Updated 21 Feb - Jonathan Daly 3rd 1,500m u/19
At the Leinster Juvenile Indoor Championships
in Nenagh on Sat/Sun 18th/19th February, Jack Reid bounced right back to his very best with an emphatic double victory
in the 800m and 1,500m for under 17. Also at the same Championships, sprinter Victoria Harris raced to her first Championship
double with superb victories in the 60m and 200m for u/17 to put down a clear marker for the season and year ahead.
missing some athletes due to illness, injury and a variety of other reasons, we still had an impressive 44 boys and girls in action in 54 individual events, making
sure Mullingar Harriers had a visible presence in competition throughout the two days.
Getting the first day off for Mullingar, Jack
O’Leary was too good for the opposition in his heat of the 1,500m for boys u/16 where he cruised
to a comfortable victory. Glen Gaffney looked smooth in his heat and was happy to finish third
and qualify for the final. The final later in the day proved a memorable race as Jack and Glen took control from the gun and
forged out the early pace, pulling further ahead with every lap. It quickly came down to a two man race with Glen
proving the stronger on the day to take gold, but with Jack never letting up
and finishing an excellent 2nd place to take the silver medal.
In the 1,500m for
boys u/17, Jack Reid showed a magnificent return to top form with a stunning piece of
front running that saw him take the gold in style, with Padraig Moran in 2nd
and Jack Galvin unlucky to finish out of the medal places on this occasion. Lorraine
Daly was clearly fired up by the success of her Club mates and ran to an excellent victory in the 1,500m for
girls u/18, with Elizabeth Carr also getting on to the medal podium with a terrific
3rd place finish. Lorraine Claffey ran a spirited race but had to settle for
a finish place out of the medals. The medals kept coming as Ryan Blundell fought hard on the
finish straight to take 3rd in the 1,500m for boys u/18, with Patrick
Fagan right on his heels in 4th place, the worst place to finish, just outside the medals. Stephen
Nea rounded off the 1,500m with a well deserved victory in the 1,500m for boys u/19,
but no joy for Jonathan Daly who ran well but finished out of the medal places,
with Jonathan Daly finishing strongly to take 3rd.
Proceedings turned to the sprints then, where Lisa Cooke looked very smooth in her
heat of the 200m for girls u/16, winning easily. Drawing the outside lane in the final, Lisa gave it all
she had and was rewarded with a bronze medal to secure her place in the National Finals in March. Mervyn
Harris turned in an excellent heat of the 200m for boys u/16 to qualify for the final with a new personal
best time, but unfortunately Dean Murphy didn’t advance from his ferociously competitive
heat. The final was run at a blistering pace with all three medals up for grabs in the finishing straight, but on this occasion
Mervyn had to settle for bronze by a very narrow margin (just four hundredths outside his PB set in the heat), though was still very pleased to have won a Leinster
sprint medal. It took Victoria Harris in the 200m for girls u/17 to secure the
Club’s first sprint gold. Qualifying with ease with a clear win in her heat with a new personal best,
she never put a foot wrong in the final and led from gun to tape to win her first Leinster sprint title,
(lowering her PB set in the heat), holding off a late challenge with tremendous
determination and power in the closing stages. Aine O’Reilly was clearly inspired by the
medal haul in the sprints and in the 400m for girls u/19 negotiated the tight bends of the two lap race with
ease to finish third and take the bronze medal as reward.
the long jump, Dean Murphy jumped well in the boys u/16 but finished out of
the medal places, while Wayne Murphy came close in the boys u/18 but finished
4th, just out of the medals.
Mullingar has a well-justified reputation in middle-distance
running and it was the turn of the younger generation to show their talents in the 600m. Elysia Greene
qualified from the very competitive heats of the 600m for girls u/12, but unfortunately wasn’t joined
by Susan Glennon despite a good run in her heat. This was Elysia’s first Leinster track
final and while she finished out of the medals this time, it’s clear from her performance shows that it’s only
a matter of time before she makes the medal podium. The heats of the 600m for boys u/12 were just as fiercely
competitive and though they ran very well, Eoin Quinn and Enda Gaffney
didn’t advance to the final. No problem for John Whitelaw qualifying from his heat and
in the final ran a very clever race, staying right with the pace and ready to react when the final sprint came, and he was
rewarded with a terrific bronze medal and a place in the National Finals in March.
Brady, Daria Fidgeon, Caoimhe Gaffney and Laura
Shaw competed really well in their heats of the 600m for girls u/13, with particular mention for Laura
who impressed in her first time running for the Club. Alisha Martin safely came through her heat
and in a fast and furious final was very unlucky to finish just out of the medal places but top marks for effort all the way
to the finish. Jack Moran was our sole representative in the 600m for boys u/13
and qualified comfortably from his heat but in the final there was a lot of very close running and bumping, which seemed to
put him off his normal rhythm and though he raced on bravely had to settle for a finish place out of the medals.
