Leinster u/12 & u/13 T&F (and 3,000m u/16-19) 2021 (10th July)
Mullingar in the medals at Leinster T&F
The Leinster T&F Championships continued on Saturday 10th July in IT Carlow and this time it was the turn of the u/12 and u/13 athletes to compete and show their talents, along with the 3,000m for the older u/16 to u/19 athletes. For many of the Mullingar u/12 and u/13 athletes, this was their first time to compete in a Leinster track Championship but they all gave great accounts and can be very satisfied with their performances against the very best in Leinster. As expected though, given their experience at this level, the day belonged to our older juveniles, winning 5 medals.
There were so many entered for the 600m for girls u/12 that that it took five heats to sort them, so qualification to the final was very difficult. Lisa O’Brien ran very well and finished strongly in her heat, well up, but not enough to advance to the final. There were fewer heats in the 600m for girls u/13, but competition was still intense and despite great efforts by Blathnaid Peters, Eleanor Kiernan and Tianna O’Leary, they didn’t advance to the final, Tianna coming closest with an excellent fourth place finish in her heat but missing a place in the final by just three tenths of a second. Mullingar had three boys in the 600m for boys u/13 where Conor Walsh, Conor Geoghegan and Cian Hyland tried very hard but didn’t advance from the tough heats.
Providing a break to allow recovery time between the heats and finals of the 600m events was the 3,000m races for under 16 and 17. The 3,000m for girls u/16 was a thrilling race where Grace Byrne was always in contention and went into the final lap in a battle for the medals. Coming into the home straight it looked like bronze, but Grace was not about to give up, and with a fantastic sprint finish moved into second place with 50m to go, crossing the line in second place to win the Leinster silver medal. The 3,000m for boys u/16 was a very tactical race with the group staying close together up to 2km, but at that point Conor Sherwin decided to take control and pulling away from the pack finished very strongly to win the Leinster title in great style. The 3,000m for boys u/17 went out at a fast pace right from the gun, with Diarmuid Fagan and Ross Killalea right in the thick of it. As the laps counted down, the number in the leading group began to slowly reduce but Diarmuid and Ross stuck to their task. It became apparent with 800m to go that the Championship Record set by our own Jack O’Leary in 2013 was going to fall and in a furious final lap, Diarmuid drove hard to keep himself in a medal position and finishing very fast was narrowly edged into 2nd place in a close finish, with Ross finishing very fast in 7th place behind him. The winner eclipsed the old Record by over 20 seconds, but the top seven all went under the old mark too, such was the quality of the race, rightly regarded as the best race of the day.
There were eight heats of the 60m for girls u/12 where Chloe Duggan and Lisa O’Brien competed very well and can be proud of their efforts but didn’t advance from the fiercely competitive heats. Tianna O’Leary and Eleanor Kiernan returned to the track in the 80m for girls u/13 but though they ran extremely well didn’t advance from their heats. Similarly, Cian Hyland ran well in the 80m for boys u/13 but didn’t advance from the heats.
After the sprints the 3,000m for under 18 and 19 were held to provide time to recover before the sprint semi-finals. Meabh Killalea continues to improve with every race and with a polished performance in the 3,000m for girls u/19, kept in contention throughout and was rewarded for her efforts with third place and the Leinster bronze medal. Colin P Smith has been making his mark over 800m and 1,500m this season but moved up to the 3,000m for boys u/19 and was just too good for the opposition. After a somewhat tactical race, his fierce kick came to the fore and he won well, his first ever Leinster title. Unfortunately, Lorcan Mullen was clipped from behind early in the race, hurting his calf and though he ran on for a few laps he was forced to withdraw. Hopefully he recovers in time for the 1,500m only a week away.