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Westmeath Examiner Sports Awards for 2016
Finishing a fantastic 6th place at the European Junior Cross Country Championships against the cream of European distance runners in Sardinia in December, to equal the highest placing by an Irish athlete in this event, an honour he now shares with Mark Christie, and leading the Irish team to a strong 6th place finish has earned Jack O’Leary the Westmeath Examiner Sports Award for December. The Award will be presented at a Gala Function in the Mullingar Park Hotel in two weeks time. Between now and then, you can text your vote for the reader’s choice award and to vote for Jack simply text EXAM 14 to 57199, so get busy texting for Jack!
Fields of Athenry 10k
Spending Christmas in Galway gave Eddie Newman the perfect opportunity to compete on St. Stephen’s Day in the Fields of Athenry 10k. Organised by local club Athenry AC, this ever-popular annual race attracted over 1,000 entrants. Running very well in perfect conditions, Eddie was very satisfied with his time of 35:42, to finish 11th overall and easily winning his master category. Well done to Eddie.
“Shane Brennan” Newtownforbes 5k
The wind and rain of Christmas Day gave way to perfect running conditions on St. Stephen’s Day and a number of Club athletes travelled to Newtownforbes in Co. Longford for the annual “Shane Brennan 5k”, an event organised by Fr. Kieran McGovern, a long time friend of Mullingar Harriers, with the proceeds of the well supported event that attracted 355 entrants going to charity. Enjoying the cool, clear, calm conditions on the new course, Mal McDonnell finished 5th in 16:34 to take 2nd prize in his master category, ahead of Johnny Daly 7th (16:54) and Patrick Muldoon 9th (17:12). Also competing and enjoying the opportunity to run off the Christmas dinner was Gillian Walsh, Brendan Marshall, Gordon Ward, Michelle O’Halloran, Brigid McCabe, Sean McMullin who race walked the distance, Nicky McCabe, Paul McCool, Claire O’Donnell and Breda McDonnell. Apart from Mal, prizes were also won by Michelle (3rd master), Brigid (1st master), Sean (2nd master), Nicky (2nd master) and Breda (1st master). Well done to everyone.
Keeping nearer to home, the Kilbeggan 6k on St. Stephen’s Day attracted an entry of nearly 300, among them a good representation from the Club. Best of the Mullingar contingent was Enda O’Carolan finishing 10th overall in 21:43, ahead of Lorcan Mullen (23:34) finishing 1st junior boy, Sean Liston, Enda Seery, Caroline Mullen, Criona Reid, Anna Macken (finishing 3rd junior girl), Cora Macken and Tom Walsh taking 2nd place in his master age category. Well done all and that should see the last of the Christmas pudding calories burned off!
Leinster Star Awards for 2016
Athletics Leinster announced the winners of the Leinster Star Awards for 2016 on Wednesday 21st December. Based on the results in Leinster indoor, outdoor and cross country Championships in 2016, the award winners for Westmeath are Mullingar’s Vicky Harris (senior athlete), Aoife Darby (juvenile girl) and from North Westmeath AC, Conor Fogarty (juvenile boy). The Fogarty family has further reason to celebrate as Niamh Fogarty (North Westmeath AC) has won the Throws Award for Leinster.
Vicky won gold in the 60m and 200m indoors and in the outdoors won bronze in the 200m. Aoife won silver in the 800m and 1,500m indoors, going on to take gold in these events outdoors and capped off a memorable season with silver and bronze in cross country. Three Leinster titles for Conor, indoor and outdoor shot and outdoor discus, won him the juvenile boy’s award. With three Leinster titles, indoor and outdoor shot and outdoor discus, each with a Championship Best Performance, Niamh is a very worthy winner of the overall Leinster award in the throws events. These well deserved awards for performing at a consistently high level throughout the season will be presented at a Gala Dinner in the Seven Oaks Hotel in Carlow later in the month.
After the hugely successful cross country season where Mullingar won 13 of the 18 Club titles in cross country, there’s no surprise that our juvenile athletes retained the Morrissey Cup for best juvenile Club in cross country in Leinster. This marks 16 years in a row for the best Club, so congratulations to all our underage athletes that played a part in this success. The cup will also be presented in Carlow.
“Believe & Achieve” Development T&F
Looking to gauge progress in training, on Saturday 17th December a number of the Club athletes competed in the “Believe and Achieve” Development T&F in Athlone IT. Competition was for senior, junior, u/17, u/15 and u/13 and those that took part included Shauna Leydon who was very busy and took part in four events across a very long day, the 60m hurdles u/15 (9.78secs), 60m (8.66secs), long jump (4.19m) and high jump (1.40m), Odhran Cully competed in the 60m u/20 (7.61secs) and 150m (17.75secs), Eve Wallace 60m u/17 (9.02secs) and 150m (22.60), Aimee Wallace 60m u/13 (9.24secs) and 600m (1:57:78), Jamie Wallace 60m u/13 (9.61secs) and 300m (63.23secs), Nadine Molloy 60m u/20 (9.88secs), Niamh Cully 150m u/15 (21.78secs) and Colin Smith 600m u/20 (1:24.90). Well done to everyone and we’ll see them in action again in the indoor championships in the New Year.
AIT “Baseline” T&F Meeting
In order to give them an opportunity to gauge progress in training in advance of the indoor season proper in the New Year, Vicky Harris and Conor McHugh competed at the AIT “Baseline” Meeting in Athlone on Wednesday evening 14th December. Obviously, many athletes wouldn’t feel race fit yet, so the programme included several non-standard distances often used in training to assess fitness. Vicky was first into action and ran 7.92 seconds for the 60m and later in the evening won her heat of the 150m in 18.90 seconds, quicker than this time last year, which augers well for the upcoming season. The youngest in the event and running in his first race against senior opposition, Conor competed extremely well in the 1,000m to finish in a very good 2:43.15 to set him up nicely for a very fast 800m in the season ahead. This was a good meeting for Vicky and Conor and they can take something positive back to training as they continue to prepare for the indoor season in the New Year.
Selections for January XC Internationals
On Tuesday 13th December Athletics Ireland announced the teams for the Antrim International Cross Country on 14th January and the Celtic International Cross Country in Wales on 22nd January. In Antrim, we’ll see Jack Moran line out on the Junior team and in the Celtic we’ll see Caoimhe O’Brien and Aoife Darby on the u/17 development team, Claire Fagan on the Junior development team, and Elizabeth Carr on the u/23 team, where she’ll be joined by Ciara Hewson, a former Mullingar Harrier but now running with Le Chéile AC in Co. Kildare.
AAI Novice & Juvenile Uneven Ages XC 2016 (Dundalk)
The mettle of the Mullingar cross country athletes was truly tested but not found in the wanting on Sunday 11th December in Dundalk IT at the AAI Novice and Juvenile Uneven Ages Cross Country Finals. Having entered a very large squad of nearly 80 juvenile athletes with teams in every race, the loss of 11 of them due to injury in some cases but mostly due to illness gave cause for concern, as the losses included some key team members. As it turned out our fears were unfounded and our athletes stepped up to the plate and produced some stunning performances that resulted in 12 individual medals, a total of 17 medals won with Leinster teams, 2 Club team titles, 3 Club 3rd places and a 3rd County place making Mullingar one of the best Club’s on the day.
Aimee Wallace ran a conservative opening lap in the girls 1,500m u/11 but had been saving it for the closing stages where she made up a lot of ground and stormed through to an excellent 5th place finish, followed closely by Leah Geoghegan (8th), and with Adele Geoghegan, Caoimhe Kilmurray, Síofra Smyth, Grace Byrne, Adi Cronin (East Westmeath), Ellen Foran and Jessica Cunningham running brilliantly in support, the girls finished a well deserved 1st Club and a very respectable 6th County. Aimee, Leah and Adele also won silver medals with the Leinster team in the Inter-Provincial competition. Lucy Donnelly took ill during the race and was forced to stop but happily she recovered well enough after and could take part in the team celebrations.
Because of their utter dominance at Leinster a month previously, all eyes were on the young Mullingar team in the boys 1,500m u/11 to see if they would live up their pre-race billing as the favourites to win the Club title. After a titanic battle in the leading group throughout, it came down to a furious sprint finish right to the line as Ryan Jenkins crossed in 2nd place, just ahead of Philip McCartan (3rd) and with Callum Costello and Luke O’Leary seeming to come of nowhere with phenomenal turns of pace to make up a lot of ground the team finished 1st Club with a huge margin of victory of 152 points, unheard of in an All-Ireland final and the biggest winning margin of any race on the day by a very long way! The rest of the team stormed in after and with Conor Liston, James Flynn, Matthew Shaw, Jamie Wallace, Criostoir Ormsby and Darragh Smith running so well, the team also finished 3rd County. Ryan also led the Leinster team to second place and together with Philip, Callum and Luke also won silver with the Leinster team. As a measure of the dominance of the team, even without Ryan, Philip and Callum, they would still have finished first Club such is the embarrassment of riches and depth of talent in the team.
Things didn’t stop there and in the girls 2,500m u/13 we saw Phoebe Bate bounce right back into form again when it mattered, finishing a splendid 4th place and with Amy Geoghegan very close behind (8th) and Aoife McGouran and Aoife O’Brien providing the vital Club scores, the team finished 3rd Club, just three points off second place. Leaving nothing behind, Síofra Ni Léannacháin, Aisling Lane, Grace Loughrey and Alanna Costello packed well to see the girls finish a very creditable 7th County, despite missing a couple of key team members. Phoebe and Amy also won gold medals with the Leinster team.
Ross Killalea just had the edge on Tadhg Sheridan right on the line in the boys 2,500m u/13 and with great support from John Ryan, Adam Brady, Adam Smyth, and Matt O’Leary, the team finished in a very respectable fifth place, a very good result in an All-Ireland final, especially considering many of them are underage again next year, so the experience will have been invaluable to them.
Caoimhe O’Brien had the honour of leading the Mullingar team home in the girls 3,500m u/15 with a very determined performance to finish 5th place, and with Bea Drummond finishing next though clearly unwell but not wishing to let the team down, and Karla Cunningham, Meabh Killalea, Francesca Walshe and Ciara Smith running well in support, it was 3rd Club for Mullingar, just four points away from silver but out of the County medals. Caoimhe and Bea also won silver medals with the Leinster team.
Despite packing well in the boys 3,500m u/15, Andrew Shaw, Sam Smyth, Colin Smith, Rian Hogan, Lorcan Mullen, Paul McCool, Paddy Rafferty, Colin McGee, Ciaran Luby and Ruairi Fagan were unlucky to finish out of the Club and County team medal places, though 6th Club was still a very respectable finish in an All-Ireland and they can all be very proud of their efforts.
The loss of three key athletes might have dampened the spirits of any other team but not the Mullingar girls who rose to the what appeared insurmountable challenge in the girls 4,000m u/17. Thanks to sterling efforts by Aoife Darby finishing very strongly in 5th, and with brilliant team support from Catriona Kennedy, Andrea Brady and Laura Shaw fighting for every place, the girls finished 3rd Club. With Daria Fidgeon, Lisa Gavin (AIT), Rachel Cornally and Elysia Greene also running really well it was a pity to see the girls finish just out of the County team medals in 4th place, missing bronze by just five points. Aoife and Catriona also won silver medals with the Leinster team.
Going into the last lap of boys 5,000m u/17, Jack Moran and Jamie Battle were right up with the leaders and looked strong favourites for honours. Jack had the better of Jamie on this occasion at the finish to take 4th place with a very determined finish, and with Jamie in 9th, and despite Eoghan Bracken, John Whitelaw and Brian Martin running well in support, the team was unlucky to finish out of the medal places in 6th.
We could only field two of our team in the girls 4,000m u/19 where Claire Fagan turned in a great performance to finish 3rd, ahead of Alanna Bate in 13th, missing an individual medal by just one agonizing place but a great consolation was winning a gold medal with the Leinster team along with Claire.
Mullingar had entered a full team in the boys 6,000m u/19 but on the day only Cormac Dalton and Jack Tyas were fit to run. Cormac continued his recent excellent form and finished a tough race in an excellent 11th place. Though also running a really good race, Jack Tyas had to settle for a place out of the individual medal places, but along with Cormac collected a silver medal with the Leinster team to round off the juvenile programme.
Another casualty of illness was the Mullingar team in the Novice women 4,000m but that didn’t prevent Elizabeth Carr having a brilliant race and just as we were ready to celebrate a bronze medal for Elizabeth, it was snatched from her right on the line by a very fast finishing opponent and Elizabeth crossed in 4th place, which was a cruel blow after her efforts. Our other competitor was Gillian Walsh who was very pleased with her race and the opportunity to compete at this level. As well as Elizabeth and Gillian, we also got to cheer for Ciara Hewson, a former Mullingar Harrier now running with le Chéile AC as she turned in a fine performance to finish very strongly in 8th place.
We finished the day with the Novice men 6,000m and it was really great to see Mullingar field a full men’s team, led home by Johnny Daly, chased down hard in the home straight by Andrew Nevin, followed by Mal McDonnell, Timmy Murphy, Ian McCormack, Gerry Gavin, Mark McCann, Ollie Donnelly and Liam McGlynn all running well in support. Even though the team finished out of the medals, they were all very satisfied with their performances and delighted to be running and representing Mullingar Harriers on the All-Ireland stage.
That rounded off a day when despite early concerns that the absence of so many athletes due to illness would seriously affect the Club’s chances, as it turned out we still had an excellent Championship with a large number of individual and team medals won, reinforcing Mullingar’s position as one of the best cross country clubs in Ireland. Many thanks to the parents and supporters and to the coaches for their assistance and vocal support on the day from the first race right to the last.
European Cross Country
Going with the early leader, Jack O’Leary looked good for a medal in the Junior men 6,000m at the European Cross Country Championships in Chia, Sardinia on Sunday morning 11th December. However, as often happens at this level, it wasn’t to be and he was eventually overhauled in the closing stages but still finished an excellent 6th place, equalling the highest placing by an Irish athlete in this event, an honour he now shares with our own Mark Christie as it happens. This was a very fine performance by Jack and he led the Irish team to a strong 6th place finish against the best in Europe.
Having won the AAI Senior Championship two weeks previously, Mark Christie saw fortunes reversed in the Senior men 10,000m where Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) and Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock) were 1st and 2nd finishers for Ireland, with Mark the 3rd finisher for the Irish team that finished 10th for the fourth time at these Championships. Mark ran a very good race and can be proud of his contribution.
How many cross country venues have there been in Westmeath?
The recent hosting of both of the Leinster cross country championships at the superb New Forest Golf Club in Tyrrellspass, a first for any Club to be asked to do so because incredibly another suitable venue could not be found anywhere in Leinster, puts in mind the proud history that Mullingar Harriers has hosting cross country events. In fact, New Forest is the twelfth venue used to host a major cross country event in Westmeath in the forty one year history of the Club.
The Show Grounds in Cullion was the venue for several Leinster cross country fixtures and it also hosted the first ever International cross country event in Westmeath, when the Home Countries cross country was held there over a snow covered course. Thanks to the generosity of the late Fr. Gerry Hipwell RIP, the grounds of the former Carmelite College in Moate was the setting for many Leinster cross countries in all age groups. The grounds of Bloomfield House Hotel hosted the All-Ireland championships on two occasions, also a youth’s International cross country event, which attracted one of the largest crowds of spectators ever. A young Cormac Finnerty was one of the winners on the day.
Grange, where the club grounds are now, was the venue for the All-Ireland senior and juvenile cross country before there was even one house built there and no C-Link Road. The grounds of the former Franciscan College in Multyfarnham hosted the All-Ireland senior and junior cross country in what was described as one of the toughest courses, due to the underfoot conditions, which was quite literally knee deep in mud in places. Also out in Multyfarnham, the beautiful grounds of Wilson’s Hospital School saw the Leinster Schools held there and also the All-Ireland juvenile cross country championships were held there on a day that saw the ground frozen so bad that it was almost impossible to mark out the course.
Another popular venue was the grounds of the former St. Loman’s Hospital Farm, which is now Lakepoint housing estate and in fact it was here Mark Christie won his first ever Leinster title, the boys under eleven. AIT in Athlone was another great very central venue for both athletes and spectators. The wonderful grounds at Belvedere has been the scene of both Regional and National championships on numerous occasions and continues to be the training ground at week-ends for all in Mullingar Harriers to this day.
Kilbeggan Race Course was another brilliant and testing course with its parking facilities a real bonus and it hosted the All-Ireland senior inter-counties and juvenile championships six year ago when severe flooding across the Country nearly saw the All-Ireland finals cancelled. Finally the last venue used for a major cross country event before New Forest was the Camp Field of the former Army Barracks in Mullingar when the Leinster Schools Cross Country was held there two years ago.
So, Westmeath has done more than its share over the years in providing amazing venues and in the process officials have gained experience and expertise in how to lay out a cross country course and handle large crowds. Very few counties can boast of having provided twelve cross country courses, i.e. Cullion Show Grounds, Franciscan College Multyfarnham, Carmelite College Moate, Bloomfield House Hotel, Wilson’s Hospital School, St Loman’s Grounds, Belvedere, AIT, Kilbeggan Race Course, Grange, Camp Field Army Barracks Mullingar and finally the New Forest Golf Club in Tyrrellspass.
Apart from Moate, Grange and St. Loman’s Hospital Farm and possibly Cullion, there are still plenty of venues that could be used again if needed, which is a great strength in Westmeath’s favour. Any wonder Mullingar Harriers can proudly boast that probably no other Club in the Country has hosted so many major cross country events in its history. An interesting exercise might be to calculate how many medals did Mullingar Harriers athletes win in major cross country events held in Westmeath? It must number thousands!
Recent Road Races
Well done to Timmy Murphy who was best of an impressive field of nearly 650 athletes who took part in the Clonakilty 10k on Saturday 3rd December in perfect conditions, winning in 35:29, comfortably clear of second place. The 10k was part of the “Runclon Event”, which also included a marathon and half marathon. Also competing in the 10k were Declan Costello and Olive Costello who were delighted to be taking part in what was reported to be an excellently organized event.
Also on Saturday 3rd December, but nearer to home, Patrick Muldoon was pleased with his time of 16:57 to finish well up in the large entry of nearly 800 at the Donore Harriers AC “Jingle Bells” 5k in the Phoenix Park. Also delighted with their runs in perfect running conditions were Brigid McCabe (22:33) and Breda McDonnell (30:37), each winning their respective master age categories.
With all the excitement of the All-Ireland Cross Country Finals in Abbotstown on Sunday 27th November, we held over reporting on Eddie Newman’s fine 6th place finish overall in the South Galway AC 10k, which was good enough to win his master age category.
AAI Inter-Club & Juvenile Even Ages XC 2016 (Abbotstown)
Back in mid-October, despite less than ideal underfoot conditions, when Mark Christie won the AAI Autumn Open Cross Country in great style on the purpose-built cross country course at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, he was putting down an early marker that he was back cross country running again and that he meant business.
He returned to Abbotstown on Sunday 27th November for the AAI National Inter-Club and Juvenile Even Ages Cross Country Championship and this time the course was much drier, which suited Mark perfectly as he made a bid to win the title he last won ten years ago and in addition make a bid to earn a place at the European Cross Country. Mark clearly relished being back in a National cross country final and mixing it with some of the best in the Country and three laps into the five lap Senior Men 10,000m race he began to pile on the pressure. Going into the final lap he was well in the lead and held it to the finish to win the title with eight seconds to spare to prove that he really is the man in form and now looks forward to leading the Irish team at the European Cross Country in Sardinia in two weeks time.
As if that wasn’t enough local interest for Mullingar at the Europeans, earlier in the afternoon Jack O’Leary, who flew in only last Thursday from the USA where he is on an athletics scholarship at Iona College, was also looking to qualify for the European Junior Cross Country. Jack dominated the Junior Men 6,000m race from the start and made a decisive move at the bell for the third of the three laps to open an insurmountable lead and win convincingly with an impressive sixteen seconds to spare on second place to earn automatic qualification for the European Junior Cross Country, the third year in a row that he has qualified. Mark and Jack are inspirational role models for our younger athletes, many of whom stayed to watch their races and were as excited as everyone else to see two of Mullingar’s finest in action and winning National titles.
The wins by Mark and Jack were clearly the stand-out highlights of the day but we also saw Elizabeth Carr finish an excellent third place in the 4,000m for u/23 women, just missing the two automatic qualifying places for the European Cross Country, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed until the team is announced. Another individual success was by Caoimhe O’Brien in the u/16 girls where seventh place earns her a place on the AAI Development Team at the Celtic International Cross Country in Wales in January and she will be joined by Aoife Darby whose twelfth place finish also earned her a place on the squad for Wales. Six of the eight Mullingar juvenile teams won team medals, in addition to team medals for our junior men and women teams, making it the dominant Club on the day and three of the Westmeath teams also won team medals. Apart from Caoimhe O’Brien, another six juvenile Mullingar athletes won individual medals by finishing in the top twelve places and thirteen medals were won with Leinster teams. There’s no doubt but this was one of the best All-Ireland Finals for the Club in recent years.
The day started with the juvenile races and we were fortunate that with just a few exceptions we could field full strength teams and Mullingar athletes were joined on Westmeath teams by athletes from Athlone IT AC. Young Aimee Wallace had the distinction of leading the Mullingar and Westmeath teams home in the 2,000m for girls u/12, outside the individual medals but with support from Adele Geoghegan right on her heels, Leah Geoghegan, Katie Boyle (AIT), Caoimhe Kilmurray, Sarah Fitzgerald (AIT), Grace Byrne, Laura Madden (AIT) and Aisling Lane, the Mullingar girls were unlucky to finish just out of the medals in 4th place and also finished out of the County medals. A consolation for Aimee was a bronze medal with the Leinster team in the inter-Provincial competition.
We got in the medals in the 2,000m for boys u/12 with a fast finish by Tadhg Sheridan in 11th, just ahead of Ryan Jenkins in 12th to earn the two boys individual top-twelve medals. With great support from Ross Killalea and Philip McCartan, Mullingar finished 1st Club and with back-up from John Ryan, Callum Costello, Adam Brady, Brian Mulvihill (AIT), Darragh Smith, Adam Smyth and Eoin McGrath, the team finished 2nd County. Tadhg also won a gold medal with the Leinster team.
Bea Drummond looked terrific in the 3,000m for girls u/14 and after a great battle in the leading group ran in to finish in fifth place, and with Phoebe Bate (eleventh), Amy Geoghegan and Aoife McGouran providing support, the team finished 1st Club. With Karla Cunningham, Caoimhe Brady, Meabh Killalea, Aoife O’Brien, Francesca Walshe and Anna McCartan giving every last ounce of effort, the girls were rewarded with medals for 3rd County too. Bea and Phoebe also won gold medals with the Leinster team.
Strong team commitment in the 3,000m for boys u/14 saw Sam Smyth, Colin Smith, Lorcan Mullen, Colin McGee, Kevin Martin and Mark Langtry rightly rewarded with bronze medals for finishing 3rd Club, which is a really well deserved reward for their great efforts. Sam and Colin also won silver medals with the Leinster team.
The medals continued to come our way in the 4,000m for girls u/16 where we saw Caoimhe O’Brien put in a super performance to finish 7th, and with Aoife Darby (12th) and Susan Glennon and Jennifer Fidgeon finishing in the top twenty, it was no surprise that Mullingar finished 1st Club. Fantastic support from Sarah Glennon, Lisa Gavin (AIT), Elysia Greene, Ciara Smith and Eve Wallace saw the girls finish 2nd County. Caoimhe, Aoife, Susan and Jennifer also won silver medals with the Leinster team.
The Mullingar team in the 4,000m for boys u/16 gave it their best and despite strong performances by John Whitelaw, Brian Martin, Oisin Lane, Rian Hogan, Paul McCool and Eoin Quinn had to settle for a place out of the medals in what was a typical highly competitive All-Ireland final.
The 4,000m for girls u/18 and Junior Women was a combined race and athletes could declare on both teams, as well as score individually. Claire Fagan (junior) clearly enjoyed the Abbotstown course and ran a very confident race to finish 6th junior woman and was followed home by Alanna Bate (10th u/18 girl), Catriona Kennedy, Andrea Brady, Laura Shaw, Rachel Cornally and Daria Fidgeon. When the junior and u/18 results were separated and calculated after the race, the Mullingar u/18 team of Alanna, Catriona, Andrea, Laura, Rachel and Daria finished 3rd Club and adding Claire to make up the junior women team, the Mullingar junior women team also finished 3rd Club and 4th County.
