A: Grange, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland | E: info@mullingarharriers.com

Week ending Saturday 17th March 2018


Back to business as usual for Mullingar – winning medals!

The snow and storms of two weeks ago led to the postponement of all sports fixtures across Ireland but last week-end Mullingar athletes were back in action again on several fronts – road, cross country and indoors – and it was business as usual as far as performances, medals, and records was concerned.

Awa Fane and Callum Costello excel on the final day of the Leinster Indoors

The third and final day of the Leinster Juvenile Indoors took place in Athlone IT last Sunday where Mullingar had a very big squad of underage talent competing in 200m, 600m, 800m, 60m hurdles, long jump, high jump and shot putt over a very long day of competition.

The day stated with the 200m where Mullingar had three entered in the girls 200m u/18, which needed three heats to whittle the numbers down for the final. Whitney Imafidon gave a good account in her heat, as did Eve Wallace in hers, only missing a place in the final by just one hundredth of a second, but no problem for Awa Fane who won her heat comfortably in the fastest time of all the heats. Running from lane three in the final later in the day, Awa blasted from the blocks quickly making up the stagger on the girls outside her and entered the home straight in the lead, holding off a late challenge to win in 24.98 seconds, her first time under 25 seconds, a massive personal best and a new Championship Best Performance by a distance. This was a brilliant result for Awa. Rachel Cornally ran her heart out in the girls 200m u/19 to place fourth in a very fast and competitive race and was very satisfied with her performance.

The number of entries in the 600m races was huge, needing a lot of heats and therefore qualification for the finals was extremely keen. There were five heats in the girls 600m u/12 where despite running well in their heats Orla Manning, Ellen Daly and Muireann Donohue didn’t qualify for the final to join Morgan Corcoran who placed second in her heat to qualify for the final. The final was a very swift race and though Morgan battled well finished out of the medal places but can take great satisfaction from qualifying for her first Leinster indoor final.

It took four heats of the boys 600m u/12 to reduce the numbers down for the final. Jamie Wallace, Conor Liston, Luke O’Leary, James Flynn and Criostoir Ormsby made it safely through their heats, but not so for Hugo Sleator, Alex Lynch or Darragh Weblin though they ran well in their heats, but such was the standard of competition. The final was run at a ferocious pace from the gun and running out victor was Conor Liston, with Jamie Wallace on his heels hurling himself at the line to take silver in a very close finish, followed in by Luke O’Leary, Criostoir Ormsby and James Flynn finishing very strongly. A measure of the class of the Mullingar boys is that they all ran quicker in the final, which is a sign of true Championship performers.

There were four heats too in the girls 600m u/13 where Síofra O’Halloran, Aimee Wallace, Leah Geoghegan, Adele Geoghegan advanced to the final but unfortunately were not joined by Caoimhe Kilmurray, Jessica Cunningham or Anna May Flannery. In the final, the four Mullingar girls competed strongly but only Aimee got in the medals, a bronze, but just missed silver by a mere two hundredths of a second, with Adele, Leah and Síofra finishing strong but out of the medal places.

There continued to be big numbers of heats, four in the boys 600m u/13 where Callum Costello, Philip McCartan and Daire McDonald laid down markers in their heats to qualify comfortably for the final, but unlucky for Darragh Smith and David Burke who didn’t advance from the competitive heats. The final quickly came down to a straight contest between Philip and Callum as they moved clear of the field and opened a sizeable gap on the rest going into the final lap. With one hundred metres to go, Callum demonstrated why he won silver in the 60m some weeks before as he surged past Philip to lead around the final bend and into the home straight, but Philip wasn’t giving up without a fight and pushed Callum all the way to the finish, Callum winning in 1:39.11, a new Championship Best Performance, Philip in second place only hundredths outside the old record, and Daire finishing much faster than in his heat but out of the medal places this time.

