ClubsAthlone IT AC
Bros. Pearse Athletic Club
Trim Athletic Club
Athenry Athletic Club
Craughwell Athletic Club
Dunshaughlin Athletic Club
Leevale Athletic Club
Rathfarnham Athletic Club
Conditions were tough in Newtownforbes on St. Stephen’s Day for the annual Shane Brennan 5k, an event organised by Fr. Kieran McGovern, a long time great friend of the Club, with the proceeds going to Cystic Fibrosis. Battling the wind and rain to finish an impressive 12th overall of the 390 finishers was Aine O’Reilly in 18:20, the 1st woman to finish. Following in behind was Liam Woods (18:42), Breda Daly (19:59), Nicky McCabe (22:08) winning his master category, Gerard Flynn, Brian Boyle, Brigid McCabe winning her master category, Paul McCool, Moss Keane and Sean McMullin who used the event to get in some race walking competition in advance of the indoor season and race walked to second place in his master category.
Fields of Athenry 10k
The weather was even worse in Galway on St. Stephen’s Day for the annual Fields of Athenry 10k, organised by local club Athenry AC with heavy rain and strong winds to test the mettle of the over 1,000 finishers. Running well despite the conditions, Eddie Newman was happy to finish 17th overall in 36:21 to win his master category. Joining Eddie in Galway was Micheál Conway who more than happy to finish well up in the large field. Well done to the hardy Mullingar duo.
Nearer to home, a good number from the Club decided to run off the Christmas turkey on St. Stephen’s Day by running in the Kilbeggan 6k, an event organised to raise funds for Crumlin Children’s Hospital, which drew over 280 competitors despite the awful cold, wet and windy conditions. First from Mullingar Harriers to finish was Mark McCann, followed by Enda O’Carolan, Mel Carthy, Lorcan Mullen (third juvenile boy), Criona Reid and PJ Ballesty all glad to finish the run and get out of the wet and cold without catching pneumonia.
AIT Indoor Baseline T&F Meet
There was an early start to the indoor season with the now traditional AIT “Baseline Meeting” in Athlone on Wednesday evening 16th December. A low key event, its purpose is to give athletes an opportunity to test themselves in advance of the indoor season proper to gauge progress in training. Obviously, many athletes wouldn’t feel race fit yet, so the programme included several non-standard distances often used in training to assess fitness, such as 150m, 300m and 600m. Mullingar athletes showed some excellent form with pride of place going to Shane Hughes in the 3,000m who set a PB and National Youth Indoor record of 8:35.24. Shane ran a very controlled race and was always on pace to break the record. In the end he managed to take over three seconds off the previous record set over ten years ago. He now joins Shane Fitzsimons on the list of current Irish Youth record holders. Jack Tyas also raced very well and recorded a PB of 9:12.99 in the same race. Claire Fagan also raced over 3,000m and was always in contention finishing in 10:27.78.
Vicky Harris ran very well in her 150m to run 18.90 seconds against quality opposition and Mervyn Harris ran a fast 300m in 36.06 seconds, a time which augers well for the upcoming season. Mervyn and Vicky teamed up in the unusual 2 x 200m relay (47.74) to finish an excellent fourth overall of fourteen teams, only beaten by teams of two men and six of the teams behind them also had two men running!
In the 600m races, Michael Moran ran 1:27.54, Oisin Quinn 1:28.50, Declan Brady 1:29.51 and Liam Tyas 1:31.01. Laura Whitelaw ran very well to complete her 600m in 1:36.82. Mark Finnerty had a busy evening contesting the 60m (7.94) and 150m (18.71). This was an excellent meeting for the Mullingar athletes, with each able to take something very positive back to the training track, as they continue to prepare for the indoor season in the New Year. Well done to all.
European Cross Country
Jack O’Leary was in action at the European Junior (u/20) Cross Country Championships in Hyeres, France on Sunday morning 13th December and he produced his best cross country race to date to finish an excellent 23rd place. In doing so Jack had the distinction of being first Irish finisher and leading the Irish team to an 8th place finish. Having competed at the European Cross Country Championships in Bulgaria in December 2014, and the European Track & Field 5,000m last July, Jack is becoming an experienced athlete at this level and this was highlighted by the maturity of his race, steadily making his way through a high quality field of international athletes.
Interviewed after the race, Jack said that the last lap was very tough and the hills took their toll and sapped his energy but he said this is what cross country running is all about, it’s meant to be hard, it’s not meant to be easy, and you’re meant to die! Jack is eligible for the event again next year in Chia on the Italian island of Sardinia and is already looking forward to competing there and with the greater strength that comes with being a year older and taking all his experience with him he expects to be much more competitive and able to hold his own with the front runners.
Jack has now been selected to represent Europe in a race against the USA, Great Britain and each of the Celtic Nations at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country International on January 9th in Scotland. This will be a tremendous honour for Jack and ensures that he will start 2016 in a very positive manner. Jack’s dedication and enthusiasm in training combined with his determination and competitive racing approach is an example to all young Club members looking to progress in the sport.
AAI Novice & Juvenile Uneven Ages XC 2015 (Dungarvan)
It seemed to rain all week and to cap it all Storm Desmond gave us a severe weather warning for Saturday, but the forecast promised a good weather window on Sunday 6th December, so Mullingar travelled in force to Dungarvan for the AAI National Novice and Juvenile Uneven Ages Cross Country Championships held in the grounds of St. Augustine’s College where West Waterford AC had put a lot of hard work into building a course fit for an All-Ireland and they must be given every credit for doing so in seriously difficult conditions. On the day however, conditions were perfect, bright dry and calm, but the heavy rain had taken its toll on the land and the course quickly deteriorated into a swampy mess, with ankle deep mud in places, in fact by the last race the entire course was just one long continuous pool of mud. However, our cross country runners are a hardy group and negotiated the difficult conditions were their usual aplomb. As in Santry two weeks before, we were very fortunate that with very few exceptions injuries and illnesses were held at bay and we could field full strength teams. The Mullingar athletes were joined on Westmeath teams by athletes from Athlone IT AC and East Westmeath AC.
While there were no individual winners, there were a number of stand-out performance from Mullingar athletes, including Aoife Darby’s third place finish, but all contributed to an overall brilliantly successful day when four Mullingar teams won team medals, making it the dominant Club on the day, as in Santry two weeks before; two others finished fourth Club, just missing medals by one place; two Westmeath teams also won team medals; nine Mullingar athletes won individual medals by finishing in the top twelve places; and ten medals were won with Leinster teams. Taking the two days together, there’s no doubt but Mullingar has confirmed its dominance in underage cross country in Ireland and finished the year on a real high.
First into action was the young Mullingar team in the 1,500m for girls under 11. This was their first taste of All-Ireland competition and though they all admitted to feeling nervous, with the help of parents and coaches, they kept them well under control and didn’t let them spoil the race for them. Leading the team home was Leah Geoghegan, finishing well up in the huge entry of nearly two hundred girls, followed by Aimee Wallace, Adele Geoghegan, Shauna Traynor, Grace Byrne and Ruth Langtry, all racing hard to the finish leaving a huge number of others in their wake. The girls finished a very creditable 6th Club. All but one of this team is underage again next year and there’s no doubt they’ll be right in the front challenging for medals this time next year. It was great to see Athlone IT fielding a team at an All-Ireland Finals and being so competitive. Well done to Tegan Foley, Katie Boyle, Laura Madden, Sarah Fitzgerald and Lisa Seery and no doubt we’ll see these girls adding to Westmeath teams in the future.
With Tadhg Sheridan sprinting hard in the finishing straight to secure 12th place and an individual medal in the 1,500m for boys u/11, and Philip McCartan hot on his heels, Ryan Jenkins only a few places behind and Callum Costello finishing very strongly to provide the vital fourth score, Mullingar finished 1st Club. Matthew Shaw, Diarmuid Fagan, Ross Killalea, Adam Brady, Darragh Smith and Joe Darby packed well behind to secure the bronze medals for 3rd County. Tadhg, Philip and Ryan also won gold medals with the Leinster team in the Inter-Provincial competition, giving Tadhg a complete set of four medals from the one race. This is an impressive team, some underage again next year, and we look forward to seeing how they progress in the sport in the coming years.
Success continued in the 2,500m for girls u/13 where Bea Drummond finished a brilliant 5th place, with Phoebe Bate an impressive 7th place despite giving away a year and with Amy Geoghegan and Caoimhe Brady leaving nothing behind it was 1st Club and gold again for Mullingar. Aoife McGouran and Evie Daly made sure of the silver medals for 2nd County, with great team support from Meabh Killalea, Francesca Walshe, Rachel Darby and Anna McCartan all playing a full part in the team success. Bea and Phoebe also won gold medals with the Leinster team, to join Tadhg Sheridan in the “four medals” club! If determination could be summed up in two words it would be Colin Smith. Despite challenge all around him, he dug deep in the closing stages of the 2,500m for boys u/13 and wasn’t going to be denied an individual medal if it killed him, crossing the line in 9th place to secure his medal. He also won a bronze medal with the Leinster team. Sam Smyth (East Westmeath) competing for Westmeath also finished very strongly but despite great support from Brian Gaffney, Kevin Martin, Eoghan Hogan, Colin McGee (East Westmeath), Mark Langtry and Tom Wallace, Mullingar and Westmeath finished out of the medal places, but full marks for full effort from everyone on the team.
Best individual performance of the day came from Aoife Darby, our new International athlete in waiting, in the 3,500m for girls u/15, finishing very strongly in 3rd place, closing hard and only denied second place by a narrow margin. Aoife is having an unbelievable breakthrough year and just keeps getting better and better with every race. Susan Glennon also had a terrific race and joined Aoife in the winner’s enclosure with a 9th place finish. Next in were Caoimhe O’Brien and Sarah Glennon to secure the bronze medals for 3rd Club, very close to second place. With good support from Jennifer Fidgeon, Elysia Greene, and despite a fine run and strong finish from Lisa Gavin (AIT) finishing behind Susan and Ines Arqued (AIT), the Westmeath team was very unlucky to finish 5th County, but they can be very proud of their efforts. Aoife and Susan also won gold medals with the Leinster team. John Whitelaw had the honour of leading the Mullingar team home in the 3,500m for boys u/15 with a very strong performance but despite great support and team packing from Andrew Shaw, Eoin Quinn, Brian Martin, Rian Hogan, Oisin Lane, Paul McCool the team was very unlucky to finish 4th Club, just out of the medals. Showing great commitment to the team, despite not feeling the best before the race, Paddy Rafferty started the race anyway but was just unable to finish and wisely stopped. Nothing too major, just a bug that’s going around, and we wish Paddy a speedy recovery. John was also unlucky not to win a medal with Leinster, as they finished fourth Province.
Alanna Bate raised our spirits with a well timed finish in the 4,000m for girls u/17 that took her into 9th place and a well deserved individual medal. Andrea Brady, Rachel Cornally, Daria Fidgeon, Laura Shaw and Catriona Kennedy all raced their hearts out and packed really well but were terribly unlucky to miss medals, finishing 4th Club and 5th County. Another casualty to illness during the race was Emma Hogan but she’ll be fine and we also wish her a speedy recovery. We finished the day on a high in the 5,000m for boys u/17 where from the gun it was evident that the form team was Mullingar. Keeping in contention throughout, the Mullingar team worked hard and in the finish it was 9th place for Jamie Battle, 11th place for Jack Moran with a very determined sprint finish, and with Ciaran Nolan, Jack Tyas and Conor McHugh providing excellent team support and packing well, it was 1st Club by a big margin. If only for a sixth runner, County medals were also a real possibility. Jamie and Ciaran also won silver medals with the Leinster team.
The individual and team medal tally in Dungarvan was very impressive and taken with the tally on day one in Santry, it’s clear that the 2015 autumn cross country season has one of the very best for Mullingar and confirms its place as the best Club for underage cross country in Ireland; all those that competed can be very proud of their contribution. For many, now they’ll take a very well earned rest and come back refreshed to prepare for the Celtic cross country, the Schools cross country or the indoors in the New Year.
AAI Inter-Club & Juvenile Even Ages XC 2015 (Santry)
After a week of near continuous rain, we were concerned what the course in Santry was going to be like on Sunday 22nd November for the AAI National Inter-Club and Juvenile Even Age Cross Country Championships but while underfoot conditions were less than ideal in some places, they certainly weren’t as bad as we had feared. The day was very cold but bright and dry and credit is due Clonliffe Harriers for setting out an excellent course fit for an All-Ireland Final. We were very fortunate that with very few exceptions injuries and illnesses were held at bay and we could field full strength teams. The Mullingar athletes were joined on Westmeath teams by athletes from Athlone IT AC and East Westmeath AC.
The highlights of the day were Jack O’Leary gaining automatic qualification for the European Cross Country in France in December, the second year he has qualified; qualification for Jack Moran, Jamie Battle and Aoife Darby to represent Ireland at the Celtic International Cross Country in Edinburgh in early January, which for Jamie and Aoife is especially significant as it will mark their International debuts; all seven Mullingar teams won team medals, making it the dominant Club on the day; one of the Westmeath teams also won team medals; seven Mullingar athletes won individual medals by finishing in the top twelve places; and eleven medals were won with Leinster teams. This is right up there with the very best results the Club has had in an All-Ireland Finals in many years.
Phoebe Bate got the day off to a brilliant start with a well timed sprint finish to take 2nd place finish in the 2,000m for girls under 12, and with Aoife McGouran finishing very fast to finish 13th, just missing an individual medal by one place, and great team support from Amy Geoghegan and Grace Loughrey providing vital team scores to place Mullingar 1st Club by just two points, showing how important every place counts, and despite Anna McCartan, Aoife O’Brien and Meghan Bates packing in close succession, the County team was unlucky to finish out of the medals in fifth place. Phoebe and Aoife also won gold medals with the Leinster team in the Inter-Provincial competition.
Bea Drummond impressed in the 3,000m for girls u/14, where despite giving a year away, she finished a magnificent 7th place to lead the team of Caoimhe O’Brien, Evie Daly, Meabh Killalea, Ciara Smith, Francesca Walshe, Jennifer Fidgeon and Karla Cunningham all giving every ounce of effort to finish strongly and finish 2nd Club, missing gold by just two points. As well as an individual top-twelve medal and Club team medal, Bea also won a silver medal with the Leinster team to add to her collections of All-Ireland medals.
On to the 3,000m for boys u/14 and even though we had no individual medal places, strong performances and great team packing by Rian Hogan, Eoin Quinn, Andrew Shaw, Colin Smith, Oisin Lane, Ciaran Luby, Ruairi Fagan, Brian Farrell and Paddy Rafferty saw Mullingar finish 2nd Club and with Sam Smyth (East Westmeath AC) finishing just behind Colin Smith, the boys finished 4th County, just missing the medals by a few points.
Aoife Darby continues to improve with every race and she really shone in the 4,000m for girls u/16 where she dug deep and was rewarded with a 7th place finish. With great support from Susan Glennon, Andrea Brady, Daria Fidgeon, Rachel Cornally, Laura Shaw, Elysia Greene, Sarah Glennon and Catriona Kennedy, all leaving nothing on the track, the team finished 2nd Club and 2nd County. Aoife and Susan also won gold medals with the Leinster team but more important was that on foot of this performance, Aoife earns selection to represent Ireland at the Celtic International Cross Country in Edinburgh in early January, which will be her well deserved International debut.
The medals continued to flow in the 4,000m for boys u/16 where despite a shaky start, Jamie Battle came storming through on the final lap to finish a brilliant 2nd place, and with Jack Moran placing 5th and great team running and support from James Drumm, John Whitelaw, Conor McHugh, Brian Martin and Dara Mulvihill (Athlone IT AC), the team finished 2nd Club. Jamie and Jack also won gold medals as part of the Leinster team but also gained selection for the Celtic International Cross Country, which will be a well deserved International debut for Jamie.
The 4,000m for girls u/18 and Junior Women was a combined race where Laura Whitelaw made short work of the deteriorating course and raced hard to a great overall place of 21st and 12th in the u/18 race, just ahead of Claire Fagan and Alanna Bate and with Emma Hogan finishing strongly and providing the vital fourth team score, the girls team finished 2nd Club. Laura and Alanna also won gold medals with the Leinster team.
The 6,000m for boys u/18 and Junior Men was also a combined race with the added bonus of being the trial for the European Junior Cross Country. Jack O’Leary kept in contention throughout, carefully monitoring and covering every move so when it came to the closing stages he was in an excellent position to chase hard to the line to finish 3rd, earning automatic qualification on the Irish team to compete at the European Junior Cross Country in France in December. Following in behind was Shane Hughes (u/18), Padraig Moran (Junior), Jack Tyas (u/18), Oisin Quinn (Junior), Liam Tyas (Junior), Andrew Nevin (Junior), Michael Moran (u/18), Glen Gaffney (Junior) and Declan Brady (u/18). When the results were separated out, Shane Hughes finished 3rd u/18 and the Mullingar u/18 team finished 3rd Club. Shane and Jack also won silver medals with the Leinster team.
There’s no doubt but all seven Mullingar teams winning team medals, making it the dominant Club on the day, seven athletes winning individual top-twelve finish medals, and eleven athletes winning medals with Leinster teams would mark this out as an extremely successful day for the Club, but the real icing on the cake is Jack O’Leary earning automatic selection for the European Junior Cross Country for the second year, and Jack Moran, Jamie Battle and Aoife Darby earning selection on the Ireland team for the Celtic International Cross Country in January, these being International debuts for Jamie and Aoife. What a day!
British & Irish Masters International Cross Country
Congratulations to Geraldine Walsh and Eddie Newman on their medal winning successes at the British & Irish Masters International Cross Country in Santry on Saturday 14th November. Ireland was competing against master athletes from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in heavy rain and strong winds that led to very muddy underfoot conditions, especially in the later races. Geraldine was delighted to finish 4th score for the Irish team that finished 2nd to earn her a silver medal. Eddie had received a late call up to the Irish team but always a strong competitor he finished well up in his race, the 6th score for the Ireland team that also finished 2nd, earning Eddie a well-deserved silver medal. Well done to them both from everyone at the Club.
Irish University Road Relays
Proving that there’s no problem with sprinters running a mile or two if they have to, Vicky Harris competed for AIT at the Irish University Road Relays in NUI Maynooth on Saturday 14th November. The weather was absolutely awful, with heavy rain and strong winds and after warming up it turned out that AIT could only field one full team, but when you’re wet you’re wet and Vicky decided to run anyway with an incomplete second team just to get a run in. She ran the two mile leg, which she said she was delighted with and oddly enough actually enjoyed it! Obviously, no team medals but full marks for volunteering to make up a team if needed for the College, which is a great example of the excellent team spirit in AIT.
Leinster Cross Country – day 2 (Wexford)
We made the long journey to Wexford on Sunday 8th November for Round Two of the Leinster Cross Country Championships held at the John F Kennedy Park and Arboretum, outside New Ross and despite the journey, and tough weather conditions, our underage teams once again excelled and secured Mullingar’s dominance in this event. Competition was for juvenile uneven ages under 11, 13, 15 and 17 years, with qualification to the All-Ireland Finals in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford in December one of the primary goals. Hosted by United Striders AC, the organizers really laid out an excellent course with just the right amount of challenge to test the runners, and despite the terrible rain in the days leading up to the event, and the miserable conditions on the day itself, the course held up remarkably well under the circumstances and the muddy slippery underfoot conditions and strong wind in places didn’t seem to faze the Mullingar athletes one bit. Once we dragged the big medal haul back to Mullingar, first order of business for the runners was a hot shower or bath, followed closely by dumping very mucky running kit into washing machines!
As is now customary, the Championships proper were preceded by non-Championship races for boys and girls under 9 years of age and the results here gave everyone a taste of what was to come later in the afternoon. Leading from gun to tape in the 500m for girls u/9, young Saoirse Sheridan made it look all too easy with a runaway victory. The 500m for boys u/9 saw Conor Liston storm to victory, closely followed by Luke O’Leary hot on his heels in second place. Jamie Wallace also got into the medals with a fine ninth place finish and Niall Brady also ran very well and finished strongly. Apart from medals for the first twelve finishers, the organizers presented a small parcel of jellies to all finishers, which was a nice touch, as everyone got something in reward for running a tough race.
On to the Championships then and in the first race, the 1,500m for girls u/11, while our focus was on the Mullingar girls, it was good to see AIT AC win its first individual cross country medal when Tegan Foley finished eleventh, leading the Westmeath team home. First to finish for Mullingar was Aimee Wallace, finishing just ahead of Leah Geoghegan on the line. Next to finish was Lisa Seery (AIT AC) and Laura Madden (AIT AC) contributing valuable points for the Westmeath team, then came Adele Geoghegan, Shauna Traynor to secure the silver medals for 2nd Club. Despite great support from Adie Cronin (East Westmeath AC), Katie Boyle (AIT AC), Sarah Fitzgerald (AIT AC), Grace Byrne, Ruth Langtry, Lucia Walsh, Jessica Cunningham, Amy O’Donoghue and Aisling Harte, the girls were unlucky to finish 5th County, just out of the medals. Athlone IT finished just out of the medals in fourth place, but still qualified for the All-Ireland Finals, which is great for athletics in Westmeath. The 1,500m for boys u/11 came down to a furious sprint finish with only three seconds separating the first four finishers, Philip McCartan taking 4th, followed by Ryan Jenkins (8th), Tadhg Sheridan (10th) and Ross Killalea (12th). With four in the top twelve, Mullingar easily finished 1st Club. Callum Costello and Adam Brady provided the vital scores to secure the gold medals for 1st County, and Diarmuid Fagan, Darragh Smith, Matt Shaw, Joe Darby. Nathan Sleator, Andrew Glennon, Adam Smyth (East Westmeath AC), Mikey Walshe and Matt O’Leary packed well in support of the strong Westmeath team.
Bea Drummond and Phoebe Bate battled it out in the 2,500m for girls u/13 but in a close finish, Bea proved the stronger to win the race, with Phoebe 2nd. Aoife McGouran ran a storming race and charged through with a great late surge to finish 12th, and Caoimhe Brady improving with every race secured the gold for 1st Club. Evie Daly, Meabh Killalea, Amy Geoghegan, Grace Loughrey, Francesca Walshe, Rachel Darby, Karla Cunningham, Anna McCartan, Aoife O’Brien, Alanna Costello, Caoimhe Monaghan, Keelie Mulderry and Rachel Harte provided terrific team support to see the girls finish 1st County too. The 2,500m for boys u/13 had an equally exciting finish when Colin Smith finished a close 3rd, just ahead of Sam Smyth (East Westmeath AC) in 4th. Lorcan Mullen, Brian Gaffney and Eoghan Hogan provided the vital scores for Mullingar to finish 2nd Club, and with Mark Langtry running his best race so far, just beating Kevin Martin on the line, to give the sixth County score and great team packing and support running by Mark Shaw, Colin McGee (East Westmeath AC), Tom Wallace and Charlie Norton (AIT AC), Westmeath finish 3rd County.
Having led for so long, it was heart breaking to see Aoife Darby just denied a win in the 3,500m for girls u/15, beaten into 2nd in a sprint finish. Disappointment was short-lived though as with Susan Glennon (4th), Caoimhe O’Brien (7th), Lisa Gavin (AIT AC), Sarah Glennon, Jennifer Fidgeon, Ciara Smith, Elysia Greene and Ines Arqued (AIT AC) finishing very strong and placing really well, it was richly deserved 1st Club and 1st County for these talented girls. The excitement continued in the 3,500m for boys u/15 where Andrew Shaw fought tooth and nail in the finish straight passing several others to finish an excellent 7th, followed in by John Whitelaw (11th) and Eoin Quinn (12th) only separated by a fraction right on the line, and with fantastic support from Rian Hogan, Brian Martin, Oisin Lane, Paddy Rafferty, Ciaran Luby and Callum Greene the team finished 2nd Club and 2nd County and booked their places in the All-Ireland Finals.
