Sat/Sun 14th/15th July, the first two days of the AAI Juvenile T&F Finals
took place in Tullamore. Things got off to a promising start on Saturday when Patrick Fagan took
silver in the 3,000m steeplechase u/18, with Ryan Blundell
finishing strongly in fourth, just outside the medal places. Both ran very good races and made light work
of the solid wooden barriers that sap the energy of the strongest of athletes and require great stamina and concentration
throughout the race, which Patrick and Ryan possess in abundance. Stephen Nea also showed his
class in the 3,000m steeplechase u/19, sticking solidly to the task and was rewarded with a richly deserved
On to the sprints where Lisa Cooke ran well in her
heat of the 100m u/16 but competition at this level is ferocious and unfortunately she didn’t advance
to the final. This was Lisa’s first time competing in the outdoor Finals but it certainly won’t be her last and
she will have gained huge experience. Mervyn Harris made light work of qualification from his
heat of the 100m u/16 and in the final he absolutely blasted from the blocks and executed a near perfect
race in to a stiff headwind to take the bronze medal in a very tight finish and round off day 1 in style.
was a brighter day with less wind and Conor McHugh lined up as a real medal prospect in the 600m
u/13. Settling in comfortably from the start, Conor bided his time and patiently waited until the halfway point before
moving swiftly to the front, pulling away quickly and racing on in the long run in to the finish. Only one athlete had the
pace to chase him and with less than 50m to go, Conor was caught and passed but was still more than happy to win a silver
All-Ireland medal, which proved to be the final medal won by Mullingar on the week-end.
Gaffney competed in the 800m u/16 where the pace proved a little too strong for his liking and he
finished out of the medals but was still pleased to be competing in an All-Ireland Final. In the 3,000m u/16,
Jack O’Leary kept himself in contention for a medal but with two laps to go as the pace
increased a gap began to open which he found impossible to close despite his best efforts and a fast finishing last lap and
had to settle for fourth place. Oisin Quinn, making a welcome return to All-Ireland
competition, finished strongly and we’ll see him in the 1,500m in two weeks time.
Lynn gave a very strong performance in the 3,000m u/18 and was very unlucky to finish fifth,
outside the medals but he gave an excellent account of himself. Also competing extremely well was Jonathan
Daly in the 3,000m u/19 where he too finished fifth, but was pleased with his placing
in an All-Ireland Final.
Overall, these were great performances from Mullingar athletes,
many of whom will be in action again on the final day of the All-Ireland Finals in two weeks time.