The 6,000m for boys u/18 and Junior Men was also a combined race and again athletes could declare on both teams, as well as score individually. Jack O’Leary won well to earn automatic qualification for the European Junior Cross Country and finishing strongly behind him in support was Cormac Dalton (junior), Jamie Battle, Jack Tyas, Ciaran Nolan, Jack Moran, Oisin Quinn (junior) and Eoghan Bracken. When the junior and u/18 results were separated and calculated after the race, the Mullingar u/18 team of Jamie, Jack Tyas, Ciaran, Jack Moran and Eoghan finished 2nd Club, missing gold by a mere five points. Jamie, Jack Tyas and Jack Moran also won bronze medals with the Leinster team. The Mullingar junior men team of Jack O’Leary, Cormac, Jack Tyas, Ciaran and Oisin finished 3rd Club.
Moving to the senior races, in the 8,000m for Senior and u/23 Women, the Club’s sole representative was Elizabeth Carr who finished well up in the overall rankings and an excellent third place in the u/23 women race, just missing the two automatic qualifying places for the European Cross Country. The day finished on a real high with Mark Christie’s emphatic victory in the 10,000m for senior men and fine performances from Johnny Daly (u/23), Tim Murphy and Ian McCormack (u/23) to send Mullingar athletes and supporters home in celebratory mood.
Irish University Road Relays
The best that can be said for the weather conditions in NUI Maynooth on Saturday morning 19th November for the Irish University Road Relays was that it was dry. However, it was bitterly cold but these are experienced athletes and they know how to dress for the cold, so it was no real problem for them, but the same can’t be said for the officials and spectators who nearly froze on the spot watching the women and men races.
There were three Mullingar athletes competing for DCU in the women’s race, which was a 1-2-2-1 mile relay. Elizabeth Carr anchored the DCU “A” team, running the fastest mile leg of the day (5:26), to bring DCU home in 2nd place and win an Inter-Varsity silver medal. Laura Whitelaw ran the final leg for the DCU “B” team where she pulled the team up two places in the final leg to finish 6th. Also competing for DCU, Dorothy Bane anchored her team too and though finishing out of the medals, ran well and was pleased with her run.
The men ran a 1-2-3-2-1 mile relay, where Jack Tyas ran the first two mile leg for AIT and even though AIT eventually finished out of the medal places, Jack’s 10:40 run moved the team up three places to keep them competitive. Oisin Quinn ran the long three mile for the DCU “B” team in 17:09, to play a valuable part in the team’s excellent 8th overall placing. Johnny Daly also ran the three mile leg, for UCD, where he pulled the team up six places with a fine 16:34 run, one of the best three mile legs of the day, to keep his team in contention, though they eventually finished out of the medal places. Top marks to Andy Nevin, running with IT Blanchardstown. ITB was a man short but Andy selflessly stepped up to the mark and ran the first and third legs, and even though using one man twice put ITB out of the reckoning for medals, at least all four men got to run, which is a great example of team spirit.
Leinster Cross Country – Day 3 (New Forest)
Twenty one years and a day after he won his first Leinster cross country title, the boys u/11 held on what was then St. Loman’s Hospital farm but is now Lakepoint Park housing estate in Mullingar, on Sunday 13th November Mark Christie competed in the Leinster Cross Country Championships held at New Forest Golf Club in Tyrrellspass and demonstrated why he is regarded as one of the premier distance runners in the Country at the moment by winning the Senior title, in his first Senior Championship race run on Westmeath soil. Mark took the race out early and was tracked by Liam Brady of Tullamore Harriers who didn’t make it easy for Mark and the two were locked together for over two laps but on the third of five laps Mark began to open a gap and cheered on by great home support he slowly increased his lead and pulled clear to win by 7 seconds and with team mates Malcolm McDonnell, Timmy Murphy, James Keegan, Ian McCormack, Pauric Brady and Colm Walsh all running strongly in support, he led the team to 3rd Club and 3rd County. A victory is always nice but to do it on home soil is something special and Mark’s performance in New Forest will provide great inspiration to our young athletes as they try to emulate him in the years to come; Mark continues to be an excellent ambassador for the Club and someone everyone in the Club looks up to and admires, with very good reason.
Unprecedented, but Mullingar was asked to host this second round having hosted the first round only two weeks before. Thanks to the generosity of the Management of New Forest Golf Club, the grounds were given over to us once more and a challenging course was laid out in the stunning woodland setting. Despite rain during the week and on Saturday night, the course held up very well and only became slippery in a few places but as a cross country course, it was an excellent test – challenging but fair. The weather on the day was calm and cool and mostly dry, which really added to the enjoyment for the very large crowd of spectators. To host one round is a challenge, but to host two is a serious demand on volunteers and the Club is extremely lucky to be able to draw on a large number of members, parents and friends to do all the background work required and last Sunday’s success was a great testament to all the hard work. The feed-back from spectators and athletes was very positive, which reflects well on the Club and its friends and supporters. Many thanks also Westmeath Civil Defence for providing excellent first aid cover, to Meghan Bates for her beautiful rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann before the first race, the coaches for warming up the younger teams, our photographers, and to all those that gave such great vocal encouragement to all our runners.
The Senior men race was the final race of the day, but before that we had the underage programme where Mullingar proved to be the stand-out dominant Club. Competition under 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 years and Junior, with qualification to the All-Ireland Finals in Dundalk IT in December one of the primary goals of the juvenile under 11 to 19 years athletes.
In the first Championship race of the day, the 1,500m for girls u/11, Aimee Wallace ran an excellent race to finish in 2nd place, and with Adele Geoghegan (4th), Caoimhe Kilmurray (8th) and Leah Geoghegan (10th) joining her in the top-12 medal places, it was no surprise that Mullingar finished 1st Club. With fantastic support from Grace Byrne, Saoirse Sheridan, Síofra Smyth, Adi Cronin (East Westmeath), Jessica Cunningham, Ellen Foran, Lucy Donnelly and Robyn Bates the team also finished 2nd County.
We had an embarrassment of riches in the 1,500m for boys u/11 with a magnificent 1-2-3 from Ryan Jenkins, Philip McCartan and Conor Liston and with Callum Costello (5th), Luke O’Leary (7th), Matthew Shaw (11th) also getting into the top-12 medal places, and terrific team support from James Flynn, Jamie Wallace, Darragh Smith, Criostoir Ormsby, Charlie Foy, Ruairi McDonnell and Kyle Rainey (AIT), Mullingar took 1st Club by a massive 88 points and the team also finished 1st County by a huge margin.
Keeping with the leading group and competing strongly for every place in the 2,500m for girls u/13, Phoebe Bate was rewarded with a 3rd place finish, followed by Amy Geoghegan (5th) and Aoife McGouran (8th), then Katie Boyle (Athlone IT), Aoife O’Brien, Anna McCartan, Síofra Ní Léannacháin, Grace Loughrey, Meghan Bates, Laura Madden (AIT), Sarah Fitzgerald (AIT), Tegan Foley (AIT), Alanna Costello, Ellen Kilmurray and Shannon Liston providing great team support, the Mullingar girls narrowly missed the team gold, finishing 2nd Club on count-back as the fourth score for the winning team, Ratoath AC, finished ahead of the fourth score for Mullingar; you don’t get much closer than that! In the inter-County race, thanks to help from the AIT girls, the Westmeath team finished 3rd County.
Many of our u/13 boys team are underage again next year but they still gave it every effort in the 2,500m for boys u/13 race, lead home by Tadhg Sheridan in 7th place, and with support from Ross Killalea, John Ryan, Adam Brady, Ben Donegan (AIT), Matt O’Leary, Adam Smyth, Brian Mulvihill (AIT), Eoin McGrath, Sonny Drummond, Shane Ormsby and Conleth Mullen, the boys finished 3rd Club but unfortunately out of the County medal places.
Mullingar packed in strongly in the 3,500m for girls u/15 where Bea Drummond really put in an excellent showing to finish a close 2nd place, ahead of Caoimhe O’Brien (6th) finishing strongly, Jennifer Fidgeon (11th), Karla Cunningham, Caoimhe Brady, Meabh Killalea, Francesca Walshe, Ciara Smith, Aoife Campbell (AIT) and Laura Johnson (AIT) to finish 1st Club and 2nd County and keep the medals coming Mullingar’s way.
The 3,500m for boys u/15 was a very close run affair, where Sam Smyth placed 11th, just ahead of Andrew Shaw in 12th and with very strong team running in support from Colin Smith, Rian Hogan, Oisin Lane, Lorcan Mullen, Colin McGee, Ciaran Luby, Eoin Quinn, Paddy Rafferty, Ruairi Fagan, Ruairi Lyons (AIT), Paul McCool, Kevin Martin, Mark Langtry and Callum Greene, the team finished 1st Club and also finished 1st County in a very close contest with Meath.
We really thought Aoife Darby would be our next individual winner of the day in the 4,000m for girls u/17 but she was forced to concede victory but finished strongly in 2nd place and with Susan Glennon (7th), Catriona Kennedy (8th), Andrea Brady (9th), Mullingar finished 1st Club by a whopping 90 points. With strong finishes and great support from Laura Shaw, Rachel Cornally, Lisa Gavin (AIT), Daria Fidgeon, Sarah Glennon, Elysia Greene, Eve Wallace and Caoimhe Gaffney, the Westmeath team finished 1st County by a big margin too.
It’s great to see Mullingar athletes right to the fore in a race and in the 5,000m for boys u/17, Jamie Battle and Jack Moran were right in the mix throughout but when Jamie made his move in the final lap it proved decisive and he carved open a lead that was impossible to close and he ran out the race to take the Leinster title, with Jack battling hard and finishing 4th, followed home by John Whitelaw, Eoghan Bracken and Brian Martin to finish 1st Club. Unfortunately we didn’t have a sixth score for a County team but if we had anyone to even just finish, the team would have been certainly challenging for silver medals.
The girls u/19 and Junior women ran in a combined 4,000m race and in the u/19 contest, Claire Fagan finished 3rd, Alanna Bate 7th and Laura Whitelaw 11th to secure individual top-12 Leinster medals. It’s a pity we didn’t have a fourth girl to make up a team and challenge for team medals. The final underage race was the 6,000m for boys u/19 and Junior men where in the u/19 race Cormac Dalton was making return to racing after a long lay-off due to injury and turned in a brilliant performance to finish 3rd, just ahead of Ciaran Nolan (4th) and with Jack Tyas (12th), Colin Smith and Patrick Shaw packing well in support, the team finished 1st Club and 2nd County, the final set of underage team medals of the day. In the Junior men race, we had no team but Oisin Quinn in 2nd and Andrew Nevin in 3rd were very satisfied with their Leinster medals.
After the excitement of the juvenile races, where Mullingar teams won 7 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze, Westmeath teams won 3 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze, in addition to victory for Ryan Jenkins (u/11) and Jamie Battle (u/17) and a massive 29 other top-12 finish places, everyone stayed on to cheer Mark Christie to victory in the Senior Men 10,000m, which was the final race and a very fitting end to a memorable day.
While a big number from the Club was competing in the Dublin City Marathon, Patrick Muldoon was in Germany that day, Sunday 30th October, running his fourth marathon, the Frankfurt Marathon, and was delighted with his time of 3:03:46 because at 21 miles he hit the infamous “wall”, that feared point where the body simply runs out of energy and all you want to do is stop. Despite slowing down significantly, Patrick reports how his mental strength and determination, gathered from the long hours of training in preparation, helped him to keep going and the electric atmosphere at the finish in the 7,000 capacity Festhalle indoor arena made his perseverance worthwhile. Well done Patrick.
Dublin City Marathon
Moving from the normal Bank Holiday Monday date, the Dublin City Marathon (incorporating the AAI National Championships & the Leinster Championships) on Sunday morning 30th October attracted a record entry of over 17,000 and the extra day’s rest will no doubt be welcomed by everyone! Conditions were good for running, a little on the warm side perhaps but dry and with no wind. It’s very difficult to know exactly how many Club members competed, as the official results don’t allow a search by Club, so rather than attempt the near impossible task of trawling through a sea of results it’s easier to focus on those that entered the AAI Championships. These results are easier to search and show over 40 competitors from the Club, led home by Tom McGrath in 2:40:53, finishing 4th in his master age category, and with Eddie Newman (2:47:00) and Liam McGlynn (2:59:47) the Mullingar master men won team gold, improving on the team bronze won last year, and Geraldine Walsh won a National silver medal in her master age category.
In the Leinster Championships, Tom McGrath took silver in his master age category, Eddie Newman bronze and Tommy Archbold bronze in theirs, and Tom McGrath, Eddie Newman and Liam McGlynn also finished 1st Club team in their master category.
Every marathon pushes the runners to their limit such as in the case of Aine O’Reilly who was in line for a great performance but developed a hip problem at 21 miles that was just too painful to run on and she was forced to stop. Everyone wishes Aine a speedy recovery. Others were delighted with their finish time, several recording personal best times, including Richard Ferris, Philip Burke and Ger Langtry. Also competing was Ollie Donnelly (2:51:47), Gerard Gavin (2:56:01), David Fagan (3:00:09), Stephen Naughton (3:06:10), Colm Walsh (3:07:33), Eoin Clarke (3:10:36), Alan Crowley (3:10:49), Joan Flynn (3:13:29), Mel Carthy (3:18:28), Brian Collentine (3:20:12), Philip Burke (3:22:40), Ollie Gaffney (3:23:30), Stephen Olwell 3:40:53, Matt Glennon who paced Siobhan McCarthy to 3:45:46, Garrett O’Brien 3:47:11, Sharon Bates (3:48:59), Gerard Flynn, Christy Doyle, Richard Ferris, Tommy Archbold, Jason McCabe, Criona Reid, Doug Bates, Olive Costello, Sean Liston, John Callaghan, Michael Byrne, Ger Langtry, Joanna Tyrrell, Declan Costello, Mervyn Kennedy, Pauline Troy, James Brady, Marna Groenewald, Michelle Kavanagh and Geraldine Walsh. Congratulations to them all for flying Mullingar flag so well.
Leinster Cross Country – Day 2 (New Forest)
The last time a Leinster Cross Country was held in Tyrrellspass was fifty years ago in 1956, so Saturday 29th October marked a golden jubilee if you like when Tyrrellspass once again hosted the event, and Mullingar Harriers marked the occasion very appropriately by winning a significant number of gold medals. This time the event was held in the magnificent grounds of the New Forest Golf Club, which proved an absolutely ideal venue with ample car and bus parking, lots of stewards in the car parks, quality food and refreshments, and an excellent course that was met with great approval by the athletes and spectators.
It’s a very big undertaking to host such an event, but the Club is extremely lucky to be able to draw on a large number of members, parents and friends to do all the background work required and last Saturday’s success was a great testament to their efforts. The event drew a huge crowd – exemplified by the fact that the car park stewards stopped counting after eleven hundred cars! The feed-back from the spectators and athletes has been very positive, which will stand to us as we have to do all over again in two weeks time for the next day of the Leinster cross country.
Many thanks also Westmeath Civil Defence for providing excellent first aid cover, to Meghan Bates for her beautiful rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann before the first race – you could have heard a pin drop while she sang, the coaches for warming up the younger teams, our photographers, and to all those that gave such great vocal encouragement to all our runners.
Competition was for boys and girls under 12, 14, 16 and 18 years of age and for Novice men and women. Mullingar had teams in every single race, from the non-Championship u/10 fun runs, right through the juvenile even ages to the novice women and men, and the medal haul was extremely impressive. There were wins for Elizabeth Carr (Novice women), Bea Drummond (u/14) and Caoimhe O’Brien (u/16), 16 other juvenile top-twelve individual medal winners, all our juvenile teams won team medals, 6 juvenile Club team gold and 2 silver, 2 County team gold, a silver and a bronze, rounded off by bronze team medals for the Mullingar Novice men and individual bronze for Padraig Moran in the final race of the day. With so many medals and the lovely sunny day, it was hard not to be dazzled everywhere you looked. This means that Mullingar and Westmeath will be very well represented in the All-Ireland finals in Abbottstown at the end of November and Mullingar will be very well represented on Leinster teams too.
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, Saoirse Sheridan, Katie Kilmurray, Aimee Lynch, Rosie O’Grady and Rose Macken ran very well and were delighted to run in front of a big crowd of cheering supporters and finish well up in the race with Saoirse and Katie winning medals. Mullingar was to the fore in the 1,000m for boys u/10 with a 1-2-3 by Conor Liston, Luke O’Leary and James Flynn, 7th place for Jamie Wallace and where Arthur Drummond, Niall Brady and Matthew Molloy also ran brilliantly and were delighted with the race. Some of these youngsters will be underage again next year, but we’ll see others in action again on the next day of the Leinster Cross Country competing under 11 and the u/10 race was an ideal taste of competition for them.
Mullingar got off to a great start in the Championships proper with a fine 2nd place finish by Aimee Wallace in the 2,000m for girls under 12. Caoimhe Kilmurray joined Aimee in the winner’s enclosure with a 9th place finish, and with great support from Adele Geoghegan and Leah Geoghegan, the girls comfortably finished 1st Club. Thanks to the efforts of Tegan Foley (Athlone IT) finishing just ahead of Adele and with support from Aisling Lane, Katie Boyle (AIT), Sarah Fitzgerald (AIT), Laura Madden (AIT), Grace Byrne, Lucy Donnelly, Síofra Smyth and Robyn Bates, the Westmeath team finished 3rd County. It was great to see the four Athlone IT girls finish 4th Club, which means they also qualify for the All-Ireland finals.
A very strong Mullingar team in the 2,000m for boys u/12 was led home by Tadhg Sheridan in 6th place, followed by Ryan Jenkins (7th), Ross Killalea (10th) and with John Ryan, Callum Costello, Adam Brady, Brian Mulvihill (Athlone IT), Darragh Smith, Adam Smyth, Eoin McGrath, Matt O’Leary, Keelan Varley and Sonny Drummond packing really well, Mullingar finished 1st Club by a big margin and also finished 1st County. This was despite the absence of Philip McCartan who unfortunately was injured during warm and was unable to run; we wish him a speedy recovery.
Our third Club team gold in a row came in the 3,000m for girls u/14 where Bea Drummond timed her finish to perfection to win and secure the individual Leinster title and with Amy Geoghegan (10th), Phoebe Bate (12th), Aoife McGouran, Caoimhe Brady, Karla Cunningham, Meabh Killalea, Francesca Walshe, Aoife O’Brien, Síofra Ní Léannacháin, Jasmine Haugh, Anna McCartan, Grace Loughrey, Meghan Bates and Ellen Kilmurray providing great team support, it was 1st Club and 2nd County for the girls.
On to the 3,000m for boys u/14 where Sam Smyth put in a great race to finish 4th and with support from Colin Smith (7th), Colin McGee, Kevin Martin, Mark Langtry and Tom Wallace, the boys finished 1st Club but unfortunately out of the County medal places in 5th place. How different it might have been if Lorcan Mullen hadn’t taken a heavy fall after one hundred metres, hurting his ankle and unable to finish the race; a bitter blow and we all wish him a speedy recovery.
The 4,000m for girls u/16 was an intriguing race, with three Mullingar athletes in the leading group of four for much of the race, all coming down to a great sprint finish won by Caoimhe O’Brien to secure the individual Leinster title and with Aoife Darby (3rd), Susan Glennon (4th), Jennifer Fidgeon running a blinder to finish 9th, it was no surprise that Mullingar easily finished 1st Club. We weren’t done though, as Sarah Glennon, Elysia Greene, Lisa Gavin (Athlone IT), Aoife Campbell (AIT), Ciara Smith and Eve Wallace put in great efforts to help Westmeath finish 1st County too.
Disaster struck for pre-race medal favourite John Whitelaw early on the opening lap of the 4,000m for boys u/16 when he took a very heavy fall that knocked the wind out of him and by the time he recovered and got back in the race he really had his work cut out but full marks for effort as he worked very hard to make his way back up through the field. The Mullingar team was led home by Brian Martin, followed by Andrew Shaw, Oisin Lane, Rian Hogan, John Whitelaw (making great inroads into the big gap he had to make up), Eoin Quinn, Ruairi Fagan, Paul McCool and Callum Greene to finish 2nd Club and 5th County, a mere 3 points off the 4th County place that would have seen them all qualify for the All-Ireland finals on a County team.
Despite the loss of Alanna Bate who was injured in warming up, the Mullingar team in the 4,000m for girls u/18 put in sterling efforts and was led home by Catriona Kennedy finishing very strongly in 9th place, and with Daria Fidgeon, Andrea Brady, Laura Shaw and Rachel Cornally leaving nothing on the course, the team finished 2nd Club, not far off first place, but without a sixth member because of the loss of Alanna, they couldn’t score as a County team, though if they had a sixth score, they would have easily finished 1st County.
The final underage race, the 6,000m for boys u/18, was a cracking one with Jamie Battle and Jack Moran in contention throughout and it was only settled late on the final lap with Jamie finishing 2nd, just ahead of Jack (3rd), and with Jack Tyas (9th) joining them in the winner’s enclosure and a very strong finish by Eoghan Bracken, the team finished 1st Club with a very comfortable winning margin.
With the conclusion of the underage programme, attention turned to the novice races where it was great to see Elizabeth Carr stamp her authority early ion in the novice women 4,000m, pulling clear with every lap to win the title in style, well clear of the rest of the field. The rest of the team, Breda Daly, Gillian Walsh, Emer O’Hanlon, Caroline Mullen and Deirdre Raleigh ran very well but finished out of the team medals in what was a very competitive race. As well as the Mullingar women, we were delighted to be able to cheer for Ciara Hewson, a former member of Mullingar Harrier, now back running with her home Club of Le Chéile and finishing an excellent 4th place.
The final race of the day was the novice men 6,000m where Padraig Moran made his presence felt early on in the four lap race, and after a fantastic race ran in for a fine 3rd place finish, and with Johnny Daly, Liam Tyas, Timmy Murphy, Andrew Nevin, James Keegan, Malcolm McDonnell, Ian McCormack, Padraig Daly, Enda O’Carolan and Gordon Ward running well in support, the Mullingar men were delighted to finish 3rd Club and round off a great day for the Club where there was success right across the age groups from the very youngest to our older senior athletes.
World Masters T&F
Getting ill on the long flight to Australia and brought straight from the plane to hospital where he was detained from Sunday to Tuesday was not the preparation Sean McMullin needed before his participation in the World Masters T&F in Perth. Having gone that far though, Sean was determined to compete in the 5,000m race walk on Wednesday 26th October. Despite suffering with a sore and tight calf, he managed to stay with the leaders for 2k, but not surprisingly he lost pace and dropped back to eventually finish 7th. Sean was back in action again six days later on Monday 31st October in the 10k road walk where he finished 5th. Reporting that he was feeling about ninety percent better and suffering no ill effects after the 10k, he was looking forward to the 20k road walk on Friday 4th November where he put in a great effort in this very gruelling event and finished 7th. Fifth and seventh place finishes at World Master level are fantastic results, but if Sean had been anywhere near his normal form and raced even close to his best times he would have taken medals in all three events, at least silvers, so to finish out of the medals in all three events has to be something of a bitter pill to swallow, but Sean is better than that and supremely stoic about it and was happy just to be competing alongside the best master athletes in the World.
Mayor’s Cup (Jack O’Leary)
Jack O’Leary showed he has settled in very quickly at Iona College with an excellent performance in the Mayor’s Cup in Boston on Sunday 23rd October to finish in fourth place. This was his first race over the 8,000m distance and the increased distance proved to be very much in his favour as he recorded a time of 24:11. Interestingly, this is the fastest time that any Iona freshman (first year) has ever run. The focus of Jack’s cross country season is the European Junior Cross Country Championships in December and his early season form indicates that he will make a real impact there.
Longwood 5k and 10k Road Races
In contrast to last year, conditions were far from ideal on Sunday morning 23rd October for the Longwood 5k and 10k Road Races, but despite the wind and rain, the races were well supported and the numbers taking part were still very good. Andy Nevin was Mullingar’s sole representative among 155 others in the 5k, finishing an excellent second place in 16:55 and happy with his performance. In the 10k race, first from Mullingar to finish was Malcolm McDonnell, sixth overall in 35:34, followed by Ian McCormack (37:34), Nollaig McEntegart (41:34), Robin Jackson (42:24), Declan Costello making a welcome return to action after recent injury, and Michelle Kavanagh finishing well up in the 236 strong field completing the Mullingar group, who were able to head indoors to dry off and warm up with the excellent post-race refreshments.