Andrea Brady deserves huge credit for her display of sheer determination in the 4,000m for girls u/17 where she raced hard throughout and gave every ounce of effort in the finishing straight to finish 12th and clinch the final individual medal. Laura Shaw was not far behind, followed in by Daria Fidgeon, Rachel Cornally, Emma Hogan, Catriona Kennedy and Ellen Cronin providing great team support to see the team finish 3rd Club and 2nd County only two points off second Club. The final underage race of the day, the 5,000m for boys u/17 was an excellent contest where the Mullingar trio of Jamie Battle, Ciaran Nolan and Jack Tyas kept right up with the leading group throughout, running together in second, third and fourth for a long time. The race boiled down to a final burst over the last kilometre as the pace heated up and in the end it was Ciaran 2nd, Jamie 3rd just one second behind and Jack 6th in a very close finish where only seconds separated the Mullingar boys. Illness and injury and no-shows robbed us of a team, but if we had just one more to make up a team we would have easily secured the gold medals for first Club, such were the performances by Ciaran, Jamie and Jack.
That concluded the action for Mullingar on a day when its athletes won 7 Club medals and 6 County medals and with one individual winner (Bea Drummond) and 17 other top twelve finish places, Mullingar athletes will feature strongly on Leinster teams in the All-Ireland Finals in Dungarvan. Many thanks to the very many parents, coaches and supporters that made the long journey to Wexford to cheer the Mullingar and Westmeath teams to success. It doesn’t stop just yet of course and everyone that has qualified for Santry and Dungarvan needs to continue to apply themselves fully in training, at the Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays but especially in Belvedere this coming Saturday and Sunday morning.
All-Ireland Schools Indoor Combined Events
Congratulations to Shauna Leydon who competed for St. Finian’s College Mullingar in the All-Ireland Schools Indoor Combined Events at the Athlone Indoor Arena on Saturday 7th November. Competing in 60m hurdles, shot putt, long jump, high jump and 800m over the course of a day’s grueling competition in the Junior girls event, Shauna gave a good account of herself against stiff opposition, even rounding off the day with a PB in the 800m. This is despite giving away a year and she is still eligible to compete next year in the Junior competition where last Saturday’s experience will certainly stand to her.
Lotto Cross Cup
Padraig Moran was in action at the Lotto Cross Cup in Mol, northern Belgium, on Sunday 1st November facing athletes from Belgium, France, Holland and Luxemburg. Padraig raced in the u/20 race over 6,200m and came through a strong field to finish in ninth place. Padraig also had the distinction of leading home the six man group of Irish athletes. This run will provide Padraig with great confidence for the upcoming National Cross Country Championships.
Dublin City Marathon
It’s very hard to gauge exactly how many Club members competed in the Dublin City Marathon on the October Bank Holiday Monday, as the official results don’t allow a search by Club, so rather than attempt to trawl through nearly thirteen thousand results, we can only focus on those that entered the AAI National Marathon Championships, which were run in conjunction with the Dublin Marathon. These results are easy to search and show 37 finishers from the Club, the quickest being Eddie Newman in 2:46:41, a big PB. Colm Walsh (2:49:01), Ken Whitelaw (2:49:04) and Martin Lyons (2:55:53) also finished under three hours but Andrew Nevin (3:05:05) came very close in his debut marathon, first junior man, Aine O’Reilly was the Club’s leading woman (3:05:49), taking a silver medal in her category. Matt Glennon (3:06:25) also finished just outside three hours and with Eddie Newman and Stephen Naughton (3:25:34), the trio won the bronze medals for third master men team.
As in any marathon, some struggled, but others were delighted with their finish time. They all finished though, and congratulations to them all. Also competing was Enda Mimnagh, Brian Collentine, Martin McKeon, Garrett O’Brien, Stephen Harte, Ollie Gaffney, Paul Ginnell, Stephen Olwell, Gerard Flynn, John Paul O’Brien, Tommy Archbold (fourth in his master category), Dearbhail Gibney, Douglas Bates, Richard Ferris, Siobhan McCarthy, John Callaghan, Criona Reid, Liz Glennon, Martin Brady, Declan Costello, Lola Brogan, Jason Scarff, Jason McCabe, Patrick Carolan, Michael Byrne, James Brady, Breda Walsh, Geraldine Walsh (fourth in her master category) and PJ Ballesty.
Leinster Cross Country – day 1 (Moyvalley)
The Mullingar underage cross country teams have a record second to none in Leinster and on Sunday 25th October in Moyvalley, Co. Kildare at Day 1 of the Leinster Cross Country Championships they demonstrated yet again that they really are the Club to beat as they won team medals in six of the eight underage races, and with Shane Hughes winning the u/18 race and 17 other top-twelve finish place medals it means that Mullingar will be very well represented on Leinster teams too in the All-Ireland Finals for juvenile even age in Santry in four weeks time.
Competition was for boys and girls under 12, 14, 16 and 18 years of age and for Novice and Master men and women. It was the first time we had been at the venue, the Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort in Co. Kildare and thanks to the excellent work put in by the host Club, Na Fianna AC, an excellent course was laid out to suit the athletes and it was very spectator-friendly too with clear views of the action all the way around the course. Even the weather behaved and the big black dirty clouds we could see in the far distance stayed away for the whole day!
Success wasn’t just for the underage athletes and in the novice men race, Jonathan Daly finished an excellent tenth place, Maura Dervin won a silver medal in her category in the master women event, and Paddy Kelly came agonizingly close to an individual medal in the master men event but led the Mullingar master men to silver team medals, helped by, among others, Tom McGrath who took bronze in his category.
As is now customary, before the Championships proper began, there were non-Championship races over 1,000m for boys and girls under 10 years of age, and athletes as young as 7, 8 and 9 years of age from across the Province competed with great enthusiasm. In the 1,000m for girls u/10, Amy Wallace, Leah Geoghegan, Adele Geoghegan, Saoirse Sheridan, Shauna Treanor, Jessica Cunningham and Robyn Bates ran very well and were delighted to run in front of thousands of cheering supporters and finish well up in the race, with Amy, Adele, Leah and Saoirse winning medals. Mullingar really dominated the 1,000m for boys u/10 where Philip McCartan, Ryan Jenkins, Callum Costello, Conor Liston, Matthew Shaw and Darragh Smith ran brilliantly and all were rewarded with top-twelve finish place medals for their trouble. Also running was Niall Brady and Pablo Lozano. Some of these youngsters will be underage again next year, but we’ll see others in action again in two weeks time competing under 11 and last Sunday’s race was an ideal taste of competition for them.
The Championships proper got off to an excellent start for Mullingar when Phoebe Bate finished 2nd in the 2,000m for girls under 12, and with support from Aoife McGouran (8th) and Grace Loughrey and Amy Geoghegan battling to the line to provide vital Club team scores, the girls finished 1st Club by a big margin. With Aoife O’Brien, Anna McCartan, Meghan Bates and Alanna Costello the team also finished 3rd County. All the Mullingar boys in the 2,000m for boys u/12 are u/11 and eligible next year but despite giving away a year, they battled bravely and finished a very creditable fifth Club thanks to the efforts of Ross Killalea, Tadhg Sheridan, Adam Brady, Diarmuid Fagan, Joe Darby, Lucas Lozano, Sonny Drummond, Conleth Mullen, Mikey Walshe and Aaron Dowdall. It was good to see Paul Hillick from East Westmeath AC in action too and finishing strongly.
Normal medal winning service resumed in the 3,000m for girls u/14 where Bea Drummond led the Mullingar team home in 4th place, followed home by Caoimhe O’Brien (11th), Evie Daly and Ciara Smith to finish 2nd Club by only five points. With great team running and effort by Meabh Killalea, Jennifer Fidgeon, Caoimhe Brady, Francesca Walshe, Aoife Campbell (Athlone IT), Karla Cunningham, Rachel Darby and Roisin Mulvihill (Athlone IT), Westmeath finished 2nd County too. On to the 3,000m for boys u/14 where Andrew Shaw ran a blinder to finish 4th, Eoin Quinn finished very strongly to take 12th place right on the line, and with Oisin Lane, Sam Smyth (East Westmeath AC), Ciaran Luby, Colin Smith, Rian Hogan packing thick and fast in quick succession behind Eoin, it was 1st Club and 1st County by significant margins. Also lending great team support was Paddy Rafferty, Brian Farrell, Ruairi Fagan, Lorcan Mullen, Ruairi Lyons, Kevin Martin, Eoghan Hogan, Mark Langtry, Tom Wallace and Callum Greene to ensure team success, the first double gold of the afternoon.
Aoife Darby showed a terrific return to racing form and took 2nd place in the 4,000m for girls u/16 to lead the team of Susan Glennon (4th), Andrea Brady (10th), Daria Fidgeon, Laura Shaw, Rachel Cornally, Catriona Kennedy, Elysia Greene and Sarah Glennon to 1st Club and 1st County. Mullingar packed well in the 4,000m for boys u/16 where Jamie Battle finished 2nd, Jack Moran 4th, and with John Whitelaw and James Drumm finishing just out of the top-twelve places and great team running by Conor McHugh, Brian Martin, Dara Mulvihill (AIT AC) and Adam Dunne, the Mullingar team finished 2nd Club by just four points and Westmeath finished 2nd County.
The girls u/18, u/19 and Junior women ran in a combined 4,000m race where Laura Whitelaw finished 3rd overall (2nd u/18), Alanna Bate 6th overall (4th u/18) and with Rachel Glennon and Michelle McCormack finishing well up, the girls finished 4th Club, missing the bronze medals by just eight points. The final underage race was the 6,000m for boys u/18, u/19 and Junior men where Shane Hughes finished 3rd overall (1st u/18), Patrick Shaw 7th overall (3rd u/18), Jack Tyas 11th overall (7th u/18), Oisin Quinn (3rd u/19), Liam Tyas (4th u/19) and Michael Moran, Glen Gaffney and James Cribbin finishing well up. The Mullingar team won the gold medals for 1st Club by a big margin, the final set of underage team medals of the day.
With the conclusion of the underage programme, our attention turned to the senior races. In the 6,000m for novice men, Jonathan Daly ran a solid race and was full of running in the closing stages to move up the field and finish an excellent 10th place. Also running well was Ian McCormack who finished well up the field. In the 4,000m for master women, first to finish from Mullingar was Breda Daly, followed by Maura Dervin (2nd in her category), Nuala Moran, Paula Murray and Eimear O’Hanlon, and the team finished in a very creditable 6th place. The final race of the afternoon, the 6,000m for master men was biggest race of the day with 159 master men taking to the line, among them 15 from Mullingar and it was great to see such a large adult team from the Club to rival the numbers in our underage teams for once! Paddy Kelly stormed through the closing stages and used his 800m speed to great effect to overtake a large number of competitors in the finishing straight to finish 8th overall, but missed the bronze medal in his master category by just six seconds. However, with great team running from Mark Carroll, Gerry Gavin and Tom McGrath (3rd in his category), the team finished 2nd Club. Also competing was Ollie Donnelly, David Fagan, Liam McGlynn, Mel Carthy, James Carton, Philip Burke, Aidan Rafferty, Greg Duggan, Mark Bate, Andy Quinn and Maurice Creagh, all pleased with their performances to round off a successful day for the Club.
By day’s end, the Club had amassed quite a collection of team and individual medals. We always present the underage team medals at the next training session after the competition, but as it is mid-term some might be missing from training this week, so we’ll hold all the underage team medals for now and present them on Tuesday evening 3rd November at the Club at 6.45pm, before training.
The second round, for juvenile uneven ages and Intermediate adults, will take place in the John F Kennedy Park in New Ross, Co. Wexford in two weeks time. The teams that qualify from Moyvalley will go forward to the All-Ireland Finals in Santry in four weeks time. Teams for Wexford will now be finalized by Club officials this week but in the meantime it is vital that everyone continues to train hard and be in the best possible condition for the next round of the Leinsters and for the All-Ireland Finals beyond, so we expect everyone to keep in full training over the coming weeks, especially in Belvedere this coming Saturday and Sunday mornings at 11am.
Venice and Frankfurt Marathons
Rather than compete in the Dublin Marathon on Bank Holiday Monday, Damien Monaghan competed with over 13,000 others in the Venice Marathon on Sunday 25th October where conditions were excellent for running as it was cool, calm and dry. Damien admits he went out a bit hard and suffered in the last few miles but he dug deep and was very pleased to finish in 2:55:47, his second fastest marathon and knows that under 3 hours is always the mark of a good effort.
Also run in excellent cool, dry and calm conditions, the Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday 25th October attracted over 14,000 competitors, including over fifty from Ireland, among them Gerry Duffy who finished in 2:51:21 and Enda O’Carolan in 2:55:17, and both of them doing a great job flying the flag for Mullingar.
Leinster Schools Combined Events
It’s tough extending the track season into October, but for Shauna Leydon and Patrick Leydon, its part and parcel of being a multi-event athlete. Both competed for St. Finian’s College in the Leinster Schools Combined Events in Athlone Indoor Arena on Wednesday 21st October. In the junior girls competition, Shauna put in a really good performance and was only narrowly beaten for a medal, but a fourth place finish sees her qualify for the All-Ireland Finals in November and she’ll be looking to improve and hopefully get into the medal places. Patrick put in a very good performance in the Intermediate boys event and was satisfied with his excellent sixth place finish in an event that attracted a large number of entries.
Autumn Open Cross Country
A number of Club members competed in the Autumn Open Cross Country in the Phoenix Park on Sunday 18th October, including a number of master members taking part in the trials for the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International to be held in Santry in November. In the open 5k, Joan Flynn finished well up in her master category in 20:10, followed in by Breda Daly in 21:46, Christy Creagh (25:57), fourth in his master age category, and Geraldine Walsh (37:00), third in her master category. The open 8k race incorporated the Junior men 6k where it was good to see Glen Gaffney back in action again, finishing the 6k race strongly in 23:08. Running 8k, Paddy Kelly finished in 29:38, followed by Eddie Newman (29:51, fifth in master category) and Patrick Muldoon (30:42).
Longwood 10k and 5k
Attracting a good number of athletes, including a few from Mullingar, the Longwood 10k and 5k races on Sunday 18th October were run in ideal conditions. Sinead Whitelaw had a fine run in the 10k race to finish in 37:47, thirteenth overall of the 217 finishers, which placed her second woman. Also competing was Ken Whitelaw, Tommy Conroy, Niamh Molloy and Siobhan McCarthy. Mullingar went one better in the 5k race, which was won by Andrew Nevin in 17:21, pulling clear in the final kilometre to win well, with Alan Crowley also running well among the 171 others to finish tenth in 19:22.
Westmeath AAI Cross Country Championships
The grass might have been damp but certainly not the spirits of the competitors on day two of the Westmeath Cross Country in Belvedere on Sunday 11th October, which took place in perfect running conditions. Despite some absences for a variety of reasons, the number of underage athletes was up on last year, helped by good numbers from East Westmeath AC and Athlone IT AC, which was particularly good to see.
Day two was for boys and girls under 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 18 and 19 years of age and for men and women Novice, Senior and Master. Many of the juveniles who took part on day one the previous week were back in action again either running in their own age or moving up an age group to get in some race experience. As on day one, the competitors in round two came from all across the County and included a number of welcome newcomers, with everyone keen to perform well and looking to secure a place on Club and County teams to compete in the Leinster Championships in a few weeks time.
All the underage races were keenly contested with everyone hoping to run well and impress officials and make sure of selection on Club and Westmeath teams in the Leinster Championships. The last race of the day was a combined race for girls u/17 and older, boys u/18 and older and men and women Novice, Senior and Master, with each group running over the same course but with different numbers of laps, so with forty athletes starting together, it was a great event for spectators.
Thanks to all who helped recording results and stewarding on the course, and to the many parents who came and supported the competitors, but in particular to all the athletes who competed.
The results of day two are:
Juvenile Club and County teams for the Leinster Championships will now be picked based on the results from both days and very importantly, application in training. A few juveniles unavoidably missed one day or other, or were ill on the day, but they might still be considered for team selection if officials are happy that they are fit and able to train. Master athletes that wish to compete in the Leinsters need to let Greg know this week.
Compared to the large crowd that attended the mid-week Westmeath Schools Cross, Belvedere was a lot quieter on Sunday morning 4th October for Round 1 of the Westmeath AAI Cross Country Championships, but that didn’t take from the strong competition for places on Club and County teams for the upcoming Leinster Cross Country Championships. The weather was cool and dry and perfect for running and everyone enjoyed the excellent underfoot conditions. Round one was for boys and girls u/8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 years of age. Boys and girls u/18 years of age will compete in Round 2. Competitors came from all across the County with good representation from the athletic Clubs in Westmeath as well as a number of newcomers that had run in the Westmeath Schools Cross Country just days before. If not members of a Club, they’re strongly encouraged to join their nearest Club. We included a race for boys and girls under 8 years and they all certainly enjoyed the run and were delighted with their medals.
Moving to the Championships proper, the race distances were longer than in the Westmeath Schools but that was no problem for those that have been training regularly. The course in Belvedere is a great test of cross country endurance and those that train there regularly will have no problem with the course in Moyvalley for the first round of the Leinsters for juvenile even ages on 25th October. There were some very good individual performances in Round 1 but Championship cross country is also about team running, so everyone’s performance was being closely watched by Club officials, particularly the newcomers. The results of Round 1 and of Round 2 will be used to select teams to represent the Club and Westmeath in the upcoming Leinster Championships.
The results of the Novice and Master men and women races in Round 2 will also be used to select Club and County teams for the Leinster Championships, so all adult members that won’t be competing in the Dublin City Marathon but want to run in the Leinster Championships must run in Round 2.
Thanks to all who helped in Round 1 recording the results and stewarding on the course, to James Carton who led the younger races to make sure everyone knew the course, and particularly to the many parents who came and supported the competitors.
The results of Round 1 are:
Round 2 will be for boys and girls u/9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and u/18 and 19 years, and for men and women junior, novice, senior and master. Juvenile Club and County teams for the Leinster Championships will be picked after Round 2 and will be based on the results from both rounds. The Leinster Championships take place over two Sundays, with two weeks between each, so juvenile athletes can run in their own age-group and can move up an age-group to make up teams. Therefore, we expect all juveniles to compete in both rounds of the Westmeath Championships or they might be disappointed not to be selected.
Athlone Three Quarter Marathon
Billed as the ideal preparation for the Dublin City Marathon at the end of October, the Athlone Three Quarter Marathon on Sunday 4th October attracted an impressive entry of over 800, among them Enda O’Carolan who completed the distance in 2:18:59 and Ollie Gaffney finishing in 2:37:08, which will give them a boost in confidence for the big event in three weeks time.
“Run Galway” 10k and Half Marathon
Sinead Whitelaw had an excellent run in the “Run Galway” 10k on Saturday 3rd October, finishing 17th overall in 37:03, to place 4th woman. Also competing among the nearly 1,400 others in the race was Miriam Walsh, finishing in 48:06. There was also a Half Marathon that attracted over 1,100 entrants and where best of the Mullingar group was Ciara Dillon (1:37:16), ahead of Michael O’Sullivan (1:39:15) and John Bannon (1:40:37).
Mullingar Harriers celebrates 40 years
December 2015 marks an important milestone in the history of Mullingar Harriers as it will be forty years since Bobbie Begley, Sean Cooney and the late Mick Rooney saw their plans for a new Club in Mullingar come to fruition at a meeting in St. Mary’s CBS, as it was then known, and Mullingar Harriers was formed and the first committee was elected. On Friday night 2nd October the 40th anniversary was marked with a celebration dinner in the Annebrook House Hotel attended by a large number of members and friends of the Club as well as very many former members that returned to help us mark the occasion, drawn by the special bond that still exists with the Club.
Of the original Committee, all except one is still alive and even though not all the survivors could attend, those that could were particularly welcomed and congratulated on their foresight in forming a Club that has grown to be one of the foremost in the Country. The theme of the evening was a fun social get together with little formality giving plenty of opportunity for everyone, particularly former comrades, to meet and catch up and swap war stories of athletic prowess from years gone by. Therefore, there was only one short speech at the beginning, which was a simple welcome to everyone, a very brief history of how the Club was formed and encouragement for everyone to enjoy the evening and mark 2025 in their diaries for the Golden Anniversary in ten years time!
Since 1975 the Club has grown from humble beginnings using the CBS as a training base to developing an excellent training facility at the Club Grounds in Grange to cater for all events and ages from the very young Juveniles to the not so young Masters and everything in between. The grounds continue to develop and improve as required to meet the needs of members, which now number in the hundreds and are split fairly evenly between male and female. As a mark of the Club’s success, since 1975, the Club has produced 91 members that have competed for Ireland, including two Olympians and many competing in European and World athletics competitions.
Running in the background during the meal were videos of races taken over the years by Ollie Gallagher that featured members of the Club and everyone could also view a selection of the huge archive of photographs taken by John Mulvihill, which all served to bring back very many happy memories. After the meal came the music and many stayed on to keep the party going and danced on into the early hours.
Westmeath Schools Cross Country
The annual Westmeath Schools Cross Country Championships were held in a sun drenched Belvedere on Wednesday 30th September where there was a fantastic turnout from Primary and Secondary schools from the four corners of the County. It was great to see so many enthusiastic competitors from first class in Primary school all the way up to sixth year in Secondary school, cheered on by a very large number of teachers and parents, and the beautiful warm sunny day in Belvedere really added to the enjoyment.
There was good increase in numbers in the secondary schools races, showing the continued popularity of the event and we hope that competitors and schools will continue to support this excellent event in future years. We are indebted to the many volunteers who turned up to help officiate and make the day a success, including Martin Lyons who was extremely busy running as the “hare” in the Primary schools races, giving all the young competitors a clear person to chase so no-one got lost on the course; whatever about the competitors, Martin certainly must have been very tired after and glad to finish the day and relax! In addition, the work of the Westmeath Civil Defence greatly assisted the efficient running of the event. The management and staff at Belvedere House and Gardens were also of great help in organising the day at a venue that is ideal for the hosting of such an event. Finally, our thanks to the teachers and schools for competing in great numbers to ensure that the event continues to be one of the most eagerly awaited sporting events on the calendar for those of school going age in Westmeath.
The results show a great distribution of medals to schools throughout the county. Congratulations to all who took part and as usual, the standard of competition was extremely high and medals were hard won for all the competitors.
Star of the Sea AC Cross Country
Traditionally the autumn season opening fixture for Mullingar for many years now, the Club travelled in big numbers on Sunday 27th September to the annual Star of the Sea AC Cross Country Meeting in Greenanstown, near Stamullin in Co. Meath, which is a relatively low-key, relaxed and friendly event, making it ideal for newcomers and youngsters to try out cross country running. That said, while we had lots of younger athletes, the absence of our older, especially novice athletes, who wouldn’t travel to run for the Club, despite taking full advantage of the Club facilities, was very noticeable.
Mullingar has won the Perpetual Shield for best juvenile Club for so many years we nearly forget and confidence was high that we would retain the shield this year. The weather was absolutely beautiful with dry bright conditions and a light breeze, so perfect for running and a great introduction to cross country running for the many newcomers that made the journey.
Teams of three were required to win points towards the trophy for best overall juvenile Club. As always, the organisers laid out an excellent course that was challenging but fair and proved a great early season test of fitness. We had 43 top-ten finish places, including 9 individual victories, and our teams won 8 gold, 2 silver and 1 set of bronze medals, so it was no wonder Mullingar Harriers easily retained the Shield for best juvenile Club for the eleventh year running. This is an amazing record and there’s no doubt but Mullingar will be very hard to beat this cross country season. To add to the celebrations, Jack Tyas won the boys u/17 race to win the Sean Higgins Memorial Perpetual Trophy, which has been won by a Mullingar athlete for the last five years.
Saoirse Sheridan in seventh, Aideen Langtry and Alanna Corroon opened our campaign and raced strongly in the girls 500m under 9 but the team was very unlucky to finish out of the team medals. In the boys 500m u/9, Conor Liston stormed to victory, just ahead of Luke O’Leary (second), Criostoir Ormsby (third) and with great support from James Flynn (tenth), Cormac Swan, Hugo Sleator, Luke Greene, Arthur Drummond, Sean Byrne, Harry Cassidy, Niall Brady and Killian Traynor, Mullingar finished first and third Club to put Mullingar’s first points on the team score board. Amy Wallace led the team home in the girls 500m u/10 in third place, followed in by Adele Geoghegan (fourth), Leah Geoghegan (eighth), Shauna Traynor, Grace Byrne, Robyn Bates, Louise Callaghan and Shauna Callaghan to secure the silver team medals. The Mullingar team dominated the boys 500m u/10 where Philip McCartan won well, and with terrific support from Callum Costello (second), Darragh Smith (third), Matthew Shaw (fifth), Ryan Jenkins (seventh), Matt O’Leary and Gavin Pierce finishing strongly and packing well, it was gold team medals for Mullingar.
