Updated 17 July - CBP for Stephen Nea in 3,000m u/19 s/chase
The occasional heavy shower and a strong cross wind made conditions less than ideal for competition at Tullamore
on Saturday 30th June for Day 1 of the Leinster T&F Championships for u/13 to u/19,
though the sun broke through now, but at least it wasn’t too cold when it wasn’t raining, which was some consolation.
into action was Rachel Glennon in the girls 2,000m walk u/15 where she produced an excellent
performance to take silver and qualify for the All-Ireland Finals in July. Elder sister Edel
Glennon added to the medal tally with another silver in the girls 3,000m walk u/17 after a characteristically
polished performance in this tough technical event. Daria Fidgeon competed well in the girls
60m hurdles u/13 but didn’t advance from her very competitive heat to the final. In the girls u/13 long jump, Alisha Martin put together a very good series of jumps to finish a very respectable ninth place. On
to the middle-distance events, where we had three athletes in the boys 3,000m u/18, led home by Ryan
Blundell with a well deserved silver medal after a terrific race where he battled all the way to the
finish, followed in by Eoin Lynam in fourth and Thomas
Lynn on his heels in fifth.
Vicky Harris qualified easily from her heat of the
girls 100m u/17 and in the final later in the day took the bronze medal in a very tight finish that needed
close scrutiny of the photo finish to separate the first three, showing that she is starting to make a good return to form
after a recent niggling foot injury. Wayne Murphy found the pace of the boys 100m u/18 a bit
quick for his liking but competed well and will have gained a lot from the experience. Tommy Gallagher
had a terrific start in the boys 100m u/19 and was in medal contention at 70m but the Leaving Cert exams take their toll and
he faded a little in the closing stages to finish out of the medals.
Taking the lead at
the bell in the boys 800m u/17, Jack Reid looked full of running down the back straight but was
caught with 200m to go and in a very tight finish that needed a photograph to separate the runners, he had to settle for fourth,
but will look to make amends in the All-Ireland Finals. Linda Conroy dropped down distance to
the girls 800m u/17 for a bit of speed work where she ran an accomplished race to take the bronze medal.
was well represented in the 200m sprints, and in the boys 200m u/14 Patrick Leydon ran a very
good bend but just couldn’t get on terms to finish in the qualification places for the final. It was the same for Niall Brady in his heat of the boys 200m u/15, and for Dean Murphy and
newcomer Dean Johnston who were in the same heat of the boys 200m u/16. There was no problem
for Mervyn Harris however in his heat of the boys 200m u/16 where he qualified with ease and
in the subsequent final ran a blistering bend to put him in an excellent position and was rewarded with a well deserved silver
medal and a place in the All-Ireland Finals. Lisa Cooke also qualified easily from her heat of
the girls 200m u/16 and in the final was terribly unlucky to finish just out of the medals, but more disappointingly, out
of the All-Ireland Finals.
The Club had four athletes in the boys 1,500m u/15 and they all performed admirably,
with star billing going to Cormac Dalton who took the lead on the last lap and pulled away to
win by a distance, with Shane Hughes finishing strongly to secure the bronze
medal, followed by Patrick Shaw who suffered a stitch during the race which robbed him of his
usual fast finish as he finished just out of the medal places, with Declan Brady also finishing
out of the medals. Oisin Quinn was delighted to be back competing in a Leinster Championship
and was delighted to take bronze in the boys 1,500m u/16 and a place in the All-Ireland Finals. Despite a
heavy fall in the opening lap of the girls 1,500m u/14, Alanna Bate simply picked herself up
and got back in the race to finish strongly in fourth place, out of the medals but she knows she’ll
get another chance in the All-Ireland Finals in July. Niamh Quinn also competed well but finished
out of the medal places on this occasion.
Day 2, Sunday 1st July was a much nicer day, weather-wise,
and hopes were high of some more medal winning performances for Mullingar. Proceedings got underway with the girls 600m u/13,
where Alisha Martin and Andrea Brady qualified comfortably from
the heats but despite running well Caoimhe Gaffney, Laura Shaw and Sarah Moloney couldn’t qualify from their heats for the final. In the final later in the day,
Alisha struggled with the early pace, as did Andrea, and were unlucky to finish out of the medals and a place in the All-Ireland
Finals. Conor McHugh and Jack Moran made it safely through their
heats of the boys 600m u/13 and in the final, Conor took the lead after 200m and simply ran away with the race, stringing
the field out behind him to win in style, with Jack finishing strongly but out of the medals on this occasion.