AAI Autumn Open Cross Country Festival
Mark Christie got his cross country season off to a winning start on Sunday 16th October at the AAI Autumn Open Cross Country Festival held on the new cross country course at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Co. Dublin. This was the first time the new course has been used in competition and despite heavy overnight rain, ground conditions held up well, which is an encouraging sign and consensus on the day was that the course was very good and provided a good challenge.
The Senior & Master Men 8,000m was a very close race in which Mark Christie kept in the leading group throughout and as the laps unfolded, the race came down to a four-way battle with Mark timing his final push to perfection to pull away and win in 24:59, a comfortable five seconds clear of second place and showing he is one of the best distance runners in the country, leaving a top class field in his wake. Next from Mullingar to finish was Eddie Newman (29:53), 7th in his master category, followed by Ian McCormack (30:26) finishing strongly.
Mark’s race was the second race of two on the programme and was preceded by the Senior women, younger Master women and the older Master men racing over 6,000m alongside the Junior women and older Master women racing over 4,000m. Claire Fagan finished 16th in 15:19, just ahead of Alanna Bate 17th in 15:28 in the Junior Women 4,000m race, which are excellent performances against quality opposition and will give them great confidence for the season ahead. Nicky McCabe was pleased with his 6,000m race, finishing 9th in his master category. Mullingar fielded an impressive seven athletes in the Master Women 6,000m where Breda Daly was the first of the Mullingar women to finish (25:46), ahead of Michelle O’Halloran (26:01), Maura Dervin (26:53), Brigid McCabe (29:07), Nuala Daly (29:15), Siabhra Durcan (29:30) and Paula Murray (29:54), all very happy with their races.
Paul Nihill Shield
Missing the first round of the Westmeath Cross Country on Sunday 2nd October, Jennifer Fidgeon was getting her first taste of foreign competition at the Paul Nihill Shield in London, an annual event between English and Irish juvenile race walkers and an excellent development event promoted by the National Walks Coach, our own Michael Lane, to give up and coming race walkers like Jennifer an opportunity to test her herself against unfamiliar opposition. Jennifer competed in the girls 3,000m u/15 race walk, a step up in distance but she proved more than capable and finished an excellent 2nd place to help the Irish squad comfortably beat their English counterparts and retain the Shield. This was an invaluable opportunity and experience for Jennifer and no doubt will push her on in the event and help take her to the next level.
Westmeath AAI Cross Country
(Day 2 – 9th October)
As for the first round the previous week, conditions were perfect on Sunday morning 9th October in Belvedere for the second round of the Westmeath AAI Cross Country Championships and again numbers held up well against the same time last year, though there was noticeable increase in numbers competing in the u/11 girls 1,500m, and there was great competition in every race.
Round 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. The u/9 races were non-Championship and every one of the young and enthusiastic finishers received a medal, but every other race was a Championship, so just a gold, silver and bronze medal on offer. Many of the juveniles who took part in round 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 in round one, the competitors in round two came from all across the County and included a number of welcome newcomers, with everyone hoping to run well and impress officials and make sure of selection on Club and Westmeath teams in the Leinster Championships in a few weeks time.
The last race of the day was a combined race for girls u/17 and older, boys u/17 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 over forty athletes starting together, it was a great event for spectators. A notable feature of the final race was that it marked Christy Creagh’s sixtieth time to compete in a Westmeath Cross Country Championship – yes, you read that right, 60th. This is a remarkable achievement, a record, and it’s difficult to see anyone ever beating it, especially as there’s no sign that Christy is going to stop running any day soon and will continue to add the years, making breaking his record even harder. Congratulations to Christy from everyone at the Club and we wish him continued good running health and we’ll hold a place for him on the starting line in 2017!
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:
(Day 1 – 2nd Oct)
No doubt encouraged by the lovely fine dry and sunny morning on Sunday 2nd October, and the feel-good factor from an exciting Westmeath Schools Cross Country mid-week, numbers attending Round 1 of this year’s Westmeath AAI Cross Country Championships in Belvedere were up on last year, especially in the younger u/8 and u/10 ages. Nothing could really compare to the massive crowd at the schools cross country, and though a lot quieter in Belvedere for Round 1, that didn’t take from the competition for places on Club and County teams for the upcoming Leinster Cross Country Championships.
Round 1 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 on Sunday 9th October. There was good representation from Club athletes from all across the County and there were also a good 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. The boys and girls that ran in the non-Championship u/8 and u/10 races certainly enjoyed themselves and were delighted with their medals, one for everyone that finished.
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 New Forest Golf Club in Tyrrellspass for the first round of the Leinsters for juvenile even ages on Saturday 29th 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 Round 2 will be used to select teams to represent the Club and Westmeath in the upcoming Leinster Championships.
The results of the Novice men and women races in Round 2 will also be used to select Club and County teams for the Leinster Championships in Tyrrellspass, 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 last Sunday 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.
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. 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.
The results of Round 1 are:
Westmeath Schools Cross Country
There was a fantastic turnout of students of Primary and Secondary schools from all across Westmeath in Belvedere on Wednesday 28th September for the annual Westmeath Schools Cross Country Championships. Belvedere looked great as always and the hard work put in by volunteers from the Club setting up the course meant everyone could relax and enjoy the event. The weather really played its part and even though it was a bit windy, it stayed dry throughout the event. 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 big crowd of teachers and parents.
Numbers taking part prove 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 Gerry Gavin who ran 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. 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.
Primary Schools – team results (3 to score)
|1st class Girls||1st class Boys|
|1||Presentaion Junior School||88||1||St. Tola’s||92|
|2||St. Kenny’s Kilpatrick||104||2||Gaelscoil An Mhuilinn||120|
|3||Loughegar||116||3||Presentaion Junior School||127|
|4||Gaelscoil An Mhuilinn||119||4||Loughegar||141|
|5||An Grianan Mount Temple||123||5||The Downs||144|
|6||The Downs||155||6||An Grianan Mount Temple||157|
|7||Curraghmore||169||7||St. Marys Raharney||178|
|8||St. Mary’s Raharney||186||8||St. Josephs Rathwire||180|
|9||Mullingar ETNS||194||9||St. Kenny’s Kilpatrick||194|
|10||(no name on result sheet)||197||10||St. Fechin’s Fore||221|
|11||Gaelscoil An Choillin||203||11||Curraghmore||245|
|12||St. Joseph’s Rathwire||210||12||Mullingar ETNS||246|
|2nd class Girls||2nd class Boys|
|1||Loughegar||102||1||St. Kenny’s Kilpatrick||84|
|2||Curraghmore||115||2||Presentation Junior School||101|
|3||Gaelscoil An Mhuilinn||117||3||St. Coleman’s||113|
|4||Ard Na Grath||118||4||St. Mary’s Raharney||123|
|5||Presentaion Junior School||120||5||St. Etchen’s||151|
|6||An Grianan Mount Temple||122||6||St. Mary’s Primary||159|
|7||St. Joseph’s Rathwire||139||7||Curraghmore||159|
|8||St. Coleman’s||155||8||St. Joseph’s Rathwire||166|
|9||Mullingar ETNS||156||9||An Grianan Mount Temple||187|
|10||St Ernan’s||187||10||Ard Na Grath||188|
|11||St. Mary’s Raharney||244||11||Gaelscoil An Mhuilinn||197|
|12||St Ernan’s||306||12||St. Fechin’s Fore||238|
|3rd class Girls||3rd class Boys|
|1||St. Etchen’s||99||1||St. Coleman’s||75|
|2||Mullingar ETNS||106||2||St. Etchen’s||104|
|3||Gaelscoil An Mhuilinn||122||3||Curraghmore||119|
|4||St. Kenny’s Kilpatrick||125||4||St. Tola’s||124|
|5||St. Fechin’s Fore||131||5||St. Mary’s Primary School||169|
|6||Curraghmore||152||6||Gaelscoil An Mhuilinn||179|
|7||St. Tola’s||158||7||St. Colmcille’s Gainstown||181|
|10||St. Colmcille’s Gainstown||178||10||St. Fechin’s Fore||264|
|11||St. Joseph’s Rathwire||186||11||St. Joseph’s Rathwire||292|
|12||Ard Na Grath||204|
|4th class Girls||4th class Boys|
|1||Gaelscoil An Mhuilin||71||1||St. Kenny’s Kilpatrick||106|
|4||St. Joseph’s Rathwire||132||4||Gaelscoil An Mhuilinn||125|
|6||St. Tola’s||177||6||The Downs||145|
|7||Loughegar||178||7||St. Joseh’s Rathwire||157|
|8||An Grianan Mount Temple||204||8||Mullingar ETNS||170|
|9||St. Fechin’s Fore||204||9||St. Mary’s Raharaney||171|
|10||St. Mary’s Raharney||225||10||An Grianan Mount Temple||197|
|11||St. Mary’s Primary||234||11||Curragmore||208|
|5th class Girls||5th class Boys|
|1||St. Tola’s||91||1||The Downs||97|
|2||Curaghmore||116||2||An Grianan Mount Temple||118|
|3||Mullingar ETNS||143||3||St. Fechin’s Fore||132|
|4||St. Coleman’s Bellview||161||4||Loughegar||140|
|5||St. Kenny’s Kilpatrick||169||5||St. Mary’s Raharney||142|
|6||St. Marys Primary||193||6||Gaelscoil An Mhuilinn||145|
|7||St. Fechin’s Fore||196||7||St. Mary’s Primary School||199|
|8||St. Joseph’s Rathwire||214||8||Milltown||201|
|9||St. Mary’s Raharney||234|
|6th class Girls||6th class Boys|
|1||Curraghmore||95||1||St. Mary’s Primary School||86|
|2||Ard Na Grath||102||2||St. Mary’s Raharney||99|
|3||St. Joseph’s Rathwire||122||3||Curraghmore||115|
|4||St. Etchen’s Kinnegad||174||4||St. Colmcille’s Gainstown||132|
|5||Gaelscoil An Mhuilinn||184||5||St. Tola’s||137|
|7||St. Tola’s||231||7||St. Ethcen’s Kinnegad||161|
|8||St. Coleman’s||237||8||St. Coleman’s||183|
|9||St. Mary’s Raharney||245||9||St. Michael’s Castletown Geo||186|
|10||Loughegar||286||10||St. Ernan’s Delvin||187|
Secondary Schools – team results (3 to score)
|1st year Girls||1st year Boys|
|1||Loreto Mullingar A||12||1||Colaiste Mhuire A||8|
|2||Loreto Mullingar B||25||2||Colaiste Mhuire B||30 (7,9,14)|
|3||St. Joseph’s R’bridge||31||3||Athlone CC||30 (4,6,20)|
|4||Athlone CC||34||4||St. Finian’s||35|
|5||Mercy Kilbeggan||43||5||St. Joseph’s R’bridge||42|
|6||Loreto Mullingar C||61||6||Mercy Kilbeggan||45|
|2nd year Girls||2nd year Boys|
|1||Our Lady’s Bower||13||1||Colaiste Mhuire A||6|
|2||Loreto Mullingar||15||2||St. Joseph’s R’bridge||20|
|3||St. Joseph’s R’bridge||27||3||Colaiste Mhuire B||24|
|4||Mercy Kilbeggan||36||4||Mercy Kilbeggan||28|
|3rd yr + TY Girls||3rd yr + TY Boys|
|1||Loreto Mullingar A||8||1||Colaiste Mhuire A||6|
|2||Loreto Mullingar B||18||2||Colaiste Mhuire B||21|
|3||Our Lady’s Bower||32||3||St. Joseph’s R’bridge||34|
|5th + 6th year Girls||5th + 6th year Boys|
|1||Loreto Mullingar||8||1||St. Finian’s||19|
|2||Our Lady’s Bower||21||2||Columba Killucan||20|
Star of the Sea AC Open Cross Country
Despite missing a few key athletes in several age groups for various reasons including Leinster squad training commitments, Mullingar proved its depth of talent by successfully retaining the shield for best juvenile Club for the 12th year in a row at the Star of the Sea AC Open Cross Country event in Stamullen, Co. Meath on Sunday 25th September. As always, we saw another “generation” of youngsters coming along in the youngest age groups that we’ll get very familiar with in the years ahead as they make their mark in the sport. Teams of 3 were required to win points towards the trophy for best overall juvenile Club. The organisers laid out an excellent course that was challenging but fair and proved a great early season test of fitness. We had 27 top-ten finish places, including 4 individual victories, and our teams won 6 gold, 4 silver and 1 set of bronze medals.
Katie Kilmurray ran to a splendid 2nd place in the u/9 girls 500m, and with young Tianna O’Leary showing she has pace like her older brothers finishing strongly and well up in the rankings despite giving away a year, it was a pity we didn’t have a third girl or they would have surely won team medals. We had no shortage of athletes in the u/9 boys 500m where Arthur Drummond finished 4th, just got ahead of Sean Byrne in 5th and with great support from Luke Greene (10th), Niall Brady, Brian Longe and Ryan Bell it was team gold for Mullingar and first points on the board towards the shield.
A brilliant 1-2-3-4 for Mullingar in the u/10 boys 500m, thanks to great racing by Conor Liston, Luke O’Leary and Criostoir Ormsby and James Flynn, meant that team gold was assured, but with great team support from Jamie Wallace (9th), Darragh Weblin, Cormac Swann and Cillian Traynor, Mullingar also won team silver. Aimee Wallace was just edged into 2nd place in the u/11 girls 1,000m and with Adele Geoghegan (8th), Leah Geoghegan (9th) and Shauna Traynor packing well in behind her, the girls won the silver team medals. We only had two in the u/11 boys 1,000m where Philip McCartan and Callum Costello battled all the way to the finish to take individual gold and silver respectively, well clear of the opposition.
Ross Killalea led the Mullingar boys home in the u/12 boys 1,500m, finishing 3rd, ahead of Adam Brady (5th), Eoin McGrath (9th), Sonny Drummond, Matt O’Leary and Shane Ormsby providing excellent team support to win team gold and bronze and keep the points heading Mullingar’s way. Phoebe Bate was untroubled in the u/13 girls 1,500m where she pulled clear to win comfortably and with Amy Geoghegan finishing very strongly in 2nd, ahead of Anna McCartan, Alanna Costello and Aoife Swann, the girls richly deserved their team gold medals.
Meabh Killalea was Mullingar’s sole representative in the u/14 girls 2,000m where she kept in contention throughout and with a very determined finish secured an individual medal and prize by finishing 5th. On to the u/14 boys 2,200m where Lorcan Mullen finished 3rd and with great support from Mark Langtry (9th) and Tom Wallace, led the team to gold medals. Andrew Shaw also finished 3rd in the u/15 boys 2,500m and with Paul McCool (7th) and Callum Greene providing the vital third score, it was team silver for Mullingar.
The last juvenile race with a Mullingar interest was the u/17 girls 3,000m, won by Andrea Brady, ahead of Catriona Kennedy finishing very fast on her heels in 2nd place and with Daria Fidgeon in 4th it was not only individual prizes but a clear team victory too. No great surprise therefore given the fantastic team results, that Mullingar was awarded the shield for best juvenile Club for the 12th year in a row. This is an amazing record and there’s no doubt but Mullingar will be very hard to beat this cross country season.
With the conclusion of the juvenile races, attention turned to the women’s 3,000m which was a combined race for junior, senior and master athletes, featuring five from Mullingar, led home by Brigid McCabe, followed by Siabhra Durcan, Louise McCartan, Caroline Mullen and Lorraine Brady. When the various categories were sorted, the Mullingar women were delighted to win the team silver medals. The weather had held up nicely all day and even though windy, was dry and crisp and was even sunny at times, but no sooner had the junior, senior and master men’s 6,000m race started but the heavens opened, causing everyone except for the hardiest supporters to run for cover. Better known on the road race circuit, Pauric Brady was trying cross country for the first time since he was a juvenile and was happy with his run, finishing well up, ahead of James Carton and Nicky McCabe, with all three making light of the awful wind and rain during their tough 4 lap race on the hills.
We saw some great individual performances in Meath, 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 really does make a big difference to be cheered on.
Mark Christie really had to dig deep to win a very competitive Rathfarnham 5k on Sunday 25th September, using his trademark sprint finish to edge ahead of Freddy Sittuk of Raheny Shamrocks AC less than 100m from the line to finish in 14:26, the same time as Sittuk in second place. A very close race but a win is a win and Mark was delighted with the victory. Also running well was newcomer Tim Murphy, also involved in a close finish to split two Dunshaughlin athletes and finishing well up in the huge field of over 900 in 16:41 in his first race for Mullingar.
Dublin Half Marathon
The weather in Mullingar was very bad on Saturday 24th September with heavy rain showers and strong winds, but in contrast, it was quite pleasant in the Phoenix Park for the Dublin Half Marathon. The nearly 7,000 competitors only had to face a light shower at the start and a short stretch late in the race into a stiff headwind, otherwise perfect mild conditions for running. First to finish from Mullingar was Tom McGrath in an excellent 1:14:25 to win his master category, just ahead of Eddie Newman (1:14:58) to finish 2nd in his master category. Tom only managed to pull away from Eddie after 9 miles but Eddie hung on and fought all the way to the finish. Gerard Gavin started conservatively and was rewarded with a PB of 1:19:14 for the distance, ahead of Patrick Muldoon Junior (1:20:24), Ollie Donnelly (1:20:42), Alan Crowley (1:28:48) having a very good run, Seamus Moran (1:39:54) and Tommy Archbold (1:52:58), and all expressing satisfaction with their performances.
Athlone “Flatline” Half Marathon
The Club was well represented by a small group of three athletes at the “Flatline” Half Marathon in Athlone on Saturday 10th September. The day was absolutely ideal for running and given its reputation as a very flat course – after all, the clue is in the name – they were joined by an impressive field of over 760 others all looking to run fast times. Best of the Mullingar trio was Joan Flynn finishing in an excellent time of 1:28:32, a bit quicker than Tullamore just two weeks before, ahead of Ollie Gaffney in 1:31:00 and Eoin Clarke in 1:32:06, also pleased with their performances.
Longford Half Marathon
In the Longford Half Marathon on Sunday 28th August, Aine O’Reilly had a fine run to finish in 3rd place. Her time was an excellent 1:25:28. This was a fine run and it ensured that Mullingar Harriers ladies were on the podium at both Half Marathon events that took place on the weekend. In the men’s race, Martin Lyons did an excellent job pacing the 1 hour 30 minute group and they came in right on schedule.
Tullamore Half Marathon
Mullingar Harriers was well represented at the Tullamore Half Marathon on Saturday 27th August. Eddie Newman ran a great race to record a new PB of 1:14:43. This performance ensured that Eddie placed second in his masters category and in fact he placed 7th overall in the race. Gerry Gavin also had a fine race to finish in 22nd place.
Brian Collentine and Philip Burke were the third and fourth scorers on the Club team that finished 5th overall. Paul Ginnell, Willie Ahearne, Garret O’Brien and Enda Seery can all feel very pleased with their performances.
Joan Flynn was third lady with an excellent run of 1:29:09. This was a really good performance by Joan and in the process she led Mullingar Harriers to a fine 2nd place finish behind the host club, Tullamore Harriers. It was great to see former Junior International Linda Conroy return to action and she had a very encouraging run. The scoring team was completed by Pauline Faulkner Troy.
AAI Masters T&F
Thankfully the absolutely dreadful weather on Saturday gave way to more athlete friendly conditions on Sunday 21st August, perfect for the AAI Masters T&F Championships in Tullamore. The day started perfectly for Sean McMullin when he comfortably won his specialist event the 5,000m race walk, his winning time good enough to have beaten men fifteen years his junior such is his dominance at the event. Paddy Kelly put in a sterling performance in the 800m which came down to a sprint finish with less than a second separating the medal places, Paddy crossing the line in third just six hundredths away from silver. The day concluded with the 5,000m run where Sean McMullin was looking for his second medal of the day but his earlier efforts in the race walk had taken its toll and he finished fifth, out of the medals, but he still competed well. Congratulations to Sean and Paddy on finishing the track season in the medals.
Frank Duffy 10 Mile
Every runner knows you can’t choose the weather and no one in their right mind would choose the awful conditions in the Phoenix Park on Saturday morning 20th August where nearly 4,000 brave souls competed in high winds and heavy showers in the Frank Duffy 10 Mile Road Race, the latest in a series of races in preparation for the Dublin City Marathon and marks an important milestone on the training road to the marathon. The series has progressed from 5 miles, to 10k, now it was the turn for 10 miles, before a half marathon in a few weeks time, all aimed at preparation for the ultimate endurance challenge in October.
The small group from Mullingar was led home by Eddie Newman in 57:38 to place second in his master age category, followed by Matt Glennon (62:04), Patrick Muldoon (62:39), Gerry Gavin (66:45), Alan Crowley (67:00), Mervyn Kennedy (74:48) and Siobhan McCarthy (75:47) all expressing satisfaction with their performances given the conditions and getting in some valuable experience of running with a very large crowd in race conditions.
Boyne AC Open T&F Sports
Not content with competing in Athlone at the Community Games National Cross Country Relays on Sunday morning 14th August, a number of the Club’s juveniles went straight over to Drogheda in Co. Louth in the afternoon to compete in the Boyne AC Open T&F Sports. Conor Liston and Criostoir Ormsby took gold and silver respectively in the 80m u/10 and long jump u/10 and Conor also won the 500m u/10. As if that wasn’t enough, they paired up with two Boyne athletes and finished second in the 4x100m u/10 relay. Shane Ormsby moved up in age to win the u/14 shot putt and Shane and Criostoir paired up with athletes from Monaghan and Dundalk to finish second in the 4x100m relay u/12. Shannon Liston was unlucky to finish out of the medals in the u/14 shot putt and likewise Shane missed the medal places in the 600m u/12 but gave excellent accounts for themselves. All done, an extremely busy day for these youngsters!
Community Games National XC Relays
A number of the Club’s young athletes competed for Westmeath in the Community Games National Cross Country Relays in Athlone IT on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th August, with the heats on Saturday and the finals run on Sunday. The u/14 boys team of Sam Smyth, Lorcan Mullen, Colin Smith, Ciaran Daly and sub Paul McCool were in great form and won the silver medals and with medals for the top four teams, the u/12 boys team of Philip McCartan, Callum Costello, John Ryan, Darragh Smith and sub Shane Ormsby also won medals, finishing a fine fourth place in their final. The u/12 girls team of Aimee Wallace, Shannon Liston, Alanna Costello and Kayleigh Fagan qualified for the final where they competed well but finished out of the medals. Congratulations to the boys teams on their medal successes and to the girls for competing so well.
With numbers dropping in many 5k road races this year, as many runners switch to the more challenging 10k and longer distance races, it might look like the days of the 5k are numbered, but one 5k race that continues to draw an excellent attendance is the “Tullynally Castle” Castlepollard 5k organised by North Westmeath AC, which took place on Wednesday 10th August on a lovely evening for running through the beautiful grounds of Tullynally Castle and back for the legendary spread of food and refreshments and the very generous number of prizes on offer across a wide range of categories. The huge amount of pre-race publicity put in by Andy MacEoin attending road races near and far over the past number of months to publicize the race paid off very well as 344 took to the start line. Mullingar Harriers was represented by 23 Club members taking part and between them they won a team prize, 10 individual master prizes and an individual juvenile prize.
The race was won by Freddy Sittuk in 14:41 to lead Raheny Shamrock AC to the men’s team prize. Leading the Mullingar group was Malcolm McDonnell finishing twelfth place in 16:17, taking second prize in his master category and with Eddie Newman in 16:33 (to win his master category) and Gerry Gavin in 16:45 providing great support, the Mullingar men finished third team. Following in was Matt Glennon (17:07) finishing third in his master category, Ollie Donnelly (17:16), Mel Carthy (17:35), Alan Crowley (18:22), Ollie Gaffney (19:41), JP O’Brien (19:47) pushing a buggy for the added challenge!, Willie Ahearne (19:51), Nollaig McEntegart (19:53) winning his master category, Siobhan McCarthy (20:06) winning her master category, Susan Glennon (20:16) first u/16 girl, John Shaw (20:28), Brian Martin (20:41), Matthew Glennon Junior (21:57), Brigid McCabe (22:27) second in her master category, Nicky McCabe (23:30) third in his master category, Christy Creagh (24:33) second in his master category, Shauna O’Brien, Jacinta O’Brien, Geraldine Walsh winning her master category and Des Walsh. The full results are available at www.myrunresults.com.
