European u/20 T&F 2021 (15th to 18th July)
Mullingar quartet at memorable European T&F
To say that Ireland had a memorable European u/20 T&F Championships in Tallinn, Estonia would be an understatement. Four gold medals placed Ireland third on the medal table, a brilliant result, and among the large team of thirty three athletes that cheered and supported Team Ireland throughout, was four from Mullingar Harriers. This Championship was the stuff of dreams and will only inspire our Mullingar athletes to continue to work hard to qualify for future events.
Eoin Quinn participated in heat 1 of the 800m on Friday 16th July. As it was the first heat, it was a tactical race and Eoin finished strongly in fifth place in a time of 1:54.24. There were just three automatic qualification places from each heat, so unfortunately Eoin did not advance to the semi-final. This was Eoin’s first time to compete at European level and he gained invaluable experience. Eoin is one of the most improved young athletes in the country and hopefully, this will be the start of a long international career.
To have two from the one Club in the same event at a European T&F Championships is rare, but that was Oisin Lane and Matthew Glennon, as they took on the very best in Europe on the track over 10,000m race walk on Saturday morning 17th July during the heat wave that struck Estonia. A big entry of 31 started, and both Mullingar men reached the half way mark in 22:16. Oisin then responded tactically to all the attacks at the front of the field to complete the second half in a fantastic 21:17 for a sixth place finish and a new PB of 43:33 and the best ever performance by an u/20 Irish man in this specialist event. For Matthew, tight hamstrings hampered his progress but he battled bravely in the conditions, holding off much older and experienced athletes to finish twenty second in his first Major Championship, which was a great learning experience for him, especially as he is still eligible for this level of competition again next year.
Charles Okafor had to wait until the final day, Sunday morning 18th July, to compete in the 4x100m relay, running the third leg. With only the first two in each heat and the next two fastest times to qualify for the final, it was always going to be a difficult task. With an excellent smooth run and a time quicker than the team ran in Carlow to qualify for the Europeans to place sixth in their heat, unfortunately their time of 41.06 seconds wasn’t enough to advance to the final, but it was still a great effort and Charles was delighted to be one of the four selected to run. Like Matthew Glennon, Charles is underage again next year.