Eve Farrell was our sole representative in the girls 800m u/14 and was unlucky not to advance from her heat. The heats of the boys 800m u/14 were just as competitive where John Ryan, Matt O’Leary, Adam Brady and Eoin McGrath gave good accounts but didn’t advance to join Ross Killalea in the final, though Ross was unwell later and was unable to take part in the final.

Phoebe Bate and Amy Geoghegan safely negotiated the heats of the girls 800m u/15 but Aoife McGouran must still have been feeling the effects of a nasty fall and cuts in the Schools cross country the day before and didn’t qualify from her heat. One who should have made the final was Meghan Bates. Meghan took the lead and looked full of running going into the third lap of her heat, looking certain to qualify for the final but was bumped from behind on the bend and she fell, knocking her head and receiving nasty track burns but she got back on her feet and rejoined the race but despite a great effort finished fifth and outside the qualifying places, which is a terrible shame as she has been running so well and deserved a place in the final. Amy and Phoebe battled well in the final but like Aoife, the legs were heavy from their great efforts in the Schools cross country and they finished out of the medal places.

It took a determined performance by Colin McGee, running very close to his personal best, to qualify from his heat of the boys 800m u/16 and join Colin Smith who had qualified from his heat. Running quicker in the final, both Mullingar boys competed strongly but had to settle for places out of the medals. Aoife Darby was unwell and carried the effects of a stomach bug into the final of the girls 800m u/18, which robbed her of her customary kick and though she raced bravely finished out of the medal places.

Darragh Weblin returned to the track for the boys 60m hurdles u/12, safely making it through his heat and though he ran quicker in the final had to settle for a place out of the medals, but has to be happy to have made the final in his first time of asking. No stranger to finals, Shane Ormsby also qualified from his heat of the boys 60m hurdles and in the final ran very well to finish just out of the medal places in sixth in a very fast and competitive race.

It wasn’t all track of course and Mullingar athletes were very busy competing in the various field events too, including Morgan Corcoran (u/12 long jump), Aoife McGouran (u/15 high jump), Alicia Ripley (u/13 high jump), Shannon Liston and Alanna Costello (u/15 shot), Luke O’Leary and Darragh Weblin (u/12 long jump), Callum Costello, Shane Ormsby and Matt O’Leary (u/14 long jump), all competing well and enjoying their competitions but the best performances came from Criostoir Ormsby who finished third in the u/12 long jump, with James Flynn not far off the medals in fifth place behind him.

Well done to all our underage athletes who competed with great determination and spirit and Mullingar will be very well represented in the upcoming All-Ireland finals.

AAI Masters Indoors

Victory for Sean McMullin in his category of the 3,000m race walk at the AAI Masters Indoors last Saturday in Athlone IT, in a time that would have won him a medal against men 30 years his junior, reinforced his reputation in master race walk circles and gave him an extra boost of confidence ahead of the upcoming European Masters Indoors in Madrid. Despite running as fast as he had to win the Leinster master 3,000m title two weeks before, Gerry Gavin had to settle for a place out of the All-Ireland medals this time, but top marks for effort. No problem for Christy Creagh in his category of the 3,000m to take the National title, his first indoor All-Ireland title. Congratulations to our stalwart master athletes.

All-Ireland Schools Cross Country Finals

We know from experience that it doesn’t take much for the cross country course in Waterford IT to turn into a mud bath and so it was no surprise that melting snow during the week and then heavy rain overnight turned the course into an absolute quagmire for the All-Ireland Schools cross country finals in Waterford IT last Saturday. Blue skies and very mild weather couldn’t make up for the mud bath and there were some big surprises in the results and in many cases the form book was thrown out and some well favoured athletes just weren’t able to perform up to expectations.

There were a number of Mullingar athletes competing for their school teams but the stand out individual performance has to be a brilliant second place finish by Amy Geoghegan (Mercy Kilbeggan) in the minor girls 2,000m in a very close race and thrilling finish with only seconds separating the top places. After his runaway victory in the Leinster schools, hopes were high for Diarmuid Fagan (Colaiste Mhuire) in the minor boys 2,500m but despite great effort he just couldn’t quite match that performance, though twelfth place was still excellent at an All-Ireland final given the dreadful conditions.