Bon Voyage to Jack O’Leary
Everyone at the Club wishes a big farewell to Jack O’Leary who headed off on Friday morning 12th August to Iona College in the USA to take up an athletics scholarship. This is a marvellous opportunity for Jack and we know he’ll make the very most of it. He had a good send-off on Wednesday evening at a lovely gathering in his home, surrounded by family, friends and several members of the Club to wish him the very best.
“Rock ‘n’ Roll” Half marathon (incorp. AAI Half Marathon)
Big numbers, nearly ten thousand, took to the streets of Dublin on Sunday morning 7th August for the “Rock ‘n’ Roll” Half Marathon, starting near the 3 Arena and crossing the Liffey to run along the south quays and nearby streets before crossing over the Liffey again at Chapelizod and finishing in the Phoenix Park. It was quite a tough course, especially the hilly sections in the Park, and wasn’t helped by strong winds. The race incorporated the AAI National Half Marathon Championships, which attracted a very big entry of nearly one thousand, among them sixteen from the Club, all of them master athletes in various age categories. Pride of place goes to Aine O’Reilly who finished well up in an excellent 122nd place overall in the combined men and women race in 1:24:43 to win her AAI master age category and take the All-Ireland gold medal. Joan Flynn finished third master behind Aine in 1:30:01 to win the bronze medal and what a pity we couldn’t field a third runner in this category, as the team gold was there for the taking.
Tom McGrath led the Mullingar group home with an excellent 22nd place finish overall in 1:16:27, which placed him third in his AAI master age category to win the individual bronze medal. Following in was Eddie Newman (1:19:21) 4th in his AAI master age category, then Gerard Gavin (1:21:43), Aine O’Reilly, then Liam McGlynn (1:25:14) providing the vital third score to win the AAI gold master men team medals with Tom and Eddie. Next in was Ollie Donnelly (1:26:29), Mel Carthy (1:26:50), Pauric Brady (1:27:55), Joan Flynn, Mark McCann (1:31:34), Colm Walsh (1:32:51), Enda O’Carolan (1:33:26), Philip Burke (1:33:32), Mervyn Kennedy (1:41:00), Eamonn O’Reilly and Geraldine Walsh finishing 4th in her AAI master age category. Congratulations to them all on their performances.
Celtic International T&F Games
The 40th Celtic Games triangular international T&F match between Ireland, Scotland and Wales (and a Wales Development Team) took place in a very sunny Swansea in Wales on Saturday 6th August, where Alanna Bate competed in a high quality 3,000m u/18 and ran very well to claim third in 10.48.52 and earn valuable points to help the Irish team to victory. The girls u/18 team ran out victorious, as did the overall u/16 and u/18 girls teams and the overall boys and girls teams, making this the best performance by an Irish team in this competition in forty years.
Alanna wasn’t the only Westmeath athlete in Wales, and she was joined by three athletes from North Westmeath AC, Niamh Fogarty who had the honour of being named the joint captain for the u/18 girls team and played a captain’s role to win her discus competition; Darragh Gaffney took second in the u/18 discus; and Conor Fogarty made his International debut in the u/16 discus where he also earned valuable points for the Irish team.
The Olympics are well under way now, which has to bring back some fantastic memories for Cormac Finnerty in particular who twenty years ago competed in the 5,000m at the Atlanta Games in 1996 to become the first Westmeath person to compete in an Olympics for Ireland. Others from Westmeath had competed in earlier Olympic Games, but for other Countries, not Ireland. Check out Cormac’s singlet and original race number in the showcase on the wall in the Clubhouse, beside the International Roll of Honour. Martin Fagan was our second Olympian (2008 Beijing marathon). Who in the Club aspires to be the Club’s third Olympian?
Streets of Athboy 5k
The third edition of the Streets of Athboy 5k race was held in fantastic conditions for running on Friday evening 5th August where Malcolm McDonnell was the Club’s sole representative, finishing third of the 241 finishers in 16:21, missing second place by just one second in a furious sprint finish to the line. Well done to all at Fr. Murphy AC for a fantastic event.
Munster Masters T&F
Sean McMullin added to his significant gold medal collection at the Waterford Regional Sports Centre on Sunday morning 31st July where he competed in the Munster Masters T&F Championships, comfortably winning the 3,000m race walk, which was not really surprising given the fact in European and World master competitions, he also usually wins medals, as he is an outstanding master athlete.
Le Chéile AC T&F / IMC Meeting
The latest Mullingar Harrier to gain the distinction of breaking two minutes for 800m, seventeen year old Colin Smith was an impressive winner of his 800m race at the Le Chéile AC International T&F in Leixlip, Co. Kildare on Saturday 30th July, which incorporated the final Irish Milers Club Meeting of the year. Colin ran a great tactical race, going through the halfway point in 4th place, and then gradually moved onto the race leader’s shoulder and produced a powerful finish to win the race in a PB of 1:59.71. Colin is just training for athletics for four months now and has already made significant progress. With continued dedication, he has a bright future in the sport.
Dunboyne AC “Carton House” 6k Trail Run
Dunboyne AC hosted a fabulous 6k trail run on Thursday evening 28th July in the beautiful grounds of Carton House. Exceeding the expectation of the organisers, over 460 competed on the course through wooded trails and some of the pathways of the golf course, among them Mullingar’s sole representative, Stephen Naughton, who was very satisfied with his finish time of 24:23 to place him 3rd in his master age category. Well Done to Dunboyne AC and Carton House for putting together such a great event.
AAI Juvenile (u/12 to u/19) T&F – Days 2 & 3
The track and field season for the majority of the Club’s juvenile athletes concluded on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July at the AAI Juvenile T&F Finals in Tullamore where despite the very mixed weather that fluctuated between rain showers and hot sunshine, the Club’s athletes were in spectacular form and won 5 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze medal, in addition to several places just outside the medals, so there was plenty to cheer about.
Saturday morning started with the race walks where Jennifer Fidgeon had a real breakthrough performance in the 2,000m u/15 walk, finishing second in 10:00.48, a big PB, and improving from finishing third in Leinster to winning silver in the All-Ireland. Sarah Glennon was simply too good for the opposition in the 2,000m u/16 walk where she cruised to victory with ease in 9:37.84, a PB. The medals continued in the 3,000m u/19 walk with a fine piece of aggressive racing by Rachel Glennon to win and take the gold medal. We finished the race walks with another superb performance by Oisin Lane in the 2,000m u/15 walk, winning comfortably by a distance. A common feature of all the performances by the Mullingar race walkers was that they all raced much faster than in the Leinsters, a great testament to the hard work put in at training under the expert eye of Michael Lane. The Club is very fortunate to have in its ranks a race walk coach of Michael’s calibre.
Maimouna Fane ran an excellent 100m u/19 final but was unlucky to finish 4th, just out of the medals but she gave it her best effort and left nothing on the track and can be satisfied with her track season. Despite still recovering from a foot injury and suffering with a throat infection, Shauna Leydon competed gamely in the u/15 discus where she struggled a bit with the wet circle and was no doubt hampered a bit by her foot, which isn’t fully recovered, but despite these obstacles still managed to get in the medals, winning bronze to add to her impressive collection of All-Ireland medals.
Mullingar has an enviable reputation in the middle-distance events, and our 3,000m athletes showed why with a succession of great races and successes. Jack Moran and Jamie Battle showed great team spirit in the 3,000m u/17 and worked together to push the pace from the early stages, swopping the lead on each lap to share the work and slowly increasing the lead to the point where it came down to a straight battle between the two them for gold and silver, with Jack having the edge to win followed by Jamie in second, well clear of third place. This was Jack Moran’s first All-Ireland title, so he was particularly pleased with his win. Jack Tyas battled well in the 3,000m u/18 and finished strongly in 5th place, out of the medals but he ran a good race and can be satisfied with his effort. Andrea Brady ran a determined race and kept herself in contention throughout the 3,000m u/17 and was very happy to finish second in 11:35.50, a PB, and win the silver medal. We finished on a high note with a tremendous win by Alanna Bate in the 3,000m u/18 where she really worked hard to shake off the opposition and dug deep and found the extra bit to pull clear and hold on to finish first in 10:32.60, a PB, to put her on top of the podium.
Patrick Leydon was busy on Sunday morning, starting with his heat of the 200m u/18 where he qualified comfortably for the later final. He had no time to rest after the 200m, as he had to head straight to the u/18 triple jump, not ideal timing. He had to be feeling the effects of the 200m in his legs but he still gave it his best effort and though he finished out of the medals, his 6th place was a very creditable placing. In the 200m final later in the day Patrick ran a very good race, finishing strongly in 6th place, out of the medals but was happy with his performance.
Aoife Darby and Susan Glennon contested the 1,500m u/16 where they tried very hard to keep in touch with the leading group but had to let them away on the final lap but both finished strongly, Aoife in 5th place in a PB of 4:59.01, just ahead of the fast finishing Susan in 6th who has really come back into form again. It’s not easy competing the day after a 3,000m race and Andrea Brady admitted she could still feel the effects of her silver medal winning performance the day before but still gave it her best in the 1,500m u/17 but had to settle for a place out of the medals. Alanna Bate had won her 3,000m the day before and in the 1,500m u/18 she fought hard to keep with the leading group but just couldn’t hold on to the breakaway group at the bell but she never stopped trying and though she finished 4th, out of the medals, took great satisfaction from running a PB of 4:47.19. Claire Fagan looked good in the opening laps of the 1,500m u/19 but just couldn’t find the extra gear at the bell to close the gap on the leaders but still ran a very determined race to finish 4th, out of the medals but an excellent performance nevertheless.
Over the week-end 9 medals were won (5 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze) and when added to the medal tally of 2 silver and 1 bronze on Day One held two weeks before, that brings the All-Ireland T&F total for this year to an impressive 12 medals. Apart from some that might race in the Dublin Graded Meetings or perhaps some Irish Miler’s Club Meetings, this concludes the track and field season for most of the Club’s underage athletes and they can now take a well earned break and come back refreshed in a few weeks time and head into their winter training programmes.
World Junior T&F
Well done to Jack O’Leary on finishing 25th at the World Junior Championships 5,000m in Bydgoszcz, Poland on Saturday 23rd July. Jack faced the best junior distance athletes in the World and produced his usual determined effort. He was comfortably in the leading group for the first half of the race and finished in a time of 14:50.67. Jack will have gained greatly from the experience of competing at his first Global Championships. Having enjoyed a remarkably successful junior career to date Jack will now begin to focus on the European Junior Cross Country Championships in December where he can expect to be a leading contender.
Summer arrived with a bang in Mullingar on Sunday 17th July for the third edition of the Mullingar 10 mile road race as the sun shone high and hot on the nearly three hundred runners, so taking on plenty of water on board was the order of the day. All the hard work put in by the organizing committee over the past number of months paid off and last Sunday’s race built nicely on the success of the year before and even though numbers were down a little bit, the race was still deemed a good success by everyone that took part. A mid-July 10 mile race fits perfectly into the schedule of those training for the Dublin City Marathon in October and attracted by the chance to run a quality race on quiet country roads, the event drew entrants from Clubs, running groups and keep fit groups in Counties near and far including Longford, Offaly, Meath, Kildare, Laois, Dublin, Sligo and Galway, as well as a huge number from Westmeath of course, including more than 30 from the Club alone, and a total of 277 finished, proving the popularity of the fixture.
At the halfway point in Ballinagore, Barry Sheil (Longford AC) had the early lead on Richard Gorman (Sligo AC), with Tom McGrath (Mullingar Harriers) in third but the order changed in the second half and at the finish Richard Gorman crossed the line first in 54:33, comfortably clear of Tom McGrath (56:13), ahead of Barry Sheil third in 56:27. With support from Eddie Newman (57:03), Malcolm McDonnell (58:35) and Johnny Daly (59:18), Tom McGrath led the Mullingar men to first Club, with Tullamore Harriers second and Trim AC third. In the women’s race, the finish order was settled by the half way mark and the victory went to Jane-Ann Meehan (Athenry AC) in 61:54, with Nikki Long (Battle Road Track Club, Boston) second in 63:25 and Adrienne Jordan (Crusaders AC) third in 64:17. Best from Mullingar was Joan Flynn, fourth in 65:00, and with support from Siobhan McCarthy (73:44), Eithne Spellman (79:53) and Patricia Broderick (82:07) she led the Mullingar women team to victory, ahead of Maurice Looby Fitness second and Tullamore Harriers third.
Mullingar Harriers featured in the various category prizes too including Eddie Newman (second in his master category), Malcolm McDonnell (second in his master category), Liam McGlynn (third in his master category) and Siobhan McCarthy (second in her master category). Full results are available at www.myrunresults.com.
The weather was fantastic for the spectators but tough on the runners and though there was a light breeze, long stretches of open country with little shade from trees drained the energy of many but despite that, everyone made it safely back to the finish at Wallace’s Pub in Dalystown, glad to finish but more glad to take water on board and when sufficiently recovered to tuck into the refreshments, which could be enjoyed outdoors thanks to the fine day. Thanks to the many friends of the Club that dropped trays and trays of food from early morning and the mountain of food wasn’t long being eaten and enjoyed.
An event that caters for such 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 help make a success of the event. First aid and ambulance cover was provided by Westmeath Civil Defence to whom we are very grateful. We’re very grateful too to our sponsors, including Lagan Cement, O’Brien’s Centra, McDonnell Property Partners, Grange Motors and Avonmore Protein Milk. 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 Pub and to Dympna Alford of Dalystown NS for generously allowing us the use of their facilities.
Jack O’Leary to take his place on the World stage
Having competed twice in the European Junior Cross Country and once at the European Junior T&F Championships, Jack O’Leary headed off on Saturday evening 16th July to Bydgoszcz in Poland to compete at the World Junior T&F Championships, a significant step up but Jack has worked very hard for this. Jack’s commitment to training is without question and everyone at the Club wishes him the very best of luck on Saturday 23rd July when he lines up in the 5,000m against some of the best young distance athletes in the World.
Schools International T&F
Saturday 16th July was a memorable day for Oisin Lane and Sarah Glennon when they made their International debuts for Ireland at the Schools International T&F in Kent, England. The day was extremely hot, especially at lunchtime when the race walks took place but that didn’t stop Sarah putting in a brilliant performance to finish 2nd in the girls 3,000m walk in 14:56.45, a massive PB and in the boys 3,000m walk, Oisin finished a terrific 3rd in 14:51.01. These great performances added to the team points to place Ireland 2nd overall behind England and ahead of Wales and Scotland. Congratulations to Oisin and Sarah and now that they have competed for Ireland, their names will be added to the Roll of Honour in the Clubhouse, bringing the total so far up to 98 since the Club was founded in 1975. Congratulations to them both from everyone at the Club.
Club athletes supporting local road races
The Oldcastle 5k road race promoted by St. Brigid’s AC on Wednesday 13th July was well supported by about 200 competitors. The course had a few hills as one would expect in that part of Meath and added to the very windy conditions, made for a challenging race. Being so close, a group from Mullingar competed, led home by Eddie Newman finishing in 17:04, third overall and winner of his master age category, followed by Pauric Brady (17:53) and Stephen Naughton (19:09) providing great support to finish second Club.
On the same night, even closer to home 240 runners competed in the Kinnegad 5k and enjoyed the familiar route around the back-roads of Kinnegad, particularly the recently re-surfaced stretch between 2k and 4k. First of the group wearing the Mullingar Club colours to finish was Malcolm McDonnell in 16:36, sixth overall and third in his master age category, followed by Andrew Nevin (16:59), Matt Glennon (17:11), first in his master age category, Enda O’Carolan (17:23), Aine O’Reilly (17:30), first woman, Mel Carthy (17:40), Philip Burke (18:39), Robin Jackson (20:12), Tommy Conroy (21:24), Eamonn O’Reilly (23:20), Christy Creagh (25:14), second in master age category, and Michelle Kavanagh.
Kevin Baker impresses on the road
Billed as the flattest 5 mile road race in Ireland, the Clontarf 5 Mile on Saturday 9th July attracted nearly 550 entrants, among them Kevin Baker who literally ran away with the race to win in 27:26 with over one minute to spare on second place. Just a few days later on Bastille Day, Thursday 14th July, Kevin was back in action in the Docklands 5k, a fantastic race organized by Crusaders AC that took over 1,300 runners up and down the quays in the Docklands area of Dublin. The opposition was much better than in Clontarf but Kevin still turned in an impressive performance to finish 5th in 15:50.
AAI Juvenile (u/12 to u/19) T&F – Day 1
Mullingar interest on Day One of the AAI Juvenile T&F Finals on Sunday 10th July in Tullamore was dominated by the 600m and 800m events. A notable exception was the boys u/12 shot putt where Shane Ormsby was competing in his first All-Ireland Final. Having finished fourth in Leinster, it’s fairly sure none of his fellow competitors gave Shane any chance but they didn’t know the huge amount of work he had put in at training since the Leinsters under the expert eye of Brid Leydon, backed up with plenty of work at home with mum Joan, that saw him improve by a whopping 3.81m to take silver with a best of 10.79m, to the delight of the Mullingar supporters. To put this improvement in perspective, a similar performance in Leinster would have seen Shane win with over a metre to spare!
For one so young, Phoebe Bate has considerable experience on the All-Ireland stage and she drew on all of it in the girls 600m u/13 where she put in a sterling performance, staying in contact throughout to finish just out of the medals in 6th place. Another seasoned athlete, Bea Drummond, competed with heart in the girls 800m u/14 and was with the leading group when the big push came for the finish but had to settle for a place just out of the medals in 5th in a close run race. The girls 800m u/15 required heats and Caoimhe O’Brien made sure of qualification with a comfortable win in her heat and in the later final showed great strength and pace to take on the leaders in the closing stages and after a great sprint finish finished 3rd and was delighted to clinch the bronze medal. Always one to deliver, Aoife Darby made no mistake in the girls 800m u/16 where she really put it up to the opposition with a fine determined race that saw her rewarded with an excellent silver medal in a thrilling finish.
Laura Shaw competed well in the girls 800m u/17 but the pace at this short distance wasn’t to her liking and she finished out of the medals. The early pace in the boys 800m u/19 was quite pedestrian, which meant it all came down to a blistering finish that didn’t suit Declan Brady who is still on the road back from a prolonged absence due to injury but still gave it his best effort and was pleased to be competing in an All-Ireland final. Heats were required in the boys 800m u/18 where Colin Smith made it safely through and in the final, which was the last race of the day, he ran a brave race and kept himself in the thick of the action but had to settle for a place out of the medals in 6th. Incredibly this was just his fourth race over 800m and Colin showed that he has huge potential and is someone to watch for in the future.
That concluded the action on Day One with three medals won for Mullingar and everyone giving their best effort.
AAI “B” T&F and Inter-Club Relays
A small group from the Club competed at the AAI “B” T&F and Inter-Club Relays in Tullamore on Saturday 9th July and turned in some excellent performances. The “B” event is for underage athletes that competed in their Regional Championships but didn’t qualify for the All-Ireland Finals, so an important step on the road to continuous improvement. Mullingar had one sprint relay team that had qualified from the Leinster Relays.
There were four heats in the girls 80m u/14, so qualification was very difficult, but Niamh Cully negotiated her heat safely with a fine 3rd place finish and in the final ran even quicker, unfortunately finishing out of the medals, but her time of 11.47 seconds was a big improvement on her time in the Leinsters, so was an excellent performance.
Shannon Liston didn’t qualify from her heat of the 80m u/13 but later in the morning she took the early lead in the u/13 shot putt and built on it in the second round, improved again in round three but dropped to second, improved to her best effort of 8.14m in round four and kept second place to the finish to win the silver medal. This was a huge improvement on her performance in Leinster, thanks to the work put in at training with Brid Leydon, so Shannon could have a bright future in the shot putt.
Moving to the middle-distance events, John Ryan ran well in the 600m u/12 but finished out of the medals, as he had done earlier in the day in the u/12 long jump but enjoyed the day of competition anyway. Amy Geoghegan put in a very determined effort in the 600m u/13 and was rewarded with a very creditable 6th place and can look forward to the autumn cross country season with confidence. Meabh Killalea also impressed in the 800m u/14 and was unlucky to finish 5th, just out of the medals. Paddy Rafferty found the pace of the 800m u/15 too quick for his liking but gave it every effort. We finally got in the medals again thanks to a really determined and brave run by John Whitelaw in the 800m u/16 where he led the breakaway group and despite a great effort in the closing stages dropped back to 3rd but a bronze medal was an excellent reward for his efforts and to cap it off his time of 2:13.01 was a new PB.
We finished the day with the 4x100m u/14 relay where the Mullingar quartet of Colin Smith, Colin McGee, Sam Smyth and Lorcan Mullen qualified well from their heat. In the final they ran a very accomplished race and though they ran faster than in the heat, finished out of the medals but their time of 54.39 seconds was a significant improvement on the Leinsters and a credit to their hard work in training in the last few weeks perfecting their baton passes, which all come together extremely well when it mattered.
Well done to everyone that competed and thanks as always to the parents for providing encouragement and support.
AAI Pairs (u/9, 10, 11) T&F
What a difference a day makes! In contrast to the awful weather in Tullamore on Saturday 2nd July, it dawned bright and dry with plenty of sunshine on and off during the day on Sunday, perfect for the AAI Pairs T&F where Mullingar had some of its youngest members in action competing for All-Ireland glory.
Katie Kilmurray won her race in the 60m u/9 and Norah Garry finished well up in her race but when their times were added together they were unlucky to finish out of the medals. Unfazed, the girls faced the longer 300m u/9 later in the day where Katie finished well up in her race only to be told it had to be re-run because the timing system had failed. Norah finished very strongly in her race and later in the afternoon, Katie toed the line for “take two” and ran a storming race to finish a very close second after a sprint finish that was quite remarkable and when the times were added the girls were thrilled to finish second overall and win silver medals.
In the 60m u/10, Criostoir Ormsby was only narrowly beaten in his race but Conor Liston won his race comfortably and the boys had the fastest combined time, though by just eight hundredths of a second, to win gold for Mullingar. Later in the day they absolutely blew the opposition away in their 500m u/10 races, each winning their races in great style with terrific sprint finishes to win gold again.
Having finished second in Leinster, Adele Geoghegan and Leah Geoghegan knew they would have to run faster in the 600m u/11 and this they duly did in two fantastic races where they stayed in touch throughout and gave themselves every chance but unfortunately finished out of the medals but know they left nothing on the track and gave one hundred percent effort.
Congratulations to these fine young athletes and well done too to coaches James Carton, Clare O’Donnell, Margaret Daly, Al and Karen McGouran for getting them into the best possible condition for the day. Thanks to the parents too for giving great support without any pressure to win, just to run and enjoy themselves and do the best they could.
International selections: Oisin Lane, Sarah Glennon, Jack O’Leary
On the back of their sterling performances at the Tailteann Inter-Provincial T&F, Oisin Lane and Sarah Glennon have been notified that they have been selected for the Irish Schools team and will compete in the race walk events against England, Scotland and Wales in Kent, England on 16th July. This will mark their International debuts and is a tremendous honour for them, their schools, their families and the Club, and further testament to the tremendous time and energy put in by their coach, Michael Lane, who continues to have the Midas touch when it comes to talent spotting for race walking and has produced a long line of Champion race walkers that have achieved International selection. Congratulations to Oisin and Sarah from everyone at the Club.
Congratulations too to Jack O’Leary whose selection was confirmed on Saturday 2nd July for the World Junior T&F Championships in Poland from 14th to 17th July where he will compete in the 5,000m. This selection is a brilliant achievement for Jack who has enjoyed a fantastic Junior career to date having twice competed in the European Junior Cross Country and also at the European Junior T&F Championships last year. Jack’s commitment to training and his fearless approach to racing set him apart from many of his rivals. He will relish the opportunity to take his place among the best young distance athletes in the world. Congratulations to Jack from everyone at the Club.
AAI Junior & u/23 T&F
The weather was absolutely awful at times on Saturday 2nd July in Tullamore for the AAI Junior and u/23 T&F Championships with cool breezy conditions throughout and some absolute deluges of rain that had everyone scatter for cover on occasions. First into action was Vicky Harris who blasted from the blocks in the u/23 women 100m and powered to the finish, crossing the line in 12.42 seconds but too close for the judges to immediately call first or second. It took a few minutes and careful scrutiny of the photo finish, but Vicky was judged to have finished second, beaten only by a few centimetres and both first and second was given the same time. You don’t get much closer than that in a sprint finish!