Unfortunately we had no team in the girls 1,000m u/11 where Ruth Langtry and Rebecca Daly ran very well. We quickly got back in the team medals again in the boys 1,000m u/11 where Ross Killalea finished third, just ahead of Tadgh Sheridan (fourth) and Adam Brady (sixth), and with Nathan Sleator, Sonny Drummond, Conleth Mullen and Ciaran Dowdall finishing strongly and packing well in behind, the team easily won the gold medals. It was an equally impressive performance in the girls 1,500m u/12 as Aoife McGouran led the team home in third place, and with Amy Geoghegan (sixth), Grace Loughrey (seventh), Ana McCartan, Aoife O’Brien, Shannon Liston and Alanna Costello providing great team support, the team was rewarded with team gold medals.
We had no-one in the boys u/12 race but moving to the girls 1,500m u/13, Bea Drummond was a truly impressive winner and with great support from Caoimhe Brady (third) and Meabh Killalea (seventh), it was gold team medals for these talented girls. Colin Smith showed great pace and determination finishing very strongly in the boys 1,800m u/13 to cross the line in third place, ahead of Lorcan Mullen (sixth), Mark Shaw, Mark Langtry, Tom Wallace and Callum Greene providing great support and team packing by to win the silver team medals for Mullingar. We had no team in the girls 2,000m u/14 but that didn’t stop Ciara Smith (fifth) and Jennifer Fidgeon having a great race. No problem with numbers in the boys 2,200m u/14 where Eoin Quinn was clearly delighted with his win, and with Andrew Shaw (second), Ciaran Luby (fourth), Ruairi Fagan (fifth) and Paddy Rafferty (sixth), the medal rostrum was very crowded with the Mullingar colours and of course the boys easily won the team gold medals. We had another individual win, courtesy of Susan Glennon in the girls 2,200m u/15 and with Elysia Greene (third) and Bea Drummond (fourth) and Caoimhe Brady showing great team spirit by moving up an age to make sure we had a team, the girls were rewarded for their efforts with team gold medals. John Whitelaw showed great early season form to win the boys 2,500m u/15 in great style.
On to the girls 3,000m u/17 where Andrea Brady turned in a sterling performance to finish second, and with Laura Shaw (third), Daria Fidgeon (fourth) and Catriona Kennedy (fifth) it was easy team gold medals for the girls and more team points for Mullingar. The final juvenile race of the day, the boys 4,500m u/17 saw Jack Tyas run an aggressive race, making a decisive move on the final lap to pull clear and record a fine win by some distance to give Mullingar another individual win and also winning the Sean Higgins Memorial Perpetual Trophy. Conor McHugh had to move up an age group as there was no u/16 race but he looked completely at home among older opposition and looked very impressive as he finished sixth to win an individual medal for himself.
After the final juvenile race, attention turned to the 3,000m for junior, senior and master women where Laura Whitelaw was our sole representative and looked full of running in the pack chasing the early leader. On the final hill Laura made her move to pull clear of the pack, going on to finish second overall and comfortably winning the junior race. The final race of the day was the 6,000m for junior, senior and master men where Shane Hughes put in a strong performance to finish second overall, winning his junior category. Also taking part were master athletes James Carton, Greg Duggan and Andy Quinn who worked hard on the tough hilly four lap course and expressed satisfaction with their performances.
We saw some great individual performances last Sunday, especially from some of our newcomers and it was really good to see so many of them win medals, but we also saw some great team running, which is essential for success in cross country competition and will give everyone a lot of confidence ahead of the upcoming Leinster Championships. Finally, thanks to the many parents and supporters who travelled to Meath to support our athletes, as it does make a big difference to be cheered on.
Padraig Moran made an excellent return to action on Sunday 27th September when comfortably winning the junior category at the Rathfarnham 5k with an impressive time of 15:09. In what is generally regarded as one of the best 5k races in the Country, which attracted a massive entry of over nine hundred, Padraig was in contention for a top six finish in the overall race until the final kilometre. He finished ninth overall and won the junior category by over thirty seconds, which was a great return to racing after being out of action for several months at the beginning of the year. Padraig can now look forward to the cross country season with confidence. Also competing in Rathfarnham was Sinead Whitelaw finishing sixth woman in 17:40 and Joan Flynn finishing twelfth woman in 18:40, which are great performances from our women athletes in a highly competitive race.
Dublin Half Marathon
Part of the race series leading up to the Dublin City Marathon in October, the Dublin Half Marathon on Saturday morning 19th September in the Phoenix Park attracted over 6,700 looking to gauge their progress in training. Conditions were excellent for running, which was reflected in the terrific performances of the group from Mullingar, led home by Patrick Muldoon, finishing well up in 1:18:57, ahead of Colm Walsh (1:19:59), Gerry Duffy (1:20:48) and Martin McKeon running to the finish with Aine O’Reilly in 1:22:55, which placed her second woman, an excellent result for Aine. Also taking part was Mel Carthy (1:25:45), Stephen Naughton (1:27:06), Liam Woods (1:39:16) and Tommy Archbold (1:41:42) to finish third in his master category.
Athlone Half Marathon and 10k
Mullingar Harriers had a number of athletes in action at the Flatline Half marathon and 10k races in Athlone on Saturday 12th September. Eddie Newman had an excellent run in the Half Marathon finishing in fifth place in a time of 1:15:59. This was a PB for Eddie, beating his previous best time set a year ago by over one minute. Eddie was followed by Enda Carolan in 22nd place in a time of 1:20:30. Mark McCann, John Bannon, Shane Nohilly and Jason McCabe also had very good performances. In the 10k race, Gerry Gavin had a very good race to finish in third place in a time of 35:32. Alan Crowley placed ninth with a time of 39:47.
100k World & European Championships
Congratulations to Maurice Looby on making his International debut at the 100k World & European Championships in Winschoten, Netherlands on Saturday 12th September. Maurice finished this gruelling race, which is over twice the length of a marathon in 164th position and 30th 24th in his category. A measure of the difficulty of this race was that there were just 264 finishers from the 374 that started the race! Maurice can feel very happy with his run of 9:05, as it was just 12 weeks since his last 100k race in Portumna. His name will now be added to the International Roll of Honour in the Clubhouse and Maurice can take great pride in his first International selection.
Bohermeen 5 Mile
Near to home, Joan Flynn was Mullingar’s sole representative at the Bohermeen 5 Mile on Sunday 6th September, which attracted a relatively small attendance of just ninety athletes, with Joan finishing sixteenth overall in a time of 31:57 to finish second senior woman.
Dingle Half Marathon
A number of Club members made the long journey to Kerry for the Dingle Half Marathon on Sunday 6th September, joining over 1,600 others that completed the tough course. In addition to the social aspect of a week-end in Dingle, the Mullingar group were able to get in a long run in race conditions as part of their preparations for the Dublin City Marathon in October. First to finish from Mullingar was Matt Glennon (1:26:16), followed by Aine O’Reilly (1:26:28) finishing second woman, Gerry Duffy (1:28:05), Bernard Groenewald (1:32:01) and Patrick Carolan, all pleased with their performances. Apologies to others that might have run but the results didn’t include Club in most cases and it’s impossible to search so many results and pick everyone out.
Edenderry AC 10k
A one lap course with a good few hills but a great downhill finish attracted over 160 to the Edenderry AC 10k on Friday 14th August and there to support the local Club was our own Joan Flynn who turned in a strong performance to finish in 40:09, nineteenth overall and the second woman to finish which earned her a nice prize for her efforts.
While some 5k races across the Country are seeing numbers dropping off due to the cluttering of the road race calendar with 5k races and more than a touch of fatigue with the distance among many, the exception continues to be the Castlepollard 5k, an annual event organised by North Westmeath AC that continues to draw a great entry including its fair share of notable athletes in Ireland, due in no small part to the tremendous effort put by the race organisers to provide a memorable running experience, from a beautiful course that takes the runners through the fabulous grounds of Tullynally Castle to the bountiful post-race refreshments and the extremely generous prize fund on offer across a wide range of categories. The event attracted more than 430 entrants on Wednesday evening 12th August, bucking the trend and meaning that numbers taking part continue to hold up year after year. A bonus this year was the beautiful warm and sunny evening that has proven a rarity this summer. Being local, it was no surprise that Mullingar Harriers was well represented with nearly forty Club members taking part. Between them they amassed eight team prizes and fourteen individual prizes across all categories including senior, master and junior.
Having taken the National 10k track title the weekend before, it was clear that Mark Christie was the form runner going into the race and it was little surprise that Mark set the pace from the start and returned to the square in Castlepollard well under fifteen minutes after the start, winning in 14:33, with seventeen seconds to spare on Mark Kirwan (Raheny Shamrocks) second in 14:50, with Cian O’Reilly (Annalee AC) third in 15:02, to lead the Mullingar senior men team to first prize. The rest of the Mullingar athletes finished thick and fast, including Andrew Nevin ninth in 16:24 to finish first junior man, Tom McGrath tenth in 16:29 (first in his master category), Gerry Gavin eleventh in 16:32 (first in his master category), Eddie Newman twelfth in 16:36 (first in his master category), Ollie Donnelly in 17:05 (third in his master category), Enda O’Carolan (17:20), Aine O’Reilly in 17:34 (second in her master category), Pauric Brady (17:42), Stephen Naughton in 18:00 (third in his master category), James Cribbin Senior (18:16), Alan Crowley (18:36), Joan Flynn in 18:47 (third in her master category), Brian Collentine, Brian Martin, Christy Maloney, Adam Dunne, James Cribbin Junior, Martin McKeon, JP O’Brien, Paul Moore, John Shaw, Ollie Gaffney, Michael O’Sullivan, John Bannon, Tadgh Sheridan, Laura Shaw in 22:12 (second girl u/16), Rachel Yorke, Francesca Walshe (third girl u/16), Sean McMullin (22:50, second in his master category), Niamh Molloy, Matt Shaw, Christy Creagh (23:34, first in his master category), Eamonn O’Reilly, Saoirse Sheridan, Stephen Dunne, PJ Ballesty and Des Walsh (33:32, third in his master category).
Boyne AC Open T&F Sports
We know from the AAI Pairs T&F Finals back in June this year that Criostoir Ormsby is the only person in Ireland that could challenge Conor Liston over 300m, so it was no real surprise that at the Boyne AC Open T&F Sports in Drogheda on Sunday 9th August, with no Criostoir to mount a challenge, Conor was the runaway winner of the 300m u/9. Earlier in the afternoon he took second place in a very close 60m u/9, showing his versatility over both short and longer distances.
AAI Senior T&F
In less than ideal windy conditions on Saturday afternoon 8th August at the AAI Senior T&F Championships in Santry, Mark Christie tracked long-time race leader Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrocks) in the 10,000m before unleashing his superior finishing speed in the last two laps to comfortably win another National title. Mark’s winning time of 29:52.84 was a very strong performance in the conditions, providing him with a 12 second margin of victory and Mark continues to be an outstanding representative for Mullingar Harriers.
Streets of Galway 8k
Well done to Patrick Muldoon on a strong performance in the Streets of Galway 8k on Saturday 8th August, finishing strongly in 29:10, placing him an impressive 43rd overall of nearly 2,400 finishers. Also competing and enjoying the experience of running with so many others was Mervyn Kennedy who was pleased to finish in 34:38.
Streets of Athboy 5k
Summer made an unscheduled stop in Athboy, Co. Meath on Friday evening 7th August for the Streets of Athboy 5k, organised by Fr. Murphy AC, and it was good to see Mullingar represented and supporting a Club event that attracted nearly 200 entrants enjoying a rare evening when there was no wind or rain. First to finish in the Mullingar colours was Damien Monaghan 9th overall in 17:59, which placed him 3rd in his master category, followed by Pauric Brady 16th in 18:21, and Joan Flynn 32nd overall in 19:30, the 3rd woman to finish, so plenty to celebrate among the small group from Mullingar.
Lough Sheelin 16 Mile Challenge
The course for St. Brigid’s AC Lough Sheelin 16 Mile Challenge on Bank Holiday Monday 3rd August was relatively flat but had enough tough hills to provide just the right amount of challenge for the 124 brave souls that took part. Among those competing was Tom McGrath, looking to defend his title, which he did in style, winning in 1:36:43, which was excellent given the windy conditions. Victory wasn’t as clear cut as the four minute winning margin he enjoyed last year, though he still had nearly a minute to spare on second place this time. Also taking on the 16 mile challenge was Jason McCabe finishing well up the group, which should give him encouragement as he continues his marathon preparations.
AAI Half Marathon Championships
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon on Sunday 2nd August, which incorporated the AAI Half Marathon Championships, took more than 5,000 runners on a tough hilly looping course starting near the 3 Arena in the Docks and finishing in the Phoenix Park. First from Mullingar Harriers to finish was Eddie Newman 38th overall in 1:17:17 to win the silver medal in his master category, followed in by Colm Walsh (1:21:05), Gerry Gavin (1:24:47), Alan Crowley (1:35:00), John Bannon, Des Walsh and Geraldine Walsh, who took the bronze medal in her master category. For some this event was a useful gauge of their progress in training as they focus on the Dublin City Marathon in October.
Celtic Games International T&F
In a cool and wet Grangemouth Stadium in Falkirk, Scotland on Saturday afternoon 1st August, Shane Hughes and Niamh Fogarty rounded off their 2015 outdoor T&F seasons in style when they competed for Ireland against Wales and Scotland in the Celtic Games International T&F, helping Ireland to second place overall against Scotland and Wales.
Niamh led the u/18 shot putt competition right up to the last round only to lose out by a narrow margin in the final round to finish second but she made amends later in the afternoon when despite the deteriorating weather conditions she easily won the u/18 discus to earn valuable points that saw the Irish girls win their u/18 section of the competition. Shane was a comfortable winner of the 3,000m u/18, which was a tactical race run at a slow pace, with the weather conditions not helping much, but when it mattered, Shane had the finishing power to take the victory. The Irish u/18 boys finished second in their section to Scotland and overall the Ireland u/18 team finished second to Scotland, with Wales in third. Well done to Shane and Niamh and they can now take a well-earned break for a few weeks.
Mullingar Masters in the medals
A heavy fall coming out of her blocks wasn’t the kind of start to the 100m that Dolores Whyte wanted at the AAI Masters T&F Championships in damp and overcast Tullamore on Sunday 26th July. Thankfully the race was recalled and Dolores lined up again but a fall like that must take its toll on confidence, though Dolores still ran an excellent race to finish third. Despite a bit of wariness over her start she managed to run a PB of 14.35 seconds, so it all turned out well in the end and Dolores was pleased to maintain her unbroken run of medals in every Championship she has competed in since taking up athletics less than two years ago.
A master with an enviable collection of Championship medals, Sean McMullin didn’t put a foot wrong on his way to victory in the 5,000m race walk to take gold in this most challenging technical event where the slightest lapse in concentration can end in disqualification.
We finished the day watching Ben Vaitkevichius in the 1,500m where he competed strongly and despite a fast final lap he was unable to close the gap on the leaders and crossed the line in third place to win bronze and wrap up the day for the Mullingar athletes.
Louth Open T&F Championships
Jonathan Daly and Stephen Nea Campbell competed as guests in the 3,000m at the Louth Open T&F Championships in Lourdes Stadium, Drogheda on Thursday 23rd July where Jonathan placed second overall in 8:58.8, a big PB by 23 seconds, with Stephen in fifth overall also recording a new PB of 9:30.2. Congratulations to both on flying the flag for Mullingar in Louth.
Mullingar 10 Mile Road Race
Thanks to all the work put in by the hard-working organising committee over the past number of months, the second running of the Mullingar 10 Mile Road Race on Sunday 19th July built nicely on the success of the year before and was deemed a great success by everyone that took part. For those in training for the Dublin City Marathon in October the scheduling of this race in mid-July was perfect and attracted by the chance to run a quality race on quiet country roads, the event drew entrants from far and wide including Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Offaly, Longford, Laois, Galway, Kilkenny, Louth, Wicklow and Tipperary that we know of, as well as a huge number from Westmeath of course, including 50 from the Club alone, and a total of 306 finished, proving the popularity of the fixture. The weather was ideal as early sun turned to overcast conditions after a few miles but despite a breeze, the day stayed warm and the rain held off for the whole day, which added to the occasion for the runners and spectators alike and the post-race refreshments and banter could be enjoyed outdoors. There was an abundance of food thanks to the trays and trays of food dropped in from early morning by the many parents and friends of the Club, which was enjoyed by the hungry runners and many thanks to all those that contributed to the food mountain!
By the halfway point, Mark Christie had opened a margin of nearly one minute and looked strong and full of running and by the finish had increased his lead to over three minutes, winning in 50:16 with Michael MacDiarmada (Clonliffe Harriers) second in 53:24 and Stephen Hunter (St. Michael’s AC) third in 53:50 to lead the Mullingar team to victory ahead of Tullamore Harriers in second and Church Hill in third. It was a home win for Mullingar in the women’s race too as Aine O’Reilly dominated to win in 62:06, ahead of Breda Mahony (Donore Harriers) second in 67:53 and Eithne MacCarthy (Mullingar Harriers) third in 68:14. Mullingar Harriers featured in the various category prizes too including Tom McGrath (seventh overall in 56:30 to win his master category), Eddie Newman (ninth overall in 57:17 to win his master category) and Matt Glennon (second in his master category).
An event that caters for such a large numbers doesn’t just happen and special thanks is due to the army of volunteers who helped on the day with parking, registration, stewarding, water stations, post-race refreshments and all the other components needed to make an event a success. First aid and ambulance cover was provided by Westmeath Civil Defence to whom we are very grateful. Results were looked after with the usual professionalism by Precision Timing and the whole venture wouldn’t have happened at all without the generous assistance of our sponsors, including Allied Irish Bank Mullingar, O’Brien’s Centra, McDonnell Property Partners, Campion Insurance, Grange Motors, NJ Downes Solicitors, Ulster Bank and Wrights Windows. Of course, the greatest thanks are due to everyone who took part and we hope they’ll return again next year and help make the event an even bigger one.
Post-race feed-back has been very positive and many are already looking forward to making a return journey next year. Coming in for particular praise were the facilities at Wallace’s Pub and at Dalystown NS, which provided great bases for the event and Wallace’s in particular was perfect for the post-race refreshments. Many thanks from the Club to Paul Fox of Wallaces’s and to Dympna Alford of Dalystown NS for generously allowing us the use of their facilities.
Schools International T&F
Saturday 18th July was a memorable day for Rachel Glennon and Patrick Shaw when they made their International debuts for Ireland at the Schools International T&F in Grangemouth, Scotland. They competed up to the high standards they set for themselves, helping to win valuable team points to place Ireland second overall behind England and ahead of Wales and Scotland. Rachel finished 3rd in the 3,000m race walk and Patrick had a good run in the 3,000m. Congratulations to Rachel and Patrick and now that they have competed for Ireland, their names will be added to the Roll of Honour in the Clubhouse. Congratulations to them both from everyone at the Club.
Also competing in Scotland was Niamh Fogarty and Alanna Bate. Niamh took bronze in the discus with best of 38.25m, and she also took bronze in the shot with a best effort of over 13m, which was only 30cm off the silver medal place. Alanna competed in the 3,000m and had a good race to play her part in the team success.
Of interest is that as well as Mullingar having four athletes on the Irish team, Westmeath actually had five athletes on the team and well done to Darragh Gaffney (St. Finian’s College Mullingar and North Westmeath AC) who placed fourth in the shot.
European Junior T&F Championships
Jack O’Leary had an excellent run at the European Junior (u/20) 5,000m in Eskilstuna, Sweden on Saturday evening 18th July to finish in 19th place in a time of 15:18.02. Jack was in the leading group for more that 3,000m and will have gained a lot of confidence from the occasion. Having also competed in the European Cross Country Championships in December 2014, Jack has had an excellent season, winning national titles both Indoors and on the track. Jack will benefit greatly from the experience and looks to have a very bright future in the sport.
International selection for Maurice Looby
We’re not done updating the Club’s Roll of Honour in 2015 yet, as Maurice Looby has been selected to run for Ireland in the World 100km Championships in the Netherlands in September. This selection comes on the back of his performance in the Donadea 50km in February where his finish time of 3:18:44 was inside the qualifying standard for the World Championships, so congratulations to Maurice and we wish him success in his training for the formidable challenge of running 100k.
Having committed some time ago to the Dublin Race Series, Andrew Nevin had to miss the Mullingar 10 Mile and instead ran the Fingal 10k in Swords, Co. Dublin on Sunday 19th July where he ran along with nearly 5,200 others and was delighted to finish in 37:12, placing him 3rd junior man and finishing well inside the top 70 when his time is adjusted to reflect his chip time. This was a good performance from Andrew and he’ll be one to watch in the autumn cross country season.
There was a good turnout of over 250 for the annual Oldcastle 5k road race promoted by St. Brigid’s AC on Wednesday evening 15th July, among them a small but effective group from Mullingar, led home by Andrew Nevin 4th overall in 17:06 and 1st junior man. With great support from Eddie Newman in 5th place (17:13), 1st in his master category, Pauric Brady 13th (18:20) and Michael Conway 18th (19:00), the Mullingar men scooped the 1st team prize. Well done to them all for running so well in Oldcastle.
AAI Juvenile T&F – Days 2 & 3
The AAI Juvenile T&F Finals concluded on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th July in Tullamore where despite the cool, damp and windy conditions the Mullingar athletes put in some great performances and finished the week-end with five gold medals, three silver medals, a bronze medal, a CBP, lots of PBs and plenty of excellent placings in the various events.
Saturday began with the walks where Sarah Glennon was simply in another class in the 2,000m u/15 race walk. The race quickly came down to a contest between two girls but with 600m to go Sarah surged clear and quickly opened a sizeable gap that she held to the finish to win the All-Ireland title. Rachel Glennon was equally convincing in the 3,000m u/18 race walk where she too timed her move to perfection to pull clear and record an excellent victory.
In the field events, Shauna Leydon went into the u/14 discus as the favourite and she certainly lived up to that billing with a consistent series of attempts, taking the lead in the first round and building with each round to win her first All-Ireland title with over three metres to spare on second place. Patrick Leydon had the misfortune to hurt an ankle in the second round of the u/17 triple jump. He sat out the third round but his attempt in the fourth round clearly showed that all was not well and he wisely sat out the remaining jumps rather than risk further injury. A seventh place finish in the circumstances was a very creditable performance and with time to recover we’ll see Patrick back in action again soon.
Mervyn Harris impressed in his heat of the 100m u/19, winning well to book his place in the final. His winning time of 10.92 seconds was a new PB, though the wind was over the legal limit. Disaster struck in the final when he was disqualified for a false start. Not one to complain, he knows it’s a risk every sprinter faces and he looked forward to his next race.
Jack Moran and Jamie Battle competed in the 3,000m u/16 where Jack proved the stronger on the day. When the pace increased with three laps to go, Jack was better positioned to go with it, coming home in an impressive second place, holding off a late challenge in the home straight to win the silver medal in 9:21.85, a new PB. Jamie rallied well in the closing stages to finish strongly in a very creditable fifth place, and his time of 9:43.11 was also a new PB. Jack Tyas was very unlucky in the 3,000m u/17 where despite a great effort in the closing lap to make up several places, he finished just out of the medals in fourth place. In the 3,000m u/18, Shane Hughes tracked the early leader and keeping on his shoulder bided his time to make a move. With an impressive kick on the last lap, Shane pulled well clear and went on to win in a new CBP of 8:39.65 and clearly showed that he is capable of running much faster if required. We finished the day with the 3,000m u/19 where Andrew Nevin battled well but finished out of the medal places in seventh, but a new PB was a consolation.
