The first 2 weekends of the National Juvenile Track & Field Championships took place in Tullamore recently where some outstanding performances saw athletes from the club take home 1 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze in the 'A' Championships and 1 silver in the 'B' Championships as well as a string of 4th place finishes and top-8 performances.
Starting with last weekend in Tullamore, Arlene Earls led the way when powering to the podium with a silver medal in the U19 Girls 400m final in a club U20 record of 59.35 and her first National individual medal, knocking almost ¾ of a second off her PB for the event and going from strength to strength every time she competes over the 1 lap distance. Also on the track, Sean Cotter put in a tremendous effort in the U16 Boys 3000m final to claim the silver medal. Sean led the pack for much of the race and it came down to a sprint finish in the last lap with Sean having to settle for silver in a tight finish in a time of 9.19.58.
Arlene Earls and Sean Cotter - silver medalists in the U19 Girls 400m and U16 Boys 3000m
Ellie Cronin also hit the National podium for the first time with a fine clearance of 1.55m to take silver in the U16 Girls high jump. Ellie has placed 4th in the high jump on numerous occasions losing out on countback of knocked bars each time. This year she made no mistake and showed great composure to clear every height first time up to and including 1.55m and only exiting at the final height when she had already secured the silver medal – great progress and great experience for Ellie. For good measure, Ellie placed 4th in the triple jump the following day with a leap of 9.37m – her first time competing at National level in the event.
Evan Hallinan leaped to silver in the U14 Boys high jump with a fine clearance of 1.56 in wet conditions, tying on that height with the gold medalist. On his final attempt at 1.59, Evan soared clear but a tiny unnoticeable brush of the bar with his heels tipped it off the uprights a split second after Evan had hit the mat.
Ellie Cronin and Evan Hallinan - silver medalists in the U16 Girls and U14 Boys High Jump
In the horizontal jumps, Daniel Callanan-Forde leaped to bronze in the U19 Boys long jump with a 6.13m effort – very close to his outdoor PB and excellent jumping considering Daniel hadn’t much training done due to the Leaving Cert. Daniel was lying 5th with the final jump to come and pulled it out of the bag with his 6.13m to claim the bronze. Conor Trehy took bronze in the U16 Boys triple jump with an impressive 11.35m in a closely contested event where 4th place lay just 1cm further back with 11.34m.
Daniel Callanan-Forde and Conor Trehy - bronze medalists in the U19 Long Jump and U16 Triple Jump
Lorraine Delaney was in fantastic form in the U19 Girls long jump with an excellent opening 5.01m leap and following it up with 4.94, 4.85, 4.93 and 4.90 – the best series of jumps Lorraine has ever jumped in competition. Her opening 5.01m was strong enough to capture the bronze medal, only 5cm behind silver and 16cm behind gold and just 5cm ahead of club-mate Laura Cunningham who despite carrying a hamstring injury into the event leaped exceptionally well including a best of 4.96m on her final attempt but just short of making the podium.
Shauna Tobin (8th), Lorraine Delaney (3rd) and Laura Cunningham (4th) in the U19 Girls Long Jump
Ryan Gallagher was in hard luck in the U17 Boys high jump with a 4th place finish with 1.70m – the wet conditions made jumping difficult and Ryan’s best of 1.80 from the recent National League would have seen him on the podium. A similar fate was shared by Lukas Schukat with 4th in the U15 Boys high jump with a clearance of 1.55m. Both Ryan and Lukas have the consolation of knowing their PBs would have put them on the podium and can approach future National finals with great anticipation.
There were many more fine performances from the club’s athletes at this highest level of competition including James Furey 6th in the U16 Boys high jump with 1.50 and in the triple jump with 10.03; Aoife Kelly 7th in the U16 Girls triple jump with 8.87; Jade Moorhead 7th in the U14 Girls high jump with 1.40; Calvin Ryan 7th in the U14 Boys shot putt with 9.35; Shauna Tobin 8th in the U19 Girls long jump with 4.06; Emma Jane Moran 8th in the U16 Girls triple jump with 8.85; Kyle Moorhead 9th in the U17 Boys 800m in 2.05.44; Chloe Hallinan 9th in the U13 Girls 60m hurdles in 10.50, just missing out on a place in the final; Siofra Davis 9th in the U14 Girls high jump with 1.40 and 13th in the 75m hurdles in 13.23; Saoirse Moore 11th in the U15 Girls high jump with 1.40 and 14th in the 80m hurdles in 13.94; Saoirse Pierce 11th in the U15 Girls high jump with 1.40; Liam McDonagh 11th in the U15 Boys javelin with 30.64; Aoibhe Fahy 11th in the U14 Girls javelin with 23.95; Evan Moran 11th in the U13 Boys 60m in 11.02 and 14th in the 60m hurdles in 10.47; Luke Evans 12th in the final of the U19 Boys 800m having earlier run an impressive 2.02.00 in the heats; Aleisha Larkin 12th in the U16 Girls long jump with 4.73 and in the U16 Girls 100m in 13.77; Oisin Keane 13th in the U15 Boys javelin with 28.05; Eabha Neary 13th in the U13 Girls javelin with 17.21; Fauve Aylmer 15th in the U14 Girls 800m in 2.38.20; and Tara Morgan 18th in the U13 Girls javelin with 11.31.