Several downpours later, the sun returned briefly and Jack O’Leary took to the line in a very tactical Junior 1,500m that came down to a furious sprint finish on the home straight with Jack closing hard on the leader but denied on the line, finishing second just outside four minutes, in 4:00.14. This was a very good run by Jack and will set him up nicely for the 5,000m at the World Junior T&F in Poland in mid-July.
Dunboyne AC 10k
Eddie Newman was the best of the small group from Mullingar that competed among 338 others at the Dunboyne AC 10k in Clonee, Co. Meath on Thursday evening 30th June, finishing an impressive 9th place in 34:23, which is a PB for him for the distance and good enough to place him 2nd in his master age category. Also running well on a fast course despite being very windy over the final 3k, was Patrick Muldoon (36:40), Matt Glennon (36:59), 3rd in his master age category, Martin McKeon (41:14) and Siobhan McCarthy in 42:28, a PB for her and placing 2nd in her master age category and to top it off the Mullingar men placed a very respectable 4th Club team.
AAI Senior T&F
Looking to defend his 10,000m track title at the AAI Senior T&F in Santry on Saturday evening 25th June, Mark Christie looked very comfortable as the leading group of three hit the bell for the last lap. Making his break for home on the back straight it looked all over as Mark came into the home straight in the lead but with less than fifty metres to go he appeared to stumble slightly and momentarily lost momentum and was passed by Brandon Hargreaves (DSD) who went on to win, with Mark finishing a very close second in 29:45.50, less than half a second behind, coming so close to defending his title but agonisingly denied in the dying yards of a thrilling race.
Earlier in the evening, Vicky Harris turned in a great performance in her heat of the 200m, finishing third in a season’s best of 25.10 seconds to qualify for the final. Blasting from the blocks in the wide lane seven in the final she swept into the straight in a good position and driving hard and holding her form all the way to the finish she crossed the line in fourth place, her best finish in a National Senior sprint final, just missing a medal but improving her season’s best to 25.04 seconds.
Claire Fagan was our sole representative in the middle-distance events and used her trademark fast finish to great effect in her heat of the 1,500m and despite being one of the youngest in the field Claire advanced with ease to the final in a time of 4:47. Though Claire opted not to compete in Sunday’s final, she is a rapidly improving athlete who has made significant progress throughout the track season to date and the experience of competing at this level will stand to her.
Vicky Harris returned on Sunday afternoon for the 100m where she qualified from her heat to take her place in her second senior final. It’s hard to retain focus after two technical false starts by others and Vicky was always up against it in a top quality field but still ran a very solid race and will use the valuable experience gained to build on for the future.
Tailteann Inter-Provincial T&F
Apart from the honour of representing their Province at the Tailteann Inter-Provincial T&F in Santry on Saturday morning 25th June, at stake was selection for the Irish Schools team that will compete in England in July. Young Oisin Lane (Mercy Ballymahon), had won the junior 1,200m walk in the All-Ireland Schools in June but moved up to the longer 3,000m walk, a big step up, but he was more than able for the challenge and sticking to his race plan he fought tooth and nail to finish a terrific third place (in 14:41.48) against older opposition and put himself in contention for selection. Also racing brilliantly was Sarah Glennon (St. Finian’s Mullingar) in the girls 3,000m walk, breaking 16 minutes for the first time with a PB of 15:45.51, to finish third and also putting her in contention for selection. We’ll have to wait a few days to know if Oisin and Sarah are selected, which would mark their International debuts, so fingers crossed!
Ciaran Nolan and Jack Moran (Colaiste Mhuire) were in action in the 1500m. Both featured prominently in the early stages of a tactical race and were in contention on the final lap. However they were unable to get amongst the medals on this occasion finishing in 6th and 8th place respectively.
Jamie Battle (Colaiste Mhuire) was a late call up for the Leinster team in the 3,000m and he showed great courage leading the race for over two kilometres. In the end, the lack of advance notice and specific race preparation told as Jamie finished 4th. However Jamie can be very satisfied with such a spirited performance.
St. Coca’s AC 5k
The St. Coca’s AC 5k attracted 437 entrants to Kilcock, Co. Kildare on Sunday 24th June where Mullingar’s top finisher was Kevin Baker who finished 11th in a time of 15:50, followed home by Malcolm McDonnell in 16:24 and Joan Flynn in 18:08, proving that this is quick course and any wonder it attracted such a good entry, all looking to run fast and bucking the trend of decreasing numbers in 5k races due to saturation on the road race fixture list.
Leinster U/14 to u/19 T&F
As the Olympics will take place in August, preceded by the European T&F in early July, the domestic season this year has pushed back a few weeks, so the Leinsters are during the exams for the first time in many years but that didn’t prevent many of the large number of the Club’s older juveniles that are taking Leaving Cert and Junior Cert exams this year taking a break from their studies on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June to run in Tullamore at the Leinster u/14 to u/19 T&F.
Proceedings got underway on Saturday morning with the walks, where young Jayne Walsh-Smith turned in a good performance in the u/14 girls 2,000m walk to finish just out of the medals in fifth place. Jennifer Fidgeon put Mullingar on the medal board with a well-deserved bronze medal in the u/15 girls 2,000m walk, showing that she has a bright future in the event. The first of three gold medals in the walks came courtesy of Schools Champion Oisin Lane in the u/15 boys 2,000m walk with a very impressive and dominant display, winning in a new CBP of 10:09.50. Equally dominant in their races were Sarah Glennon (u/16 girls 2,000m walk) also winning in a new CBP of 10:07.55 and Rachel Glennon (u/19 girls 3,000m walk) to add to their large collection of Leinster medals.
Moving to the one lap sprint, Conor McHugh drew the difficult outside lane in the 400m u/17 but settled into his running in the back straight to turn in a very good performance and finished a very creditable fifth place in what is still a new event for him. Declan Brady drew on his considerable half mile stamina and was rewarded with the silver medal in the 400m u/19. It’s not often it happens, but it was terrific to see Mullingar sweep the boards in the girls 3,000 events as Andrea Brady won the u/17 race (and being a new event this year, sets the CBP at 11:34.10), Alanna Bate won the u/18 race and Claire Fagan won the u/19 race with very polished performances. The manner of Claire’s win was particularly impressive with a blistering closing lap to take the gold medal.
Meanwhile in the field events, Mark Langtry put together a good series in the u/14 long jump and despite finishing out of the medals was satisfied with his performance and knows he will improve with time. Patrick Leydon led from the first jump in the u/18 triple jump to record a very comfortable win. Also leading from the start to win by a big margin, Shauna Leydon was just too good for the opposition in the u/15 discus to book her place in the All-Ireland Finals in July and keeping the medals coming Mullingar’s way.
Niamh Cully didn’t advance from the very competitive heats of the 200m u/14 despite putting in a fine performance in her first race over the distance. No problem for Awa Fane in the 200m u/16 where she qualified comfortably from her heat and in the final ran a great bend to put her in a strong position on the straight but despite a great effort had to settle for a place out of the medals but can be pleased with her performance. Odhran Cully and Michael Byrne battled well in the 100m u/18 but finished out of the medals in a fiercely competitive final. It took Maimouna Fane to break the medal famine in the sprints with an excellent third place finish in the 100m u/19 after a polished and very determined effort to win the bronze medal.
In the 800m u/17, Laura Shaw left nothing on the track and was very unlucky to just miss a medal by a narrow margin but a fourth place finish sees her qualify for the All-Ireland Finals where she’ll get another chance. Conor McHugh returned to the track in the more familiar 800m u/17 and also finished in fourth place in a hotly contested race. It was close for Emma Hogan in the 800m u/18 where she finished just out of the medals in fifth place but ran a very fine race. Colin Smith came very close to winning the 800m u/18 just missing gold by a narrow margin after a terrific sprint finish in the home straight but was still pleased with his silver medal and a place in the All-Ireland Finals. We finished the 800m races with Declan Brady in the 800m u/19 where his earlier exploits over 400m might have taken the edge off his finish but he still turned in a good performance to finish in fourth place.
Bea Drummond and Meabh Killalea contested the 1,500m u/14, both keeping right in contention throughout, but with 600m to go Bea made a decisive move to the front and opened a gap that proved impossible to close and went on to win well with a new CBP of 5:02.38, followed home by Meabh finishing strongly but out of the medals on this occasion. Lorcan Mullen ran well in the 1,500m u/14 but had to settle for a place out of the medals. Oisin Lane and Eoin Quinn ran very well in the 1,500m u/15 but just couldn’t quite find the extra edge to put them into the medal positions though gave every effort. On to the 1,500m u/16 where Aoife Darby and Susan Glennon stuck to their task but it was Aoife who prevailed with a really impressive closing lap to win by a good margin, with Susan closing hard in the sprint finish to cross the line in fourth place and a place in the All-Ireland Finals with Aoife. We finished Saturday with John Whitelaw in the 1,500m u/16 and at the bell it looked like he could secure if not a medal at least a fourth place spot but with a little over half a lap to go he was edged into fifth, a place he held to the line, just out of the medals but he knows he ran an excellent race.
In stark contrast to the cool dry conditions on Saturday, Sunday dawned wet and miserable but rain doesn’t stop track and field and the Mullingar athletes certainly weren’t going to be put off by the rain. Bea Drummond, Caoimhe Brady and Meabh Killalea contested the 800m u/14 but unfortunately Meabh didn’t advance from her heat. The final quite was a tactical race with all the girls bunched at the bell but on the back straight the break came and Bea was best placed to cover it, followed closely by Caoimhe. Moving into the home straight it looked like Bea would finish third but found a terrific burst of speed to take her into second place and only just missed the gold right on the line. Caoimhe meanwhile also finished very strongly but out of the medals. Mark Langtry didn’t advance from his heat of the 800m u/14 but Lorcan Mullen did and in the final worked hard but had to settle for a place out of the medals. Caoimhe O’Brien cruised through her heat of the 800m u/15 and in the final put in a brilliant display and fought tooth and nail right to the finish, denied victory by a small margin but still happy with her silver medal for second place. Eoin Quinn and Paddy Rafferty found the pace of the 800m u/15 too fast for their liking and despite running well finished out of the medals. Aoife Darby left it very late in the 800m u/16 but timed her finish to perfection to win and add another Leinster title to go with her 1,500m title won the day before. We finished the 800m races with Brian Martin and John Whitelaw in the 800m u/16 which was a fast race from the start. Both stayed in contention throughout but Brian just had that bit more in the closing stages to finish third and John closing fast in fifth, just out of the medals.
Mullingar has a strong reputation in the metric mile and in the 1,500m u/17 Catriona Kennedy finished strongly and was happy to finish fourth and qualify for the All-Ireland finals, just ahead of Andrea Brady in fifth, understandably still feeling the effects in her legs of her win over 3,000m the day before. Another winner over 3,000m the day before, Alanna Bate was looking to double in the 1,500m u/18 but despite a great effort she was narrowly denied but still satisfied with silver. Claire Fagan was also looking for a double in the 1,500m u/19 and just when it looked to be gone she pulled a blistering sprint finish out of the hat to take the lead in the dying stages and went on to win her second Leinster title of the week-end in great style.
We had a third double Leinster Champion thanks to Shauna Leydon in the u/15 shot putt with a winning series of attempts despite the wet and treacherous condition of the shot putt circle. A true Champion always rises above adversity.
With just the winners of each of four heats in the 80m u/14 guaranteed a place in the final, Niamh Cully was unlucky not to advance from the extremely competitive heats but full marks for giving her best. A first for Mullingar was three sprinters in a Leinster final, the 200m u/18, where Patrick Leydon absolutely blasted the bend and came into the straight in the leading group and held his form to the finish to cross the line in third place, followed home by Odhran Cully and Michael Byrne also running well but finishing out of the medals but delighted to be part of the action. Awa Fane had found it hard to get going in the u/16 long jump first thing in the morning but eventually managed some good jumps but not enough to get into the medal places. She made no mistake in her heat of the 100m u/16, qualifying comfortably for the final later in the day where she absolutely flew from the blocks and battled all the way to the finish, crossing the line in third place to win the bronze medal, her first Leinster medal to round off an excellent week-end for Mullingar when the Club’s athletes won 13 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze medals, as well as recording 5 fourth place finishes, so the Club will be very well represented in the All-Ireland Finals in July.
British Masters 5k Road Race Championship
Sean McMullin maintained his unbroken record of competing in every BMAF 5km Road Race Championship since the event was first held ten years ago at Horwich, near Bolton, when he competed on Sunday 19th June in the 5k road walk. In less than ideal conditions Sean finished 2nd in his category, beaten by Britain’s Colin Turner who won the 10k in the European Masters and 5k in the World Masters last year, and whom Sean has beaten several times including this race last year, but Colin is having a purple patch at the moment and just had the edge on Sean this year.
Now in its thirty seventh year the ever-popular Dunshaughlin AC “Michael Manning Memorial” 10k on Saturday evening 18th June drew an impressive entry of nearly seven hundred, attracted by the prospect of an extremely well organized fixture, an excellent course and a generous prize fund for those looking to get into the prizes. As always, Mullingar was well represented and first from the Club to finish was Tom McGrath (34:18) finishing 18th overall to place 2nd in his master age category, followed by Malcolm McDonnell (34:34), Eddie Newman (34:44) 2nd in his master age category, Enda O’Carolan (35:30), Pauric Brady (36:06), Aine O’Reilly (36:15) 3rd woman and winning a very generous prize, Ollie Donnelly (36:42), Liam McGlynn (36:45), Philip Burke (38:11) very pleased with his new PB for the distance, Joan Flynn (38:13) 6th woman and also winning an individual prize, Robin Jackson (41:43) and Ollie Gaffney (41:52). The Mullingar men’s team also finished 3rd team and won another prize to bring home to Mullingar. Congratulations to everyone who represented Mullingar so well in Dunshaughlin.
GV Ryan/Irish Milers Club Meeting
Jack Moran, Jamie Battle and Johnny Daly were in action at the Irish Milers Club 3,000m on Friday evening 17th June at the newly refurbished track in Irishtown, Dublin. All three Mullingar athletes featured prominently behind the pacemaker in the early stages of the race. At the halfway point Jack Moran and Jamie Battle drew clear of the field with Jack edging clear on the final lap to win in a PB of 8:55.60. This was an improvement of 25 seconds on his previous best. Jamie finished in second place in a time of 9:00.24, which was also a 20 second improvement for him. Johnny Daly battled well to take seventh place in 9:24.59.
Irish Runner 5 Mile
Eddie Newman was the only member of the Club that we know of that competed among over 2,500 others in the Irish Runner 5 Mile in the Phoenix Park on Sunday 12th June where he finished an excellent 11th overall in 28:05, easily winning his master age category and reinforcing his reputation among master athletes.
Leinster u/9 to u/13 T&F
The weather was hot and so was the competition in Tullamore on Saturday 11th June for the Leinster u/9 to u/13 T&F, which attracted a very large entry across all age groups making for a long programme, not helped by some on and off technical problems with the photo finish equipment, but the athletes and parents are to be congratulated for their patience and they tried to not let it spoil their enjoyment of the day. This was a chance for some of the Club’s youngest athletes to shine and they certainly didn’t disappoint with some fantastic races and efforts and a few trips to the medal podium ensuring Mullingar will have good representation in the All-Ireland Finals in July but more importantly showing that the Club’s future looks very bright across a wide range of events.
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. As with any Championships, medals are very hard to win but our young athletes competed to the very best of their abilities and were delighted to be competing, whatever the outcome in terms of medals.
Aaron Dowdall and Sonny Drummond didn’t advance from their heats of the u/12 boys 60m hurdles but no problem for Shane Ormsby who finished third in his heat to earn his place in the final where he powered to fifth, just missing the medal places by a very small margin. Mullingar had five in action in the u/12 boys 600m but despite turning in good performances in the heats, Adam Brady, Sonny Drummond, Nathan Sleator or Eoin McGrath didn’t make the final to join Ross Killalea who made it safely through his heat. The final was a very fast race but Ross kept in contention throughout and finished well up in an excellent eighth place, out of the medal places but he ran a very fine competitive race.
The u/13 girls 600m girls is where Mullingar really got to show its depth of young middle-distance talent as Phoebe Bate, Aoife McGouran and Amy Geoghegan looked very good in their heats to qualify comfortably for the final. Unfortunately despite good efforts, Alanna Costello and Anna McCartan didn’t advance to the final, very hard on Anna in particular who missed a place in the final by a mere two tenths of a second and just one place. The final was a smart tactical race and Phoebe led the chasing pack on the early leader, followed by Aoife and Amy. It came down to a furious sprint over the closing 200m and Phoebe crossed the line in second place to win Mullingar’s first medal of the day, with Aoife and Amy finishing very fast in seventh and eighth, which are great results at this level.
Moving to the sprints, Aaron Dowdall and Adam Brady ran well in their heats of the u/12 boys 60m, but didn’t advance to the semi-finals. Likewise for Amy Geoghegan and Shannon Liston in the u/13 girls 80m, leaving just Alanna Costello advancing to the semi-finals where she ran well but didn’t advance to the final. Just one Mullingar athlete came very close to a medal in the extremely competitive u/12 and u/13 field events, as Shane Ormsby placed fourth in the u/12 shot. Also in action were Adam Brady and Eoin McGrath (u/12 long jump), Aaron Dowdall (u/12 turbo javelin), Ross Killalea (u/12 long jump and turbo javelin), Shane Ormsby (turbo javelin), Alanna Costello and Amy Geoghegan (u/13 long jump), Shannon Liston (u/13 long jump and shot) and Ben Walsh-Smith (u/13 shot) and all competed very well in their events but didn’t get into the medals.
Interspersed throughout the u/12 and u/13 events, the pairs events took place. Mullingar had an impressive four pairs in the u/11 girls 600m where Lucy Donnelly, Caoimhe Kilmurray, Caoimhe Donohue, Anna May Flannery, Adele Geoghegan, Leah Geoghegan, Shauna Traynor and Aimee Wallace competed with spirit and the silver medals went to Adele and Leah and a place in the All-Ireland Finals in July. These girls also competed in the u/11 girls 60m along with Sara Assebbane and Amy Kehoe and the Geoghegan girls came very close to taking medals again over the shorter distance, finishing an excellent fourth fifth place, just out of the medals but along with Aimee Wallace showing they have both endurance and speed in abundance.
In the u/11 boys 600m event Callum Costello and Philip McCartan each won their races and their combined time earned them the gold medal by a distance. Darragh Smith and Matthew Shaw also impressed and finished an excellent sixth. The four boys also took part in the 60m u/11 where they ran extremely well but finished out of the medals on this occasion.
We only had one pair in the u/9 girls, but what a team they made! Norah Garry and Katie Kilmurray settled right into the mood of the event and competed with great enthusiasm and determination to take silver in the 60m and bronze in the 300m, so we’ll see these two very talented young girls again in the All-Ireland Finals.
Niall Brady and Arthur Drummond were very impressive in the u/9 boys 300m, finishing a very creditable eighth place. Also running really well was Eoin Donohue but unfortunately his partner failed to turn up with no notice, so his performance couldn’t be recorded. Eoin also ran the 60m and was delighted to be given the chance to run both races anyway, even though he could not compete for a medal.
Alanna Archbold and Muireann Donohue paired up in the u/10 girls 500m and 60m and competed well but finished out of the medals. On to the u/10 boys 500m where Brandon Campbell, Darragh Weblin, Tom Daly, Jamie Wallace, James Flynn, Charlie Foy, Conor Liston and Criostoir Ormsby competed with spirit and the spoils going to Conor and Criostoir who left nothing on the track in their races to clinch the gold medals.
The young Mullingar sprints pairs in the u/10 boys 60m of Brandon Campbell, Darragh Weblin, Tom Daly, Jamie Wallace, Hugo Sleator, Cillian Traynor, Conor Liston and Criostoir Ormsby showed great turns of speed, especially Conor and Criostoir who won their respective sprints to send them on their second visit to the medal podium, silver medals this time.
The best result for Mullingar in the pairs field events was an excellent fourth place finish in the u/9 boys turbo javelin by Niall Brady and Arthur Drummond, just out of the medal positions. James Flynn and Charlie Foy competed well in the boys u/10 turbo javelin where they finished a very respectable sixth place. Staying with the field events, Caoimhe Kilmurray paired up with Sara Assebbane in the u/11 girls long jump and Hugo Sleator with Cillian Traynor in the u/10 boys long jump where both pairs enjoyed their competition but finished out of the medals.
All told, the group of over thirty youngsters from Mullingar took home two gold, four silver and one bronze medal 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. Sincere thanks to the many parents for bringing the youngsters to Tullamore and providing terrific vocal support and encouragement.
Trim AC “Braveheart” 5k
The Trim AC “Braveheart” 5k continues to attract big entries year on year, due to the great effort put in by everyone at Trim AC and attracted by the lovely underfoot combination of grass and trail through the Porchfields along the banks of the River Boyne in the shadow of the impressive Trim Castle, and Friday evening 10th June was no exception when the event attracted 549 competitors. Matt Glennon led the small Mullingar group home, finishing 9th in 18:00 to place 2nd in his master age category, followed by Martin McKeon (20:13), Siobhan McCarthy (21:30) and Niamh Molloy finishing strongly in 23:09.
Tullamore Harriers AC 5k
Consistent supporters of the “Mullingar 10 Mile”, Tullamore Harriers AC hosted a 5k road race on Friday evening 10th June and a group from Mullingar travelled to support the event, which attracted an impressive 357 entrants. The ever-consistent Eddie Newman was best of the Mullingar group, finishing 2nd in 16:54 and winning his master age category. It was good to see Liam McGlynn making a return to racing as he finished well up in 17:57, followed by Philip Burke improving all the time (18:09), Joan Flynn finishing 2nd woman in 18:36, followed by Pat Muldoon (21:35) to win his master age category, Tommy Conroy (21:46), Clare O’Donnell (23:33) making a welcome return to racing after a lay-off due to injury, and Eamonn O’Reilly (24:19) completing the Mullingar group.
Mark Carroll was Mullingar’s sole representative in the Roscommon 10k on Friday evening 10th June, winning well in 36:05, which was just over a minute ahead of second place.
“Bertie Quinn Memorial” T&F/IMC Meeting
Padraig Moran turned in a good performance in the 3,000m at the Irish Milers Club/Bertie Quinn Memorial T&F Meeting in Tullamore on Monday evening 6th June, finishing 5th in 8:45.66, which shows that he starting to come back into good form. Still a relative newcomer to the event, Colin Smith showed serious potential in the 800m to finish 4th, just outside two minutes, in 2:00.05, obviously a PB but showing clear indication that he will get much faster with more race practice.
Leinster Senior and Masters T&F
Competing under clear blue skies and blistering sunshine in hot and humid conditions, the Leinster Senior and Masters T&F took place in Tullamore on Sunday 5th June where Mullingar was represented by 4 master athletes and 3 senior athletes who by day’s end had won a gold, three silver and two bronze medals between them, with three more close finishes just out of the medals.
First into action was Sean McMullin who cruised to victory in the master men 3,000m walk to continue his long-standing undefeated record in Leinster Championships. Vicky Harris blasted to 3rd place and the bronze medal in the senior women 200m and followed this up later in the day with a silver medal in the u/23 women 100m, where despite a poor start by her high standard, she recovered well to finish in 12.30 seconds, a new PB. The sun was high in the sky for the senior men 5,000m where Ian McCormack battled well in the tough humid conditions to finish a very respectable 5th place. Eddie Newman and Colm Walsh competed in the master men 5,000m where despite the energy-sapping heat and humidity, Eddie finished 2nd in his category and Colm 3rd in his category and were delighted to take medals. Dolores Whyte was very unlucky to just miss a medal in the master women 100m where despite turning in an excellent performance she finished 4th in a close finish. Stephen Nea ran a very good race in the senior men 1,500m where he kept in contention for a medal throughout but was denied in the closing stages and finished just out of the medals in a very creditable 5th place. We finished with Eddie Newman in the master men 1,500m where he led from the start and only on the final lap did he have to surrender the lead and finished 2nd to win his second silver medal of the day.
All-Ireland Schools T&F
The Irish Schools T&F Championships were held in glorious sunshine at the impressive Tullamore Harriers Stadium on Saturday 4th June before a huge attendance. Starting at 9am and finishing just before 6pm and with athletes from the four corners of the Country competing, medals were hard won. Without doubt, this annual fixture is one of the highlights of the track and field season.