Sunday was a milder day and the stiff wind of the day before was gone but the occasional heavy shower made everyone run for cover now and then. Shauna Leydon was in excellent form in the u/14 shot, putting together a very consistent series of attempts to finish second and earn her second All-Ireland medal of the week-end. Conor Fogarty stamped his authority on the u/15 discus in the second round with a throw of 36.61m, which was nearly two metres clear of second place and earned him his first All-Ireland medal, a gold medal. Later in the day he competed in the u/15 shot where he was again the epitome of consistency and in the final round launched out his best effort of 13.96m, a new PB best to place him second, only eighteen centimetres short of the gold medal. Staying with the field events, Emma Jude Lyons was also in great form in the u/18 javelin where she took bronze in a close contest with only a little over one metre separating the medal places.
Moving to the 1,500m races, usually a rich vein for Mullingar, Susan Glennon seemed to drift off the pace approaching the bell in the 1,500m u/15 but with a spirited recovery on the last lap closed down hard in the final straight but finished just out of the medals in fourth place, in a new PB of 5:01.38. Alanna Bate battled hard in the 1,500m u/17 and was unlucky to finish out of the medals in fifth place. After his exploits in the 3,000m the day before, Jack Tyas was bound to be feeling it in his legs during the 1,500m u/17 but he still put in a strong performance and finished well to round off a very good track season. Michael Moran was pleased to qualify from his heat of the 1,500m u/18 with a new PB of 4:13.29 but in the final just couldn’t find that form again and finished out of the medal places. Laura Whitelaw finally got Mullingar in the medals with a polished performance in the 1,500m u/18. This was a very tactical race up to the bell but when the final sprint for home was launched Laura was not found wanting and fought tooth and nail to the line to take bronze in an exciting finish.
When added to the two gold medals won by Niamh Fogarty and the bronze medals won by Jack Tyas and Laura Whitelaw on day one the week before, the medal tally at this year’s T&F Finals is seven gold, three silver and four bronze medals, which are very good results from the Club’s juvenile athletes. For some they still have the Schools International T&F on Saturday 18th July and the Celtic T&F Games on 1st August to look forward to but for many this marks the end of the track and field season and they can now take a well-earned break before building up again for the cross country season for the middle-distance runners or to winter training for the sprinters and field event athletes.
Letterkenny AC Invitation T&F
Invited to compete in the women’s 200m at the Letterkenny AC Invitation T&F on Friday evening 10th July, Vicky Harris was pitted against a mixture of some of the best up-and-coming female sprinters in Ireland and some sprinters from abroad and gave an excellent account of herself to finish third, only narrowly beaten for second place right on the line to make the long journey to Letterkenny very worthwhile and to put her season back on track.
AAI Junior and u/23 T&F
A number of the Club’s athletes were in Tullamore on Sunday 5th July for the AAI Junior and u/23 T&F Championships where medals are always very difficult to win. Rachel Glennon and Edel Glennon competed in the Junior 3,000m race walk in hot humid conditions, which tested the athletes in this extremely technical event. Rachel produced a terrific final lap and despite a very fast finish in the home straight just missed a medal by less than one second to finish fourth, with Edel close behind in fifth.
A heavy and prolonged cloudburst that had everyone run for cover eventually cleared and when the sun returned the track dried out nicely and temperatures returned to normal in time for the Junior 1,500m in which Claire Fagan cruised to victory in style, followed by Alanna Bate in second place to put two Mullingar athletes on the podium. It was good to see Elizabeth Carr competing in the Mullingar colours in the 1,500m u/23 where she finished a respectable fifth place. Jack O’Leary dropped down to the Junior 1,500m for a bit of speed work in preparation for the European Junior T&F in Sweden in two weeks time where he will compete in the 5,000m. Jack was pleased with his race, especially his turn of pace on the last lap to finish fourth.
Vicky Harris qualified comfortably from her heat of the Junior 200m as an automatic qualifier and in the final drew the wide outside lane eight where she absolutely stormed the bend to put her in a good position coming off the bend into a stiff headwind. Despite a good effort she finished out of the medals but knows she gave it her best shot. Mervyn Harris qualified from the very competitive heats of the Junior 200m and in the final drew the tight inside lane one. Coming strongly off the bend he looked full of running but finished out of the medals in what was a cracking race.
AAI Juvenile T&F – Day 1
A vicious downpour and wild winds during set up in Tullamore on Saturday morning 4th July thankfully settled the weather for Day 1 of the AAI Juvenile T&F Finals and competition took place in warm dry settled conditions, even if a little windy at times. Highlight of the day for Mullingar has to be double gold for Niamh Fogarty. In the u/17 shot Niamh was a model of consistency, putting together an excellent series to win the All Ireland Title with ease. This was followed up with an equally dominant display in the u/17 discus where Niamh was just too good for the opposition to win the title by a distance and earn her second gold medal of the day. Next for Niamh is the Schools International T&F in Scotland in two weeks time.
On the track, Shauna Leydon qualified comfortably from her heat of the 75m hurdles u/14 to take her place in the final where she put in a brilliant effort to place fifth in a close finish, running under 12 seconds for the first time and recording a big PB of 11.84 seconds. Still a relative newcomer to the event, Jack Tyas was still regarded as a real medal prospects in the 2,000m steeplechase u/17. Keeping in third place for much of the race, on the last lap Jack made a move to close the gap on second place and coming into the finishing straight he very nearly made it but the line came too soon and he finished in third place, just inches off silver but was delighted to win an All-Ireland medal. Andrew Nevin is also very new to steeplechase but competed well in the 3,000m steeplechase u/19 where he finished in a very creditable fifth place.
Phoebe Bate had been ill during the week, which clearly affected her in the 600m u/12, where she tried heroically to stay in touch in her heat but in an All-Ireland you really need to be in one hundred percent form and she didn’t qualify for the final but we know she’ll bounce back and we’ll see her again in the autumn cross country season. Bea Drummond kept right with the leading group in the 600m u/13 and with a storming run over the final 200m pulled herself into fifth place, which is a very good result in an All-Ireland final. Aoife Darby contested the 800m u/15 but was unlucky not to advance from the very competitive heats. No problem for Michael Moran who qualified comfortably from his heat of the 800m u/18 and in the final put in a good effort but finished out of the medals on this occasion. We had two to cheer for in the 800m u/19 where Oisin Quinn and Liam Tyas were seeking to qualify for the final. Unfortunately disaster struck for Oisin about 200m into the heat as he tripped and fell. He quickly got back on his feet and caught the group again by the home straight but the effort clearly took its toll and he finished out of the qualifying places. Liam stayed out of trouble and ran a good race to finish fifth, outside the qualifying places for the final but a new PB of 2:03.84 was a consolation. We finished the day in the medals again courtesy of Laura Whitelaw in the 800m u/18. After a relatively cautious opening lap, the athletes were still bunched at the bell but Laura pushed the pace on and in the back straight got herself into a very good position so when the final push for home came she was ready to react and using her trademark fast pace she moved into 3rd and held that place to the finish to win the bronze medal.
Two gold and two bronze medals and plenty of courageous efforts summed up a good day for Mullingar and we look forward with anticipation to the conclusion of this season’s juvenile All-Ireland finals on Days 2 and 3.
British Milers Club Grand Prix
Jack O’Leary achieved the qualification standard for the European Junior (u/20) 5,000m at the British Milers Club Grand Prix in Watford on Saturday 27th June with a time of 14:28.16. This was an impressive performance considering it was Jack’s first time to compete over the distance and was comfortably inside the qualification standard of 14:35.
Jack, still just 17 years old, will participate in the European Championships in Eskilstuna, Sweden on 18th July where he will take his place among the best young distance runners on the continent. He has previously competed in the European Cross Country Championships and that experience will be of great benefit in Eskilstuna. Jack follows in the footsteps of Cormac Finnerty, Mark Christie and Shane Fitzsimons in representing his Country at the European Junior (u/20) Championships.
AAI Juvenile Pairs T&F and AAI Combined Events Finals
The AAI Juvenile Pairs T&F on Saturday 27th June in Tullamore provided an opportunity for some of the Club’s youngest athletes to race in their first All-Ireland Finals, looking to improve on their exploits in the Leinster pairs a few weeks before. Though they finished only 3rd in the 60m in the Leinsters, Conor Liston and Criostoir Ormsby really pulled out all the stops in their 60m u/9 races. Conor was beaten in his race by only the narrowest margin and Criostoir really improved on his time from the Leinsters to finish 3rd in his race and when their times were added, they won the gold medal by just two hundredths of a second. Moving to the 300m u/9, both boys were impressive in their respective races, taking the early lead and pulling clear to win easily. When their times were added, they had a winning margin of over 3 seconds to give them their second set of gold medals. Not to be outdone, in the 500m u/10, Philip McCartan and Callum Costello were equally dominant in their races, winning by a wide margin to the delight of the Mullingar supporters and when their times were added, they won gold with over 7 seconds to spare. The performances by these young boys really impressed everyone who witnessed their dominant displays in the 300m and 500m races.
Competing in the u/14 Pentathlon, Shauna Leydon got her campaign in the AAI Combined Events off to a great start with a PB 12.17 in the 75m hurdles, to move her into second place on points. A best of 4.60m in the long jump dropped her to third overall, but there was still all to play for. The top three all cleared 1.39m in the high jump, resulting in no change in the overall standings. Normally her strongest event, Shauna was a little below par in the shot but a best of 11.77m still moved her into the lead, but only 50 points ahead of second place, meaning that in the last event, the energy sapping 800m, Shauna had to finish not much more than 4 seconds behind the girl in second place to win the title. Not her favourite event, and despite a long day of competition, Shauna ran a very determined 800m to finish in a PB of 2:45.54. A little under a half second faster in the 800m would have secured the title, showing how incredibly close it was in the end, but Shauna was beaten into the silver medal position by just 4 points. This was an extremely close finish to what had been an absorbing contest involving the very best multi-event athletes in the Country, so Shauna can be justifiably very proud of her performance.
International selection for Rachel Glennon & Patrick Shaw (24th June)
Based on their terrific performances in the recent Tailteann Inter-Provincial T&F Games, Rachel Glennon and Patrick Shaw (St. Finian’s Mullingar) have been selected to compete for Ireland at the Schools International T&F in Scotland on 18th July. Rachel will compete in the 3,000m race walk and Patrick in the 3,000m. For both, this will be their International debuts, which is a great honour for them, their families, and their school and of course for the Club. Congratulations to them both from everyone at the Club. Joining them will be Alanna Bate and Niamh Fogarty who have also been selected, though these are not Debut selections.
Irish Runner 5 Mile
Part of the road race series leading up to the Dublin City Marathon in October, the Irish Runner 5 Mile took place on Saturday 27th June in the Phoenix Park where nearly 3,000 finished the race in windy but warm humid conditions. Best of the small Mullingar group was Kevin Baker finishing 15th overall in 27:10, ahead of Eddie Newman 26th overall in 28:04, which was good enough to comfortably win his master age category, with Andrew Nevin finishing strongly in 28:38 to finish 2nd junior man and Tommy Archbold making up the Mullingar group finishing well up in his master age category in 38:38. Congratulations to them all on these excellent results.
Monivea Half Marathon
Nollaig McEntegart was the clear winner of his master age category at the Monivea Half Marathon, near Athenry, Co. Galway on Saturday 27th June, recording an impressive time of 2:06:20.
St. Coca’s AC 5k
On Friday evening 26th June in Kilcock, Co. Kildare the St. Coca’s AC 5k attracted over 370 entrants, among them Gerry Gavin (16:45) finishing 3rd in his master age category, followed closely home by Martin Lyons (16:49), then Ben Vaitkevichius (17:29) easily winning his master age category, Alan Crowley (18:25), Joan Flynn (18:31), Liam Woods (18:42), Philip Burke (19:41) and Siobhan McCarthy (20:41), all enjoying the excellent race organised by St. Coca’s AC.
Sinead Whitelaw had a great run in the Clonee 10k in Co. Meath on Thursday 25th June, where nearly 200 finished the race, with Sinead an impressive 7th overall in 37:44 to comfortably win the women’s race.
Leinster Juvenile (u/14 to u/19) T&F
Mullingar athletes were in sparkling form at the Leinster Juvenile u/14 to u/19 T&F in Tullamore on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st June, winning 17 gold, 11 silver and 2 bronze medals, as well as 3 fourth place finishes and 5 Championship Best Performances, and others featuring strongly even when they finished out of the medals.
First events on the track on Saturday were the walks, a rich vein for Mullingar and in the 2,000m race walk u/15 Sarah Glennon simply dominated the race and with two laps to go surged to the front and cruised home to win gold to get Mullingar off to a great start. Susan’s winning time of 10:02.46 was a new CBP. Rachel Glennon was equally dominant in the 3,000m race walk u/18 and took gold with a clear margin of victory. On to the hurdles where Shauna Leydon qualified comfortably from her heat of the 75m hurdles u/14 and in a close the final, took silver with a fine polished performance. Shauna then moved to the shot putt u/14 where she absolutely dominated and won with a very large margin. Shauna’s winning throw of 12.80m was a new CBP.
Mervyn Harris has had a quiet season so far, with exams taking much of his attention, but he bounced right back centre-stage with a terrific performance in the 400m u/19 to record a comfortable victory and later in the afternoon in a very close fought 100m u/19 finished second with a big new PB of 11.15 seconds to round off an excellent day for him. Maimouna Fane looked magnificent in the 100m u/18, exploding from the start and going on to take second place in a close finish. Staying with the sprints, Awa Fane finished a very creditable fourth in her heat of the 200m u/15 and was very unlucky to miss a place in the final by just five hundredths of a second. Awa also competed in the u/15 long jump where she jumped well but finished out of the medals.
Mullingar has a well deserved reputation in middle-distance running and that was certainly to the fore in the 3,000m races, where Jack Tyas (3,000m u/17) was delighted to win his first Leinster title with a great run. Shane Hughes surged clear with two laps to go in the 3,000m u/18 to record an emphatic victory, while in the 3,000m u/19 Andrew Nevin ran a very good race to take silver.
The medals continued to come Mullingar’s way as Laura Whitelaw kicked hard in the back straight of the 800m u/18 to win in style, followed home by Claire Fagan finishing very strongly to take the silver medal. Liam Tyas ran a clever tactical race in the 800m u/19 and was rewarded with a well deserved silver medal. Ciaran Luby and Oisin Lane competed in the 1,500m u/14 where Oisin took the early lead and Ciaran settled in the chasing pack. At the bell, the race began to really heat up and in a great battle down the back straight Oisin had to surrender the lead but continued to run strongly as Ciaran moved into fourth place by the finish and Oisin finished strongly in sixth. Mullingar had two girls in the 1,500m u/15 where Aoife Darby looked very comfortable in the leading pack, going through the bell in the medal places, with Susan Glennon in fifth but looking strong too. With an extraordinary last lap, Susan picked her way through the field, passing Aoife on the way and only on the home straight with barely 40m to go took the lead to take a magnificent win, with Aoife finishing strongly in a very creditable sixth place, though this result hides how well she actually ran, only dropping out of the medal places in the closing stages. In the 1,500m u/15 John Whitelaw ran well but finished out of the medals to round off Mullingar action on the track.
Of course, it wasn’t all track action that Mullingar had to watch. Patrick Leydon put together a fine series of jumps to record a fine win in the u/17 triple jump, winning by a good margin. Niamh Fogarty added to her growing collection of Leinster Titles with an emphatic victory in the u/17 shot, as did Conor Fogarty in the u/15 discus, taking gold with a polished performance in this very technical event in which he is still a relative newcomer.
Sunday got off to a great start when Aoife Darby attacked hard at the bell in the 800m u/15 and put in sterling last lap to secure the silver medal for second place, followed home by Orla Geraghty competing in her first Leinster Championship, finishing out of the medals but will have benefitted greatly from the experience. In the boys 800m u/15 John Whitelaw ran well but finished out of the medals on this occasion but knows his real strength is over longer distances, especially cross country and we’ll see John compete with distinction in the autumn cross country season. Likewise for Rachel Cornally, Andrea Brady and Catriona Kennedy in the 800m u/16 where they competed strongly but finished out of the medals but we look forward to seeing them in the autumn cross country season too.
If Laura Whitelaw controlled the 800m on Saturday, it was Claire Fagan’s turn on Sunday in the 1,500m u/18 when she went straight to the front from the start and opened a commanding lead as the laps went by and despite a brave effort by Laura Whitelaw on the last lap to get back on terms, Claire was simply too far ahead to be caught and it finished a one-two for Mullingar, Claire gold and Laura silver. We finished the 1,500m events in the medals again as Oisin Quinn and Andrew Nevin turned in solid performances in the 1,500m u/19 where they worked hard and were rewarded with silver for Oisin and bronze for Andrew.
On to the sprints where Nicola Groenewald was unlucky not to advance from her heat of the 80m u/14 but later in the u/14 long jump she put together a great series of jumps to finish 5th, an agonizing one centimetre off the bronze medal, and placing 5th only on count-back. Awa Fane was equally unfortunate not to qualify from her heat of the 100m u/15, missing a place in the final by just one place. Odhran Cully looked strong in a very competitive 100m u/17 and though he finished out of the medals will have benefitted from the experience of competing in a Leinster sprint final. The sprint medal famine was finally broken when Maimouna Fane stormed off the bend in the 200m u/18 and fought hard up the home straight to finish third and claim her second medal of the week-end. Mervyn Harris was equally impressive in the 200m u/19 and ran a blistering bend to put him in a very strong position, going on to take silver, which was his third medal of the week-end.
In the field events, Emma Jude Lyons was pleased with her series of throws in the u/18 javelin, which secured the silver medal for her. Niamh Fogarty dominated the u/17 discus, winning by over 8m, her best attempt being 36.39m, a new CBP making it double gold in these Championships for Niamh. Conor Fogarty was also dominant in the u/15 shot where he won with 13.75m, nearly 2m ahead of second place, a new CBP, making it double gold in these Championships for Conor too. Shauna Leydon also made it double gold in the field events when she won the u/14 discus, nearly 5m clear of second place, to add to her gold in the shot on Saturday.
Back on the track Jack Moran and Jamie Battle really made a race of it in the 3,000m u/16 with Jamie making the early running in front but with two laps to go Jack made his move and began to challenge, taking the lead at the bell and pulling clear in the final 200m to record a clear victory, with Jamie finishing just out of the medals in 4th place, which was disappointing despite all his early hard work but he knows he ran a terrific race. We finished the week-end as we started, with a gold medal, this time for Jack Tyas in the 2,000m steeplechase u/17, negotiating the barriers in his own inimitable style to record a clear victory in 6:51, a new CBP and an impressive performance in his first competitive outing in this very challenging event, adding a second Leinster title to go with his 3,000m title.
We rounded the week-end off with a total of 17 gold, 11 silver and 2 bronze medals, as well as 3 fourth place finishes and 5 CBPs, so Mullingar will be extremely well represented at the All-Ireland Finals in July.
British Masters 5k Road Race Championship
Sean McMullin has competed in every British Masters Athletic Federation 5km Road Race Championship since the event was first held at Horwich, near Bolton, and he retained his unbroken record of attendance when he competed on Sunday 21st June in the 5k road walk. In very challenging windy conditions Sean finished 2nd in his category and 3rd in the overall age-related awards against some of the best British master road race walkers who featured strongly at the European Masters Non-Stadia Championships in Italy in May.
Taking advantage of the near perfect running conditions on Saturday evening 20th June, Mark Christie turned in a thrilling performance at the Dunshaughlin 10k, winning in 29:21, just one second off the course record, ahead of Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrocks) 29:27 and Mark Kenneally (Clonliffe Harriers) 30:13 to continue his impressive form on the elite road race circuit.
Among the 862 finishers behind Mark was Eddie Newman finishing in a PB of 34:48, just ahead of Gerry Gavin in 34:55, also a PB, and with support from Patrick Muldoon (35:18) the Mullingar men finished a respectable sixth team. Following them in was Ollie Donnelly (35:42), Kieran Nolan (36:29), Pauric Brady (36:48), Enda O’Carolan (36:51), Joan Flynn (39:34), a new PB and 10th woman, Alan Crowley (39:56), Robin Jackson (43:10) and Philip Burke (44:01) all enjoying strong performances in a quality race.
Tailteann Inter-Provincial T&F Games
The Tailteann Inter-Provincial T&F Games were held on Friday afternoon 19th June in Santry. This competition for athletes u/17 saw a number of Mullingar Harriers athletes compete for Leinster seeking to secure a place on the Irish team for the upcoming Schools International in Scotland in July.
In the 3,000m Paddy Shaw was always prominent and delivered an excellent performance in a tactical race. Paddy produced an excellent last lap to secure 2nd place. In the girls 3,000m Alanna Bate and Andrea Brady were in action. Alanna was having her first 3,000m race but produced an excellent debut performance to also finish in 2nd place. Andrea Brady had a great race to finish in 7th after leading the race in the early stages.
In the field events, Niamh Fogarty had a very busy afternoon winning gold in the discus and she followed this up with a very strong series of throws in the shot putt to claim the silver medal. Rachel Glennon has had great success in race walking and this continued at the Tailteann Games with an excellent 2nd place finish. Patrick Leydon also performed very well in the triple jump finishing in 6th place and Emma Jude Lyons also recorded a strong series of throws in the javelin.
We’ll have to await the decision of the selectors to learn who from Mullingar will be part of the Ireland team in Scotland in July.
Leinster Combined Events
Proving her versatility as all-round athlete, Shauna Leydon was in terrific form last Saturday at the Leinster Combined Events in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, recording PBs in the shot and high jump and a season’s best in the long jump on her way to a clear victory by nearly 300 points in the u/14 Pentathlon. The competition commenced with the high jump where she cleared 1.45m (off grass) to take the lead. Despite crashing into the last hurdle of the 75m hurdles, Shauna finished 2nd in 12.22 but this was fast enough to hold on her overall lead. Winning the long jump with 4.66m increased her lead, and a 12.71m best effort in the shot, over 4m ahead of her nearest rival, all but clinched the title with only the 800m left to run. Such was her commanding lead of nearly 400 points going into the 800m that bar not finishing the race the title was hers, so she really could afford to take it relatively easy and completed the 800m in 2:51.24 to give her an overall score of 2,821 points, which was comfortably clear of second place. With plenty of room for improvement in the 800m, Shauna will be the girl to watch in the All-Ireland Combined Events in Tullamore in two weeks time.
Trim AC “Braveheart” 5k
Continuing to buck the trend of a steady decline in numbers competing in 5k races, the Trim AC “Braveheart” 5k attracted an impressive entry of 545 on Friday evening 12th June, due no doubt to the tremendous effort put in by everyone at Trim AC. On a very pleasant balmy evening, the runners were sent on their way with the customary claxon siren start and they made their way through the Porchfields on a lovely trail along the banks of the Boyne, overlooked by Trim Castle. Among the large entry were a small group from Mullingar, led home by Eddie Newman 10th overall in 17:27 to win his master category, followed by Michael Conway (19:01), Robin Jackson (21:04), Philip Burke (21:24), Declan Costello (22:30), Des Walsh and Geraldine Walsh.
Competing with the Ireland team at the CSIT World Sports Games in a sunny and very warm Lignano, Italy on Wednesday 10th June, Vicky Harris placed 2nd in her heat of the 100m to qualify for the final where she finished an excellent 5th place. The fact that most of the Ireland team in action on Wednesday had finished in the medal places, and that the 200m is her better event, clearly spurred Vicky on and in the 200m on Thursday she placed 2nd in her heat and in the final blasted to bronze to win yet another medal for what has been an extremely successful Irish team at these Games, finishing fourth team overall. Vicky returned home on Sunday with the Irish team to much cooler weather than she had become accustomed to in Italy but certainly won’t rest on her laurels and now gets down to some serious training in preparation for the rest of what has been a memorable season so far.
