents coming through at the moment under the guidance of Ted Flannelly.

Finn Kelly took the win in the Under-15 800m. Ted's son, Darragh, had a massive P.B. in the national indoors less than a month ago.

In his first outdoor race of the season, he produced yet another P.B. and a gold medal, illustrating the rich vein of form he is in at the moment ahead of the county championships.

The girls' Under-16 800m was nearly an all-Wexford affair, with all but one of the starters coming from one of the county's clubs.

Ciara Martin of St. Paul's and Eimear Fortune of Kilmore were amongst the favourites, having both made the Leinster final indoors. The race started with Ciara going out at a lightning pace. Fortune tracked her, but was slightly behind.

With 300m to go, Fortune and a competitor from Carrick-on-Suir threatened to break Martin's resilience. Despite their best efforts, they couldn't and Martin put her foot down to break clear, with Fortune coming second, in a quick race.

Danika Gilshinan looked in control in the girls' Under-17 800m. Danika, who runs for St. Paul's, is the daughter of the recent world championships Masters medal winner, Anne.

Moving strongly from start to finish, her victory was never in doubt and she can look forward to a busy outdoor season now. Definitely one to watch!

Rayna Thompson of Kilmore won the girls' Under-12 600m.

Bree had a number of young Juvenile athletes who medalled in the middle distance races. Ava Wilson was second in the girls' Under-9 300m, Hazel Breen was third in the girls' Under-10 300m, Shane Laffan was second in the boys' Under-10 300m, Lea Bolger was second in the girls' Under-12 500m, and Cian Donovan was third in the boys' Under-12 500m.

Catherine O'Leary of St. Paul's was second in the girls' Under-10 300m. T.J. Murphy of United Striders was third in the boys' Under-9 300m.

Seán Lennon of United Striders was second in the boys' Under-14 700m. Also representing Striders were Rebecca Bawden, who came second in the Junior women's 800m, Erinn Shannon, who was third in the Under-17 race, and Aaron Browne who also came third in his Under-17 race.

Sarah Phylan was third in the girls' Under-13 700m. The Enniscorthy runner had a great cross-country season last year.

There was some strong performances in the field events also. Arwyn Thompson of Kilmore won the girls' Under-15 long jump.

Ava Wilson of Bree won the girls' Under-10 long jump. Meanwhile, in the shot putt circle, Triini Jurisoo won the girls' Under-16 competition with a new P.B.

In the high jump, Dannan Long of Enniscorthy came second in the boys' Under-15 competition. Also medalling in the high jump was Eimear Halpin of Menapians who came second in the Under-16 competition. Her clubmate, Triini Jurisoo, was third.

United Striders took the win in the boys' Under-14 4 x 100m relay. Bree also had great success in the relays, with their Under-11 and Under-13 boys' teams winning gold.

United Striders took the overall best club cup back to New Ross for the second year running. The massive numbers they had show the sheer size of Wexford's biggest Juvenile club. Bree finished joint second in the clubs competition, a great result.

Attention for Wexford's Juvenile track and field stars now turns to the Mr Oil county Juvenile Track championships in Enniscorthy on May 5 and 12.

Before that, though, there will be one final chance to get some race sharpness in the legs, with the St. Senan's A.C. open in Kilmacow on Easter Monday.

The Phoenix Park played host to the Great Ireland Run on Sunday which also incorporated the national 10k championships.

With over 4,000 taking part, competition was strong. Wexford's clubs had a number of athletes running the popular route, led by Ger Forde.

Forde is a multiple time county Senior road race champion and is a force to be reckoned with. The secondary school teacher in Wexford C.B.S. dons the purple and gold of Slaney Olympic and regularly delivers super performances at national level.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Forde clocked the fastest Parkrun 5k in the country, running 15:34 in Wexford racecourse.

On Sunday, Ger produced an excellent performance to finish in a fine eleventh place. His time of 31:54 was particularly impressive.

John Murphy was the next Wexford man across the line. The D.M.P. runner finished 67th overall, in a time of 34:53. This placed John as tenth Over-45 home, a very impressive result.

David Barron of Slaney Olympic finished 112th. Barron's result placed him sixth in the Over-50 category, in a time of 36:31.

S.B.R. were represented by Eugene Doherty who had a strong race, finishing fifth in the Over-60 category in a time of 41:07.

What's very notable about these results is that all four men finished in the top ten in their categories, with Forde the seventh Senior man home.

With Wexford's runners performing so well at national level, we can look forward to what will hopefully be a cracking Mr Oil county Senior road race in June.

The Irish Life Health national spring throws event attracted some of the country's best throwers to Athlone recently.

Tom Furlong of D.M.P. took an impressive win in the Senior men's hammer (7.26kg) with a best throw of 61.77m, giving him a comfortable margin over second-placed Simon Galligan of Clonliffe Harriers.

No less convincing in the manner of his victory was Taghmon's Pádraig Hore who won the Junior men's discus (1.75kg), his best effort of 45.08m being in excess of 2.5m clear of his nearest rival.

Saidhbhe Byrne of Enniscorthy A.C. was in action in the girls' Under-16 javelin. Saidhbhe, an acclaimed multi-eventer, has had a great indoor season.

In her first outdoor event of the year, she put in a solid performance to finish fifth, with a best throw of 34.53m. However, it wasn't without controversy.

Saidhbhe had thrown 35.13m and was in third position. However, an official incorrectly recorded the result as 25.13m. Despite the efforts of Saidhbhe and, following an appeal, the decision stood, denying Saidhbhe a place on the podium. She finished 13th in the discus.

Emma Owens of St. Paul's is arguably Wexford's best and most consistent thrower. She proved this last Sunday with a fine third place finish in the Senior women's 4kg hammer (42.40m).

Taghmon's Bronagh O'Hanlon is another of our hammer specialists, having won multiple county and Leinster medals down the years. She ended the competition in fifth place with a P.B. of 31.27m. Amy Forde was seventh.

Eadaoin Stafford was 15th in the discus.

United Striders' javelin throwing ace, Joshua Hewlett, got his season off to a good start despite having just two (of four) valid throws in the Senior men's event. His best effort of 49.07m gave him a good second place finish.

Fixtures: April 22, Leinster 10 Mile, Raheny, Dublin; April 28, A.A.I. national road relays, Raheny, Dublin; May 2, South Leinster Schools track and field (day one), Waterford R.S.C.

Wexford People

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