Athletes from Mullingar Harriers who were representing various local schools and colleges won two gold, three silver and two bronze medals, which was a really good result. The gold medal winners were Jack O’Leary (Clongowes Wood) in the senior boys 5,000m and Oisin Lane (Mercy Ballymahon) in the junior boys 1,200m walk. Oisin, in his first ever schools final, showed himself to be a young athlete of exceptional promise, such was the winning margin and the ease of his win. Jack O’Leary was the pre-race favourite and he did not disappoint, with a brilliant piece of front running leading from start to finish and ending his school career with a gold medal.
Rachel Glennon (St. Finian’s) in the senior girls 3,000m and her sister Sarah Glennon (St. Finian’s) in the intermediate 2,000m walk were in top form winning silver and bronze medals respectively, keeping up the Harriers’ great tradition in race walking, thanks in no small way to the great coaching by Michael Lane.
The senior girls 800m race saw Laura Whitelaw (Loreto) involved in a great battle on the last lap, just failing to win by a few metres but happy with the silver medal for second place. In the boys under 16 mile, Jack Moran (Colaiste Mhuire) ran his usual superb race to finish a really good third place and win the bronze medal. In one of the most exciting finishes of the day Caoimhe O’Brien (Loreto) ran a brilliant race in the junior girls 800m and just failed to win by the narrowest of margins, having to settle for the silver medal.
Aoife Darby (St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge) was unlucky in the girls u/16 mile to finish out of the medals, also Claire Fagan (Loreto) in the senior 1,500m, Shauna Leydon (St. Finian’s College) in the junior discus, Patrick Leydon (St. Finian’s) in the intermediate triple jump and Ciaran Nolan (Colaiste Mhuire) in the intermediate 1,500m finished out of the medals but can feel proud of their performances.
The really hard luck story of the day has to belong to Shane Fleming (St. Joseph’s) who had the misfortune to pull a hamstring in the junior 1,500m when in contention for a medal with lap to go. All in all a great day for all those young athletes, especially Jack O’Leary, Laura Whitelaw and Rachel Glennon who finished their school careers on the medal podium.
Mullingar Harriers was very well represented by 25 of the Club’s members at the Multyfarnham 5k on Wednesday evening 1st June, which was run in very warm conditions. Best from Mullingar in the men’s race was Padraig Moran, finishing 2nd in 15:46, and in the women’s race, Aine O’Reilly was the winner in 17:35, a new course record. Mullingar master athletes won 8 prizes in the various master categories, and in the junior category, Ryan Jenkins impressed to finish 20th overall with 18:31 to win 1st prize. There was an excellent course laid out, which was well marshaled, and of course the customary fine spread of refreshments after the race for the hungry runners. A great success and congratulations to everyone involved.
Bohermeen AC “Patrick Bell” 5k
Malcolm McDonnell was the best of the Mullingar Harriers trio that competed in the Bohermeen AC “Patrick Bell” 5k on Sunday 29th May in perfect running conditions, finishing 9th overall in 16:52 to take 2nd prize in his master age category. He was followed in by Gerry Gavin, 11th in 17:15, to take 3rd prize in his master age category, and finally Alan Crowley (18:55) finishing well up in the 267-strong field and very pleased with his performance.
Scottish Universities International T&F
Selected for the second year to represent the Irish Universities in the annual Scottish Universities International T&F Championships, which this year were held in Ayreshire, Scotland on Saturday 28th May, Vicky Harris more than justified selection by returning victories in the 100m (12.45 seconds) and the 200m (25.44 seconds) to help the Irish team to victory in the team competition. Well done to Vicky on her performances.
Edenderry AC 5k
Nearer to home, on Friday evening 27th May Eddie Newman was best of the small Mullingar group that competed with over 260 others at the Edenderry AC 5k, finishing 9th overall in 16:55 to win his master age category. Next for Mullingar was Ken Whitelaw (17:27), just ahead of Matt Glennon (17:29) second in his master age category, followed by Martin McKeon (19:32), with Siobhan McCarthy completing the Mullingar group and finishing in 20:23 to comfortably win her master age category.
Mullingar Road League – Round 4
Mullingar’s Johnny Daly and Aine O’Reilly lined up as the pre-race favourites for the final round of the Hyundai Mullingar Road League on Wednesday evening 25th May in Belvedere, which was run in near perfect conditions. Normally we know who the likely winners in the various categories are leading into the final night but this year provided more suspense than normal on the last night as many of the leading runners still had to complete their third race to score. Among them was Johnny Daly who had to miss Round 2 because he was sitting exams in UCD and with the best three times to count in the series it was all down to the final night if he was to win the senior men’s prize. However, Johnny was up for the challenge and duly won in 16:27, his quickest time of the series, but he had to be quick as he was pushed hard all the way by Maurice Looby (Mullingar Harriers) who finished just three seconds behind him, ahead of Paul Archbold finishing strongly in third in 16:34, to make it the closest race of the series. For Aine O’Reilly, she had enough done in the first three rounds to be sure of winning the women’s senior prize but still wanted to win on the night, which she did in 17:57 to make it four wins out of four. Charlotte Kearney (Donadea AC) finished second in 18:08 and Fiona Gettings third in 19:01.
As in the previous weeks, there was a good attendance for the final race, with some still registering for the single race just to be a part of the action. 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 Susan Finnerty, including the Pat Finnerty Memorial Trophies for first man and first woman presented to Johnny Daly and Aine O’Reilly. 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 for the second year by Maurice Looby Fitness, the keep fit group.
The numbers taking part in the 1,500m race for boys and girls that preceded the 5k were well up on the previous week and the 85 runners quickly completed the 1,500m loop around to the finish line, led home by Brian Martin in 4:37 to make it four wins out of four and finishing seventh overall, the first girl home was Amy Geoghegan in 5:17, her third win of the four races. After presenting medals to all the finishers of the 1,500m race, everyone stayed on near the finish line to cheer home the finishers of the 5k race.
This 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, organized parking, stewarded the course, organized prizes, and did all the other tasks required to run a race series successfully.
Full results of the 5k race and details of all junior and master prize winners are available on www.myrunresults.com or below, where the results of the 1,500m race can also be found. 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, My Run Results for looking after results in a professional manner, the Westmeath Civil Defence for providing first aid cover every evening, to Hyundai for their very generous sponsorship of the event, but especially to everyone who took part in the series. The next big event for the Club will be the Mullingar 10 Mile road race in July.
ESB Beach 5k
Switching to his off-road tyres on Tuesday evening 24th May, Kevin Baker was back in action again in the ESB Beach 5k Race on Sandymount Strand in Dublin where he finished second in 15:49, only narrowly beaten by just two seconds, proving that he is a very versatile athlete and more than able to compete on any surface. Over 150 took to the beach for the race and we’re told all made it safely to the finish before the tide came in!
Summer 10k Park Series
Dublin-based Kevin Baker had a very comfortable win in the popular Summer 10k Park Series in St. Anne’s Park in Dublin on Sunday 22nd May. The event attracted 320 entrants and Kevin was the runaway winner in 34:25, with a winning margin of over two minutes on second place.
Leinster Junior T&F and Juvenile Relays
It’s nice to win a Leinster Title, even better with a Championship Best Performance, but even better to break a record that stood for 27 years. That’s what Laura Whitelaw did on Saturday 21st May at the Leinster Junior T&F and Juvenile Relays in Greystones when she used her trademark kick with 250m to go in the Junior 800m to pull clear and win in 2:15.39, to beat the record set by Mullingar’s Glynnis Lynch back in 1989. It’s good that the record books will continue to show the record against a Mullingar athlete! Earlier in the day Laura ran her first 400m race, finishing 4th in 60.40 seconds, just 0.13 seconds off third place and the bronze medal but she knows there’s more improvement to come the next time.
Also competing over 400m, Conor McHugh turned in a solid performance to finish 5th and being eligible for three more years he knows there’s plenty of time to challenge for medal honours. Liam Tyas impressed in the Junior 1,500m taking the lead at the bell and though he was overtaken on the back straight he didn’t give up and kept pushing, keeping right in contention to the line to place 2nd in a close finish and earn the silver medal. Making a welcome return to competition after a lengthy lay off due to injury, Glen Gaffney showed plenty of determination in the Junior 800m and though he finished just out of the medals in 4th place, missing a medal by a very small margin, can be very satisfied with his performance and knows it’s now down to simple race fitness to put him back in top form again. Recent college exams might have taken a bit of an edge off Mervyn Harris but he still showed plenty of spark in the Junior 100m where he ran 11.20 seconds to finish 4th in a very close race, just a fraction off a medal place.
Not forgetting the juvenile relays, Mullingar had just one team in action, in the u/14 boys 4x100m where Colin Smith led off, handing over to Colin McGee having his first race in the Mullingar colours, then Sam Smyth also having his first race for Mullingar, before handing over to Lorcan Mullen in third place who made no mistake and powered to the line, holding his place to take the team to 3rd and the bronze medals and a place in the All-Ireland Finals in July.
For the last event of the day, the junior 4x400m, Glen Gaffney, Conor McHugh, Liam Tyas and Mervyn Harris combined to put in excellent performances and they were rewarded with a 2nd place finish and Leinster silver medals, so everyone from Mullingar that competed in Greystones went home with a medal!
European Masters Non-Stadia
Congratulations to Sean McMullin on winning silver in the 10k road walk on Friday morning 20th May at the European Masters Non-Stadia Championships in the Algarve, Portugal against some very tough opposition. Never resting on his laurels and being the glutton for punishment that he is, Sean was out again on Saturday evening for the gruelling 30k road walk where his tactic of building a comfortable lead over the first 10k and holding it to the finish paid off handsomely and he raced to victory and the gold medal and European title. These are fantastic results for a true master athlete. Also competing in Portugal, Paddy Kelly took a bronze team medal in the 10k road race on Friday evening.
Annual Inter-County T&F Match
A large group of the Club’s youngest members and stars of the future competed in a very wet Tullamore on Friday evening 20th May at the Annual Inter-County Juvenile T&F Match between Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath, but despite the rain, nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the youngsters and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience. For some of the very young ones, this was their first proper track competition and their first time to compete on a full sized all-weather tartan track, which really added to their enjoyment of the evening. The competition was for boys and girls from u/9 years to u/14 years. We had athletes in every age group and in every event – sprint, middle distance, long jump, turbo javelin and shot putt.
Of the 138 medals to be won, Mullingar athletes won a quarter of them, an impressive 16 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals. The stand-out performances have to be in the u/10 boys category where between Criostoir Ormsby, Conor Liston, Luke O’Leary, James Flynn and Ciaran Connolly they managed to win every single medal in the 60m, 500m, turbo javelin and long jump! Other medal winners included Arthur Drummond (u/9), Callum Costello (u/11), Ross Killalea and Shane Ormsby (u/12), Martin Foran (u/13), Sam Smyth and Colin McGee (u/14), Katie Kilmurray (u/9), Amy Wallace and Leah Geoghegan (u/11), Alanna Costello, Phoebe Bate, Aoife McGouran and Shannon Liston (u/13), and Caoimhe Brady and Bea Drummond (u/14).
Of course, these were just the athletes lucky enough to win medals in what was very strong competition in every event and there were plenty of other close finishes just out of the medals. Well done to all the young athletes, far too many to mention by name, for competing so well in very difficult weather conditions 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 18th May of the Hyundai Mullingar Road League and the really pleasant sunny and warm evening 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, 214 in total. Once again, My Run Results was on hand to effortlessly handle the results, which were available on-line within hours.
Jonathan Daly made a welcome and winning return for Round 3, finishing in 16:38, comfortably clear of his Mullingar Harriers Club mates, Mark Carroll (16:50) in 2nd and Eddie Newman right on Mark’s heels in 3rd (16:52). This win puts Jonathan in pole position to win the Men’s Trophy if he turns in a similar performance in the final round. In the ladies race, victory for Aine O’Reilly (Mullingar Harriers) in 17:55 means she can take it easy in the final round if she wishes, safe in the knowledge that she has secured the Women’s Trophy. Another fine performance by Charlotte Kearney (Donadea) saw her finish 2nd (18:09), and Joan Flynn (Mullingar Harriers) with her fastest run of the series so far to finish 3rd in 18:54. Right back through the field there were great battles for positions in the junior and master categories.
There were nearly 70 finishers in the 1,500m race for boys and girls aged 15 years and younger, which has proved a tremendous success this year. For the third week running, Brian Martin was first to finish (4:33), followed in by Rian Hogan (4:57) and Lorcan Mullen (5:11). Repeating her victory on the opening night, first girl home was Amy Geoghegan in 5:07, with Anna McCartan 2nd (5:34) just ahead of the fast finishing Meghan Bates 3rd in 5:36. 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 10, 12, 14 and 16 years, based on the total of the best three times of the four races.
The month has flown by and the final round on Wednesday evening 25th May promises to be a thrilling race with many competing for a share of the many 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 in Round 3 and we appeal to everyone who can spare a couple of hours to help out again for Round 4. 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 on www.myrunresults.com or below, where the results of the 1,500m race can also be found. As it’s the final night, it’s obviously too late to enter the series but individual entries are very welcome, either online at www.myrunresults.com or on the night in the Courtyard Café up to 7.30pm. Entries for the 1,500m race are taken on the night and costs just €2. Finally, it’s really important to remember to bring your number with the timing chip for the last night or your place and time will not be recorded.
Leinster Schools T&F
A large number of the Club’s underage athletes competed for their Schools and Colleges in the Leinster Schools T&F on Wednesday 11th and Saturday 14th May, on the final step to the All-Ireland Schools T&F Finals in early June. As expected, competition was fierce with every event being a straight final and only the top two in the sprints and top three in the longer track races (four in the u/16 mile) and top three in the field events advancing to the All-Ireland Finals.
Twelve of the Club’s athletes earned qualification across a range of events. Those that qualified with gold medal winning performances were Caoimhe O’Brien (Loreto Mullingar) Junior 800m, Shauna Leydon (St. Finian’s College) Junior discus, Rachel Glennon (St. Finian’s) Senior 3,000m walk, Laura Whitelaw (Loreto) Senior 800m, Patrick Leydon (St. Finian’s) Inter triple jump and Jack O’Leary (Clongowes Wood) Senior 5,000m. Jack Moran (Colaiste Mhuire) took silver in the Junior mile, and it was bronze for Ciaran Nolan (Colaiste Mhuire) Inter 1,500m, Shane Fleming (St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge) Junior 1,500m and Sarah Glennon (St. Finian’s) Inter 2,000m walk to book their places in the All-Ireland Finals. Joining them will be Aoife Darby (St. Joseph’s) who finished 4th in the u/16 mile and Claire Fagan (Loreto) who finished 4th in the Senior 1,500m but the girl who finished in 3rd will not be competing in the All-Ireland Final, so her place goes to Claire.
Awa Fane (Loreto) was the clear winner of the 200m u/16 but there is no All-Ireland for this age, so she’ll have to wait until next year when she’ll compete in the inter age group. Maimouna Fane (Loreto) was very unfortunate in the Senior 100m when her blocks slipped at the start, which cost her any chance of competing for a medal, but she made some amends in the Senior 200m by finishing 3rd, and with Laura Whitelaw, Claire Fagan and Alanna Bate combining brilliantly, anchored the Loreto senior 4x100m relay to 3rd place, though only the first two in the sprint events advance to the All-Ireland Finals.
Also competing but just missing out on qualification was Daria Fidgeon (Loreto) u/16 mile, Susan Glennon (St. Finian’s) u/16 mile and Inter 3,000m, Jack Tyas (St. Finian’s) Senior 2,000m steeplechase, Andrea Brady (Loreto) Inter 3,000m, Emma Hogan (St. Finian’s) Senior 800m, Alanna Bate (Loreto) Senior 1,500m and Jamie Battle (Colaiste Mhuire) Inter 3,000m. For the record, Shauna Leydon (St. Finian’s) also competed in the Junior 75m hurdles and Patrick Leydon (St. Finian’s) in the Inter 200m, where he finished third. In the team competition, the St. Finian’s Inter boys team won the trophy for best school in field events and the trophy for best overall school.
Finally, it was a great Championships for our near neighbours, North Westmeath AC, and congratulations to Darragh Gaffney (St Finian’s) on winning the Inter discus with 54.48m, which bettered the European Youth T&F qualification standard, and doubling up with gold in the Inter shot too. Also winning double gold was Niamh Fogarty (St. Joseph’s) in the Senior shot and discus and it was gold too for Eoin Sheridan (Colaiste Mhuire) in the Senior discus.
Terenure 5 Mile
The Terenure 5 has a certain cachet and always draws a very large entry, and Sunday 15th May was no exception when nearly 1,400 finished the popular 5 mile Dublin race. Colm Walsh was first from Mullingar over the finish line in 29:17, followed by Stephen Naughton (32:11) and Geraldine Walsh (57:49) flying the flag for the Club.
Navan AC 6k
Part of the Meath road race series, the “Simon Cumbers” Navan AC 6k on Friday evening 13th May drew an impressive crowd of over 550, among them a small group from Mullingar Harriers enjoying the beautiful summer evening. Despite taking a nasty fall at the Road League in Belvedere just two days before, showing that he’s made of very stern stuff indeed, Eddie Newman nevertheless toed the line and was very pleased to finish 10th overall in 20:34 to win his master category, ahead of Matt Glennon (21:10) 3rd in his master category, Siobhan McCarthy (24:40) 3rd in her master category, and Niamh Molloy (27:12). Finishing on the track in Navan, the runners could relax and socialise on the grass infield area after the race and no doubt hatch plans for their next outing!
Dublin Graded Meeting
Tallaght was the venue for the second Dublin Graded T&F Meeting of the season on Wednesday evening 11th May, which attracted a big entry of nearly 50 for the 200m sprints, resulting in three races for women and five races for men. Among the competitors was Vicky Harris who took full advantage of the perfect dull and calm conditions to place 3rd in the women’s 200m with a season’s best of 25.26 seconds. Vicky had suffered an injury in the Irish Universities T&F last month and this performance in Tallaght puts her season nicely back on track and shows that she is coming back to form again. Her next outing will be with the Irish Universities team against the Scottish Universities in Kilmarnock, Scotland at the end of May.
We would really encourage Club members, including our older juveniles from age 16 and up and indeed our masters, to compete in some of the Dublin Graded Meetings, with a grade or level to suit all abilities, to get some race experience.
Mullingar Road League – Round 2
The beautiful warm summer evening on Wednesday 11th May was welcomed by spectators and competitors alike in Belvedere for Round two of the Hyundai Mullingar “Pat Finnerty Memorial” 5k Road League and the bright sunny weather certainly brought out the best in everyone, with most recording faster times than in Round one, helped no doubt by being more familiar with the course, particularly the fast downhill last kilometre. Numbers increased a little on the first night and we had 243 finishers. 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. My Run Results effortlessly looked after the results and they were available on their website within hours.
Last year’s winner of the overall men’s trophy, Mick Fogarty, made a welcome return to try to defend his title and wearing the Ferbane AC colours he led the race home in 16:31, followed by another welcome returning regular, Peter Mooney (Inverse) second in 16:39. The Mullingar Harriers trio of Mark Carroll (16:52), Tom McGrath (16:55) and Gerry Gavin (17:02) filled the third, fourth and fifth places, just ahead of Jay Donegan (Tullamore Harriers) sixth in 17:05. This really throws the race wide open for the overall trophy in 2016. The top three in the women’s race was the same as the previous week, but the winning margin wasn’t as close, with Aine O’Reilly (Mullingar Harriers) winning in 17:56, Charlotte Kearney (Donadea) second in 18:17 and Joan Flynn (Mullingar Harriers) third in 19:10.
The 1,500m race for boys and girls aged 15 years and younger continues to grow in popularity and we had nearly seventy youngsters taking part. Leading the group home for the second night in a row was Brian Martin, winning in 4:33, ahead of Rian Hogan (4:45) and Paddy Rafferty (4:57). First girl home was Phoebe Bate (5:05), just ahead of Amy Geoghegan in 5:07, with Meghan Bates third in 5:27. 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 three on Wednesday evening 18th May will be very interesting and while the men’s race is still wide open, it will give Aine O’Reilly the opportunity to stamp her claim on the overall trophy for 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 out at Round two and we appeal to everyone who can spare a couple of hours to help out again for Round three. 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 on www.myrunresults.com or below, where the results of the 1,500m race can also be found. With two rounds over, it’s too late to enter the series but individual one-race entries are very welcome, either online at www.myrunresults.com or on the night in the Courtyard Café up to 7.30pm. Entries for the 1,500m race are taken on the night and costs just €2. Finally, it’s really important to remember to bring your number with the timing chip for Round three or your place and time will not be recorded.
Belfast International Meeting
Well done to Jack O’Leary on qualifying for the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland in July. Competing at the rain-soaked Belfast International Meeting on Saturday 7th May, Jack ran a PB of 8:14.13 for 3,000m, which counts for qualification for the World Junior (u/20) 5,000m. Having already competed in two European Cross Country Championships and the European Track Championships over the past 18 months, Jack is an experienced international athlete. This run was a PB by seven seconds in Jack’s first race of the season and he can look forward to further significant improvements over the summer.
Mullingar Road League – Round 1
The 2016 edition of the Hyundai Mullingar “Pat Finnerty Memorial” 5k Road League got underway in Belvedere on Wednesday evening 4th May when we had hometown wins in both the men and women races thanks to Johnny Daly and Aine O’Reilly. The evening was cool but calm and stayed nice and dry, so conditions were absolutely perfect for running. The event continues to attract a strong entry and it was great to welcome back so many familiar faces again this year and of course to welcome many newcomers too. Numbers were a little down on last year’s opening night but we still had 239 finishers, which is a good start to the league and we know from previous years that number will grow in the coming weeks. Thanks to the chip timing system the results were posted shortly after the race on the My Run Results website. We know not everyone can enter for the full series, but if you can only run one or two nights, we’ll accept individual entries on any night.
First across the line with a comfortable seventeen second winning margin was Johnny Daly (Mullingar Harriers), finishing in 16:41 and looking very smooth into the bargain. Leading the chasing pack was Mark Carroll (Mullingar Harriers) finishing second in 16:58, just ahead of third place Jay Donegan (Tullamore Harriers) in 17:00, followed by Tom McGrath (Mullingar Harriers) fourth in 17:10, and John Dillon (Midland Tri Club) just grabbing fifth on the line from Gerry Gavin (Mullingar Harriers) in sixth, with both finishing in 17:13. In the ladies race, it came right down to the wire as Aine O’Reilly (Mullingar Harriers) and last year’s overall winner of the women’s league, Charlotte Kearney (Donadea) turned the last corner into the finish straight locked together but Aine just had the edge to open a very small gap to win in 17:53 to Charlotte’s 17:54. Third woman was Joan Flynn (Mullingar Harriers) in 19:09. Of note is that the top three women improved well on their best race times from last year.
Too many 5k races, especially one a week for four weeks, is too much for young boys and girls, so before the 5k race, we had a 1,500m race for boys and girls aged 15 years and younger, which is a race distance much more suited to their ages. Starting at 7.45pm, so they could finish at the “My Run Results” finish gantry before the 5k race, an impressive field of 44 youngsters raced the one lap loop to the finish. Brian Martin looked very impressive, winning in 4:54, ahead of Colin Smith (5:01) and Rian Hogan (5:02) who had a very close fought race. First girl home was Amy Geoghegan in 5:28, with Anna McCartan and Evie Daly on her heels in 5:31 and 5:32. 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.
Full results of the 5k race are available on www.myrunresults.com or below, where the results of the 1,500m race can also be found. With the best three races of the four to count, there’s still time to enter the league online at www.myrunresults.com or on the night in the Courtyard Café. Entries for the 1,500m race are taken on the night and costs just €2.
Round two on 11th May should see another good 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 this week. 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.
Finally, it’s really important to remember to bring your number with the timing chip for round two or your place and time will not be recorded.
Leinster Master Road Race Championships
It’s only three weeks since Eddie Newman completed the Rotterdam Marathon in a new personal best time of 2:45:53 but not one to rest on his laurels, he was back in action again on the May Bank Holiday Monday, 2nd May, when he competed at the Leinster Masters Road Race Championships in Gowran, Co. Kilkenny. Conditions weren’t ideal, being very windy, cool and showery and Eddie showed little sign of post-marathon fatigue as he covered the four laps of the 6,000m course in 21:10 to finish 15th overall and 3rd in his master age category to claim the bronze medal. It’s a pity that despite the big number of eligible master athletes currently training in the Club, many of whom would surely be competing for medal honours, no others saw fit to compete except Eddie.