Leinster Pairs & u/12 and u/13 T&F
There wasn’t much sunshine in Tullamore on Saturday 6th June for the Leinster T&F for u/9 to u/13 but that didn’t stop some of the Club’s youngest athletes shining brightly as they turned in some stellar performances and many came home very happy after a long day with Leinster medals around their necks and a place in the All-Ireland Finals in a few weeks time. The u/9, u/10 and u/11 athletes competed in pairs, which meant their times in track races or distances jumped or thrown in field events were added together to give them a team score, adding to the excitement as each depended on their partner to perform as well as themselves. The older u/12 and u/13 athletes competed as individuals.
Conor Liston won his 300m u/9 race in great style and with Criostoir Ormsby finishing a close 2nd in his race, when their times were added they easily won the gold medals. Later in the day they competed in the 60m u/9 where again Conor won his race and Criostoir was 2nd in his and adding their times earned them the bronze medals. Two multi-talented boys indeed!
Moving on to the 500m u/10, Callum Costello easily won his race and partner Philip McCartan finished 2nd in his and when their times were added it was gold again for Mullingar, much to the delight of the Mullingar supporters. Callum won his 60m u/10 race and Philip placed 4th in his and when the times were added they unfortunately finished out of the medals, but in a very respectable 5th place and not far behind the medal winners on time, so a great result for the boys.
Mullingar had two pairs in the 600m u/11 where Tadgh Sheridan and Ross Killalea finished well up in their races and were unlucky to finish out of the medals, as were Adam Brady and Sonny Drummond who also ran well in their 600m races but finished out of the medals. No luck either for Tadgh and Ross in the 60m u/11 or for Adam and Sonny in the turbo javelin u/11, finishing out of the medals, but top marks for effort and they certainly enjoyed the day’s competition anyway.
Mullingar fielded five girls in the 600m u/12 where Grace Loughrey, Phoebe Bate and Aoife McGouran qualified comfortably from their heats but Anna McCartan and Clodagh Geraghty didn’t advance from the very competitive heats but they gave it their best effort. Three in the final gave the Mullingar supporters plenty to cheer about and in a very closely run race, Phoebe Bate surged through to 3rd place in the last few metres to take bronze, closely followed in by Grace Loughrey finishing very strongly in an excellent 6th place and Aoife McGouran not far behind.
Clodagh Geraghty also competed in the 60m hurdles u/12 where she ran an excellent race but didn’t advance to the final, and in the 60m sprint u/12 Aoife McGouran, Alanna Costello and Grace Loughrey also didn’t advance to the final from the extremely competitive heats but all competed very well, especially Grace who finished a very close 2nd in her heat and narrowly missed advancing to the final. Alanna and Anna rounded the day off at the long jump u/12 where they enjoyed the competition but finished out of the medals.
Colin Smith advanced easily from his heat of the 60m hurdles u/13 and in the final just finished out of the medal places, in a close 6th place. He then turned his attention to the 600m u/13 where he qualified from his heat and in a very tight finish was just edged out of the medals into 4th place, missing bronze by a very narrow margin but knows he ran a great race and can be very proud of his performance. There were five heats of the 60m u/12, where Ben Walsh ran well in his heat but didn’t advance to the final. Ben also competed in the turbo javelin u/12 and despite the windy conditions he enjoyed the competition but finished out of the medal places.
Mullingar had four girls in the 600m u/13, where Bea Drummond and Caoimhe Brady made short work of qualification from their heats but Meabh Killalea and Jodie O’Leary were unable to join them in the final despite good efforts in their heats. The final was run at a furious pace and Bea Drummond brought all her experience to bear with a perfectly timed sprint on the home straight to move into 3rd and win the bronze medal, with Caoimhe finishing strongly not far behind. Caoimhe Brady competed later in the day in the 80m u/13 but was unlucky not to advance from her heat. Meabh and Jodie finished the day at the long jump u/13 where they jumped well but finished out of the medal places and over at the u/13 shot, Jane Walsh enjoyed the competition, improving with every throw, but finished out of the medal places.
All told, the group of 21 youngsters from Mullingar took home 2 gold and 3 bronze medals between them, and there were plenty of other close finishes. They all competed brilliantly and made their coaches Clare O’Donnell, Margaret Daly, Alan McGouran, James Carton, Karen McGouran and Catriona Duffy very proud and repaid them well for all the time and effort they put into training them and preparing them for competition.
“Bertie Quinn Memorial” T&F/IMC Meeting
There were a number of Club athletes in action at the Irish Milers Club/Bertie Quinn Memorial T&F Meeting in Tullamore on Saturday evening 6th June. Jack O’Leary was first into action in the demanding 3,000m steeplechase, where he ran very well to finish 2nd in the trace in a time of 9:32.56.
Cormac Dalton was always prominent in the Senior 1,500m and produced an excellent last lap to finish in a time of 4:04.55. This was a PB by over 6 seconds and indeed it’s the 4th consecutive race that Cormac has produced a PB, so he is clearly an athlete on an upward curve. Jack Tyas battled hard all the way in his first senior race to finish in a time of 4:21.54. In the ladies 1,500m Claire Fagan ran a very solid race after a very fast start to finish 3rd in a time of 4:51.61. In the 3,000m Shane Hughes had a good run against senior opposition and recorded a season’s best of 8:54.36. In the following race, Paddy Shaw produced a great finish to win a tactical race in 8:59.74 and he can look forward to further improvement in the upcoming races. Andrew Nevin enjoyed his first race over 3,000m on the track and was rewarded with a time of 9:45.23.
In the 800m races, Laura Whitelaw raced very well to record a PB of 2:14.23, an improvement of one second on her previous best. Oisin Quinn produced another good run and just missed out on breaking the 2 minute barrier with 2:00.67. Michael Moran was just behind in 2:02.88 seconds while Liam Tyas recorded a time of 2:03.76. In the 800m races for u/16, Jack Moran ran a PB of 2:10.34 for 4th place with John Whitelaw in 7th place with a time of 2:22.29. Susan Glennon and Andrea Brady stepped down in distance for their 800m with Susan 3rd in 2:27 and Andrea close behind in 7th place.
Northern Ireland & Ulster Senior T&F
Congratulations to master athlete Sean McMullin on finishing 2nd in the 5,000m race walk in blustery cold conditions at the Northern Ireland & Ulster Senior T&F Championships at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast on Saturday 6th June; yes, you read that right, the Senior T&F. Not content with just competing as a master athlete, Sean likes to drop down to the Senior ranks now and then to test himself against younger opposition! Sean was delighted to receive his silver medal from Olympian Mary Peters herself.
Bohermeen AC 5k
It was an excellent night for running on Saturday evening 6th June for the Bohermeen AC “Patrick Bell Memorial” 5k near Navan, which attracted over 400, among them 4 from Mullingar led home by Martin Lyons in 26th (17:03), followed closely behind by Ollie Donnelly in 27th (17:04), then Enda O’Carolan (17:46) and Alan Crowley (18:36) to place a very respectable 5th team and they stayed on with a great crowd to enjoy the legendary Bohermeen hospitality with plenty of food and tea and coffee.
Firmly established as a must-do popular local road race, the Multyfarnham 5k attracted a great attendance of just under 300 runners on Wednesday evening 3rd June, all there for a good race and to support the Multyfarnham Community Centre. Full marks to the organizers for terrific organization, spearheaded by Enda Finnerty and Nuala Moran. There was an excellent course, well marshaled and a great spread of food after for the hungry runners, so any wonder the race attracted great support from the local community? We’re glad too to see that this local race continues to be well supported by members of our Club, over 50 in total and in fact they seemed to gobble up most of the prizes on offer, with Paddy Kelly (15:50) and Aine O’Reilly (17:49) setting new course records into the bargain. A great success and congratulations to everyone involved.
Celtic T&F International
There’s a distinguished history of International athletics competition between Ireland and Scotland dating back to 1895 and on Sunday 31st May in Belfast, Vicky Harris was part of the Irish Universities team that competed against a Scottish Universities team and a Northern Ireland Selection in the Celtic T&F International. Vicky competed in the 100m where she finished 4th in a very competitive race in difficult windy conditions and followed this by running the long second leg on the back straight in the 4x100m sprint relay to help the Irish Universities team turn in a commanding performance to win the relay.
Congratulations to Vicky on making a successful debut and her name will now be added to the Club’s International Roll of Honour, to become the 88th member of the Club to represent Ireland in International competition.
Leinster Senior & Masters T&F
The weather forecast was very gloomy in advance of the Leinster Senior & Masters T&F in Tullamore on Sunday 31st May but as it transpired, the day wasn’t half bad at all and stayed mostly dry, mild and sunny a lot of the time, though quite windy all day, so a good day for running. Mullingar was represented by nine athletes in ten events and by day’s end had secured 4 Leinster titles and 1 silver and 2 bronze medals between them, so a very successful day all around.
Sean McMullin started the day well with a fine performance in his category of the masters 3,000m race walk, winning comfortably and this was followed with a win by Paddy Kelly in the senior 3,000m steeplechase. Liam Tyas ran his first race as a senior when he competed in the senior 800m where he ran a good race and though he finished out of the medals in 5th place knows he put in a good performance that will stand to him in the Leinster juvenile T&F in a few weeks time.
Mervyn Harris hasn’t raced in several weeks but turned in a solid performance in the senior 200m, finishing 4th in 22.70. Having blown away the cobwebs in the 200m, he absolutely blasted the senior 100m to finish a very close 2nd in a new PB of 11.38 into a stiff headwind and he too will be looking forward to the Leinster juvenile T&F. The winner of won both Leinster and All-Ireland indoor masters 60m titles earlier in the year, Dolores Whyte was the pre-race favourite in the masters 100m and she didn’t disappoint, powering from the blocks to win comfortably in a new PB of 14.84 to retain her Leinster 100m title.
Running only his second ever 5k on the track, Colm Walsh was very pleased with his performance in the masters 5,000m where he finished 3rd to win a bronze medal to add to the Mullingar medal tally. Eddie Newman added to the medal total with a bronze medal in his masters 5,000m, recording a PB for 5k on the track into the bargain. Ian McCormack competed in the senior 5,000m but was very disappointed to have to stop due to a recurrence of an injury but it was wiser to stop than run on and risk further injury. We finished the day with another gold medal, from Ben Vaitkevichius in the masters 1,500m.
All-Ireland Schools T&F
Regarded as the best and most competitive underage T&F competition in the Country, the All-Ireland Schools T&F Finals took place in Tullamore on Saturday 30th May in cool but generally good conditions and the Club was very well represented by some of its very best underage athletes competing for honours for their schools and colleges. All the hard work in the past number of months really paid off with some outstanding performances.
The tag of pre-race favourite can bear heavy on some, but proved no problem for Sarah Glennon (St. Finian’s Mullingar) who stormed to victory in the Junior 1,200m walk, winning with 20 seconds to spare in 5:31.30, only 4 seconds off the record held by Kate Veale. A shaky start for Niamh Fogarty (St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge) at the Intermediate discus but she is so experienced that she didn’t let it rattle her and her 4th round effort was enough to clinch the title. Later in the day, Niamh added to her medal tally when she took silver in the Intermediate shot putt. Right from the gun in the Senior 2,000m steeplechase, Jack O’Leary (Clongowes Wood College) went to the front and put in a dominant display, negotiating the barriers and water jump with ease to win comfortably in 6:03.47.
In her final School’s competition, Edel Glennon (Colaiste Mhuire) was delighted to take a silver medal in the Senior 3,000m walk and only that Rachel Glennon (St. Finian’s) was ill overnight and had to withdraw from the Intermediate 2,000m walk, it might have been race walk medals all around for the Glennon sisters. Cormac Dalton (St. Joseph’s) turned in a great performance in the Intermediate 3,000m to win the bronze medal in a close race, followed home by Jack Tyas (St. Finian’s) who had a great race to finish an excellent 7th place. Having finished 3rd in the Leinster Schools, Jack Moran (Colaiste Mhuire) wasn’t expected to feature in the Junior 1,500m but clearly no one told Jack. He ran a brilliant race, keeping right with the leading group throughout and as the laps unfolded, the leading group kept reducing until it was to just three, including Jack, at the bell. The final lap was very exciting with Jack having to hold off a late challenge from behind, but he pulled clear in the home straight to hold onto 3rd place and even got very close to the silver medal in the final few metres. This was a typical gutsy performance from Jack Moran. This was the final medal won by Mullingar athletes and only that Shane Hughes (Colaiste Mhuire) had a recurrence of a recent injury, which ruled him out of the Senior 5,000m, who knows but it might have been more?
We saw another great performance from Laura Whitelaw (Loreto Mullingar) in the Senior 800m where she used her fast finishing pace to great effect in the final 150m to move into 4th place, a position she held to the finish. Also competing well and giving excellent accounts were Emma Jude Lyons (St. Joseph’s) 4th in the Intermediate javelin, Conor Fogarty (St. Joseph’s) 5th in the Junior discus (34.76m, a new PB) and 5th in the Junior shot (11.89m, also a new PB), Patrick Leydon (St. Finian’s) 5th in the Intermediate triple jump, Andrea Brady (Loreto) in the Intermediate 3,000m and Moya Leydon (St. Finian’s) in the Senior discus.
These performances will give every one of them a terrific boost ahead of the Leinster T&F Championships in June and for some they’ll get a chance to compete again for their Schools at the Tailteann Inter-Provincial T&F.
Mullingar Road League – Final Round
The final round of the BROOKS /Tri & Run Mullingar Road League was held on Wednesday 27th May in Belvedere and as has been the case all through the series, the weather was cool but dry, if a little windy, but that’s no problem when running well sheltered on the woodland trails. As in the previous weeks, there was a very good attendance for the final race, with some still registering for the single race just to be a part of the action. This race concluded a successful League with good numbers registering over the four nights. The success of the League is due to the very many volunteers who gave up their free time to make it the success it is. These are the people who took registrations, stewarded the course, organized prizes, and did all the other tasks required to run a race series successfully.
The numbers taking part in the 1,500m race for boys and girls that preceded the 5k were up again on the previous week and the 56 runners quickly completed the 1,500m loop around to the finish line, led home by Andrew Daly (Mullingar Harriers) in 4:49 and in sixth place the first girl, Phoebe Bate (Mullingar Harriers) in 5:13. After presenting medals to all the finishers of the 1,500m race, everyone stayed to cheer the finishers of the 5k race.
As in the third round of the 5k race, Mick Fogarty (Athlone Tri Club) and Peter Mooney (Inverse) battled it out with victory going to Mick in 16:05 and Peter finishing second in 16:10 and this result clinched the overall trophy for Mick with Peter taking second prize overall. The next four places were filled by Mullingar Harriers athletes Andrew Nevin third (16:54), Martin Lyons fourth (17:03) to take third place overall in the series, Tom McGrath fifth (17:07) and Ger Gavin sixth (17:12). In the ladies race, Charlotte Kearney (Donadea) made it four victories in a row, winning in 17:54, to retain the trophy for first woman. In second place was Aine O’Reilly (Mullingar Harriers) in 18:14 and in third was Joan Flynn (Mullingar Harriers) in 19:28, with Aine and Joan finishing second and third respectively in the series.
Prizes were decided on the total of the three best times over the four races, so there were battles taking place throughout the entire field for prizes in the junior and master categories. After the race, there were plenty of refreshments for everyone in the Courtyard Café at Belvedere and the prizes were presented to the various category winners by Cormac Finnerty, son of the late Pat whom the League commemorates. Mick Fogarty was the overall winner of the senior men’s category and in the senior women’s category, Charlotte Kearney was also the winner and both were presented with the Pat Finnerty Memorial Trophies for first man and first woman.
Of course there was another trophy on offer that was almost of equal importance, the team prize for businesses and organisations, which was a fun team competition aimed at non-running teams and was won (along with the associated bragging rights!) by Evan McCormack, Ollie Geraghty, Trevor Shiels and Derek Smith representing Maurice Looby Fitness, the keep fit group, just getting the edge on a strong Garda team that ran them very close.
Full results of the 5k race and details of all junior and master prize winners are below.
In addition to the various category prizes, there were very many spot prizes awarded too.
Finally, many thanks to the Management and Staff of Belvedere House, Precision Timing for looking after results in a professional manner, the Westmeath Civil Defence for providing first aid cover every evening, to BROOKS and Dorothy Duffy at Tri & Run Mullingar for their very generous sponsorship of the event, but especially all everyone who took part in the series.
Irish Milers Club Meeting
The Irish Milers Club had their second meeting of the season at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast on Saturday 23rd may where Paddy Shaw was competing in the 3,000m and ran a very good race to finish in 2nd place. His finishing time of 8:59.4 was a PB by eight seconds and was also Paddy’s first time to break the nine minute barrier for 3,000m. This is excellent running for a 16 year old and should lead to further improvement this season. Oisin Quinn and Michael Moran were competing in the 800m race and could not be separated at the line, both finishing in 2:00.62 in 4th place. This was also a PB for both Michael and Oisin and they now eagerly await their next race to provide them with another chance to break the two minute barrier.
Leinster Junior T&F
Mullingar had just one entrant in Greystones on Saturday 23rd May for the Leinster Junior T&F Championships, but as it was Vicky Harris, needless to say she ended the day by adding to her impressive collection of Leinster medals. In a very competitive 200m, Vicky turned in a solid performance (25.81) to take the bronze medal, and despite only having a short time to recover, blasted to the silver medal position in the 100m with a very impressive effort (12.49), close to her PB for the distance.
Inter-County Juvenile T&F Meeting
Over 30 of our youngest members joined forces with youngsters from AIT AC, East Westmeath AC and North Westmeath AC to field a strong Westmeath team for the Annual Inter-County T&F Meeting between Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath on Friday evening 22nd May in Tullamore. Westmeath’s numbers were also swelled by several students from Wilson’s Hospital School, giving an impressive total from Westmeath taking part. For some of the very young ones, this was their first track competition and their first time to compete on a full sized all-weather tartan track, larger than our own tartan sprint lanes, which added to their enjoyment of the evening. The competition was for boys and girls from under 9 years to under 14 years. We had athletes in every age group and in every event – sprint, middle distance, long jump, turbo javelin and shot putt.
Competition was strong in every event and there were so many competing in so many different events in different places throughout the stadium, that everywhere you looked Westmeath athletes were in action. Needless to say, most took home medals and indeed some of them won more than one medal. Well done to all the young athletes for competing so well for Westmeath and a special thanks to the parents for giving a helping hand on the night and to those who provided transport and much needed encouragement and vocal support.
Mullingar Road League – Round 3
Three down and one to go after Round 3 on Wednesday evening 20th May of the BROOKS /Tri & Run Mullingar Road League and the really pleasant weather helped everyone perform to their best, with many recording their fastest times so far. Not everyone takes part in all four races, knowing that the best times of three are all that’s needed to score in the overall results for prizes but we saw another good number of finishers, 329 in total. Once again, Precision Timing effortlessly looked after the results and they were available on their website within hours.
With Martin Fagan sitting out Round 3, Mick Fogarty (Athlone Tri Club) took the opportunity to record a win (16:01), but not without a fierce battle with Peter Mooney (Inverse) who pushed him very hard right to the line (16:03), followed home by the Mullingar Harriers quartet of Andrew Nevin third (17:03), Tom McGrath fourth (17:07), Ger Gavin fifth (17:07) and Ollie Donnelly sixth (17:15). In the ladies race Charlotte Kearney (Donadea) was first again, in 17:51, but Aine O’Reilly (Mullingar Harriers) got closer this time, second in 18:05, and Sinead Whitelaw (Mullingar Harriers) having her first run in the series took third in 18:22. Right back through the field there were great battles for positions in the junior and master categories.
The numbers taking part in the 1,500m race for boys and girls increased again, to 54, and they quickly completed the 1,500m loop back to the finish, led home by Andrew Daly (Mullingar Harriers) in a very quick 4:47 and in 4th place the first girl, Susan Glennon (Mullingar Harriers) in 5:01. As all the boys and girls were well finished before the 5k race, they could stay on to cheer the finishers of the 5k race. Everyone who finishes the 1,500m on the final night will receive a medal, and there will be trophies for the winners in the various age groups, under 12, 14 and 16 years.
The final round on Wednesday evening 27th May promises to be a thrilling race with plenty of prizes to be won in the various categories, including the overall trophies for best man and best woman, prizes for juniors and masters, as well as many spot prizes, which will be presented afterwards in the Courtyard Café in Belvedere, so we expect another very big turn-out. We’re appealing to everyone to come early, especially those looking to run just the single race. As always, many thanks to everyone who gave up their free time and helped out for Round 3 and we appeal to everyone who can spare a couple of hours to help out again for the final night. Thanks also to Westmeath Civil Defence for providing first aid and ambulance cover and to the staff of Belvedere House and Gardens.
Full results of the 5k race are available below, where the results of the 1,500m race can also be found. Even if you haven’t run in the first three rounds, you can still enter as an individual for the final night in Belvedere up to 7.30pm. Finally, it’s really important to remember to bring your number with the timing chip or your place and time will not be recorded.
Terenure 5 Mile
Toeing the line in Dublin on Sunday 17th May with nearly 1,200 other entrants, Mark Christie was looking to run well in the highly regarded Terenure 5 Mile against a top class field. Martin Fagan won this race in 2014 after a close battle and after an equally close contest this year, Mark Christie emerged victorious in 23:52, only one second ahead of Brendan O’Neill (DSD) with Freddy Keron Sittuk from Kenya but running with Raheny Shamrocks AC third in 24:08. This was an excellent performance from Mark and is a clear example of why he is regarded as among the elite of distance runners in Ireland. Always a man to wear the Club colours with pride, this was a great result for Mark against a top quality field.
Maynooth 10k & 5k
Congratulations to Kevin Baker on winning the Maynooth 10k in cool blustery conditions on Sunday 17th May in 33:34, an impressive 13 seconds ahead of 2nd, and leading the massive field of over 500 finishers home. Kevin continues to perform brilliantly on the road race circuit, flying the flag for Mullingar Harriers. Also competing in Maynooth was Richard Ferris delighted to finish in 47:15, a new PB. In the Maynooth 5k, the Club was represented by Clare O’Donnell who was very pleased to finish 2nd woman in 24:47 and win a prize.
British Milers Club Grand Prix Meeting
Jack O’Leary competed in the British Milers Club Grand Prix 3,000m Steeplechase at Trafford, Manchester on Saturday 16th May where he had an excellent run to finish in 2nd place in a time of 9:10.88. This was an improvement of over 10 seconds on his previous PB and he can expect further improvement as the season progresses. Jack will now turn his attention to the All-Ireland Irish Schools T&F Finals where he can expect another strong performance.
Leinster Schools T&F
There was beautiful sunshine though windy on and off in Santry on Wednesday 13th and Saturday 16th May for the Leinster Schools T&F Finals where a large number of the Club’s underage athletes competed for their Schools and Colleges on the final step to the All-Ireland Schools T&F Finals at the end of May. As always, it was very competitive at this level, with every event being a straight final and only the top two in the sprints and top three in the longer track races and field events advancing to the All-Ireland Finals in two weeks time.
The Club will have strong representation from 16 athletes in 18 events across a range of disciplines. Those that qualified were Sarah Glennon (St. Finian’s Mullingar) Junior 1,500m walk 1st, Susan Glennon (St. Finian’s) Junior 1,200m 1st in a new Championship Record, Conor Fogarty (St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge) Junior Discus 1st and Junior shot 3rd, Rachel Glennon (St. Finian’s) Intermediate 2,000m walk 1st, Niamh Fogarty (St. Joseph’s) Inter shot 1st in a new Championship Record of 13.56m and Inter discus 1st, Cormac Dalton (St. Joseph’s) Inter 3,000m 1st, Emma Jude Lyons (St. Joseph’s) Inter Javelin 2nd, Edel Glennon (Colaiste Mhuire) Senior 3,000m walk 2nd, Laura Whitelaw (Loreto Mullingar) Senior 800m 2nd, Jack Tyas (St. Finian’s) Inter 3,000m 2nd, Shane Hughes (Colaiste Mhuire) Senior 5,000m 2nd, Jack Moran (Colaiste Mhuire) Junior 1,500m 3rd, Andrea Brady (Loreto) Inter 3,000m 3rd, Moya Leydon (St. Finian’s) Senior discus 3rd, Patrick Leydon (St. Finian’s) Inter triple jump 3rd, and they will be joined by Jack O’Leary (Clongowes Wood College) in the Senior 2,000m steeplechase.
