Laura Cunningham National U18 Indoor Triple Champion 2017
It was another brilliant day of action yesterday at the final day of the National Juvenile Indoors in Athlone IT which yielded 4 medals and many personal best performances. The first medal of the day was a treasured National title for Laura Cunningham in the National U18 Triple Jump. Years of dedication are starting to pay off for Laura for whom this is the 4th National medal in less than a year having won triple jump silver and relay gold in last year’s outdoor track and field and high jump bronze in this year’s Scottish Indoors. National medals are hard to come by for even the most hard-working athletes. Laura medalled at National level as an U10 in 2009 in both long jump and relay so it was very special to see her medalling again 8 years later and clinching her first National individual title in the process. Her winning leap of 10.55m is also a club indoor senior record.
And in the same competition, Lorraine Delaney was so close to the medals but had to settle for 4th place in the end. With similar dedication to Laura, a medal would have been a just reward for Lorraine’s talent and hard work but it was not to be on this occasion. Lorraine moved into 2nd place on the 5th round with a fantastic PB of 10.18m but was overtaken by 2 other jumpers on the final round who leaped 3cm and 8cm further – so close and very unlucky to miss out on the podium.
Lorraine and Laura shortly after the U18 Triple Jump
No sooner has the triple jump concluded than news filtered over from the shot putt area of Darragh Kearney’s fantastic gold medal in the U12 shot putt. Darragh heaved the shot putt out to 9.01m on his 4th throw to claim the gold – an incredible 1.33m improvement on his Connacht throw. Ben O’Dwyer placed 14th in the same event with a PB of 7.01m. And our U12s confirmed their throwing skills when Niamh Duffy threw a brilliant 7.96m to take the bronze medal in the U12 Girls Shot Putt. A fantastic achievement for both Darragh and Nimah and for our U12 age group to have both a boy and a girl on the National podium in the same discipline!
Final medal of the day came with an impressive performance from Conor Hoade in the U14 60m hurdles who claimed the bronze in a tight finish in an excellent time of 9.50. Conor was joined in the final by Robert Urquhart competing in the hurdles for the first time this season and doing brilliantly to record a PB of 10.43 to take 7th place in the final. For Conor this was his third National medal in the space of a year having won silver in the indoor pentathlon in January and silver in the outdoor hurdles in July and it was marvellous to see him adding another medal to his growing National collection.
Evan Hallinan went very close to adding his 4th National medal of 2017 (having earlier this year won double silver in the Scottish Indoors in long jump and high jump and bronze last weekend in the high jump at the Irish Indoors) with a 6th place finish in the U13 boys long jump with a best of 4.35m. Also in the long jump Jade Moorhead, Grace Lynch and Tomas Fitzgerald all jumped very well in their events with Jade jumping 3.70m in the U13 girls, Grace 3.31 in the U12 girls and Tomas 3.36 in the U12 boys.
Sean Cotter who made the final of the U15 800m at the National Championships in Athlone
In the middle distance races, Ben Garrard and Oisin Lyons were the club’s leading performers when both athletes placed 7th in the finals of their 800m. Ben ran 2.02.99 in the heats of the U19 Boys 800m and followed it up with a 2.04.42 in the final while Oisin won his heat of the U18 Boys in a time of 2.03.09 and followed this with a 2.03.17 in the final. Sean Cotter ran a big PB of 2.14.24 in the heats of the U14 800m and followed it up with a strong race to place 7th in the final. Clodagh O’Meara ran very close to a PB in the U13 Girls 600m, recording a time of 1.54.31 which was just 0.08 of a second outside her PB while Evan Moran ran a time of 1.57.62 in the heats of the U12 600m. Rian Keaney took 10th place in the U15 shot putt with a strong throw of 9.42m while Evan Halllinan, Odhran Gilligan and James Furey all contested the heats of the hurdles with James running 11.80 in the U15 hurdles and Evan and Odhran running 10.57 and 11.68 in the U13 hurdles.