Leinster Juvenile Indoors 2020 – Days 1 & 2 (1st/2nd Feb)
It was raining medals for Mullingar at the Leinster Juvenile Indoors
Saturday 1st February heralded not only the first day of spring but also day one of the Leinster Juvenile Indoors in Athlone IT. Mullingar athletes were entered in nearly 90 events, and even though some could not compete in some or all events due to injury or illness, those that did compete ensured that Mullingar’s presence was keenly felt across two days of competition. The tone for the weekend was set early on Saturday morning when our race walkers powered their way to podium finishes followed by victories mid-afternoon in the middle distance races and some explosive speed shown by all of our sprinters late on Saturday afternoon. By Sunday evening, Mullingar had multiple podium visits across numerous disciplines. The hard work on the training ground over the winter months was paying off and none of this would be possible without the tireless work put in by all coaches, athletes and parents.
As we have come to expect, Mullingar’s race walkers continue to be the standard-bearers for this event and got us off to a great start on Saturday morning. John Glennon took to competing in his first Leinster Championship like a duck to water and was the clear winner of the u/14 boys 1,000m race walk. Andrew Glennon followed suit in the u/16 boys 1,500m walk with a clear win too. We finished with the u/18 boys 1,500m race walk where Matthew Glennon was simply in a league of his own and he stormed to victory in a new Championship Best Performance of 6:02.32, followed home in 2nd place by Colin McGee making his debut in the event. Colin was very pleased to win a Leinster medal, though the very sore legs he felt after reminded him that it did not come easy! These were stellar performances by our race walkers, all performing superbly under the watchful eye of event judge and Club coach Michael Lane.
A new event added this year was the u/16 boys 400m, which were time trial heats. Adam Smyth performed very well but finished out of the medals. Shauna Leydon competing in the u/19 girls 400m led from the gun and did all the work on her own winning her heat, but just edged into 4th place when including all the times over the two heats. Shauna would surely have medalled had she been in the other heat where she would have had the benefit of other athletes in close proximity to run off.
Diarmuid Fagan continued his recent vein of good form when he positioned himself just behind the leading runners and showed great strength when he made his move at the bell and kicked for home holding the inside line and powered down the home straight to win gold in the u/16 boys 1,500m. Ross Killalea tracked Diarmuid all the way and was very unlucky to finish just out of the medals. Having recently represented Ireland in the Celtic Games Cross Country in Scotland, Phoebe Bate and Amy Geoghegan took to the line in the u/17 girls 1,500m. A fast pace was set straight from the gun and both girls kept on the shoulder of the leading girl until the bell but were unable to reel her in, with Phoebe just beaten into 2nd place and Amy finishing very strong close behind in 4th. Both will have benefitted from this tough race and both will be confident heading into the All-Ireland finals. In the u/18 boys 1,500m Colin Smith recovered well from a very fast first lap to settle into the race and was very unlucky to miss the bronze medal right on the line, finishing 4th only two tenths of a seconds away from a medal. With the top four qualifying for the All-Ireland finals, Colin will get another chance then.
Having watched our walkers and middle distance athletes impress in the morning session, it was time for the sprinters in the afternoon. Aiveen Lynch and Katie Glennon powered down the track in their respective heats of the u/12 girls 60m but with six heats and only two guaranteed to qualify per heat, it was not to be the girls’ day but both were delighted with the experience of running against top class young athletes. Having watched his sister Aiveen in her sprint, Oliver Lynch gave it his all in the u/12 boys 60m to finish fourth in his heat, one of five heats, but was unfortunate not to progress to the semi-final, missing out by a narrow margin.
In the u/13 girls 60m, Katie Kilmurray, Eileen Farrell and Lydia McDonnell took to the line in a huge field divided into eight heats. Katie got off to a flyer in her heat and finished second, while Eileen and Lydia were unlucky not to progress to the semi-finals, but will have gained invaluable experience from running at this level. In her semi-final, Katie was third, pipped by just two hundredths of a second and just missing a place in the final. All three girls can be very proud of their performances. Kyle Faherty, Criostoir Ormsby and Charlie Foy took to the line for Mullingar in the u/14 boys 60m. Kyle and Criostoir progressed from their heats to the final but Charlie was unlucky not to, though he was delighted with his run. In the final, Kyle blasted away from the start leaving everyone trailing to win by a big margin. Criostoir was delighted in reaching the final and performed extremely well having just recently returned from injury.
One of three female sprinters making their competitive debuts for Mullingar, Faith Okafor finished second in her heat of the u/15 girls 60m to advance to the final where she found an extra gear running faster to finish 3rd and win her first Leinster medal. On to the u/16 girls 60m where Aoife O’Connor was unlucky not to advance from her heat but better fortune for Mullingar’s second sprint debutante, Patricia Odunjo, who finished third in her heat to qualify for the final. Running faster in the final, Patricia was involved in what was the closest finish of the day when the five girls from third to seventh hit the line in a blanket finish, only two hundredths of a second separating them. It took some time, but the result was Patricia in 6th, but being such a tight race this was a fantastic debut and she has a bright future in sprints. Our third and final sprint debutante was Mariam Ogunleye who had a straight final in the u/18 girls 60m and with an excellent display finished 3rd and she was delighted to win her first Leinster medal. We finished with the u/18 boys 60m where there were two heats. Charles Okafor won his heat and Eta Oviahon was second in his heat to advance to the final. Blasting from the blocks it was great to see two Mullingar sprinters go head in to head in a Leinster final, Charles winning and Eta close behind in 3rd to win his first Leinster medal.