Also competing but just missing out on qualification was Maimouna Fane (Loreto) Inter 100m 3rd, Oisín Quinn (Colaiste Mhuire) Senior 2,000m steeplechase 4th, Alanna Bate (Loreto) Inter 1,500m 4th, just missing a medal by the narrowest margin with less than half a second separating 2nd, 3rd and 4th, Patrick Shaw (St. Finian’s) Intermediate 1,500m 4th after a great race, and Claire Fagan (Loreto) Senior 1,500m 4th but running a new PB, which was some consolation.
European Masters Non-Stadia
No stranger to International competition, Sean McMullin was in Grosseto (Italy) at the European Masters Non-Stadia Championships, where he competed on Friday morning 15th May in the 10k road walk. Going into the race, Sean was ranked in the top eight and despite having to cope with warm temperatures in the mid to high twenties and giving away up to three years to some of his competitors in his master category, he finished in 59:52, placing him an impressive 6th place in his category, which is a great result against the very best in Europe. Sean moves up a master category early next year and his time would have easily won the next older category up by a distance, so Sean has a lot to look forward to in 2016!
Mullingar Road League – Round 2
Another lovely evening on Wednesday 13th May was welcomed by everyone competing in Round 2 of the BROOKS /Tri & Run Mullingar Road League and the bright sunny weather brought out the best in everyone, with most recording faster times than in Round 1, helped no doubt by being more familiar with the new faster course, particularly the fast downhill last kilometre. A good number registered for the series on week two but with some from Round 1 opting to sit out Round 2, at 343, the number of finishers on week two was very close to the number finishing the first week. Not everyone takes part in all four races, knowing that the best times of three are all that’s needed to score in the overall results for prizes. Once again, Precision Timing effortlessly looked after the results and they were available on their website within hours.
Once again, Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers) took the early lead and effortlessly cruised to victory in 14:42, marginally quicker than the first night. Following Martin in was Mick Fogarty (Athlone Tri Club) to finish second in 16:07, Peter Mooney (Inverse) third in 16:12, and Mullingar Harriers trio Martin Lyons fourth in 16:44, Andrew Nevin fifth in 17:02, just ahead of Eddie Newman sixth in 17:03. In the ladies race Charlotte Kearney (Donadea) was first in 17:52, with Aine O’Reilly (Mullingar Harriers) second in 18:26 and Joan Flynn (Mullingar Harriers) third in 20:00. All these times were quicker than round one, so the series is really beginning to hot up! Of course, further back, there was great competition for positions in the junior and master categories.
There was a big increase in the numbers taking part in the 1,500m race for boys and girls aged 15 years and younger. Starting a few minutes before the 5k race, so they could finish at the Precision Timing finish gantry, 51 youngsters quickly completed the 1,500m loop to the finish, led home by Andrew Shaw (Mullingar Harriers) in 5:05 followed in by the first girl, Susan Glennon (Mullingar Harriers) in 5:08. As all the boys and girls were well finished before the 5k race, they could stay on to cheer in the finishers of the 5k race.
Round three on Wednesday evening 20th May will be very interesting and will give Martin Fagan and Charlotte Kearney the opportunity to stamp their claims on the overall trophies for best man and best woman. We expect to see another big crowd and we’re appealing for participants to come early, especially those looking to run just the single race. As always, many thanks to everyone who gave up their free time and helped on week two and we appeal to everyone who can spare a couple of hours to help out again for Round 3. Thanks also to Westmeath Civil Defence for providing first aid and ambulance cover and to the staff of Belvedere House and Gardens.
Full results of the 5k race are available below, where the results of the 1,500m race can also be found. Finally, it’s really important to remember to bring your number with the timing chip for Round 3 or your place and time will not be recorded. As two of the four races are now complete, it is no longer possible to enter the League on-line but individual one race entries are welcome on the night in Belvedere up to 7.30pm.
Great Manchester 10k Run
Mark Christie gave an impressive performance on Sunday 10th May at the Great Manchester 10k Run, which is Europe’s largest 10k with an estimated 40,000 entrants, attracting some top class Africans and the best British distance runners. Victory went to Stephen Sambu (Kenya) 27:30, with Stephen Mokoka (RSA) second 27:38 and Bernard Lagat (Kenya) third 27:48, demonstrating the class field assembled for the race but undaunted, Mark Christie turned in a terrific performance to finish 10th in 29:20.
Navan AC 6k Road Race
In contrast to the first round of the Mullingar Road League on Wednesday evening, it didn’t feel or look like May in Navan at all on Friday evening 8th May for the Navan AC “Simon Cumbers & Paddy Hyland Memorial” 6k Road Race. However, despite the rain, which was bad for spectators, it was still a good night for racing with some fast times recorded. Nearly 200 finished with Eddie Newman well up in 7th overall in a fast 20:32 to take 2nd prize in his master age category.
International selection for Vicky Harris (7th May)
Congratulations to Vicky Harris on being selected by Athletics Leinster to represent Ireland at the CSIT Games in Lignano (Italy) in June. Vicky will compete in the 100m and 200m. Vicky has been a member of the Club for five years and in that time has matured into a top class sprinter, winning Regional and National indoor and outdoor sprint titles. This is a wonderful and well overdue honour for her. As if that wasn’t good enough news to receive, she has also been called up for the Irish Universities team to compete against the Scottish Universities in Belfast a week before the CSIT Games, which will provide an excellent opportunity to sharpen up for Italy.
Mullingar Road League – Round 1
On a beautiful bright calm evening on Wednesday 6th May, this year’s BROOKS/Tri & Run Mullingar “Pat Finnerty Memorial” 5k Road League got underway in Belvedere. The event continues to attract a big crowd and it was great to see so many familiar faces back again this year and of course there were many newcomers too. Numbers held up nicely on last year’s opening night and we had 352 finished the first night, which is a good start to the league and we’re sure it will grow in the coming weeks. We had chip timing again this year and the results were posted shortly after the race on the Precision Timing website. We know not everyone can enter for the full series, but if you can run only one or two nights, we’ll accept individual entries on any night.
A familiar figure to everyone, Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers) took the early lead and made light work of the course, which this year had a new fast flat finish down by the lake, completing the 5k in a very brisk 14:47 and making it look very easy such is his World class ability. Leading the chasing pack was Mick Fogarty (Athlone Tri Club) to finish second in 16:16, a big improvement on his time last year, Peter Mooney (Inverse) third in 16:23, and Mullingar Harriers trio Martin Lyons fourth in 16:56, Eddie Newman fifth in 17:06 and Gerry Gavin sixth in 17:13. In the ladies race Charlotte Kearney (Donadea), last year’s overall winner of the women’s league, won in 18:01, with Aine O’Reilly (Mullingar Harriers) second in 18:36 and Joan Flynn (Mullingar Harriers) third in 20:09.
Before the 5k race, we had a 1,500m race for boys and girls aged 15 years and younger. Too many 5k races, especially one a week for four weeks, is too much for young boys and girls and 1,500m is more suited to their ages. Starting a few minutes before the 5k race, so they could finish at the Precision Timing finish gantry, 33 youngsters raced hard to the finish. Susan Glennon (Mullingar Harriers) just had the edge on the night, finishing in 5:09, ahead of Andrew Daly (Mullingar Harriers) in 5:12. As all the boys and girls were finished before the 5k race, they stayed on at the finish line to cheer in the finishers of the 5k race.
Round 2 on Wednesday evening 13th May should see another big crowd and we’re appealing for participants to come early, especially those who will be registering for the first time and those looking to run just the single race. Many thanks to everyone who gave up their free time and helped out on the first night taking entries, organizing car parking, helping as stewards on the course etc, and we appeal to everyone who can spare a couple of hours to help out again on week two. Thanks also to the staff of Belvedere House and of course to Westmeath Civil Defence for their invaluable input providing first aid and ambulance cover.
Full results of the 5k race are available below, where the results of the 1,500m race can also be found. Finally, it’s really important to remember to bring your number with the timing chip on the second night or your place and time will not be recorded.
Leinster Master Road Race Championships
Despite the large number of eligible senior and master athletes in the Club, only Eddie Newman travelled to Gowran, Co. Kilkenny on the May Bank Holiday Monday (4th May) for the Leinster Master Road Race Championships. It was a beautiful day for running, cool but bright and sunny and not too windy, so perfect conditions for the 4 laps of the 6k course. As always, Eddie didn’t disappoint and ran a great race to finish 18th overall and 2nd in his master category in 20:38 to win a Leinster silver medal, adding another to his growing tally of Championship medals.
Reflecting the much tougher distance, the smaller number of nearly 2,300 entrants for the Belfast Marathon on the May Bank Holiday Monday (4th May) included Terri Greene and Michael Greene. Unfortunately Terri was forced to pull out at 14 miles with an injury but Michael carried and was very pleased to finish his first marathon, the first of many we hope.
Great Limerick Run
The Great Limerick Run on Sunday 3rd May, which included a Half Marathon, attracted a huge entry with over 2,200 finishers. Among the great crowd was Cian Ryan (1:35:37), Siobhan McCarthy (1:38:45) and Breda Walsh (2:14:33), soaking up the tremendous atmosphere and all pleased with their performances. Breda exemplified the bond that develops among long distance runners when she selflessly abandoned her own race with 3 miles to go to help a woman struggling to finish her debut Marathon. She had stopped and did not want to continue, but with Breda’s help and encouragement got going again and ran with Breda to the finish, successfully crossing the line and with faith restored that completing a marathon was indeed possible. Breda is a great example to us all!
Irish Milers Club Meeting
We had a number of athletes competing at the Irish Milers Club Meeting in Greystones on Saturday 2nd May, which was held in very wet and windy conditions. Cormac Dalton and Paddy Shaw were in action in the Development 1,500m and both featured prominently throughout. With just over 400m remaining Cormac surged clear of the field to record a comprehensive victory in 4:10.31. Despite the unfavourable conditions this was a PB by over 7 seconds and reflects the excellent progress that Cormac is making. Paddy battled well to finish in 8th place and now looks forward to the Leinster Schools Championships in two weeks time.
Claire Fagan and Alanna Bate competed in the Senior Ladies 1,500m and this was a very competitive race. Claire and Alanna raced strongly to finish in 4:53.6 and 4:59.0 respectively, which was very good running in the conditions. Both girls can look forward to a strong track season.
In the 800m race Michael Moran and Oisin Quinn were very competitive finishing in 3rd and 5th place respectively. Michael was just outside his PB with 2:02.8 and Oisin recording a PB of 2:03.2.
The Penn Relays held at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field is one of the largest relay events in the world with athletes competing from across the USA and is probably the biggest T&F event for US Colleges outside the NCAA Finals. Run in conjunction with the Penn Relays there were individual race walk events on Saturday morning 25th April, where Edel Glennon and Rachel Glennon competed in the Olympic Development Women’s 5,000m Race Walk. Rachel was targeting a finish time of 24 minutes but an early 8am start and a very cold morning indeed went against her and while she still raced well, finishing 11th overall, her time was 25:23.86, which was outside her pre-race target but a new PB nevertheless. Following in close behind was Edel to finish 14th in 26:02.47, which was also a new PB for Edel. This was certainly an exciting trip to compete in the USA and it’s great to see that they both raced so well.
Jack O’Leary had a clear win in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Thomond Games in the University of Limerick on Saturday 25th April. Conditions were far from ideal, windy and cold but at least it stayed dry as Jack took the early lead and pulled clear of the field to win in 9:21, a new PB by some 30 seconds. The competition wasn’t great and with better opposition he knows there’s a lot more improvement to come this season.
AIT Sports Award for Vicky Harris
Congratulations to Vicky Harris on being presented with the Athlone IT Sports Award for Womens Athletics Freshers on Thursday 23rd April. Currently in first year (Fresher) studying for a degree in Sports Science, Vicky competed for AIT at the Irish University Indoors in February, winning bronze in the 200m and 4x200m relay, and in the Irish University Outdoor T&F in April she finished 4th in the 100m and ran the lead leg in the 4x100m where AIT won silver. No surprise therefore that she was honoured with the Freshers Award, which is well deserved, and congratulations from everyone at the Club.
Dublin Graded T&F Meeting
The first Dublin Graded T&F Meeting of the season drew a great entry on Wednesday evening 22nd April in Santry, with over 70 sprinters entered for the 200m, which resulted in 4 races for women and 8 races for men. There were nearly as many entered for the 1,500m. Conditions were nearly perfect for running, with barely any wind, though it got quite cool as the evening progressed and the sun began to go down. Among the 200m sprinters was Vicky Harris who won her Grade A race with ease in 25.40 seconds, leading from gun to tape with a polished performance.
Completing his first marathon since 2008, Martin Fagan ended his long absence from the distance when he competed at the Zurich Marathon on Sunday 19th April. Passing the halfway point in 1:06:16 in nearly perfect running conditions, Martin was always on course to run comfortably under 2:17, which is the qualifying standard for the Rio Olympics in 2016. Even though he slowed a bit over the last few miles, he still finished 11th in 2:16:09. It wasn’t the time he had hoped for, but he had been ill during the week, so it was a really good result in the circumstances but more importantly, is inside the standard for Rio. This performance in Zurich comes on the back of a string of recent excellent performances on the domestic road race circuit and reinforces his credentials as a World-class athlete.
The race was won by Edwin Kemboi Kiyeng from Kenya in 2:11:34 with African athletes making up seven of the top eight. Martin ran most of the race close to two Russian athletes, Aleksey Sokolov (2:14:44) who has a best of 2:09 set in Dublin in 2007 and Andrey Safronov (2:15:47) whose previous best was 2:17:30 set in Zurich last year, so Martin had some athletes of fine pedigree to run with. Congratulations to Martin on this excellent performance.
Hoping to break three hours, Sinead Whitelaw was optimistic of achieving her target at the Manchester Marathon on Sunday 19th April, which is billed as the flattest and fastest marathon course in the UK. We don’t know Sinead’s allegiances, if any, so don’t know if finishing at Old Trafford was an incentive or not, but we do know that she put in a great effort and was very unlucky to narrowly miss her target, finishing just outside it in 3:01:19, fifth woman in her category. Initial disappointment will pass and Sinead will know that’s it’s only a matter of time before she breaks through the three hour barrier.
Lashing rain all night on the eve of the Connemarathon on Sunday 12th April must have seriously tested the resolve of all those entered for the Connemara half marathon, full marathon or ultra marathon but thankfully the rain stopped before 9am, just as the ultramarathon was starting and it stayed away for the rest of the day. Apart from a moderate breeze, conditions were good for running, though there still remained the problem of a seriously hilly course! Maurice Looby ran the ultra marathon, which is 39.3 miles, that’s a marathon and a half, where he finished in 2nd place in 4:28:31 and was delighted with his time. Preferring to tackle the half marathon, which attracted over 1,200 entrants, Michelle Kavanagh was pleased to finish in 2:11:14 but more importantly to survive the testing hills of Connemara.
Great Ireland Run
It was great to see a Mullingar Harriers vest in the elite men’s group on the start line for the Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park on Saturday 12th April, thanks to the in-form Mark Christie. The race included the AAI National 10k Championships, and while the men’s race was dominated by Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes, Mark led the Irish challenge to finish 8th overall, the first Irishman to cross the finish line and so won the National 10k title in a time of 30:10, comfortably clear of second place by 10 seconds to reinforce his reputation on the road.
Preceding the men’s 10k race was a mile race and among the invited elite runners was Shane Fitzsimons, competing alongside some top class UK and Irish milers in what was a very competitive race. Shane ran extremely well, staying right up with the leaders to the three quarter point but then had to drop off the pace, eventually finishing 7th, second Irishman to finish, but this was a good experience and will stand to him in the season ahead.
Earlier in the morning, it was the turn of some of our younger members to show their talents, with victory for Darragh Smith (mini boys), Bea Drummond (9-11 girls), winning her age group for the third year in a row, Colin Smith (9-11 boys) and Susan Glennon (12-15 girls). Also competing was Keelin Burke, Sonny Drummond, Arthur Drummond, Niall Brady, Adam Brady, Andrea Brady, Aoife McGouran, Sarah Glennon, Ben Walsh and Jane Walsh. Four underage victories and plenty of representation in the boys and girls races meant everyone knew Mullingar was there in force. Congratulations to them all for competing so well for the Club.
Of course we could see on the live TV coverage there was a big number of adult members of the Club in the open 10k race, some entered in the AAI 10k too, among them Kevin Baker (33:36), Mark Carroll (34:48), Eddie Newman (35:12), a new PB, Gerard Gavin, Damien Monaghan and Aine O’Reilly (39:36) finishing well up, followed by Matt Glennon, Martin McKeon, Alan Crowley, Sean Fallon, Maura Dervin, Siobhan McCarthy, Robin Jackson, Trisha Broderick, Terri Greene, Paula Murray, Jane Creevy, Rachel Yorke, Nuala Moran, Philip Burke, Karen McGouran and PJ Ballesty running well and finishing strongly.
When the AAI results were extracted from the overall Great Ireland Run results, Eddie Newman was 3rd in his master category, Matt Glennon 4th in his, Aine O’Reilly and Maura Dervin won their master categories, and the master women team of Aine O’Reilly, Siobhan McCarthy and Paula Murray was 5th in their category, but it was gold medals for the master women team of Maura Dervin, Trisha Broderick and Terri Greene. Congratulations to them all.
Irish University T&F
Vicky Harris had a busy schedule in the Irish University T&F Championships on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th April at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast, where she competed in the 100m, the 4x100m and 4x400m relays for Athlone IT. Qualifying comfortably from her heat of the 100m on Friday evening in windy conditions, she faced even worse conditions on Saturday with heavy showers and strong blustery wind making life difficult for the sprinters but she ran well and was unlucky to finish just of the medals in 4th place.
She won a medal later in the day by helping AIT to the silver medal in the 4x100m sprint relay, but there was little time to celebrate as she lined up not long after for the 4x400m relay, where AIT finished 5th, out of the medals but a good team result nevertheless. This was an encouraging start to the outdoor season and Vicky is already looking ahead to her next competitive outing.
Wearing the DCU colours, Elizabeth Carr also competed in Belfast, in the 3,000m, where she battled bravely in the elements to finish 6th and earn valuable points to help DCU to the overall first team prize and Elizabeth too is looking forward to her next outing.
Leinster 10 Mile Road Race Championship
Run in conjunction with the Raheny Shamrocks AC “Battle of Clontarf – Brian Boru” 10 Mile in St. Anne’s Park, Raheny on Easter Monday (6th April), the near perfect weather conditions attracted a big entry of over 270 for the Leinster 10 Mile Road Race Championship. Finishing an excellent 9th overall in 57:29, a new PB, Eddie Newman was delighted to retain his Leinster Title in his master age category. Breda Walsh was next from Mullingar to finish, in 1:36:40, which placed her a very respectable 5th in her master category, followed by Des Walsh taking 2nd in his master category, and Geraldine Walsh retaining her Leinster Title in her master category.
Ringtown Half Marathon & 10k
No complaints about the weather for the Ringtown GAA Half Marathon & 10k on Easter Monday (6th April) with bright summer sunshine and virtually no wind making it a perfect day for racing. Despite a well organized event, numbers were well down on last year, with 52 finishing the half marathon and 80 finishing the 10k. The half marathon was easily won by Martin Fagan in 65:09, over 5 minutes clear of second place, followed in by Nollaig McEntegart 6th in 1:26:04 to finish 1st in his master category, Olive Malone in 1:37:37 (1st Senior woman), Michael Moloney (1:43:29) and John Bannon 1:43:33 (1st in his master category). In the 10k race, Mullingar took first place too, as Malcolm McDonnell won in 34:23, with Gerry Gavin 3rd in 36:10, followed by Alan Crowley, Paul Moore (3rd in his master category), Declan Brady, Jane Creevy and Criona Reid.
Dunboyne AC 4 Mile
Mark Christie showed early road race form with an impressive victory in the Dunboyne AC 4 Mile Road Race on Sunday 29th March. As usual, the race attracted a huge entry of over 700, among them some top quality athletes including Mark Christie, Tomas Fitzpatrick (Tallaght AC), Liam Brady (Tullamore AC) and Mark Kenneally (Clonliffe Harriers), who took on the race from the start. Their quality was evident early on as they pulled clear of the field but by the halfway point it was down to just Mark Christie and Mark Kenneally to battle it out. They were neck and neck until Mark Christie made a decisive break with just over a mile to go, opening a gap that had become nearly 100m by the time he entered the finish straight, winning in 19:10, with 17 seconds to spare on 2nd place.
AAI Spring Throws Event
Fresh from her All-Ireland indoor title in shot putt, Niamh Fogarty switched to the discus for the AAI Spring Throws Event in Athlone IT on Sunday 29th March, an event that offered much needed early season competition for throwers and allowed athletes to assess how their winter training has progressed. Conditions were far from ideal with high cross winds to contend with which put the discus out of the sector on her first two attempts but when she settled, Niamh was delighted with her best throw of 35.35m, a new PB by some 2m, and puts her at the top ranking in her age group to open her outdoor season on a high and we expect that she will make further gains in the season ahead.
The day before, Conor Fogarty competed in the shot putt and was in contention for a medal up to the final round, having gone over 13m in every round, which placed him 2nd but he slipped to 6th in the final round. A PB by over 0.5m was more than compensation however and he was delighted with the competition and is eagerly looking forward to the season ahead.
AAI Juvenile Indoors – Day 3
In contrast to the impressive medal haul of four gold medals, one silver and one bronze the week before, medals proved very scarce on the final day of the AAI Juvenile Indoors on Saturday 28th March in Athlone. Shauna Leydon was first into action, in the u/14 shot putt, where she went into 2nd place in the 1st round, consolidating her position in subsequent rounds but not able to close the gap on 1st place and remained in 2nd throughout to win a silver medal, which proved to be the only medal won for Mullingar on the day. Moving on to the 60m hurdles u/14 Shauna qualified safely from her heat and in a very close final she finished just out of the medals in 4th place, missing bronze by just six hundredths of a second but her time of 9.66 seconds was a new PB.
Aoife Darby ran well in the final of the 800m u/15, keeping in touch with the leaders in what was a crowded and tactical race but didn’t quite have the kick needed in the final lap to stay in touch and finished out of the medal positions but acquitted herself very well in the pressure of an All-Ireland final. John Whitelaw worked very hard in the final of the 800m u/15 but despite his efforts it wasn’t to be on this occasion but will take a lot from the experience of competing at this level. Jack Tyas had to contend with a very competitive heat in the 800m u/17 where he started well but just couldn’t find the extra pace on the final lap needed to earn qualification to the final but gave a good performance. Disaster struck for Laura Whitelaw early in the final of the 800m u/18 when she fell after 100m, cutting herself on the leg, but she got back on her feet quickly and moved back into contention over the next lap but the effort clearly took its toll and she couldn’t match the pace on the final lap and finished 5th. This was a very disappointing result for Laura, as she was a pre-race medal favourite but that’s the risk of indoor 800m running. Luckily she wasn’t too badly hurt and was fine after some first aid. Declan Brady looked full of running in his heat of the 800m u/18 and looked good to qualify for the final but couldn’t quite match his performance in the Leinsters and after a very fast final lap he just missed qualification. Moving on to the heats of the 800m u/19, Liam Tyas and Andrew Nevin were drawn in the same heat, where Liam led out the first two laps at a strong pace but wasn’t able to sustain the effort and finished out of the automatic qualification places. Andrew ran a more conservative race but he too couldn’t find the pace to get among the qualification places.
Drawn in the fourth of four heats of the 200m u/17, where only the winner was guaranteed to advance to the final, Patrick Leydon ran very well and was pleased with his time but it wasn’t quick enough to advance. This ended Mullingar’s interest for the day where only Shauna Leydon got in the medals. However, over the three days, the medal total of 4 gold medals, 2 silver and 1 bronze was still excellent by any standard and all our juvenile athletes can be very proud of their performances.