A week earlier, in the National B track & field championships in Tullamore, Alicia Locteau had an outstanding performance in the U14 Girls High Jump when winning silver with a leap of 1.28m. Erin Kelly was very unlucky to place 4th in the same event with 1.25m, losing out on bronze on countback of knocked bars. Erin placed 13th in the long jump with a leap of 3.92m just behind Ella Lyons in 12th with 4.00m, both girls struggling a little with their marks. Isabel Schukat placed 6th in the U12 long jump with a leap of 3.55m. The U12 Girls placed 4th in their 4x100m heat in the National Relay Championships in a time of 61.37 with their team of Tara Keane, Gillian Crowe, Isabel Schukat and Shannon Quinn.
Finally keeping the best wine until last, the National relays that same weekend saw the U19 Girls put in a rousing finish to their juvenile relay days with a brace of National relay medals with victory in the 4x400m in a club record time of 4:15.14 with Lorraine Delaney, Laura Cunningham, Arlene Earls, Ciana Reidy and Shauna Tobin and earlier in the day with bronze medals in the 4x100m in a time of 52.36 with Siona Lawless, Arlene, Lorraine and Laura. For many of the girls, the trip to Tullamore for the National relay finals was an annual event almost every year since they were U9s. Three of the current squad were part of our U9 team of 2008 – Laura, Ciana and Shauna. The following report vividly describes their National debut that year:
“The U9 girls race threw up the only controversy of the day. The heats ran off smoothly. We were in the 2nd heat and qualified in 3rd place – but our time was very competitive with the winners of the other heat so we knew we had a chance. However, before the finals were called, the officials announced that they were rerunning heat 1 of the U9s because of an objection. It seems an athlete had crossed lanes after she had passed her baton and impeded another team. So that heat was going to be run again. Then 2 teams in that heat objected to it been rerun because their teams would then have had 3 races while the teams in heat 2 only had 2 races. Heated arguments ensued between those teams and the officials. One official proposed a compromise of having 10 teams in the final, with 2 teams in lane 1 and 2 in lane 8. Other teams objected to that on safety grounds. For a finish, they decided to rerun both heats and decide it all on times.
So off went the first heat – by my watch the leading 2 teams were 70.4 and 70.9 seconds. Then our heat. The team lined up with Rachel Hannify, Ciana Reidy, Aoife Raftery and Laura Cunningham, watched by sub Shauna Tobin. Rachel got a great start and motored down the tartan passing to Ciana. At the baton pass to Aoife, it looked like we were in the lead – amazing stuff as we were 2 seconds behind the leading 2 teams in this heat earlier. Then lots of waving flags and officials – the heat was been called back when it was almost three-quarters run. What was going on? It turned out that there was a problem with starting the official timing – so since the result was going to be decided on times, it had to be rerun. Very unfair on all the teams in our heat as running 3 times was precisely the reason other teams objected to heat 1 been rerun earlier.
So 10 minutes later, the heat got going again. Rachel to Ciana and as we progressed up the back straight, it was clear we weren’t having as good a race as the aborted heat. Ciana to Aoife and Aoife to Laura and Laura raced for the line. The leading 2 teams were about 10m clear and Laura gave it everything, crossing the line in 3rd place in 1.10.6 by my watch. So clearly the gold and silver medallists were in our heat – so would we get bronze or 4th. The results were slow in been announced. They were handed into the presentation area, so a quick look at the U9 sheet confirmed the unlucky news that we came 4th by 0.16 seconds. A fantastic performance by the team to be so close to medals and as with the U9 boys team, very promising for next year.”
Craughwell AC - U19 Girls 4x400m National Champions 2018
Shauna Tobin, Ciana Reidy, Lorraine Delaney, Laura Cunningham, Arlene Earls
Siona Lawless after leaving the blocks in the U19 Girls 4x100m in Tullamore