Charles Okafor had an early start on Sunday morning for his heat of the u/18 boys 200m, which he won with ease and in the later final, he simply dominated from the gun and led all the way to win in a new Championship Best Performance of 22.10 seconds to earn a fine Leinster sprint double.
Illness hit some of our u/12 girls 600m entrants, so Katie Glennon was our sole entry and was with the leading pack on the home straight in her heat but was very unlucky not to qualify for the final. In the u/12 boys 600m, Jake Bell ran very well in his heat coming third and qualifying for the final. Oliver Lynch hit the front on the second lap of his heat but was narrowly beaten for a qualifying spot in the final. Conor Walsh also ran a very good heat and was unlucky not to progress to the final. Despite running very well in the final Jake had to settle for a place out of the medals. This was the first time that these u/12 athletes competed in Leinster indoors and they will benefit greatly from the experience.
Jayne Charles, Lydia McDonnell, Síofra O’Reilly and Katie Kilmurray all competed in the u/13 girls 600m and despite all running very well, they were unfortunate not to progress to the final. In his heat of the u/13 boys 600m, Cian Corcoran looked very strong throughout and powered up the home straight to win. Matthew Molloy led from the gun in his heat and was a comfortable winner. Luke Greene was well up with the leading bunch in his heat but had to settle for fifth and did not advance to the final with Cian and Matthew. In the final, Matthew led from the gun with the current National cross country champion breathing down his neck but he showed all his strength in the final 100m and was determined not to relinquish and held on to clinch gold. Cian ran quicker than in the heat and finished fast but just out of the medals in 5th place. Orla Manning and Muireann Donoghue were unlucky not to progress from their heats of the u/14 girls 800m. Morgan Corcoran ran an excellent race in her heat to advance to the final but was unable to compete in the final. In the boys u/14 boys 800m Alex Lynch, Charlie Foy and James Flynn ran gallantly but did not progress to the final. With Luke O’Leary, Jamie Wallace and Conor Liston winning their heats, the afternoon final was set for a cracking race. Unfortunately, Conor, feeling discomfort in his ankle after his heat, had to make the tough decision to sit out the final. Jamie made all the running in the final followed closely behind by Luke and showed all his class to kick for home with 100m to go and having a bit extra to tackle a late challenge on the home straight, pushed on to win. Luke stormed to 3rd place to win his first individual Leinster track medal and this was Jamie’s first individual track gold medal.
Grace Byrne and Jessica Cunningham made it through to the final of the u/15 girls 800m but unfortunately Shauna Traynor, Katie Kilmurray, Caoimhe Donoghue and Caoimhe Kilmurray did not progress to the final despite very good running. Showing the fighting qualities she showed in the Stirling cross country in January, Grace got on the tail of the leading bunch from the start and showed great strength in holding on to 4th place and qualify for the All-Ireland finals, followed closely behind by Jessica who ran a very strong race and was very happy with her performance. Mullingar athletes continued their winning ways in the u/15 boys 800m. Callum Costello and Philip McCartan won their heats with ease and Daire McDonald was just outside the qualifying time to reach the final. Philip and Callum ran shoulder to shoulder from the gun and holding off a late surge from a competitor, Philip hung on to claim the bronze medal followed closely on his heels by Callum. Ross Killalea was our sole entrant in the u/16 boys 800m, tracking the leading group from the gun and was delighted to claim the 4th position and qualify for the All-Ireland finals. Colin Smith was looking to make amends for missing a medal in the 1,500m the day before but he was very unlucky to finish just of the medals in 5th place in the u/18 boys 800m.
Over in the field events, Criostoir Ormsby and James Flynn competed in the u/14 boys long jump where both put together excellent series of jumps and Criostoir was very unlucky to miss a medal by just three centimetres to finish 4th, just ahead of James in 5th.
The long track programme finished with the sprint hurdles where Katie Glennon (u/12 girls 60m hurdles), Jayne Charles and Eve Medforth (u/13 girls 60m hurdles) and James Flynn (u/14 boys 60m hurdles) raced very well but did not advance from the tough heats. Criostoir Ormsby did qualify from his heat of the u/14 boys 60m hurdles and stormed up the track in the final to finish just out of the medals in 4th place by a very narrow margin.
By any measure, this was one of the best Leinster indoors for Mullingar. Mullingar won 9 gold medals (two in new Championship Records), 2 silver and 5 bronze medals and 7 more Mullingar athletes came close in fourth place, but more importantly, every one of the Mullingar squad gave one hundred percent effort in tough competition against the best in Leinster.