Today in AIT, Sprint guru Ronnie Warde led the way as Craughwell Sealed their first Masters team Sprint title with a fantastic victory in the 4x200m relay.  The team of John Walkin, Ronnie Warde, Evan Morgan and Cormac Kearney blazed away from the field to seal a comfortable victory ahead of Gowran AC in Second and Galway City Harriers in 3rd.

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In addition to that Ronnie claimed two exceptional individual medals.  Ronnie won a 60m Silver in a fine time of 7.31 (the winner was 7.30!) and a 200m Bronze in 24.66.  

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800m runners Paul Joyce, Gavin Cooney and Sinead Gaffney
at the National Senior Indoors in Dublin

A small contingent from Craughwell AC contested the National Senior Indoor Championships last weekend in the National Sports Arena in Dublin. Sinead Gaffney ran a powerful race in the heats of the women’s 800m, placing 6th in a time of 2.19.31 – literally just a metre and less than a breath away from breaking her own club record and PB of 2.19.10.

Paul Joyce put it all out there in the heats of the men’s 800m with his second fastest time ever of 1.57.72 which placed him just outside the qualifiers for the final and Gavin Cooney went ever so close again to going under the sub-2 holy grail time of 800m running when placing 5th in his heat in 2.01.54.

Jack Miskella battled hard in a tactical 1500m heat, recording a time 4.11.03 and only 2 seconds from the automatic qualifiers for the final. Sinead Treacy ran a lightning fast 57.13 to place 2nd in the heats of the 400m, just outside her recent PB and club record of 56.73 set earlier in February.

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Paul Joyce following his stunning 1.56.42 victory

At the end of a busy day of juvenile action where Craughwell AC’s U12 and U13s dominated proceedings with countless podium finishes (detailed report to follow), Craughwell’s seniors took to the track to continue the success with some magnificent performances. It was the first time as far as I am aware that Connacht put the seniors separate to the juvenile event, tagging on 2 hours for seniors to the end of the juvenile day and the format worked very well.

The highlight of the highlights of the highlights has to be the breathtaking performance by Paul Joyce in the Senior Men’s 800m where he absolutely blew the club record of 1.57.21 apart with a brilliant 1.56.42 and in the process took the Connacht crown. I’ve waffled on in the past about Paul’s potential having run a 1.59.73 as an U19 indoors in 2013 and a 1.58.05 outdoors in 2014. Returning to the sport a year ago after a few years absence, we are starting to see this potential realized now with an absolutely stunning run from Paul to take Peadar Harvey’s club record, a new PB and the Connacht title all at once. Well done Paul! Running strongly in second place, Gavin Cooney came within a whisker of sub-2 when taking silver in 2.00.95.

And shortly before Paul’s victory, our senior women’s club record holder Sinead Gaffney raced to the Connacht 800m title in a tactical 2.22.25. Both Paul and Sinead joined the club as 6 or 7 year olds all the way back in 2001 or 2002 and its lovely to see them performing at such a high level and still with the club almost 20 years later!

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Arlene Earls, Connacht Senior Indoor 400m Champion 2020

Despite a relatively small contingent in action, the club had remarkable success with Arlene Earls taking the Senior Womens 400m title in 63.30; Laura Cunningham taking the Senior Womens Long Jump title in a season’s best of 5.04m; Luke Evans taking the Senior Mens 1500m title in 4.21.26; Cormac Kearney doubling up to take the Master Mens 60m title in 7.80 and the long jump title with 4.78m; Sinead Treacy taking silver in the Senior Womens 200 in a fast 25.74; Ronnie Warde taking silver in the Senior Mens 60m in 7.42; Grainne McDaid taking bronze in the Senior Womens 800m in 2.52.29; Evan Morgan 4th in the Master Mens 60m with 8.60; and John Walkin 5th in the Masters Men 400m with 59.70.

It was great seeing Grainne taking to the track again having recently returned to the sport after a number of years’ absence. Likewise great to see coaching gurus Ronnie and Evan lead by example with fantastic times in the senior men’s 60m. I’m sure after a long day beforehand of coaching and encouraging their young charges in the U12 and U13 group that both men will sleep well tonight!