AAI Juvenile Indoors – Days 1 & 2
The AAI Juvenile Indoors Finals got off to a great start for Mullingar on Saturday 21st March as Niamh Fogarty took the lead in the first round of the girls u/17 shot putt, going on to put together a consistent series, holding the lead throughout, to win the All-Ireland title, with her best effort 12.47m coming in the final round. Also competing on Saturday was Moya Leydon in the girls u/18 shot, where she threw well but finished out of the medal places but was happy to be competing again at this level.
It was a disappointing start to Sunday 22nd March when Mervyn Harris had to pull up in his heat of the boys 60m u/19, but after some treatment and with plenty of time to recover before the 400m, he lined up later in the day in his heat of the boys 400m u/19. The heats were extremely competitive and despite finishing second in his heat, he didn’t advance to the final.
We got into the medals thanks to an excellent performance by Alanna Bate in the girls 1,500m u/17 where she ran a clever tactical race, keeping close to the leaders so when the break came she was perfectly placed to in the medal places and with a fast final lap secured a silver medal, finishing in 4:51.88, a new PB. In the girls 1,500m u/18, Claire Fagan kept in touch throughout and coming up to the bell for the final lap, just as it looked like she was safe for at least a bronze medal, she was forced to pull up with a painful hip injury, much to the disappointment of her Mullingar supporters, but especially to Claire herself. Patrick Shaw settled in the pack for the early laps of the boys 1,500m u/18 but mid-way through the race he began to move up and in the last two laps pulled out all the stops, and really working hard and driving all the way to the finish, crossed the line in third place in 4:11.57, a new PB by 3 seconds to win an All-Ireland bronze medal. Gold came courtesy of Jack O’Leary in the boys 1,500m u/19 where he was always the one to watch and when the bell came it was down to just a few to sort the medals out among them but Jack was not to be denied and with a furious turn of pace took the lead on the back straight, holding off a late challenge in the home straight, to win in 4:00.09, a massive PB by 20 seconds and what a time to deliver it! The girls 600m u/12 was run at a furious pace right from the start but Phoebe Bate gave it her best effort and though she finished out of the medals this time, in sixth place, she knows she left nothing on the track.
We finished the week-end as we started, with gold medal winning performances. Sarah Glennon was the pre-race favourite in the girls 1,000m u/15 race walk and she certainly lived up to that billing with a polished performance to win the race and take the gold medal. You certainly wouldn’t bet against Rachel Glennon in the girls 1,500m u/18 where she dominated from the start and pulled clear with a very fast final lap to secure the gold and All-Ireland title to round off the day with cheers from the Mullingar supporters. This was an excellent week-end for the Club, with our juvenile athletes winning 4 gold medals, 1 silver and 1 bronze, with 3 PBs thrown in for good measure.
Mallow 10 Mile
The Mallow 10 Mile Road Race in Cork on Sunday 22nd March attracted nearly 1,100 entrants among them Martin Fagan who did what he does best by winning in 48:28 at a canter, with a lot of distance between him and second place to reinforce his reputation as the premier athlete in Ireland over this distance.
Heading west on Sunday 22nd March, Eddie Newman joined over 480 others for the Craughwell 10k in Co. Galway on what should have been a perfect day for running but unfortunately the wind picked up just before the start of the race. Despite that, he dug in and was delighted to finish 9th overall in 57:58 to comfortably win his master category.
Schools International Cross Country
Jack Moran ran an excellent race finishing in 9th place on his International debut at the Home Countries Schools Cross Country International in Santry on Saturday 21st March, where Ireland was host to teams from England, Scotland and Wales. Jack was in the leading pack for much of the Junior Boys race and was rewarded with a silver medal for finishing as 2nd scorer on the Irish team that placed 2nd in the team competition behind England. This was an excellent start to Jack’s International career and his name will now be added to the Roll of Honour in the Clubhouse. Cormac Dalton was running in his second schools cross country International in the Intermediate Boys race and he also had an excellent race to finish in 12th place. Cormac was 3rd scorer on the Irish team that also finished 2nd to England in the team category, to earn Cormac a silver medal too. This concludes the cross country season and both Cormac and Jack will commence preparations for the upcoming track season with great confidence.
Mullingar Half Marathon
The organisers of the Mullingar Half Marathon on St. Patrick’s Day, which was a charity fund raising event for “Childline”, must be both relieved and delighted that the inaugural event was such a terrific success. Starting and finishing in the Town Park, it was some sight to see so many runners, nearly 600 in all, heading out of town, filling the entire street. Even the weather played its part and the morning was perfect for running. Among the throng were 72 from Mullingar harriers, not to mention the many that ran as pace-makers.
Although a charity event, and for many the event was simply a chance to run the distance with like-minded others, but for some the competitive juices will flow and its race on from the gun! First home was Peter Mooney (Co. Meath) in 1:13:24 to win the race, while the first from Mullingar to finish was Maurice Looby in 2nd place in 1:15:15 to win his master category. Following Maurice in was Malcolm McDonnell 4th (1:16:53), 2nd in his master category, Matthew Glennon 11th (1:20:26), 3rd in his master category, Gerry Gavin (1:21:01), Enda O’Carolan (1:22:31), Kieran Nolan (1:22:38), Aine O’Reilly 20th overall in 1:24:01, the first woman to finish, David Fagan (1:24:06), Nollaig McEntegart (1:24:14), 1st in his master category, Mel Carthy (1:27:50), James Carton (1:29:06), Elizabeth Carr (1:29:45), Liam Woods (1:29:49), Cormac Finnerty, Paul Moore, Paddy Monaghan, Michael Walshe, Douglas Bates, Alan Crowley, Olive Malone, Paul Ginnell (1:35:44), 2nd in his master category, Seamus Moran and Garry Moore in 1:37:09, joint 3rd in their master category, Shane Nohilly, Colm Walsh, John Bannon, Richard Ferris, Terri Greene (1:41:36), 1st in her master category, Gerard Flynn, Siobhan Moore, Patricia Broderick (1:42:54), 2nd in her master category, Tommy Archbold (1:43:05), 2nd in his master category, Michael Moloney, Michael O’Sullivan, Liam Dalton, Martin McKeon, Andy Quinn, Jane Creevy, John Raleigh, Siobhan Farry, Criona Reid, Michael Byrne, Matt Shaw, Ruth Greene, Marian Frain, Niamh Molloy, Dora Woods, Pauline Troy, Aidan Rafferty, Linda O’Driscoll, Olive McWade, Alison Byrne, Geraldine Langtry, Lola Brogan, James Brady, Eamonn O’Reilly, Kay Heduvan, Christy Creagh (1:55:32), 3rd in his master category, Michelle Gaffney, Ollie Gaffney, Deirdre Raleigh, Wendy O’Leary, Catherine Lagan, Mary Daly, Breda Walsh, Declan Costello, Michael Greene, Karen McGouran, Catherine Browne, PJ Ballesty, Sean Gaffney and Geraldine Walsh. A fantastic turn out from the Club in support of a local race for a good cause.
AAI Masters Indoors
A relative newcomer to competition, having taken up training only a little over eighteen months ago, all the hard work paid off for Dolores Whyte as she recorded an emphatic victory in her category of the 60m sprint at the AAI Masters Indoors on Sunday 15th March in Athlone, leading from gun to tape and posting an impressive big new PB of 8.87 seconds into the bargain to win her first All-Ireland title. Sean McMullin added to his collection of All-Ireland titles when he was the clear winner of his category in the 3,000m race walk and he continues to dominate master race walking in Ireland. We rounded off the afternoon with a determined display by Ben Vaitkevichius who dropped down distance to the 800m but just lost out on a medal place in the last lap and finished 4th in his category, not far off the bronze medal place. Congratulations to the small but talented group of masters that flew the flag with pride for Mullingar.
St. Patrick’s Festival 5k
Starting and finishing outside the Mansion House on Dublin’s Dawson Street, the ever popular St. Patrick’s Festival 5k attracted a huge entry of over 1,500 contestants on Sunday 15th March. Among them, not long back from injury and making a welcome return to competition, was Kevin Baker who finished 16th in 15:53, which is a good opening 5k for Kevin for this year.
Bundoran 10 Mile
Among the impressive field of 868 finishers at the Bundoran 10 Mile on Saturday 14th March and enjoying a run in the bracing Atlantic sea air was Kieran Nolan, finishing 34th in 1:02:22 and Gerard Flynn finishing strongly in 1:18:40.
Leinster Juvenile Indoors
Niamh Fogarty laid down a serious marker when she came within 17cm of the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) standard for the shot putt in her first competitive outing of the year. Competing at the Leinster Juvenile Indoors in Athlone on Saturday 7th March, she simply dominated the girls u/17 shot putt from the get-go to win with a best effort of 13.58m in the fifth round, a new CBP, eclipsing the previous record of 12.21m by a long way. In fact, she bettered the old record in five of her six throws and with more competition there is surely better to come and it’s only as matter of time before she attains the EYOF standard.
Two hours later Conor Fogarty stepped into the shot circle for the boys u/15 shot putt and it was his turn to shine. All the winter training really paid off and Conor threw 12.62m, a new PB for his effort, and pure delight for the Fogarty family and Mullingar Harriers as this was good enough to win his first Leinster title, surely the first of many. These terrific performances by Niamh and Conor only came after a lot of hard work under the expert eye of Peter Collins. Even though Peter is a coach with North Westmeath AC, he recognizes that talent needs nurturing and encouragement and it doesn’t matter what Club an athlete is with and if they’re willing to put the work in he’ll help as much as he can.
On the track, Phoebe Bate, Meghan Bates, Anna McCartan and Aoife McGouran had to contest the highly competitive girls 600m u/12 heats, with only the first two in each of four heats guaranteed a place in the final. They all ran brilliantly but only Phoebe advanced to the final where she battled hard and was rewarded with a bronze medal and a place in the All-Ireland Finals. On to the girls 600m u/13 where Mullingar had six girls in action in five heats, with qualification was only guaranteed for the winner of each heat plus a number of fastest runners up. Only Bea Drummond and Caoimhe Brady made it safely through to the final, but full marks to Evie Daly, Meabh Killalea, Caoimhe Monaghan and Francesca Walshe who left nothing on the track and were very unlucky not to make the final. The final was run at a blistering pace, not normally a problem for Bea, but she just didn’t settle into her normal rhythm and she finished out of the medals. For Caoimhe, running in a Leinster final was a significant step up for her and she will take a lot from the experience. Killian McDonald, Lorcan Mullen and Colin Smith contested the boys 600m u/13, all running well in their heats but only Colin and Lorcan qualified for the final where Colin stormed through the field on the last lap to finish fourth, just out of the medals, but so close, followed home by Lorcan also finishing very strongly.
Odhran Cully and Patrick Leydon contested the boys 200m u/17 where Odhran qualified for the final but Patrick was unlucky to miss out, though a big new PB was some consolation and he knows there’s more to come this year. Odhran was delighted to qualify for the final where he contested it well and even though he finished out of the medals will learn from the experience. Mervyn Harris made it look all too easy in the boys 400m u/19, leading from gun to tape to record a clear victory by a distance and adding another Leinster title to his growing collection.
Francesca Walshe returned for the girls 60m hurdles u/13 heats and gave a great performance but was very unlucky not to qualify for the final, missing by just one place. Shauna Leydon qualified comfortably from her heat of the girls 60m hurdles u/14 and in the subsequent final pulled clear mid-way to record a comfortable victory. This was a particularly satisfying win as Shauna had been ill for the last two weeks and unsure if she would be able to compete or not. Her decision to compete certainly paid dividends and her victory rounded off an excellent day for Mullingar.
Returning to Athlone on Sunday, we started the day with the 60m sprints where qualification for finals, let alone winning medals was always going to be very tough given the standard of competition. Mullingar had five in the girls 60m u/13 where Niamh Cully, Jane Walsh, Caoimhe Brady and Francesca Walshe were unlucky not to advance from the very competitive heats but Caoimhe Monaghan did advance from her heat though in her semi-final she just missed out on qualification for the final. Killian McDonald thoroughly enjoyed the experience of competing in the boys 60m u/13 despite not qualifying from his heat. Awa Fane fared better in the girls 60m u/14 by qualifying with ease from her heat but in the semi-final was very unlucky to miss a place in the final by just one place. Odhran Cully didn’t advance from his heat in the boys 60m u/17, but Mark Finnerty safely negotiated his heat of the boys 60m u/18 but decided not to start in the final. Finally, in her first Leinster Championship, Maimouna Fane made short work of qualification in her heat of the girls 60m u/18 and in a the final ran a terrific race to finish just out of the medals in 5th place, which was a great indoor debut. It took Mervyn Harris to win a sprint medal by qualifying with ease from his heat of the boys 60m u/19 and in a very close final after a blistering start he finished third to earn a bronze medal.
Moving on to the longer 200m sprints, there was no joy for Mark Finnerty (boys 200m u/18), Liam Bowes (boys 200m u/19), which was his first race indoors, or for Adam Daly (boys 200m u/19) as none managed to advance from the tough heats. No problem though for Mervyn Harris in his heat of the boys 200m u/19, which he won, to take his place in the final where he stormed to third place and win his third and final medal of the week-end, a bronze medal.
In the shot putt circle, Shauna Leydon was delighted with her win in the girls u/14 shot putt to earn her second gold of the week-end. Moya Leydon made a medal winning return to competition with a well earned bronze in the girls u/18 shot putt. Staying with the field events, Patrick Leydon was very unlucky to finish just out of the medals in 4th place in the boys u/17 long jump, missing bronze by just 5cm. Awa Fane rounded off her Leinster Indoors with a final eight placing in the girls u/15 long jump.
Mullingar has a strong reputation in middle-distance and though we saw spirited performances by Rachel Cornally and Catriona Kennedy (girls 800m u/16) and by Meabh McNulty (girls 800m u/17), they didn’t advance from their heats. Laura Whitelaw finally ended the medal drought with a runaway victory in the girls 800m u/18, taking the lead halfway and running clear to win well, followed home by Dorothy Bane in 5th place. Laura’s medal proved the only medal won in the 800m races, as Jack Tyas (boys 800m u/17) qualified from his heat but had to settle for 5th in the final after a very determined effort, Declan Brady (boys 800m u/18) won his heat but also finished out of the medals in final but had a fine run, and Liam Tyas (boys 800m u/19) was very unlucky to just miss a medal, finishing in 4th place.
We finished on Sunday with two gold and three bronze medals to add to Saturday’s four gold and one bronze medal, not to mention the very many close finishes and excellent performances, which are very good results for the Club’s athletes and we look forward to seeing very many of them in action in the All-Ireland Finals in two weeks.
The top three in each event will be automatically entered by Leinster in the in the All-Ireland Finals at the end of the month. If for any reason you don’t wish to take your place, please let Greg know as soon as possible so Leinster can offer your place to the next finisher. For u/17, u/18 and u/19 athletes, they don’t have to finish in the top three to run in the All-Ireland Finals but need to let Leinster know they wish to compete. Please don’t assume Leinster will know what you want to do, so tell Greg without delay so he can tell Leinster or you might be very disappointed to miss the very tight deadline for entries.
Bohermeen Half Marathon and 10k
Battling very strong windy conditions on Sunday 8th March in Bohermeen, near Navan, Co. Meath at the Bohermeen Half Marathon and 10k proved grist to the mill for the hardy Mullingar athletes, led home in the Half Marathon, that attracted a huge entry of nearly 850 participants, by Martin Fagan in 1:05:42, winning by over 3 minutes and with support from Mark Carroll 6th in 1:13:44, a new personal best, Eddie Newman 17th in 1:17:45 (2nd in his master age category) and Damien Monaghan 35th in 1:20:55 (4th in his master age category) leading the Mullingar men to 1st team prize. Also finishing strongly was Ollie Donnelly, Gerry Gavin, Sinead Whitelaw in 1:22:31, a new personal best (2nd woman), Pauric Brady, Olive Malone, Siobhan McCarthy in 1:41:47 (a new personal best) and Frank Kavanagh.
Running the shorter 10k race that attracted 325 finishers was Tom McGrath, finishing 3rd overall (1st in his master age category), Alan Crowley, Tommy Archbold (2nd in his master age category) and Paula Murray.
Manx Harriers AC Open Race Walking Festival
Looking to compete over longer race distances, three of Mullingar’s best race walkers travelled to the Isle of Man for the annual Manx Harriers AC Open Race Walking Festival, held in Douglas on Saturday 7th March. Unfortunately the strong winds put paid to any hope of fast race times but coping admirably with the increased distance of 3km, Sarah Glennon dominated in the u/15 category to record a fine win in 16:05. Likewise Rachel Glennon made the step up in distance look easy as she took the early lead in the 10km u/17 category to win in 55:04, nearly a minute clear of second place. Edel Glennon started in the junior 10km but as the wind was too strong to expect a good race time, coach Michael Lane decided it was better that she turn the race into a training session and even though she finished 10km in 58:30, which placed her second junior woman, she pushed on to complete the 20km course in an excellent 2 hours 9 minutes, proving what a strong athlete she is and rounding off an excellent day’s competition for the Glennon sisters. These are excellent results and will give Sarah and Rachel just the confidence boost needed before the All-Ireland Indoor Finals in Athlone on 22nd March.
All-Ireland Schools XC Finals
The All Ireland Schools Cross Country Championships were held on Saturday 7th March at a windy and very cold Clongowes Wood College in Co. Kildare and once again it proved to be a very successful day for athletes from Mullingar Harriers. For Jack Moran (Colaiste Mhuire) it was a day to remember as he secured selection for his first Irish International in the Junior Boys race while Cormac Dalton (St Joseph’s, Rochfortbridge) ran a fantastic race to finish second in the Intermediate Boys to also secure selection for the Irish team. Both Jack and Cormac will take their place in the Irish teams facing rivals from England, Scotland and Wales in Santry in two weeks time.
First into action was Caoimhe O’Brien (Loreto Mullingar) in the Minor Girls who ran a fine race to finish in 10th place. Andrew Shaw (St Finian’s) in the Minor Boys ran an excellent race to finish in 7th place. In the Junior Girls race, Aoife Darby (St Joseph’s, Rochfortbridge) had a fine race to finish in 10th place closely followed by Susan Glennon (St Finian’s) in 15th and Megan O’Leary (Ursuline Thurles) also ran well in what was a highly competitive race.
Fourteen year old Jack Moran targeted this Junior Boys race all season and ran very positively, breaking away with three other athletes early in the race. Jack battled bravely throughout and finished an excellent 4th place and in the process secured his first international selection. It is a great honour to represent Ireland and one that Jack richly deserves. In doing so he follows in the footsteps of his brother Padraig who has gained international selection at youth and junior level. Colaiste Mhuire finished just outside the medals in the team competition with good supporting runs from John Whitelaw, Joseph Cronin, Euan Lagan, Jenson Nagle, Eoin Quinn and Brian Martin.
In the Intermediate Girls race, the Loreto College team of Andrea Brady, Alanna Bate (who was feeling unwell but battled bravely for the team), Daria Fidgeon, Laura Shaw and Caoimhe Gaffney ran well but unfortunately finished outside the medals.
The Intermediate Boys race saw Cormac Dalton produce the performance of the day to finish an excellent 2nd place. Cormac, a former National Champion and schools International, showed his experience and class to move from 7th place right through to 2nd on the final lap. It was a fitting reward for Cormac for his dedication and commitment over the past number of seasons. Jamie Battle had a fantastic race to finish 10th closely followed by Paddy Shaw. The Colaiste Mhuire team of Jamie Battle, Ciaran Nolan, James Maxwell and Michael Moran were narrowly beaten into 2nd place in the team standings, securing the silver medals with a spirited team performance.
Caoimhe Kelly (Moate CC) was very pleased with her run in the Senior Girls where an unfortunate fall ended Claire Fagan’s chance while Jack O’Leary finished 7th in the boys equivalent. Jack had been in the top three and was one of a number of athletes to fall victim of a lap count announcement error. However, he will put the disappointment behind him and return to the track with renewed determination.
In the Intervarsity Cross Country Championships that were run in conjunction with the Schools Finals, Elizabeth Carr (DCU), Stephen Nea (AIT), Thomas Fagan (NUIG), Johnny Daly (UCD) and Robert Yorke (UCD) all ran well representing their respective colleges.
Kinvara Half Marathon and 10k
Clearly deciding that the only way to beat the cold in Co. Galway on Saturday 7th March at the Kinvara Half Marathon and 10k was not to hang around and to run fast, the Mullingar group led home by Enda Mimnagh, finishing well up among the nearly 760 finishers, followed by Paul Moore, Tommy Conroy, Joan Flynn, Philip Burke, Richard Ferris, Joanna Tyrrell, Alison Byrne, Liz Glennon, Lola Brogan and Martin Brady were all very pleased with their times in the tough conditions. Deciding to opt for the shorter 10k race and joined by nearly 840 others, was Nigel Hogan, Breda Walsh (4th in her master age category), Michael Conway, Clare O’Donnell and Nollaig Mahon, who were also very pleased with their performances and everyone that competed in Kinvara used the races to gauge how training was going.
Up to now, our youngest athletes have only been able to sit and watch the older juveniles competing at the magnificent indoor track in Athlone, as they were too young to take part in competitions there themselves, but thanks to a great initiative by AIT AC, they finally got their chance on Friday evening 27th February at the inaugural Westmeath Indoor Championships. Competition was for boys and girls u/9 to u/14 in a range of events and our youngsters really made the most of it and were clearly delighted to be competing in Athlone at last. Mullingar was well represented by over 40 athletes and joined by athletes from AIT AC, East Westmeath AC and North Westmeath AC, nearly 150 youngsters from across the County it made for a fun-filled exciting night for all.
Everyone could compete in two events each, so all evening everywhere you looked there was a Mullingar athlete in action on the track or in the field events. At times it was quite hard to keep track of the action and how everyone was doing, but regular visits to the medal podium meant we knew our athletes were doing extremely well, with very many making more than one visit to the podium!
Medal winners included Shauna Traynor (gold) and Kate Whyte (silver) 60m u/10, Jessica Cunningham (silver) 300m u/10, Callum Costello (gold) and Darragh Smith (silver) 60m u/10. We had a 1-2-3 by Callum Costello, Philip McCartan and Darragh Smith in the 500m u/10, Mikey Walshe won bronze (60m u/11) and silver (long jump), Elliot O’Rourke won bronze (long jump u/11), Ross Killalea won gold (600m u/11) and Sonny Drummond gold (shot putt u/11). Phoebe Bate showed great versatility by winning 60m u/12 with Alanna Costello bronze, and leading Aoife McGouran and Meghan Bates to a 1-2-3 in the 600m u/12. Evie Daly jumped to silver in the long jump u/12 and Ben Walsh took gold in the shot putt u/12. We had another 1-2-3 by Caoimhe Brady, Francesca Walshe and Caoimhe Monaghan (60m u/13) and a 1-2-3 by Bea Drummond, Caoimhe Brady and Evie Daly (600m u/13). Bea added to her gold with another in the high jump u/13 and Karla Cunningham jumped to victory in the long jump u/13. Colin Smith and Lorcan Mullen took gold and silver in both 60m and 600m u/13, Caoimhe O’Brien won double gold in the 60m and 800m u/14 and Shauna Leydon rounded off the evening with gold in the long jump u/14 to add to the gold she won earlier in the shot putt.
Also taking part and competing really well but finishing just out of the medals was Adam Brady, Conleth Mullen, Ted O’Leary (u/11), Killian McDonald, Mark Shaw (u/13), Robyn Bates (u/10), Abbie Devine, Dorota Boxwell, Ella Ennis (u/11), Anna McCartan (u/12), Meabh Killalea, Jodie O’Leary, Jane Walsh (u/13), Jennifer Fidgeon, Katie Moore and Ciara Smith (u/14). Medals won or not, such was the success of the evening, there’s no doubt but this is a great model for future underage competitions in Westmeath and everyone looks forward to building on what was an excellent inaugural event. Well done to all at AIT AC for organising such a memorable event.
Of course, if it wasn’t for the parents bringing them to Athlone, the youngsters wouldn’t have been able to take part in such numbers, so many thanks to them and the very many who also helped on the night providing encouragement, making sure everyone got to their event in time, or volunteering as officials at the various events, whether replacing a high jump bar, raking a long jump pit, measuring a jump or throw, recording results or any of the other tasks needed to ensure the smooth running of events. We hope it gives them the confidence to step forward at future events, as they now know what’s involved and that it’s not so daunting.