These are two boys to watch for in the coming years.
Staying with middle-distance but moving
to 800m, Alanna Bate won her heat of the girls 800m u/14 with Meabh McNulty
in fourth, just one place off qualification for the final. In the other equally competitive heat, Niamh
Quinn also ran well but didn’t advance to the final. The final near the end of the day was a terrific close run
race with Alanna keeping right in contention throughout and narrowly missing out on a medal in a sprint finish, finishing
fifth. This was a great race from a very competitive girl. Patrick Shaw and Michael
Moran found the pace of their heat of the boys 800m u/15 too quick for their liking and didn’t advance to the
final. No problem for Shane Hughes who cruised through his heat and in the final ran an excellent
race to take a really well deserved silver medal to the delight of the Mullingar supporters. The boys 800m
u/16 was a straight final where Glen Gaffney stuck well to the task, covering every move and
was rewarded with a bronze medal to book his place in the All-Ireland Finals.
was on to the 1,500m then, where Linda Conroy was more than able to go with the early breakaway
group in the girls 1,500m u/17, as the pace increased, and though she was beaten in the final sprint finish was still more
than happy to take silver. Thomas Lynn also ran an excellent race in the boys
1,500m u/18 but just missed out on a medal by finishing fourth. Jonathan Daly
was very happy to take silver in the boys 1,500m u/19 and we’ll see Jonathan in the All-Ireland Finals
later in the month.
While all this excitement was happening on the track, Emma-Jude
Lyons was simply too good for the opposition in the girls u/14 javelin as she put together an excellent series of throws
to win with ease and earn her first Leinster title. Emma-Jude has trained hard all winter under the supervision
of James Carton and she thoroughly deserved this victory.
As on day one, Mullingar had sprinters
out in force on day two. Euan Lagan revelled in the competitive spirit of the boys 80m u/14 and
was unlucky not to advance to the final, missing qualification by one place in his heat. Lisa Cooke
had no trouble qualifying from her heat of the girls 100m u/16 and in the final ran a superb race to take bronze
and was clearly delighted with the medal and a chance to compete in the All-Ireland Finals. In the boys 100m u/16, Dean
Johnston and Dean Murphy found the competitive heats too hot for their liking and didn’t
advance to the final, but Mervyn Harris qualified with ease. With his trademark explosive start
in the final, Mervyn got off to the perfect start moving strongly and smoothly throughout the race to finish third in a photo
finish and was delighted to take a bronze medal.
Harris ran a very controlled bend in the girls 200m u/17 but once she hit the straight, seemed to hit overdrive and
closed right down on the medal places very quickly, taking bronze in a photo finish. If the race was a few
metres longer there’s every possibility she would have won it, such was the pace she was moving at in the closing stages.
Tommy Gallagher was clearly inspired by Vicky’s performance and in the boys 200m u/19 ran
a terrific bend to put him firmly in the medal places, where he remained to the line, to finish third and take bronze
in a great display of powerful sprinting.
Jack O’Leary and Oisin
Quinn competed in the boys 3,000m u/16, running comfortably with the pack in the early laps, but quickly upping the
effort when required as the pace increased in the closing stages and finishing strongly, Jack in third and
Oisin close behind in fourth. Mullingar is making a real reputation for itself in the steeplechase, reinforced
by the victories for Patrick Fagan in the boys 2000m u/18 steeplechase and for Stephen Nea in the boys 3,000m u/19 steeplechase (in a new
Championship Best Performance of 10:39.74), both displaying great strength and technique as they negotiated the three
foot barriers with ease.
Summarizing the week-end results, Mullingar
athletes won 5 gold medals, 7 silver medals and 10 bronze medals. When
you count the 5 fourth place finishers, Mullingar will have 22 athletes competing as of
right in 27 individual events at the All-Ireland Finals later in July. We had plenty of
other close finishes too, and all taken together, our juvenile athletes gave an excellent account of themselves and well done
to them all.