Great Limerick Run
The Great Limerick Run on Sunday 1st May included a marathon, a half marathon and a six mile race. Nearly 5,000 ran the 6 mile race where Cian Ryan finished well up, thirty second overall, in 38:35. Also running well was Suzanne Scanlan who was pleased with her 47:00 finish time. In the half marathon, Siobhan McCarthy competed alongside over 1,800 others and was very pleased to finish in 1:37:03, placing her twenty sixth woman overall and fourth in her master age category. Breda Walsh also ran well and was pleased to finish in 2:07:30, eighth in her master category. Well done to the Mullingar quartet in Limerick.
Irish Milers Club meeting
The first Irish Milers Club meeting of the track season was held in Greystones on Saturday afternoon 30th April where Claire Fagan and Jack Moran were in action and used the event as part of their preparations for the Leinster schools and Club competitions over the coming weeks.
Claire ran a very strong race to record a PB 4:47.53 for 1,500m which was good enough for fifth place in a very strong field. Jack also produced a PB of 4:16.65 seconds for the 1,500m distance in his first race against senior opposition. Both Claire and Jack can be very pleased with their good early season form.
Church Hill Running Club 10k and 5k
For the last two years, Mullingar has received great support from members of the Church Hill Running Club who ran in the “Mullingar 10”, so on Sunday 24th April a group from Mullingar headed to Kilkenny to return the support by running in the Church Hill 10k and 5k.
The course for each race was tough and hilly but conditions were excellent for running and everyone was very pleased with their finish times. Clare O’Donnell and Tommy Conroy opted to run the 5k where Clare finished first senior woman and was delighted to receive first prize for her trouble and Tommy was very happy with his race too. The Mullingar group in the 10k was led home by Philip Burke, 15th overall, followed in by Suzanne Scanlon, Richard Ferris, Linda O’Driscoll, Criona Reid (1st in her master age category), Eamonn O’Reilly and Lola Brogan. When all were done and dusted running, they retired to enjoy the well-earned fun and craic at the post-race refreshments.
The headlines understandably belonged to Kenya’s Eluid Kipchoge who finished the London Marathon on Sunday 24th April in a new course record of 2:03:05, the second fastest marathon of all time, and to Ethiopia’s Jemima Sumgong who completed a remarkable comeback to win the women’s race after taking a heavy fall just five miles from the finish line. Sumgong sprang back to her feet and rejoined the leading group before hitting the front and going on to win in 2:22.58. However, for the nearly 39,000 others that covered the distance, including our own Kevin Baker, it was all about personal battles and running as fast as they could and not about winning the race. Kevin went through the half way point in an impressive 1:16:50 but he had to ease back a bit in the final 5k but still finished in an excellent 2:39:47, which gave him great satisfaction.
AIT Sports Awards
Congratulations to Vicky Harris and Mervyn Harris on being presented with Athlone IT Sports Awards on Thursday 21st April. Currently in first year (Fresher), Mervyn was presented with the Fresher’s Award, while the overall Athletics Award was presented to Vicky, who is currently in second year. Both competed for AIT at the Irish University Indoors in February where Vicky won a bronze medal in the 200m. Both competed again at the recent outdoor Irish University T&F, earning valuable points to help AIT finish fourth overall, behind DCU, UL and UCC, which is the highest ever finish place by AIT. No great surprise therefore that Vicky and Mervyn were honoured with their Awards, which are very well deserved, and congratulations to both of them from everyone at the Club.
Cushinstown AC Open T&F Sports
The Cushinstown AC Open Sports in Co. Meath on Sunday 17th April attracted a small group of the Club’s younger members and by day’s end they had made a number of visits to the medal podium. Jamie Wallace won the 80m u/9, Conor Liston won the 80m u/10 and Aimee Wallace came very close in the 80m u/11 but was narrowly beaten in a very close finish to place second. Conor and Jamie also competed in the turbo javelin where Conor won the u/10 event and Jamie finished just out of the medals. Aimee went on to compete in the 300m u/12 where she finished just out of the medals in fourth place. Finally, Shannon Liston came fourth in the u/13 shot putt and qualified for final of the 100m u/13 but was unlucky to finish out of the medals. All done everyone enjoyed the fine day in Meath and were all very happy with how they got on.
Having the distinction of being the biggest spring marathon in Germany and in 1986 the first City marathon to paint a blue line on the road marking the route, which has now become the norm and very familiar to marathon runners, the Hamburg Marathon on Sunday 17th April attracted over 16,000 entrants, among them nearly 60 Irish runners including our own Mark McCann. The route has a few climbs but is still regarded as a fast course and that’s what attracts the numbers.
Mark maintained a very consistent pace up to 15k and was on target to finish comfortably inside three hours but a recurrence of a recent hamstring strain put paid to any hopes and from then it was a struggle. From the half way mark the battle of the race would have been firmly switched to the battle against his mind telling him to stop but he pushed on and actually rallied in the closing stages and picked up the pace a bit to finish just outside 4 hours, in 4:03:25. Even though this fell well short of his pre-race target he can reflect on his strength of character to keep going and this will stand him in good stead when he next attempts the distance. A day to forget for Mark but for now he’ll relax and recover and we’re sure it won’t be long before he’s back out again running easy and rebuilding for the next race.
Irish University T&F
Strong winds and alternating sunshine and torrential downpours, especially on Friday afternoon, made for very difficult conditions at times at the Irish University T&F Championships in Santry on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th April. On Friday, Vicky Harris (AIT) cruised comfortably through her heat of the 100m, but Mervyn Harris (AIT) was unlucky not to advance from his 100m or 200m heats despite placing third in both with excellent performances. Mervyn made amends though in the 4x400m relay where he anchored AIT to third place and qualification for Saturday’s final.
Vicky was in action early on Saturday morning in the 100m final where a recurrence of a recent injury at the mid-point of the race sadly put paid to any hope of a medal but she pushed on to finish sixth and earn points for AIT in the team competition. Very disappointing for Vicky but it’s not too serious and she’ll be sidelined for a few weeks and we wish her a speedy recovery. Andrew Nevin (AIT) competed in the 3,000m steeplechase where he competed well in this very tough race and safely negotiated the barriers to finish strongly but out of the medals. Padraig Moran (DCU) kept himself in contention in the 5,000m but when the final break came he didn’t quite have the pace to keep in the medal places but still kept to his task and finished fourth to earn valuable team points for DCU. This was a good early-season performance from Padraig. We finished Saturday with the 4x400m relay where Mervyn Harris took the final leg for AIT but was given too big a task and despite a terrific run the gap was too big to close and AIT finished out of the medal places.
Loreto Schools T&F
At the Loreto Schools T&F Championships in Santry on Thursday 14th April, Loreto Mullingar made quite an impression, with many visits to the medal podium. Maimouna Fane won the senior 200m and her younger sister Awa Fane won the senior 100m, despite giving away several years. In the senior 1500m, Claire Fagan just had the edge on Alanna Bate to win, giving Loreto Mullingar the gold and silver medals. In the junior 800m, Caoimhe O’Brien snatched victory virtually on the line and it gold again for Mullingar in the senior 800m, won by Laura Whitelaw. These results will give the Loreto girls added confidence ahead of the North Leinster Schools T&F.
Great Ireland Run
The Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park on Sunday 10th April included the AAI National 10k Championships but before the main event, there were races for boys and girls where they had the chance to show their talents before a very large crowd that gathered for the 10k race. Aoife McGouran was delighted to finish on the podium, taking a bronze medal. Also competing and running well but finishing out of the medals this time was Lorcan Mullen, Jayne Walsh-Smith, Sonny Drummond, Arthur Drummond and Ben Walsh-Smith.
On to the Great Ireland Run, or more importantly the AAI 10k Championships where in the women’s race that had 264 finishers, Aine O’Reilly finished eleventh overall in 38:04 to finish second in her master category. Next in from Mullingar was Maura Dervin (44:14) to finish third in her master category, followed by Terri Greene (46:30), Nuala Moran (47:28), Emer O’Hanlon (48:15), Brigid McCabe, Patricia Broderick, Siabhra Durcan, Paula Murray and Michelle Kavanagh. The Master Women o/35 team of Aine O’Reilly, Maura Dervin and Terri Greene finished 2nd Club.
Malcolm McDonnell was the best of the Mullingar men in the 241-strong men’s race, finishing well up in 35:05, ahead of Tom McGrath (35:22), taking third in his master category, followed in by Andrew Nevin (36:40), Ollie Donnelly (37:48), Colm Walsh, Mel Carthy, Paddy Daly, Liam McGlynn, Mark McCann, Cian Ryan, Alan Crowley, Mervyn Kennedy, Brian Boyle and PJ Ballesty all finishing strongly. The Mullingar Master Men o/35 team of Malcolm McDonnell, Tom McGrath and Ollie Donnelly finished 4th Club.
Very well done to all the Mullingar athletes that competed in the Park and endured the very cold and windy conditions that made running all the harder.
In contrast to the cold and wind at home, Eddie Newman competed under clear blue skies at the Rotterdam Marathon on Sunday 10th April where it was nice and mild with very little wind, and of course being the Netherlands the course was very flat, making conditions ideal for running. Eddie took full advantage and was delighted to finish just outside the top 200 of nearly 13,000 in a time of 2:45:53, a new PB for the distance by a minute and good enough to place him an excellent fifth in his master category, giving him plenty to celebrate about after the race.
Crookstown-Millview AC Open T&F Sports
A small but enthusiastic and talented group of underage athletes competed at the Crookstown-Millview AC Open Sports in Co. Kildare on Sunday 10th April. It was an impressive 1-2-3 for Mullingar in the 100m and 300m u/10 with Conor Liston first, Criostoir Ormsby second and James Flynn third. Criostoir reversed fortunes in the long jump where he took gold and Conor took silver. Charlie Foy also competed in the 100m and 300m where he ran well but finished out of the medals. However, all four boys combined later in the day to win the 4x100m relay, so everyone got medals in the end! Callum Costello was also in great form, winning both the 100m and 300m u/11. Shane Ormsby ran an excellent 100m u/12 and was unlucky to finish just out of the medals. On to the 100m u/13 where Alanna Costello was narrowly beaten in second place, with Shannon Liston not far off the medal places behind her. Both girls competed in the 600m but finished out of the medals. Alanna also competed in the long jump and competed well but finished out of the medals, but Shannon got in the medals in the shot putt where she took bronze. Jessica Toal ran in the 800m u/14 but unfortunately was unable to get in the medal places in a very competitive race. The last event for the Mullingar group was the u/14 mixed 4x100m relay where Shane Ormsby, Criostoir Ormsby, Shannon Liston and Alanna Costello combined and finished fourth, just out of the medals but still everyone went home pleased with the day. Well done to everyone for representing the Club so well.
European Masters Indoors
The tag of pre-race favourite for the 3,000m race walk didn’t faze Sean McMullin in the slightest at the European Masters Indoors in Ancona, Italy on Thursday afternoon 31st March where he drew on his very considerable International experience to see off the opposition and raced to victory by nearly one minute to take the gold medal and be crowned the European Champion.
However, Sean had little time to relax and savour his victory as he was back in action again on Saturday morning 2nd April in the 5k road walk, an outdoor event but historically always held with the European Masters Indoors, where on paper he was a pre-race favourite to take a medal. Clearly buoyed up by a convincing win in the 3k track walk a mere two days before, Sean was just too good on the road and pulled clear of his rivals to win with over a minute and a half to spare to earn his second European Masters Champion title.
For most, two European Titles would surely be enough to round off a very memorable Championship but Sean was in action again on Sunday morning 3rd April in the 5k cross country event where he was second finisher on the Irish team that placed second, behind Italy in first with Norway in third, to add a team silver to his two individual gold medals. This has surely been an extremely memorable Championship for Sean and he returned home laden down with three medals. Congratulations to Sean from everyone at the Club.
Leinster 10 Mile
Raheny AC hosted the Leinster 10 Mile Road Championships, which was run in conjunction with the “Battle of Clontarf” 10 Mile Road Race on Easter Monday 28th March in St Anne’s Park in Raheny, Dublin where conditions were absolutely perfect for running. Finishing 8th overall of nearly 300, Eddie Newman crossed the line in 58:01 to win his master age category by nearly ten minutes; in fact, this time would have won a silver medal in the youngest master category, fifteen years his junior, so quite a performance by Eddie! Also running well to finish 33rd overall in 63:52 and finishing 6th in his master category, Colm Walsh was very pleased with his performance too. Well done to Colm and Eddie, particularly to Eddie on winning his Leinster 10 Mile Title, his third in a row.
Edenderry 10 Mile
Dry, bright and with only a light wind, the weather conditions in Edenderry on Easter Monday 28th March were excellent for running and an impressive entry of 210 took part in the Edenderry 10 Mile. Tommy Archbold was very pleased with his run, finishing in 75:56, to win his master age category (this would have taken silver in the Leinster 10 Mile by the way). Also competing and running well were Frank Kavanagh and John Raleigh who joined Tommy after for the customary post-race post-mortem, refreshments and prize-giving.
Cardiff Half Marathon
Those of us who watched the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff on television on Saturday 26th March saw the absolutely awful wind and heavy showers endured by the runners. The elite men ran with over 12,000 others taking part in the mass participation race, the Cardiff Half Marathon. Naturally, the cameras stayed with the elite men, so we didn’t see Mervyn Kennedy taking part in the mass participation race where he was delighted to finish in 1:39.24, despite the atrocious elements.
Omagh Half Marathon
Heading to his home town on Saturday 25th March, Ollie Donnelly competed in the Omagh Half Marathon where wind and rain made conditions very tough but he was very pleased to finish in a very creditable 1:20.59, to place 35th of the 1,355 that finished the race.
AAI Masters Indoors
Mullingar had just two representatives at the AAI Masters Indoors in Athlone on Sunday 20th March but still took home three medals between them. Sean McMullin comfortably won his category of the 3,000m walk, winning by a considerable distance. Later in the day, Sean competed in the 3,000m run where he finished third in a close contest. Fresh from victory in the recent Leinster Indoors, Paddy Kelly was looking to add the All-Ireland 800m title but in an extremely close finish where only one quarter of a second separated the medal places, Paddy was edged into third to win his first All-Ireland medal, finishing in 2:03.50, which is quicker than he ran in the Leinsters, so more reason to celebrate.
AAI Juvenile Indoors – Day 3
The final day of the AAI Juvenile Indoors took place in Athlone on Saturday 19th March where Patrick Leydon competed in the boys u/18 triple jump. Despite putting together a significantly improved series of jumps compared to his silver medal winning series in the Leinster Indoors, he finished out of the medals but can be very satisfied with his performance at this level.
Schools International Cross Country
There were four Mullingar Harriers athletes in action for Ireland against teams from England, Scotland and Wales at the SIAB Home Countries Schools Cross Country International at Falkirk, Scotland on Saturday 19th March. Three of them, Caoimhe O’Brien (Loreto Mullingar), Shane Fleming (St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge) and Ciaran Nolan (Colaiste Mhuire Mullingar) were all making their International debuts and they were joined by Jamie Battle who is well established as one of Ireland’s leading juveniles over cross country.
Caoimhe was part of the Irish Junior Girls team that finished fourth and this was a well deserved honour at the end of what had been a breakthrough season seeing her improve at a great rate with each race. Shane Fleming has had a fantastic introduction to athletics. He showed what a prodigious talent he is finishing as a scoring member of the Irish Junior Boys team that finished third, thus securing a bronze medal on his International debut. Jamie Battle and Ciaran Nolan have both had an excellent season and again produced strong runs to score on the Irish Intermediate Boys team that finished fourth, missing the bronze medals by only a few points. Now that Caoimhe, Ciaran and Shane have made their International debuts, their names will be added to the Club’s International Roll of Honour.
Caoimhe, Ciaran, Shane and Jamie can look forward to the upcoming track season with great optimism. The Schools International Cross Country can prove to be a mere stepping stone to International athletics with the required dedication and application to training.
Mullingar Half Marathon
Building on the great success of the inaugural event last year, the Mullingar Half Marathon on St. Patrick’s Day, which was a charity fund raising event for “Childline”, attracted 865 finishers, well up on the nearly 600 that competed the year before. The weather was absolutely perfect for the event and certainly added to the enjoyment for runners and spectators alike. Starting and finishing in the Town Park it was quite a spectacle to see so many runners heading out of town. Among the huge entry was nearly sixty from Mullingar Harriers, not to mention some that ran as pace-makers, including Philip Burke and Matt Glennon. Although a charity event, and for most the event was simply a chance to run the distance in good company, for some a race is still a race and they ran hard from the start looking to record a good time on a fast flat course.
First home was John Byrne (Mayo AC) in an impressive 1:09.36, Barry Sheil (Longford AC) was second in 1:10.47 and in third was Mullingar Harriers’ Kevin Baker in 1:12.31, leading the large group of nearly 60 from the Club that took part. Following Kevin in was Mark Carroll in 6th (1:13.53), Mark McCann in 17th (1:17:54), Gerry Gavin in 22nd (1:19.54) and Aine O’Reilly 33rd overall (1:22.05), the 2nd woman to finish. They were followed by Mel Carthy (1:25.06), 2nd in his master category, Liam Woods (1:28.12), Paul Moore (1:28.48), Alan Crowley (1:29.37), Colm Walsh (1:29.56), Stephen Naughton, JP O’Brien, Brian Collentine, Paul Ginnell, Martin McKeown, Seamus Moran, Garrett O’Brien, Ollie Gaffney, Robin Jackson, Willie Ahearne, John Callaghan, Tommy Archbold (1:39.51, 1st in his master category), Christy Doyle, Caroline Boyle, Michael O’Sullivan, Frank Kavanagh, Terri Greene (1:42.17, 3rd in her master category), Aidan Rafferty, John Bannon, Stephen Olwell, Eithne Spellman, Liam Dalton, Emer O’Hanlon, Paddy Monaghan, Eva McMorrow, Richard Ferris, Patricia Broderick, Declan Costello, Brian Boyle, Criona Reid, Linda O’Driscoll, Pauline Troy, Siabhra Durcan, Lola Brogan, Barry Hogan, Jarlath Mahon, James Brady, Mark Bate, Dara Feiritear, Sinead Muldoon, Geraldine Langtry, Olive McWade, Marna Groenewald, Olive Costello, PJ Ballesty, Des Walsh and Geraldine Walsh. A fantastic turn out from the Club in support of a local race for a good cause.
AAI Juvenile Indoors – Days 1 & 2
Aoife Darby got things off to a great start for Mullingar at the AAI Juvenile Indoors in Athlone IT on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th March. Showing no sign of tiredness from her fantastic top-ten finish at the All-Ireland Schools Cross Country the week before, Aoife turned in a magnificent performance on Saturday morning to take silver in the girls 1,500m u/16 with a very fast final lap to finish in 4:58.48, her first time under five minutes for the distance indoors. Next in action was Andrea Brady in the girls 1,500m u/17 where she too turned in a strong performance but finished out of the medals though battled hard all the way and will have gained great experience competing at this level. Jack Moran cruised through his heat of the boys 1,500m u/17 finishing second to qualify for the final. The final later in the day was a lesson in never giving up; Jack started well but then seemed to drift off the pace and at one point was in sixth place and appearing to struggle, but with two laps to go he rallied and began to move much more fluidly and make up ground very quickly and even though the gap to the medal places was really too big he never stopped trying and raced on to finish 4th after an absolute blinder of a last lap.
Alanna Bate gave us some cause for concern as she seemed to drift uncharacteristically off the pace mid-way through the girls 1,500m u/18 but with three laps to go she found her form again and with a brilliant turn of pace ran herself back into the medal places, taking silver with little to spare after a marvelous final lap. Jack Tyas competed in the boys 1,500m u/18 where he turned in a very fine performance but had to settle for a place out of the medals this time but will have gained great experience competing in an All-Ireland final. We finished the 1,500m races in the medals again as Laura Whitelaw raced to third place in the girls 1,500m u/19 with her usual polished performance and very fast lap to make sure of the bronze medal.
New to race walking, Matthew Glennon was competing in his first All-Ireland final and raced to victory in the boys 1,000m walk u/14, winning gold by a distance. In the girls 1,500m walk u/16 there was never any doubt about who was going to win, Sarah Glennon, who took to the front right from the start and went on to win the gold with a very big winning margin. Rachel Glennon was hoping to make it three from three for the Glennons but despite a strong performance in the girls 1,500m walk u/19 finished in second place to win the silver medal.
Meanwhile, Shauna Leydon was putting together a good series of attempts in the girls u/15 shot putt, placing third from the opening round and securing the bronze medal on her fifth and best attempt to finish her indoor season on the medal podium. Maimouna Fane qualified comfortably from her heat of the girls 60m u/19 and lined up in the final as a real medal contender and didn’t fail to deliver. Blasting from the blocks she was always in the medal places and finished in 3rd place, in 7.99 seconds a new PB, to win her first All-Ireland medal and round off her indoor season in style and round off a memorable day for Mullingar.
We started Sunday with the heats of the boys 200m u/18. With only the winner and the three fastest losers in the three heats advancing to the final, qualification was difficult and even though drawn in the quickest heat, Patrick Leydon gave a very good account, recording a new PB of 23.58 seconds and only missed reaching the final by a couple of places.
Moving to the girls 800m u/14 heats, Bea Drummond came safely through her heat with the minimum effort and in the final kept in close touch with the leading group but at the bell a gap began to open that was impossible to close though she came through with a great surge of pace in the home straight to finish 4th, just out of the medals but deserves great credit for giving it her all. Aoife Darby was fortunate to have a straight final for the girls 800m u/16 where she showed no sign of tiredness after her silver medal winning efforts in the 1,500m only twenty hours previously and led the chase on the early leader, passing her with 150m to go but being passed herself at the same time and despite digging deep and chasing hard all the way to the line, finished in second place but was more than pleased with her second All-Ireland silver medal. Michael Moran and Declan Brady had a straight final in the boys 800m u/19 where they competed well but finished out the medals but were still pleased to be competing in an All-Ireland final.
Shauna Leydon was the final Mullingar in action and advanced from her heat of the girls 60m hurdles u/15 and even though she ran quicker in the final, a season’s best of 9.71 seconds, she finished just out of the medals despite a fine run to finish what has been a very busy indoor season for her.
By the end of competition on Sunday evening, Mullingar athletes had won 2 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals, seven others reached finals, and many recorded PBs along the way, which are excellent results for the Club.
Bohermeen AC Half Marathon
Over 160 competed in the Bohermeen AC Half Marathon on Sunday 13th March, where the Club had a number of its adult members flying the flag for Mullingar in near perfect running conditions. First from Mullingar to finish was Eddie Newman, 17th overall in 1:15:56, a new PB and good enough to win his master category. Next in was Philip Burke in 1:30:56, also a PB for the distance, followed by Siobhan McCarthy (1:37:20), placing 4th in her master category, then Tommy Conroy (1:44:29), Richard Ferris (1:45:48), Jason McCabe (1:46:15), Joanna Tyrrell (1:49:29) and Michelle Kavanagh.
Longford AC 5k & 10k
Being local, a number of the Club’s adult members supported the Longford AC 5k and 10k road races on Sunday 6th March, which attracted reasonable entries despite the less than ideal cold and wet weather. Frank Kavanagh joined nearly 100 for the 5k and was more than happy to finish in 10th place in 22:19. The 10k race had over 60 finishers, among them 9 from Mullingar, led home by Ollie Donnelly in 6th place in a time of 36:29. Aine O’Reilly was next in, in 7th place in 37:25, the first woman to finish, followed by Mel Carthy (37:51), Liam Woods (38:38), Philip Burke (39:26), Tommy Conroy, Declan Costello, Tommy Archbold and Christy Creagh.
Leinster Junior, Senior and Masters Indoors
The final day of the Leinster Indoors on Sunday 6th March saw the Junior, Senior and Master athletes in action in Athlone IT and from 7 athletes in action, 5 of them won medals, some more than one, so an excellent day for Mullingar.
First into action was Declan Brady and Liam Tyas, in the Junior men 800m, where they kept right in contention throughout and only in the closing stages did a gap open on the medal places that proved impossible to close despite giving every effort and Declan finished a very creditable 6h place in 2:03.10, with Liam right on his shoulder just one hundredth of a second behind. Stephen Nea contested the Senior 800m and put his trademark fast finish to excellent use to finish third in 2:02.23 and win the bronze medal and edge ever closer to the 2 minute mark. Competing in his first Leinster Masters track race, Paddy Kelly was absolutely delighted to pull clear and win the Master men 800m convincingly (in 2:03.74, a new CBP) to mark his Masters track debut on top of the podium with a gold medal. With Sean McMullin in the Master men 3,000m race walk, you wouldn’t bet against him winning, and given his reputation he duly delivered with an excellent win in this taxing technical event (in 15:51.15, a new CBP) to take the title and the gold medal.