AAI Senior Indoors
Though he is currently focussing on the Schools Cross Country Finals in two weeks time and hasn’t done any track work this year, Jack O’Leary competed in the 3,000m at the AAI Senior Indoors in Athlone on Sunday 22nd February where he knocked 17 seconds of his PB for the distance, finishing well up in 8:27.01 and knows that there’s plenty of improvement to come in the outdoor season.
Also competing in Athlone was Vicky Harris where she missed qualification for the 60m final but qualified for the final in her specialist event, the 200m. Unfortunately, she drew the tight inside lane, in which it is difficult to run at your best, but she still ran well in her first Senior indoor final to round off her indoor season.
AIT International Grand Prix
Wednesday evening 18th February was a very memorable one for athletics fans as the AIT International Grand Prix attracted some World class athletes. The highlight of the evening has to be the 2.41m leap by Mutaz Essa Barshim from Qatar in the high jump, the leading jump in the World this year, going on to only narrowly miss setting a new World record, which would have been an amazing coup for AIT. Other highlights were Sharika Nelvis (USA) in the 60m hurdles, Erik Sowinski (USA) in the 800m, winning in 1:47.42 and Ben Blankenship (USA), who dominated the men’s mile to win in 3:56.75, the first indoor sub-4 minute mile run in Ireland.
There and soaking up the electric atmosphere was our own Vicky Harris, competing in the 60m in the AIT colours where she qualified for the final. Vicky gave a very good account of herself and looked completely at home in the glittering company that included Carmelita Jeter (USA), who has run the second fastest ever 100m by a woman, and Tiana Bartoletta (USA) who was fourth in the 100m at the 2012 London Olympics, lining up only a few lanes away. Vicky knows that you simply can’t buy that type of experience and was delighted to have been a part of such a memorable evening.
Leinster Indoors – Day 2 (Junior, Senior, Masters)
Day 2 of the Leinster Indoors on Sunday 15th February was for Junior, Senior and Masters and Mullingar was extremely well represented on the medal podium throughout the day winning 4 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 1 bronze medal.
Mervyn Harris competed in his first 400m of the indoor season and got the day off to a great start when he took bronze in a very close finish, actually dead-heating, so two bronze medals had to be awarded, and his time was only 0.03 seconds off his indoor PB, so he is sure to run faster as the season unfolds and he gets more racing experience under his belt. Edel Glennon continues to be a safe bet for a medal winning performance and took silver in the junior 3,000m race walk and was very pleased with her performance. First gold of the day came from Sean McMullin with a well earned win in the master 3,000m race walk to add yet another Leinster title to his collection. Jonathan Daly and Ian McCormack toed the line for the senior 3,000m and though no medals were won, they were pleased with their performances, especially Jonathan who improved on his PB by 9 seconds.
On to the short sprints where Dolores Whyte was delighted to win her master 60m, her first indoor Leinster title, recording a big new PB of 9.05 seconds into the bargain. Mervyn Harris added to his medal tally with a silver medal in the junior 60m, with a new PB of 7.12 seconds. Ben Vaitkevichius dropped down in distance and was a clear winner of his master 800m to keep the medals coming Mullingar’s way.
Vicky Harris was just too strong for the opposition in the junior 200m where she won comfortably in 25.19 seconds and continues to improve with every race. Mervyn Harris completed the day with another medal, silver, in a very competitive junior 200m, which will give him great confidence for the juvenile indoors in March.
Donadea 50k Ultramarathon
Deciding to run a 50km ultramarathon wouldn’t be everyone’s ideal way to spend Valentine’s Day, but that’s exactly how Maurice Looby, Colm Walsh and Gerry Duffy spent Saturday 14th February when they competed in the Donadea 50k at Donadea Forest Park in Co. Kildare. The event incorporated the AAI 50k Ultramarathon Championship, so not content with just completing the gruelling challenge, there were National honours at stake too. The course was run over 10 laps of woodland trails like Belvedere, though not quite as hilly, but still with 3 significant drags per lap, which amounts to an energy sapping 30 hills in total, that’s enough to test anyone’s resolve! To put 50k in perspective, that’s a full marathon plus another 5 miles added on, or nearly 17 laps of the woodland trails in Belvedere or 25 laps of the cross country course, so definitely not for the faint hearted. Despite the daunting prospect of the distance to be covered 199 started and 178 finished though only 136 finished under the official 5-hour cut-off mark with the rest going unrecorded in the official results.
Finishing well up in 6th place overall was Maurice Looby with a time of 3:18:44 (going through the marathon mark in 2:47 for good measure), which placed him 1st in his master category in the AAI Championship. Colm Walsh finished 10th place overall in 3:31:28, placing 3rd in his master category in the AAI Championship, and Gerry Duffy finished 18th overall in 3:39:26. These were all PBs for 50k and the trio combined to win the team prize. With a combined score of 34 points it was an easy win for the Mullingar men’s team, though easy is probably the wrong word! Congratulations to Maurice, Colm and Gerry on this super performance.
Leinster Indoors – Day 1
The juvenile indoor season got underway on Saturday 14th February in Athlone IT on Day 1 of the Leinster Indoors, which was for sprint relays, a few individual events including race walks, 800m, 1500m and some field events. Some Mullingar athletes that were entered were still feeling the effects of their exertions at the Leinster Schools Cross Country mid-week and so rested out on Saturday but we might see them compete on days 3 and 4 in March.
The race walks have always produced dividends for Mullingar in recent years and we got the day off to a great start with a clear win by Sarah Glennon in the 1,000m u/15 race walk, winning by a distance and only 3 seconds off the CBP, and Rachel Glennon easily taking the title in the 1,500m u/18 race walk to add to her long list of Leinster titles. Patrick Leydon was the Club’s sole representative in the field events where he competed in the u/17 triple jump and with a best effort of 11.12m took bronze in this very technical and demanding event to add to the Mullingar medal tally and book his place in the All-Ireland Finals.
The programme then moved to the sprint relays where the big numbers of entries meant that qualification to the finals from the extremely competitive heats was always going to be very tough. We had two teams in the girls 4x100m u/13, but despite spirited performances by Jodie O’Leary, Alanna Costello, Meabh Killalea and Evie Daly finishing 4th in their heat and by Beatrice Drummond, Caoimhe Monaghan, Caoimhe Brady and Niamh Cully finishing 2nd in their heat, neither team advanced to the final. It was a similar fate for Phoebe Bate, Aoife McGouran, Anna McCartan and Meghan Bates in the girls 4x100m u/12 despite a solid team performance.
Proceedings then moved back to the individual events and in the girls 800m u/14 Ciara Smith was unlucky not to advance from her heat but can be pleased with her performance. No problem for Eoin Quinn and Andrew Shaw though in their heats of the boys 800m u/14 and in the later final Eoin was very unlucky to miss a medal by just one place, finishing 4th, followed over the line by a fast finishing Andrew in 5th. Aoife Darby and Susan Glennon also safely made it through their heats of the girls 800m u/15. In the final, Aoife threw down the gauntlet and bravely took the early lead hitting the bell in first place with the pack trying to close her down. She held on until 100m to go when she was passed but had enough to hang on to finish 3rd and win a well deserved bronze medal for her terrific efforts. Unfortunately, Susan was still feeling the effects of her efforts in the mid-week Leinster Cross Country and also a sinus infection, so she finished uncharacteristically down the field on this occasion. John Whitelaw seemed to make hard work of his heat of the boys 800m u/15 but still qualified for the final. The final was a fast paced crowded and bumpy race but John settled well and looked much more at ease, timing his final effort perfectly to finish in 3rd place and was delighted to win a bronze medal.
Moving to the final events of the day, the ever consistent Alanna Bate ran an excellent tactical race in the girls 1,500m u/17 and was rewarded with a silver medal to add to Mullingar’s total on the medal board. That proved to be Mullingar’s final medal of the day as despite excellent efforts from Jack Tyas (boys 1,500m u/17), Declan Brady (boys 1,500m u/18), Andrea Brady and Rachel Cornally (girls 1,500m u/16), and Jack Moran (boys 1,500m u/16) they finished out of the medal places.
In all, Mullingar athletes won two gold, one silver and three bronze medals to get the Juvenile indoor season off to a great start.
Leinster Schools XC
Well done to all the Club’s underage athletes that competed for their schools and colleges at the Leinster Schools Cross Country Championships in Santry on Wednesday 11th February where many took full advantage of the superb running conditions and secured individual and team qualification for the All-Ireland Schools Finals in March. Among the highlight performances was Jack O’Leary (Clongowes Wood) 1st Senior Boys, Cormac Dalton (St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge) 2nd Intermediate Boys, Susan Glennon (St. Finian’s Mullingar) 2nd Junior Girls, Jack Moran (CBS Mullingar) 2nd Junior Boys, Andrew Shaw (St. Finian’s) 3rd Minor Boys, Loreto Mullingar 3rd team Intermediate Girls and CBS Mullingar 1st team Intermediate Boys. AAI Report
AAI Masters Cross Country Championships
The AAI Masters Cross Country Championships took place in a cold and very foggy Tuam, Co. Galway on Sunday 8th February, where the competitors were treated to a real cross country test over the rolling hills of the Palace Grounds, but of course hills hold no fear for the Mullingar athletes, accustomed as they are to the hills in Belvedere. In the women’s 4,000 race, first to finish from Mullingar was Maura Dervin placing fourth in her category, and with support from Vera McCool, Brigid McCabe and Nuala Moran the team finished 1st Club in their age category and were delighted to win a set of National medals. Also competing and finishing well up in their age category were Terri Greene and Paula Murray but unfortunately they had no team.
Eddie Newman was our sole representative in the men’s 6,000m race where despite taking a fall at the 5k mark he quickly got back on his feet and finished strongly to place in the top ten in his category.
Westmeath Examiner Sports Stars Awards for 2014
In March 2014, competing for their schools and colleges at the All-Ireland Schools Cross Country Finals, the Club’s underage athletes won 17 medals, and later in the month, in the Mullingar colours, won 13 medals at the AAI Juvenile Indoors. These brilliant results led to the Club being named the March winner of the Westmeath Examiner Sports Stars Awards for 2014, and the award was presented at a Gala Function in the Mullingar Park Hotel on Friday evening 6th February. To accept the award on behalf of the Club, it was decided that the six juvenile athletes that represented Ireland in International competition in 2014 were the most appropriate, and so Alanna Bate, Niamh Fogarty, Laura Whitelaw, Claire Fagan, Shane Hughes and Jack O’Leary took to the stage where the host for the evening, Robbie Irwin of RTE, interviewed Laura and Jack on behalf of the Mullingar group to gain an insight into their thoughts on the success in 2014 and their hopes for the future, watched by a large group of proud parents, family and supporters from the Club. This award is for all the juvenile members of the Club and congratulations to them all.
Irish University Indoors
Putting the disappointment of just missing a medal at the AAI Junior Indoor 200m the week before behind her, Vicky Harris was back in action again on Friday 6th February competing in her debut for AIT at the Irish University Indoors in Athlone, where she eased comfortably through the heats of the 200m and in the final really pulled it all together to take bronze in a season’s best time to put her season firmly back on track. Later in the afternoon she ran a storming lead leg for AIT in the 4x200m relay, and was delighted to win another bronze medal, as the team finished in third place. Also competing in Athlone was Elizabeth Carr (UCD) where she ran very well in the 1,500m but finished out of the medals though earned valuable points to add to the UCD team score.
National Juvenile Star Awards for 2014
Having won National titles at 1,500m, 3,000m and Cross Country in 2014, this week AAI announced that Shane Hughes is to be honoured with the AAI National Juvenile Star Award for Westmeath for 2014, which will be presented at a Gala Function in Tullamore at the end of February. Congratulations to Shane from everyone at the Club.
Trim 10 Mile
The inaugural Trim AC 10 Mile Road Race on Sunday 1st February attracted an entry of over 760, which is excellent for a new event, and among them more than 40 athletes from Mullingar, led by the in-form Martin Fagan who dominated the race from the start to record another convincing win in 48:23, some 3 minutes clear of second place, to reinforce his reputation on the road race circuit. It was very cold to start with but the weather was quite pleasant for most of the race, and the excellent course certainly brought out the best in the Mullingar group, with many recording personal best times for the distance, too many to mention, and a number of category prizes were won too, including Sinead Whitelaw who finished third senior woman.
The team prize was won by Mullingar, thanks to Martin’s win and support from Mark Carroll 9th (55:12), Maurice Looby 13th (56:37) and Tom McGrath 14th (57:22), with Maurice and Tom also winning their respective master age categories. Also competing well and running strongly in support were Damien Monaghan, Ollie Donnelly (2nd in his master age category), Gerry Gavin, Sinead Whitelaw (61:27, 3rd senior woman), Enda O’Carolan, Mark McGee, Pauric Brady, Aine O’Reilly (63:57, 5th senior woman), Mervyn Kennedy, Martin McKeon, Enda Mimnagh, Elizabeth Carr, Brian Collentine, Alan Crowley, Philip Burke, Paddy Monaghan, Douglas Bates, Garrett O’Brien, Ger Flynn, Sharon Bates, Tommy Conroy, Tommy Archbold, Frank Kavanagh, Richard Ferris, Criona Reid, Christy Creagh, Eamonn O’Reilly, Seamus Gaffney, Dearbhail Gibney, Linda O’Driscoll, Lola Brogan, Joanna Tyrrell, Clare O’Donnell, Deirdre Raleigh, Noel Moody, Olive McWade, Michelle Kavanagh and Karen McGouran.
Dungarvan 10 Mile
Opting to compete at the long-established “John Treacy” Dungarvan 10 Mile on Sunday 1st February, now in its 22nd year and drawing an entry of nearly 1,600, Eddie Newman was delighted with his performance, finishing in 57:38, placing him an excellent 28th overall and taking 2nd prize in his master age category for good measure.
AAI Indoor Games
Shane Fitzsimons got caught up in a very crowded 800m at the AAI Indoor Games in Athlone IT on Sunday 1st February, getting bumped and knocked off balance a few times during the race, but still had enough strength and finishing speed to cross the line in 6th place in 1:53.54, which is a good time in the circumstances and he knows a race like this will be a benefit as he continues to return to form. Shane’s next race will be in the AIT colours at the Inter-Varsity Indoors on Friday 6th and we wish him the best of luck.
AAI Junior & u/23 Indoors
When Olive Loughnane competed in the 20km race walk at the World T&F Championships in Berlin in 2009, the race-walk coach for the Irish team was Michael Lane, so in the week that Olive was elevated to World Champion, it was great to see Michael’s continued input to the event at grassroots level on Sunday 25th January at the AAI Junior & u/23 Indoors when one of his protégés, Rachel Glennon, still eligible for another two years, took bronze in the junior women 3,000m race walk. Keeping in contention throughout and covering a mid race surge with ease Rachel kept to her task in this most technical and taxing event, and was followed home by sister, Edel Glennon, who competed well but finished just out of the medal places in 5th.
Earlier in the day, Vicky Harris qualified comfortably from her heat of the junior women 60m and in the subsequent final was extremely unlucky to finish just of the medals in 4th place. She followed up in the afternoon with a very comfortable win in her heat of the junior women 200m, going into the final as a serious medal contender but in a very close finish was again just edged out of the medals to place 4th again. Very disappointing, but it’s early in the season and knows she continue to improve with every race. Disaster struck for Mervyn Harris in his heat of the junior men 60m where he got away to a blistering start but was judged to have anticipated the gun by a fraction and was disqualified. He made amends later in his heat of the junior men 200m where he won comfortably, but with only the six fastest athletes from seven heats qualifying for the final he missed out by just one place, but was still satisfied with his opening race of the season. Better known as an 800m runner, Robert Yorke dropped down to the u/23 men 60m and 200m where he contested strongly but didn’t advance from the very competitive heats but was still satisfied with his efforts.
Claire Fagan and Alanna Bate competed in the junior women 1,500m where Claire produced a fast late surge to clinch 4th place right on the line, out of the medals but an excellent effort. Alanna also finished well a few places back but must have been feeling the effects in her legs of her efforts in the schools cross country only two days before. Claire is eligible for two more years and Alanna for three more, so we can expect quite a different story next year. The junior women 800m was very crowded and Laura Whitelaw found it very difficult to settle into her customary rhythm and in a frustrating race finished out of the medals in 5th place but is eligible for two more years, will have gained a lot of valuable experience contesting at this level.
Raheny 5 Mile
Martin Fagan maintained his winning streak for 2015 with an impressive win at the Raheny 5 Mile Road Race on Sunday afternoon 25th January in 23:36, with 8 seconds to spare on second place. Conditions were good for racing and the event organized by Raheny AC again attracted a huge attendance of more than 2,600 finishers, all eager to run in one of the best regarded events on the circuit. Annoyingly, full results weren’t available on the day but we know Eddie Newman, Christy Creagh and Tom Shaw took part and were very pleased with their performances, especially Eddie who recorded an unofficial time of 27:51, which would be a personal best time for the distance.
Leinster Juvenile Cross Country Relays
It was bitterly cold and windy in Dunboyne, Co. Meath on Sunday 18th January for the Leinster Juvenile Cross Country Relays as temperatures barely moved above freezing throughout the day. Conditions were tough for spectators and competitors alike, but the Club’s youngsters sometimes train in worse and we know that they’re made of tough stuff and they rose to the challenge with admirable determination.
First race was the 4x250m for girls u/12 where Alanna Costello, Meghan Bates, Aoife McGouran and Phoebe Bate gave a spirited performance but finished out of the medal places. Anna McCartan was there as a substitute just in case there were any mishaps and even though she wasn’t called on to run with the team, she ran along with the first leg anyway to be involved and to keep warm too! Next up was the 4x250m for boys u/12 with Callum Costello, Philip McCartan, Darragh Smith and Adam Brady running well but not finishing in the medals either. Substitute Sonny Drummond ran along with the first leg and enjoyed the run.
The distances increased for the older ages and in the 4x500m for girls u/14 the longer distance clearly suited Caoimhe Brady, Ciara Smith, Rachel Darby and Bea Drummond but despite fighting very hard they were very unlucky to finish just out of the medals in 4th place. Mullingar finally tasted glory in the 4x500m for boys u/14, though it was to be the only medals won on the day. Lorcan Mullen, Paddy Rafferty and Oisin Lane ran brilliantly and handing over to Colin Smith in 4th place it was down to a fantastic run by Colin Smith on the final leg, never letting up the effort to clinch the bronze medals right on the line making for a very exciting finish to watch. Substitute Rian Hogan, who also earned a medal, was on hand to watch the finish and cheer Colin to the line.
The final race involving Mullingar was the 4x500m for girls u/16 where Andrea Brady, Caoimhe Gaffney, Aoife Darby and Laura Shaw were very unlucky to finish in 4th, just out of the medals. Of note was the very fast finish by Laura Shaw and she’ll certainly be one to watch on the track this year. Substitute Elysia Greene made up a team with Greystones and ran very well.
There’s nothing like a relay to bring out the best and it’s fair to say all our athletes gave 100% and thoroughly enjoyed the day. For some of the older ones, next fixture is the schools cross country but for most it’ll be the indoors and they’ll be very glad to be inside and out of the freezing cold!
Running as a guest at the Galway Indoors in Athlone on Sunday 18th January, Vicky Harris used the event to fine-tune her preparations for the AAI Junior Indoors in a week’s time. After recording a solid win in the 60m, dipping nicely under 8 seconds, in the 200m later in the day she placed 2nd but knows that she continues to improve with every race and there’s plenty more to come in the season ahead.
AAI Indoor Combined Events
It was a nail-biting finish that came right down to the wire in the last event for Shauna Leydon in the u/14 Pentathlon at the AAI Indoor Combined Events in Athlone on Saturday 17th January, where an impressive field of seventeen girls contested the All-Ireland title. Shauna got her day off to a good start with a 3rd place finish in the 60m hurdles (9.90 seconds). Despite a 6th place finish in the high jump (1.33m), her points total still moved her up to 2nd place overall after the two events, just one point behind the leader. Normally a strong event for Shauna, her shot putt let her down a bit and despite still finishing 2nd (10.68m), she lost ground on the leader by nearly forty points. However, an excellent long jump (4.57m), finishing 2nd but more importantly accumulating enough points to move her to within six points of the leader after four events, set everything up for a thrilling finish in the last event, the 800m.
By now the top two, Holly Meredith of St. Mary’s (Limerick) AC and Shauna were comfortably clear of third place and it was simply a matter of how the two girls would finish relative to each other in the 800m to clinch the title. The gap of six points meant that Shauna had to beat Holly by a little over half a second but the race came right down to the line and even though Shauna (2:50.81) beat Holly (2:51.17) on the line, the time difference was only enough to close the gap to three points, with Shauna staying in 2nd place overall. Three points is an extremely close finish after a long day of pentathlon competition and very well done to Shauna on her All-Ireland silver medal.
AAI National Indoor League
In his first race as a senior athlete, Shane Fitzsimons made a winning start to 2015 at the AAI National Indoor League in Athlone IT on Sunday 11th January. Competing in the 800m, Shane was always close to the leader in a field that included sub-4 minute miler John Coghlan and produced his usual finishing kick to win comfortably in 1:52.33. This was an excellent start to the indoor season for Shane who is rapidly returning to his very best form.
Nenagh Olympic AC Open Indoors
A small number from the Club travelled to Nenagh on Sunday 11th January for the Nenagh Olympic AC Open Indoors, an ideal low-key event with which to ease into the new indoor season. Patrick Leydon competed in the u/17 200m and 60m where he ran well and used the races to gauge how training is progressing ahead of the Leinster Indoors in February. Fine tuning her final preparations for the AAI Indoor Combined Events this Saturday in Athlone IT, Shauna Leydon had a busy day competing in the u/14 high jump, shot putt, long jump, 60m and 60m hurdles where she was very happy with her performances, especially a big new PB in the high jump, shot and hurdles. Vicky Harris ran in the junior 200m, where she won well and followed up with a clear win in the junior 60m in a time close to her personal best to set her up nicely for the upcoming indoor Championships.
Leinster Star Awards for 2014
At a Gala Function in the Seven Oaks Hotel in Carlow on Saturday evening 10th January, supported on the night by Club officials and family and friends, Athletics Leinster Star Awards for 2014 were presented to Vicky Harris (senior athlete), Laura Whitelaw (juvenile girl) and Mervyn Harris (juvenile boy). The awards are based on results in Leinster Championships in 2014. Vicky won both the 100m and 200m at the Leinster senior T&F to win the senior award for the third year in a row. Laura won the 800m at the juvenile outdoor u/17 Championships and took silver in the 1,500m at both the indoor and outdoor Championships. Mervyn had spectacular success in Leinster Championships as he won the 200m and 400m double at both the indoors and outdoors u/18, recording Championship Best Performances indoors and also took silver in the indoor 60m. Our award winners had an excellent year of competition in 2014 and fully justified these awards from Athletics Leinster, which should motivate them to even greater achievements in 2015. Christy Creagh, our Club President, was also honoured with an award for Outstanding Service to Athletics, a thoroughly deserved honour for Christy who has given selflessly of his time and experience over many years in the interests of the Club and its members.
In addition to the individual awards, various cups and shield were also presented, among them the Jimmy Morrissey Memorial Cup for the best Club in Leinster in Juvenile cross country, which was presented to Mullingar Harriers for the fourteenth year in a row. In fact, Mullingar has won this Cup every year since it was first presented in 2001. We won two more trophies too, retaining the Senior Track & Field Cup, and winning the Euro Tab Cup for juvenile u/16 to 19 T&F for the first time. Of interest is that Mullingar placed second in the award for Juvenile Indoor Championships and Westmeath placed second by only a few points in the award for the best County in juvenile cross country, so perhaps we can target success in these awards for 2015?
The Club continues to go from strength to strength and we expect 2015 to be another terrific year of competition and it will be interesting to see if we retain these Cups and maybe win some more in 2015. Congratulations to Vicky, Laura, Mervyn and Christy on their Awards and to all the Club’s athletes that helped Mullingar to win three Cups at the Leinster Star Awards for 2014.