We ended the long first day back in the medals courtesy of Rachel Glennon
who took silver in the 1,000m race walk for girls u/15, and Edel Glennon
who also took silver, in the 1,500m race walk for girls u/17, continuing Mullingar’s
reputation in this very demanding and technical event.
Day two dawned cold and frosty but it wasn’t long before our Club athletes had us warming
our hands clapping encouragement and excellent performances once again. Tommy Gallagher and Wayne Murphy lined up in their heats of the 200m for boys u/19 and u/18
respectively hoping to make the final but the pace of the heats was red hot and though they competed really well, neither
advanced to the final. It was similar fate for Aine O’Reilly in the 200m for girls
u/19, where she might have been feeling some effects of the 400m the previous day and despite a good effort didn’t
advance from her very competitive heat.
While he had no luck in the 200m, Wayne
Murphy went straight from his heat to the shot putt for boys u/18 and was delighted to finish 3rd
and win his first Leinster medal in his first individual competition in the Mullingar colours, much to the delight of the
The 800m heats proved fiercely competitive and no-one was assured an easy passage to the
finals. Niamh Quinn just missed qualifying from her heat of the 800m for girls u/14,
so Alanna Bate was the Club’s only representative in the final, having secured qualification
from her heat with a very composed run. It took all her composure to keep in contact with the leaders in the final, which
was run at a very fast pace from the off. Alanna ran well and despite a terrific last lap where she made up a lot of places,
the finish line came too soon and she finished just of the medals. In the 800m for girls u/15, Claire
Fagan made qualification from her heat look easy and ran an excellent race in the final where with a great sprint finish
she looked a certain for a medal in the closing stages but was terribly unfortunate to finish 4th, just one
place off the medals.
With four Mullingar boys in the 800m for boys u/15, it was always going to be difficult for all
four to make it out of the heats, which proved the case for Declan Brady who was very unlucky
not to advance to the final and join Michael Moran, Patrick Shaw
and Shane Hughes, who had all negotiated the heats safely. Disaster struck for Patrick Shaw in
the final where he took an early fall and despite getting quickly on his feet, had to work too hard to get back on terms which
took its toll on his finishing pace. Shane Hughes and Michael Moran meanwhile raced on and were unlucky not to get among the
medals in the finish. It took Jack Reid in the 800m for boys u/17 to raise our
spirits again as he powered to victory in style to record an excellent indoor middle-distance double, with
Liam O’Reilly terribly unlucky to be just edged into 4th place at the
finish and denied a well deserved medal.
Qualification from the 60m heats proved no easy task for the
Mullingar sprinters and no-one could afford to take any chances with so many heats and so few places in the finals. Not advancing
to their finals despite competing strongly was Adam Bate (u/12), Niall
Brady (u/15), Neill Carthy (u/15), Dean Murphy (u/16), Tommy Gallagher (u/19) and Caitriona Kennedy (u/13) though she came really
close with a particularly fine sprint.
Adeola Ojomo-Amaka powered to victory in her 60m
u/14 heat and in the final ran a superb race but was terribly unlucky to be finish just out of the medals in a very
close finish. Lisa Cooke also won her 60m u/16 heat but in the final a slight
stumble coming out of the blocks certainly cost her a medal, as she fought furiously to recover and despite finishing strongly,
finished in 4th place. Lisa can now concentrate on the 200m in the National Finals. Mervyn
Harris made it look easy in his heat of the 60m u/16, winning with a new personal best
time, though as he dipped at the line he had a slight stumble and twisted his ankle slightly that gave him cause for concern
that he would not be fit to run in the final. However, some first aid and ice seemed to work and he took his place on the
line as one of the favourites for gold. A blistering start saw him take the early lead and it was only in the last few metres
that he had to surrender gold but was still very pleased to finish a very close 2nd, lowering
his PB set in the heat, and take a silver medal. The final sprint with a Mullingar interest
had Victoria Harris line up in the 60m u/17 final as clear favourite, courtesy
of an emphatic victory in her heat in a new personal best time. Echoing her performance in the 200m the previous
day, she absolutely blasted clear from the starting blocks and not putting a foot wrong she was never headed and crossed to
win (lowering her PB set in the heat) and record a magnificent
sprint-double to round off a memorable day.
A total of 44 of the Club’s best
juvenile athletes competed in 54 events and scooped 7 gold,
5 silver and 8 bronze medals with many more
making finals, but even those not winning medals or making finals can be proud of their performances as each and every one
of them gave one hundred percent effort.
Club athletes will be very busy over the coming weeks, competing
at the Schools cross country finals and the National indoor finals, so it is important for everyone to keep up the pressure
in training, at the Club on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and of course the Sunday morning sessions in Belvedere. There will
be other sessions too for qualifiers for the indoors in particular and Club coaches will advise individual athletes of arrangements.