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Laura Cunningham, Connacht Senior Long Jump Champion 2020 and
Grainne McDaid, Connacht Senior 800m Bronze Medallist 2020

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NUIG's Sinead Treacy and Aisling Keady (Field Captain) at the Universities Indoors
(Photo credit: John O'Connor)

The Universities Indoor Track & Field Championships took place at the weekend in Athlone with strong performances from several Craughwell AC athletes. These championships are one of the highlights of the athletics calendar each year and always very impressively organised. The Univerities has the best online results database by a mile that I have come across in the sport ... check it out at www.iuaa.org .. parents might even spot themselves listed there as it goes back 30 or 40 years!

It was super for the club to have possibly our largest ever representation in these championships with 8 athletes involved. The highlight of the day from a Craughwell AC perspective was Sinead Treacy’s 56.37 time to take 4th place in the women’s 400m, yet again breaking the club’s senior record for this event – Sinead’s third time breaking it this year!

Sinead later helped the NUIG relay time to take gold in the 4x200m breaking the NUIG record in the process. NUIG were well represented by athletes from the club with Jack Miskella running a big PB of 4.01.32 to take 7th place in the 1500m, Lorraine Delaney jumping 4.77m to take 9th place in the long jump and Aisling Keady being Field Captain for the NUIG team.

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Ben Garrard (UL), Laura Cunningham (UL), Jerry Keary (AIT) and Lorraine Delaney (NUIG)
at the Universities Indoor Track & Field Championships held in AIT International Arena
 

Laura Cunningham jumped strongly for the University of Limerick team, taking 6th place in the triple jump with a leap of 10.03m and 7th place in the long jump with a best of 4.82m – in the process helping UL to 5th place in the team stakes. Ben Garrard (also representeing UL) had a decent run in the heats of the 800m, placing 5th in a time of 2.03.12. And representing Athlone IT and competing on home turf, Jerry Keary had an excellent series of jumps in the high jump to take 6th place with a 1.90 clearance in a high quality competition. Luke Evans representing TCD competed in the guest 1500m towards the end of the day.

Check out the fabulous photos of the day taken by John O'Connor and availlable on his flickr website, some of which I have borrowed below:-

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Craughwell AC’s Caron Ryan, silver medalist
at the National Intermediate Cross Country Championships
held in Wicklow recently

Caron Ryan produced one of the finest distance performances by a County Galway athlete in the past decade when taking the silver medal in the National Intermediate Cross Country Championships held on 8 February.

The 5000m race was ran over a picturesque but challenging course in Rathdrum in County Wicklow where Caron followed up her bronze medal from last year’s National Novice Championships with an impressive silver medal in the Intermediate grade. Its difficult to compare achievements across different athletics disciplines but certainly this was one of the most impressive ever achievements by a Craughwell AC athlete at National senior level.

Dave Evans and Luke Evans provided a first for the club with father/son taking part in the same National cross-country championships with Dave in the Masters Mens race and Luke in the Intermediate Mens race. And in the youngest age group at the same venue, Alan Hallinan had an outstanding run to place 4th in the U11 Boys 1000m.

Also at the weekend, the club had 8 athletes in action at the National Senior AAI Games in Dublin with Laura Cunningham, Lorraine Delaney and Ellie Cronin in the jumps, Sinead Treacy in the 400m and Sinead Gaffney, Gavin Cooney, Paul Joyce and Jack Miskella in the 800m. Sinead Treacy knocked over a second off her PB and club record when racing to 56.73 in the 400m while Sinead Gaffney came very close to breaking her club record of 2.19.10 with a time of 2.19.79 in the 800m.

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Craughwell AC’s Sinead Gaffney, Paul Joyce, Jack Miskella and Gavin Cooney
who took part in the 800m races in the National AAI Games
recently at the National Sports Campus in Dublin

Wednesday the 27th. .