Another year, more drama and ultimately more success than disappointment when we look back on the Connachts in Sligo for u11s in 2014.

The day kicked off with a measure of the latter, when the u11 Girls Relay team (Alex Slamas, Rebecca Lynch, Rebekah Flynn, Emily Miskella sub Caoimhe Connolly) failed to qualify for the All-Irelands for the first time. This was a disappointment for a team that had won the County title in such style, but the margins get smaller for error the older the age-group, and the team members compensated later in the day with some outstanding performances (see below). Our B team (Caoimhe Connolly, Hannah Hynes, Oliwia Komav, Holly Comer) were missing two key members, but battled well in the other heat, holding their own with Connacht's finest.

 

 

Drama always follows the relays, but our under 11 Boys team, once again, had a very anxious wait to see if theyhad squeezed through, after another epic duel with Athenry -this time, we were just behind at the finish despite the team's (Robert Urquhart, Conor Hoade, Lukas Schukat, Liam Mulveen, sub1 (abroad) Kieran O'Connor and sub 2 Niall Cummins) strength in depth. However, the time was enough to qualify for a second successive All-Irelands with Bronze medals.

Our second team was also decimated by Colga and other things - yet Niall Cummins brought them home strongly for a very respectable time and performance. Noah Keane and Fabian Fleetwood proved able subs on the day to step in and do a tremendous job for their club and this will stand to them and be remembered by the coaches for next year. Liam McDonagh ran a blistering 2nd leg - and his day was only going to get better.

It was at the Long Jump pit where we saw our greatest success, yet again. For the boys, Lukas Schukat who has been jumping 4m in training, and Niall Cummins edged out the 2 Liams (McDonagh and Mulveen) for the Gold. This was 1st and 2nd in the Boys Long Jump for the second successive year, with 6 different jumpers!

Not to be outdone, our girls took Gold and Bronze with impressive Connacht debutants Alex Slamas and Oliwia Komav narrowly missing out in 4th, but both registering competition PBs. Rebecca Lynch (3.20) and Emily Miskella (3.41) finished 1st, while back-to-near-her-best Rebekah Flynn (3.30) and Caoimhe Connolly (3.03) were just behind Claremorris' strong pair in 3rd.

While we were rampant in Turbo Javelin at Dangan, we were always going to find the going tough in Sligo. However, we got our first provincial Girls medals, with Rebecca Lynch smashing her County Record with 16.94m and Regina Maduka impressing with 13.10. Their total was enough for 2nd, 7m combined behind Westport's Chamber sisters, who happen to be the All-Ireland champions! Last year, Rebecca and Alex Slamas were placed 7th in this event, so the progress made by Jon, Noel and Kevin here has been immense. The aforementioned Alex Slamas almost double last year's distance with 12m while her partner Holly Comer threw just under 10m which was a great debut performance.

We were riddled with bad luck in the boys however. Our top thrower, Oisin Keane missed out with injury, while Cathal Hannon's immense potential was not represented by three foul throws. These are always contentious issues in technical events - and Cathal wasn't penalised in Dangan with the same style. However, this meant that his partner, Oisin Quirke's fine throws were inconsequential, though some compensation is that it would not have cost them medals.

We had 2 heros back in 6th place: Michael Leahy (arm in cast for past two weeks) threw a new PB (16m) and Fabian Fleetwood, called to action late in the day threw 12+m for a very impressive Connacht debut.

In sprints, our sole representatives were Conor Hoade & Niall Cummins, and they were just outside the medals. Conor's time was one of the fastest of the day, while Niall was marginally over 10s.

Perhaps the star of the day for the u11s was Liam McDonagh. He jumped a huge 3.61m in Long Jump for 2nd, combined with Robert Urquhart for 2nd in turbo javelin and gave the coaches food for thought with a stunning 100m in the relay for the B team.

Finally, in the 600m Emily Miskella (1:59...which may be a club record...watch this space for confirmation) and her partner-in-crime, Rebekah Flynn (2:02) powered to a superb 2nd place. They have 2 GCH girls just ahead of them - and if they can narrow this gap a little, they can be in the mix in Tullamore.

Well done to all athletes concerned many of whom will also be in the mix in Tullamore and all of whom did themselves, their parents and coaches proud.

Monday the 27th. .