Best of the Mullingar girls in the junior girls 2,500m was Phoebe Bate (Loreto Mullingar), followed by Meabh Killalea (Loreto) who didn’t want to let the team down and ran despite suffering with a throat infection, Bea Drummond (Athlone CC), Meghan Bates (Loreto) who had to go home from school the day before with a vomiting bug but also ran anyway as she didn’t want to let the team down, and Aoife McGouran (Loreto). Aoife had been going great but fell in the mud on the second lap, hit a fence and got run over and spiked, but being the determined girl we know she is, she jumped up and finished anyway, so as not to let the team down. The Loreto team finished a great fourth place, just out of the medals, but if Aoife hadn’t fallen and Meabh and Meghan had been in top form, the team would surely have finished in the medals, but they’re the trials of cross country racing! Lorcan Mullen (Cistercian Roscrea) had a great race in the junior boys 3,500m and finished an excellent seventeenth place for his efforts.

Among the Loreto Mullingar team that finished just out of the team medals in fifth place in the intermediate girls 3,500m was Caoimhe O’Brien, Karla Cunningham and Ciara Smith, all running very well and finishing strongly. Jennifer Fidgeon started but had to stop on the second lap due to illness and we wish her a speedy recovery. In the intermediate boys 5,000m there were good performances from Colin Smith (Colaiste Mhuire), Eoin Quinn (Colaiste Mhuire), Andrew Shaw (St. Finian’s College), Paul McCool (Colaiste Mhuire) and Kevin Martin (Colaiste Mhuire) but no individual or team medals this time.

The best team performance came in the final race, the senior boys 6,000m where a fantastic fourth place finish for Jamie Battle (Colaiste Mhuire) saw him lead the Colaiste Mhuire team to victory, thanks to great support and team packing that included fellow Mullingar Harriers members Ciaran Nolan, Jack Moran, Andrew Daly, Euan Lagan, John Whitelaw and Brian Martin.

Irish Universities Cross Country

The Irish Universities cross country hosted this year by Trinity College Dublin took place last Saturday at the Santry Playing Fields on Santry Avenue where underfoot conditions were very soft but the cool dry weather conditions were good for the spectators. Elizabeth Carr (running one year down for DCU) in fifth place was the second scorer on the gold medal winning DCU team in the women’s race. The DCU team included Claire Fagan (eleventh) and Laura Whitelaw (seventeenth), so congratulations to them too. DCU also won the men’s race, led home by Padraig Moran (sixth), with great team running and support from Cormac Dalton (tenth) making a great comeback after too long out of action with injury, and Oisin Quinn and Michael Moran. No surprise that DCU was also the best College overall on the day.

Eddie Newman in fine form at Bundoran 10 Mile

Possibly better known as a great spot for surfing, attention however was firmly on terra firma in Bundoran last Saturday morning when a record entry of nearly 1,200 runners, joggers and walkers competed in the Bundoran 10 mile in damp misty conditions, an impressive entry in this ever-popular race that continues to grow year on year. Among the runners was Eddie Newman, finishing well up in 15th place overall in 59:27, winning his master category by a long way. All the more impressive is that it is only two weeks since Eddie ran a 2 hours 45 minutes personal best in the Tokyo Marathon, so is still technically in his “recovery” phase!

All-Ireland Indoors

This coming Sunday, day one of the AAI Juvenile Indoors takes place in Athlone IT. Events with a Mullingar interest will include the 1,500m, the 60m sprints, the race walks and the long jump and we wish all our athletes the very best of luck.

For the latest results, news and details of all upcoming fixtures check the Club’s website www.mullingarharriers.com. You can also follow what is happening at the Club on our Facebook page.