Team gold for Masters men
United Striders relay crew also sweep to more success
Clarinbridge in Galway was the venue for the Masters and Intermediate national cross-country championships. It was freezing cold, it was mucky and, if the cold got in on you, it was thoroughly miserable.
The programme opened with the Juvenile 'B' national championships (uneven age) along with the Under-12 and Under-14 relay races.
The irrepressible Under-14 boys of United Striders won their relay race. As they have shown so often over the past year, they really know how to raise their game for the big occasion.
Well done to Myles and Cosmo Hewlett, Aidan Shannon, Darragh Flannelly and Eoin Shannon.
Éabha Keane (D.M.P.) placed fifth in the Under-11 girls' race. Like Cinderella, she lost a shoe en route - not the first time that has happened!
Next over the line for the club was Layla Stafford in 20th, followed by Aoife Walsh (31st) and Sarah O'Mahony (75th). This left the team narrowly outside the medals in fourth place.
Ellie Stafford (D.M.P.) appears to have been the only Wexford representative in the Under-13 race. In the Under-15 race, Erinn Shannon (United Striders) was 22nd. Conor Keane (D.M.P.) was a battling eleventh in the Under-17 boys.
In the Masters race, the Co. Wexford men Over-50 won team gold ahead of a more fancied Dublin team.
Leading Wexford home was Jim Stafford who also won individual gold Over-55, his first at national level. He was followed by David Kehoe, Ger Maloney, Pádraig Moriarity, David Barron and Pat O'Callaghan.
The ground was well cut up by the time the Intermediate athletes lined up. Kilmore's Fiona Kehoe battled her way through the muck to place a very respectable fifth in the women's 5km.
In the men's race, run over eight energy-sapping kilometres, Ger Forde (Slaney Olympic) stayed in touch with the leading group for much of the race.
However, he found, to his cost, that should you fall off the pace, even by a couple of seconds, on a course such as this you will struggle to re-engage. Like Fiona he had to settle for a fifth place finish.
Day one of the Irish Life Health Leinster Juvenile indoor track and field championships took place in Athlone on Saturday.
Taghmon's Aisling Kelly won the Under-16 60m with a P.B. of 7.99s. This is her sixth successive Leinster gold medal in six different events. This time last year she won the 60m hurdles and, in the summer, she collected Leinster golds in 100m, 200m, long jump and relay.
Sammy Delaney (St. Paul's) won the Under-19 long jump with a best jump of 5.82m. Maeve Hayes collected another gold for St. Paul's as she retained her Leinster indoor title in the long jump with a best of 5.03m.
Saidhbhe Byrne took a bronze in Under-15 long jump (4.73m). Clubmate Blanaid Fogarty was fifth in Under-17 long jump, just five cm. off bronze. She also qualified for the nationals in 60m, running 8.21s en route and placing fifth.
Eva Casey (Macamores) won the Under-14 shot putt with a best throw of 10.48m, over one metre ahead of second place.
S.B.R's Orlaith Deegan jumped her way to a joint share of the gold in Under-14 high jump (1.40m). Her former pairs partner, Orlaith Byrne, dashed her way to a runner-up spot on the podium in Under-14 60m.
Kevin O'Mahoney (D.M.P.) is as happy with the sprint as he is with the longer distance as he proved with a gold medal-winning performance in Under-12 60m.
Dannan Long (Enniscorthy) won a silver medal in Under-14 high jump, equalling his P.B. of 1.46m.
Aoife Muldoon (U.S.A.C.) was second in the Under-19 long jump.
Michael Kent (D.M.P.) placed fifth in Under-12 high jump. Brídín Doyle of Craanford Harriers won the Under-14 1k walk.
Ciara Murphy (U.S.A.C.) was second in the Under-15 walk.
S.B.R's Jack Byrne, in his first season at the event, won bronze in Under-15 1k walk.
Eve Byrne (U.S.A.C.), competing in the Under-16 walk, also picked up a bronze as did clubmate Ryan Kielthy in the Under-17 walk.
Aedan Rogers (U.S.A.C.), happily recovered from an injury picked up in cross-country, placed third in the Under-19 1,500m.
Danika Gilshinan of St. Paul's placed ninth in the 1,500m.
Shane O'Neill of Menapians, competing in Under-17 60m, smashed his previous best in the heats with a time of 7.55s. In the final he bettered his time again, clocking 7.53s, and taking the silver medal.
His clubmate, April Keeling, was adjudged to have broken in the Under-16 60m and was shown a red card. Enniscorthy's Ross Daly was second in Under-19 60m and fourth in 400m.
Bree's Abbie Doyle showed great determination in winning a silver in the Under-13 60m. Clubmate Gracie Kehoe placed sixth.
Further evidence of Bree's strength over the shorter distances was provided by former athlete of the month winner, Seán Rowley, who ran superbly through the qualifiers to ultimately take fourth in the Under-14 60m final. There was no medal, but he was very happy to shave 0.25s off his P.B.
Olivia Howe brought another podium placing for Bree, taking a bronze in the Under-19 60m. Special mention for the club's Under-12 sprinters, Harry Devereux and Katie Doyle, who, while giving it everything, did not medal.
A number of athletes from Co. Wexford competed at last weekend's national indoor varsities in Athlone.
In the combined events (60m hurdles, 1,000m, high jump, long jump, shot), Enniscorthy's Tim Bowler, competing for U.C.D., showed great consistency across all events to take the silver (3,229 points - a U.C.D. record).
In the bronze medal position was fellow Enniscorthy man Peter O'Connor (I.T. Carlow) with 2,930 points. Just 20 points behind him was Menapians athlete Conor Gaffney in the colours of U.C.D. Conor had the consolation of taking an easy victory in the 1,000m.
In the high jump, D.M.P's Shane Parle, competing for N.U.I.G., jumped a P.B. of 1.90m to take the silver.
Conor Wilson (A.I.T.) placed fourth in the 200m final in 22.55s and was fractionally outside his best in the 60m heats, running 7.17s. He also helped secure a point for A.I.T. in the 4 x 200m relay.
Fellow Menapians athlete Emmanuel Ogbonna (W.I.T.), another key member of the silver medal-winning national indoor league team, was seventh in the triple jump with 12.59m, just outside his season's best.
Dale Murphy-Butler (W.I.T.) had a P.B. in the 400m and also the weight for distance. Mel O'Callaghan (W.I.T.) showed a nice return to form in the men's 60m also with a speedy 7.47s.
D.C.U. was top overall college in both male and female team competitions.
The Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy, is the venue for next Friday's annual Wexford Athletics awards night. This is one of the social highlights on the county's athletics calendar.
Athletes, coaches, parents and supporters are encouraged to attend. Chairman Paddy Morgan, who will outline some of the development initiatives to be undertaken by Athletics Wexford in 2018, promises not to let formalities get in the way of a good evening!
The evening commences at 8 p.m. sharp. Finger food and refreshments will be served.
Fixtures: February 16 (7.30 p.m.), Wexford Athletics annual awards night, Riverside Hotel, Enniscorthy, 8 p.m.; February 17 and 18, Irish Life Health National Senior indoor track and field championships, Abbotstown.