Vicky Harris added to the medal count with a polished performance in the Senior women 200m, winning comfortably to take gold in what was officially her first senior race in the Mullingar colours as an actual senior athlete and not a juvenile moving up. Vicky added another gold later in the day in the Senior women 60m though she really has to work hard to close down the early leader with a very fast finish to snatch gold right on the line in a very close race, dipping nicely under 8 seconds in doing so. Mervyn Harris cruised through his heat of the Junior men 200m and in the final took the bronze medal after an excellent race. Later in the day, Mervyn qualified with ease from his heat of the Junior men 60m and in the final was denied the gold by only two hundredths of a second in an extremely close finish, narrowly beaten into second place and the silver medal to round off an excellent day for the Mullingar group.
Scottish Age Groups Indoors
Competing for the first time at the Scottish Age Groups Indoors at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Sunday 6th March, Shauna Leydon displayed real championship talent as she progressed though the tough rounds of the girls 60m hurdles u/15, running quicker as she moved from heats to semi-final to final and even though she finished out of the medal places, this was an excellent performance against top class opposition and will give her a great confidence boost for the All-Ireland Indoors this Sunday. Patrick Leydon contested the Junior men triple jump where he displayed great consistency against older opposition and though also finishing out of the medals, this performance will also give him a great boost for the All-Ireland Indoors in two weeks time.
All-Ireland Schools Cross Country Finals
The All Ireland Schools Cross Country Championships were held in Sligo racecourse on Saturday 5th March and it proved to be a very successful finish to the season for Mullingar Harriers athletes. For Caoimhe O’Brien, Jamie Battle, Ciaran Nolan and Shane Fleming it was certainly a day to remember as all four secured selection for the Irish teams in the Home Countries International in Falkirk, Scotland in two weeks. This will be an International debut for Caoimhe, Ciaran and Shane and will be a memorable occasional and a significant milestone in their athletic careers. They will undoubtedly do themselves, their school and Mullingar Harriers proud on this stage.
The Minor boys race was the first event with representatives from the Club in action. Rian Hogan (Colaiste Mhuire) featured prominently in the leading group throughout the race and was rewarded with an excellent 16th place respectively. The Colaiste Mhuire team which included Brian Farrell and Ruairi Fagan placed fourth, narrowly missing out on a team medal. It was great to see East Westmeath AC’s Sam Smyth (St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge) having a terrific race and finishing an excellent 11th place.
The Junior Girls race saw Caoimhe O’Brien (Loreto Mullingar) run a superb race to finish in 4th place and secure a place on the Irish team. Caoimhe showed great determination in a highly competitive race and richly deserved her excellent finishing position. Caoimhe also led her school to third place in the team placings with great support from club athletes Jennifer Fidgeon and Ciara Smyth.
Shane Fleming (St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge) ran a great race in the Junior boys to finish fifth and secure International selection. Andrew Shaw finished in the top twenty five. The Colaiste Mhuire team including Andrew Daly, Eoin Quinn, Paddy Rafferty and Ciaran Luby were unlucky to finish outside the medals.
The Intermediate girls race saw Aoife Darby (St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge) run a superb race to finish in the top ten. She was closely followed by Susan Glennon (St Finian’s) who placed in the top fifteen. Both Aoife and Susan are eligible for this race next year when they look sure to be leading contenders.
The Intermediate boys race was the closest finish of the day and had two Mullingar athletes involved. Jamie Battle and Ciaran Nolan (Colaiste Mhuire) were in the leading group throughout the race and were in contention to win the race until the final strides. Jamie has been consistently excellent throughout the season and took a well deserved silver medal closely followed by Ciaran in third, both securing International selection. Colaiste Mhuire was second team with the scoring quartet completed by Jack Moran and James Drumm. They were well supported by John Whitelaw, Joseph Cronin and Brian Martin.
Claire Fagan produced a great finish in the Senior girls race to claim 6th place and was well supported by Laura Whitelaw and Alanna Bate, both finishing in the top ten. This provided the Loreto girls with the team title and also the award for the best team points total of the entire day. They were well supported by Daria Fidgeon, Andrea Brady and Laura Shaw. Our final competitor was Jack O’Leary in the Senior boys where Jack finished in fifth place to round off an excellent cross country season.
The final cross country race of the season will be the Schools International on 19th March in Scotland and with four athletes selected Mullingar Harriers will once again be very well represented.
Leinster Juvenile Indoors – Day 3
The Leinster Juvenile Indoor Championships concluded on Saturday 5th March in Athlone IT, where the programme was dominated by the 60m sprints. Mullingar had an impressive total of 16 young sprinters in action. As expected, competition in the heats was fierce, and qualification to the semi-finals and finals was very tough but they all gave their very best efforts and will have learned a lot from the experience. We also some compete in the 200m and the 400m and in the long jump.
Awa Fane got her campaign off to what looked like an ideal start as she ran away with her heat of the girls 200m u/16, winning by a big margin. However, qualification to the final was based on the six fastest times across the five heats and Awa was very unlucky to miss the final by just one place. A great disappointment but she knows she ran well and with a bit more competition in her heat to push her she would have run faster and made it to the final.
The girls 60m u/12 had a very large entry that required semi-finals to reduce the numbers down. Claire Gaffney ran a fine race but didn’t advance from the very competitive heats. Ross Killalea and John Ryan were delighted to be competing in their Leinster Indoors but despite running really well they didn’t advance from their heats of the boys 60m u/12. Meghan Bates, Alanna Costello, Amy Geoghegan, Shannon Liston and Aoife O’Brien were among a huge entry for the girls 60m u/13 and the heats proved extremely competitive. Only Alanna advanced to the semi-finals but the rest of the girls were unlucky not to advance from their heats. Alanna ran extremely well in her semi-final but didn’t advance to the final. Alanna competed later in the day in the girls u/13 long jump where she jumped well but finished out of the medals but shows great promise in this very technical event.
Caoimhe Brady, Evie Daly, Niamh Cully, Tara Fagan and Caoimhe Monaghan lined up for the girls 60m u/14 heats and all ran extremely fine sprints but only Caoimhe and Evie made it through the lightning quick heats to the semi-finals where they competed really well but just missed qualifying for the final. Well done to all these fine young sprinters for their efforts. Awa Fane returned to the track for the girls 60m u/16 where she made light work of her heat to qualify for the final. Despite running a fantastic race, recording a new PB of 8.25 seconds, she finished out of the medals but can look forward to the outdoor season with confidence.
Odhran Cully came flying through the field in the closing stages of the boys 60m u/18 to mount a serious challenge for a medal but was just edged out of the medal places by a very small margin. Maimouna Fane finally gave Mullingar a 60m sprint medal when she blasted from the blocks of the girls 60m u/19 to finish third in a new PB of 8.08 seconds and winning the bronze medal.
We rounded off the day with another medal, courtesy of Declan Brady who dropped down from the more familiar 800m to run the boys 400m u/19, his first time to run a sprint event. Declan ran a cautious opening 200m but his 800m strength really showed in the closing stages as he stormed through to finish third and win the bronze medal to his great delight and the cheers of the Mullingar supporters.
Adding the bronze medals won by Maimouna and Declan on Saturday, the total number of medals won by Mullingar athletes over the three days of the Leinster Juvenile Indoors is 5 gold, 8 silver and 5 bronze medals, so the Club will be well represented across a range of events in the All-Ireland finals.
AAI Senior Indoors
An important step in any athlete’s career is the transition from juvenile to senior ranks, which Mervyn Harris achieved at the AAI Senior Indoors in Athlone on Saturday 27th February. Competing in his first Senior Championships, Mervyn gave a great account as he qualified from his heat of the 60m, one of five very competitive heats. He ran close to his PB but didn’t advance to the final but learned a great deal by competing at this level.
Jack O’Leary competed in the 3,000m on Sunday 28th February and finished an excellent 5th place having been in contention right up to the last lap. Aged 18, Jack was giving away several years to many of his main rivals but he produced an excellent performance to record a PB of 8:21.10. Jack will now turn his attention to the All-Ireland schools cross country this Saturday and can look forward with confidence to the upcoming track season.
AAI National Star Awards for 2015
At a Gala function in Tullamore on Saturday 27th February, Niamh Fogarty (now North Westmeath AC) was presented with her Waterford Crystal AAI Juvenile Star Award for her outstanding performances during 2015, when still a member of Mullingar Harriers, she won three All-Ireland titles.
Mullingar Harriers was also honoured at the Star Awards function by being presented with the Kennedy Perpetual Shield for Best Juvenile Cross Country Club in Ireland in 2015. This comes as no great surprise, given the 4 Club titles, 5 Club silvers and 2 Club bronze won by Mullingar in the National Cross Country Finals last year, but it still very satisfying that the hard work put in by our outstanding juvenile athletes is recognized in this way. They are all to be congratulated and can be very proud of themselves and their achievements. The last time Mullingar received this Award was for the 2008 season.
Leinster also won the Bishop McFeeley Cup for Best Cross Country Region. Munster has won this cup every year since 1986 and the last time Leinster won was in 1984. There’s no doubt but Mullingar really played a big part in helping Leinster win this cup back again. Catriona Duffy, the Leinster Cross Country & Road Secretary, expressed her thanks and appreciation to all the Mullingar coaches and athletes for their contribution to Leinster winning the cup.
Westmeath Juvenile Indoors
Building on last year’s very successful inaugural Westmeath Indoors, on Friday evening 26th February a very large team of over 60 youngsters from Mullingar Harriers competed in Athlone in the magnificent indoor stadium, which was the first time many of them had the opportunity to compete there.
Thanks to brilliant organisation by AIT AC, over two hundred boys and girls from AIT AC, East Westmeath AC, North Westmeath AC and Mullingar aged u/9 to u/15 competed in a range of events and our youngsters really made the most of it and were clearly delighted to be competing in Athlone in 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!
We hope to give full results soon but medals won or not, everyone enjoyed themselves. 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.
Manx Harriers AC Open Race Walking Festival
To compete over 5k, Rachel Glennon made the journey to Douglas on the Isle of Man on Saturday 20th February for the annual Manx Harriers AC Open Race Walking Festival. Dealing very well with the longer distance she made it look easy in the combined men and women race to finish 4th overall in 27:25, to win the Junior women category. This is an excellent result and will give Rachel just the confidence boost needed before the All-Ireland Indoor Finals in two weeks time.
AIT International Grand Prix
There was a mouth-watering line-up of Global stars at the AIT International Grand Prix on Wednesday evening 18th February and they certainly performed up to standard and entertained the capacity crowd with a thrilling evening of athletics.
Among the big name stars were World silver medalist Melissa Bishop (Canada) who won the 800m in 2:00.60 and World outdoor pole vault Champion Shawn Barber (Canada) who cleared 5.79m to win and set a new stadium record. World indoor 400m Champion Pavel Maslak (Czech Republic) won comfortably, equaling Brian Gregan’s stadium record of 46.07 seconds. Performance of the night though had to be Dawit Wolde (Ethiopia) in the men’s mile, going to the front at 800m and pulling clear to win in an Irish all-comers record of 3:54.02 that had the crowd on its feet.
The Irish athletes were clearly lifted by mixing with the International stars, among them Rose-Anne Galligan (Newbridge) in the 1,500m where she finished third in 4:11.07, which qualifies her to run at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon (USA) in March and Amy Foster (City of Lisburn) who finished third in the women’s 60m final in 7.33 seconds, but was just outside the qualifying standard of 7.32 for the World Indoor Championships.
Mullingar was represented by Mervyn Harris and Vicky Harris competing in the AIT colours in the 60m heats. Mervyn lined up against among others, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Great Britain), third in the 2014 European T&F 100m, Churandy Martina (Netherlands), a finalist in the 100m and 200m at the 2012 London Olympics and Reuben Arthur (Great Britain), fourth in the European Junior 100m in 2015; Vicky lined up with top Irish sprinters Phil Healy (Bandon AC), National u/23 60m Champion, Amy Foster (City of Lisburn) and Ciara Neville, the winner of the 100m at the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival in Tbilisi, Georgia and they were joined by Cleo VanBuren (USA), a former bronze medal winner in the World Youth 200m, in their heat. Mervyn and Vicky were certainly up against top-class opposition and though not advancing to the finals, gave excellent accounts. Such exposure to top class competition can only stand them in good stead and they were delighted to have been part of such a fantastic event.
Leinster Juvenile Indoors – Days 1 & 2
The Mullingar underage athletes got the indoor season off to a great start on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th February at the Leinster Juvenile Indoors in Athlone IT, where a total of 5 gold, 8 silver and 3 bronze medals were won over a very busy week-end. Some Mullingar athletes that were entered were unable to compete due to illness and we wish them a speedy recovery but those that could compete did the Club and themselves proud with their efforts.
Matthew Glennon is new to race-walking and first thing on Saturday morning he made his competitive debut in the 1,000m u/14 boys race walk where he was delighted to win gold and as well as start what we expect will be a large collection of medals in the event, he also got the day off to a great start for Mullingar. Sarah Glennon absolutely dominated in the 1,500m u/16 girls race walk and won by a large margin in 7:04.74 to add to her long list of Leinster titles, smashing the CBP by a massive 15 seconds into the bargain. Patrick Leydon was the Club’s sole representative in the field events where he competed in the boys u/18 triple jump and with a consistent series of jumps took silver in this very technical and demanding event to add to the Mullingar medal tally.
As expected, the Mullingar colours were very prominent in the 800m events and all performed to the high standard they set themselves. Rachel Darby and Meabh Killalea were unlucky not to advance from the heats of the u/14 girls 800m, but Bea Drummond and Caoimhe Brady won their heats to advance to the final where Bea finished third to win a bronze medal and Caoimhe finished strongly but finished out of the medals in 6th, which is a very creditable result. Ciara Smith ran well but didn’t advance from the very competitive heats of the u/15 girls 800m but Caoimhe O’Brien really impressed in her heat, winning in style and in the final was absolutely delighted to win silver in a very close race. The medals continued to come Mullingar’s way thanks to a silver medal for Aoife Darby in the u/16 girls 800m, which was a terrific race to watch. Rachel Cornally, Laura Shaw, Catriona Kennedy and Caoimhe Gaffney competed well in the u/17 girls 800m but finished out of the medals in a hotly contested final. Emma Hogan was terribly unfortunate not to win a medal in the u/18 girls 800m, which came down to a furious sprint finish and she was edged into 4th, missing bronze by the narrowest margin of just six hundredths of a second. Laura Whitelaw was just too good for the opposition in the u/19 girls 800m, stamping her authority on the race and winning well in a new CBP of 2:20.29 to clinch another Leinster title and gold medal to add to her rapidly growing collection of medals.
Colin Smith and Lorcan Mullen made short work of the heats of the u/14 boys 800m to advance to the final where Colin was extremely unlucky to miss a medal, just edged into 4th place (by Sam Smyth of East Westmeath AC) right on the line with Lorcan finishing very strongly just two places behind. On to the u/15 boys 800m where Paddy Rafferty was unlucky not to advance to the final but Eoin Quinn did and in the final ran a solid race but finished out of the medals. John Whitelaw and Brian Martin contested the u/16 boys 800m but despite both running very well and finishing strongly, finished out of the medals in a fast race. We finished Saturday back in the medals thanks to a fine performance by Declan Brady in the u/19 boys 800m where he finished third to win the bronze medal.
The sprinters were out very early on Sunday morning when Patrick Leydon, Odhran Cully and Michael Byrne, running his first race for Mullingar despite being very ill only a week ago, competed in the very competitive heats of the u/18 boys 200m. Unfortunately, Odhran and Michael didn’t qualify from their heats but Patrick did and he blasted around the tight turns of the 200m track to finish third and win a bronze medal. In the u/19 girls 200m Maimouna Fane didn’t get the best of starts but when she got into her stride began to close down the opposition but the finish came too soon and she was unlucky to finish out of the medals in 4th place.
In the boys u/12 60m hurdles, Riley Sheahan, Sonny Drummond and Aaron Dowdall didn’t advance from their heats but Shane Ormsby looked very smooth and cruised into the final where he finished second to win the silver medal with a very polished performance. Meghan Bates was unlucky not to advance from the hotly contested heats of the girls u/13 60m hurdles. Shauna Leydon made qualification look easy in the girls u/15 60m hurdles, winning her heat comfortably and in a thrilling final finished second to win the silver medal.
Shauna Leydon had a very interesting though unusual time in the field events! She competed in the girls u/15 shot putt and high jump. Unfortunately, both events were on at the same time but the officials were very obliging and allowed her to alternate between the two so she could complete both events. Shauna won the shot with ease but finished out of the medals in the high jump, which really isn’t too surprising given the constant change of focus needed between the two events.
Staying with the field events, Awa Karen Fane was delighted to make the final eight of the u/16 girls long jump and really gave herself every chance with a great series of jumps but finished just outside the medals in 4th place. Also competing in field events were Claire Gaffney (u/12 girls long jump), Shannon Liston (u/13 girls shot putt), and Tadhg Sheridan, Ross Killalea, Shane Ormsby and Aaron Dowdall (u/12 boys long jump), all competing well and though they didn’t win any medals they all really enjoyed the competition.
The entry list for the u/12 boys 600m was very large and required four heats to whittle the numbers down for the final. Tadhg Sheridan, Diarmuid Fagan, John Ryan, Adam Brady and Sonny Drummond all ran very well but didn’t get through, leaving Ross Killalea who had comfortably qualified from his heat as the sole Mullingar representative in the final. Ross contested extremely well and ran a great race giving every effort but finished out of the medals on this occasion. There were big numbers in the u/13 girls 600m too, where Anna McCartan, Aoife O’Brien, Amy Geoghegan, Meghan Bates, Alanna Costello and Shannon Liston and gave it their all in the heats but didn’t advance to the final to join Phoebe Bate who earned qualification from a very strong heat. Phoebe battled hard in the final but just couldn’t find the extra little bit to push her into the medal places and finished 5th, just outside the medals.
Aoife Darby returned on Sunday for the u/16 girls 1,500m, joining Susan Glennon in a thrilling race where Aoife drew on all her reserves to finish second and earn her second silver medal of the week-end, with Susan finishing strongly behind her just out of the medals in 5th place. John Whitelaw battled valiantly in the u/16 boys 1,500m but had to settle for a place out of the medals. In the u/17 girls 1,500m Andrea Brady and Catriona Kennedy put in solid performances but were unlucky to finish out of the medals on this occasion. Alanna Bate nearly came a cropper near the finish of the u/18 girls 1,500m, colliding with a lapped runner and very lucky not to fall but somehow managed to keep her feet and crossed the line in 2nd place to win the silver medal. The u/18 boys 1,500m race was a very tactical race and came down to a furious sprint finish over the last two laps and Jack Tyas was unlucky to finish just out of the medals in 4th place but really turned in a great performance. As on Saturday, we finished Sunday in the medals thanks to one-two in the u/19 girls 1,500m where Laura Whitelaw took gold, followed closely by Claire Fagan taking silver.
Overall the week-end was a resounding success for the Club’s underage athletes. Whether medals were won or not, everyone one of them competed to the best of their abilities and that’s all anyone can ask. Well done to them all and many thanks to the parents for attending in good number to provide encouragement and vocal support and consolation when required. The sprinters will return in force in three weeks time when Mullingar will have over twenty contest the 60m sprint events.
Westmeath Examiner Sports Stars Awards for 2015
First Irish man to finish the Great Ireland Run in April 2015 to win the AAI National 10k road title earned Mark Christie the April award of the Westmeath Examiner Sports Stars Awards for 2015 and the December award went to Shane Hughes for his 3,000m National Youth Indoor record at the Athlone AIT “Baseline” meeting. The awards were presented at a Gala Function in the Mullingar Park Hotel on Friday evening 12th February. They each took their turn on stage to be interviewed briefly by host for the evening, Robbie Irwin of RTE, who gleaned some interesting insights into what makes athletes of their calibre tick and their hopes for 2016 and the future, watched by a large group of proud parents, family and supporters from the Club. Congratulations to Mark and Shane on receiving these awards. Congratulations too to the winner of the overall award for Sports Star of the Year, Damien Shaw, winning it for cycling but as a former member of Mullingar Harriers we were particularly delighted for him on receiving this honour.
Irish University Indoors
Qualifying comfortably from the fiercely competitive heats of the 200m at the Irish University Indoors in AIT on Friday 12th February, Vicky Harris took her place on the line for the final as a medal favourite and didn’t disappoint, taking bronze in a very close finish to get her indoor season off to a good start. Vicky also competed in the 60m, qualifying for the final but finishing out of the medals and she also took the lead leg in the 4x200m relay, leading the team to an excellent 4th place finish, helping the AIT women’s team to an overall 4th place finish in the Inter-Varsity competition.
Making his debut for AIT, Mervyn Harris qualified for the 60m final where though he finished out of the medals, he still earned valuable team points for AIT. Despite finishing second in his heat of the 200m, with five heats, qualification was fierce and he was unlucky not to advance to the final. He finished the day in the 4x200m relay where AIT finished out of the medals against very stiff opposition but Mervyn’s efforts throughout the day helped the AIT men’s team to an excellent 7th place in the Inter-Varsity competition.
Leinster Schools Cross Country
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 10th February where despite the very challenging underfoot conditions, a very large number secured individual and team qualification for the All-Ireland Schools Finals in March. Among the highlight performances were Jack O’Leary (Clongowes Wood) winning the senior boys race with ease, a full set of team medals across the four boys races for Colaiste Mhuire Mullingar, taking gold team medals in the junior and intermediate boys and team silver medals in the minor and senior boys events, and team gold medals for Loreto Mullingar in the senior girls race and bronze medals in the junior girls race.
Trim 10 Mile
Building on a very successful inaugural event last year, the Trim 10 Mile Road Race on Sunday 7th February nearly doubled the entry with over 1,340 taking part despite the very windy and bitterly cold conditions. Mullingar was out in force with 30 taking part and making it a team double and several taking individual category prizes too. The Mullingar contingent was led home by Kevin Baker finishing 3rd in 55:23. The flat fast course on quiet roads brought out the best in the Mullingar athletes and with support from Mark Carroll 8th in 56:53, Eddie Newman 14th in 57:56 (winning his master category), Tom McGrath 16th in 58:18 (winning his master category), Mark McCann and Patrick Muldoon, the Mullingar men finished 1st team by a big margin. Aine O’Reilly won a very close women’s race in 62:05 with only seconds to spare in a close sprint finish and with support from Joan Flynn, Siobhan McCarthy and Criona Reid the Mullingar women also finished 1st team, also by a very big margin. Master category prizes were also won by Matt Glennon (2nd in category) and Mel Carthy (3rd in category).
Also running and competing well were Enda O’Carolan, Gerry Gavin, Pauric Brady, Bernard Groenewald, John O’Reilly, Martin McKeon, Paul Moore, Alan Crowley, Paul Ginnell, Mervyn Kennedy, Robin Jackson, Ollie Gaffney, Tommy Archbold, Niamh Molloy, Pauline Troy, Eamonn O’Reilly, Declan Costello and Breda Walsh all making sure the maroon and white of Mullingar was visible throughout the entire field.
AAI Indoor Games
Running under 4 minutes for the first time in the 1,500m marked a decent breakthrough performance for Jack O’Leary at the AAI Indoor Games in Athlone on Sunday 7th February. Jack came through the field well to finish 6th in 3:54.02, which was a PB by 6 seconds. Also running well, Paddy Kelly improved on his season’s best when he finished 4th in the second of two 800m races in a time of 2:02.04, which will give him great confidence ahead of the Leinster and National masters indoors later in the season.
All-Ireland Junior Indoors
It was certainly good to be in out of the cold and stormy weather on Sunday 31st January and enjoy the high standard of competition at the AAI Junior Indoors in Athlone. Claire Fagan and Alanna Bate competed strongly in the 1,500m, staying in the leading group for most of the race and it was only in the final two laps that a gap began to open but they stuck to their task and with a fast final lap secured their positions and Claire finished 4th, just ahead of Alanna in 5th both recording times just outside their PBs for the distance. Having taken bronze in the 3,000m race walk last year, hopes were high of success for Rachel Glennon but it wasn’t to be in this occasion and though she gave all her effort in this very technical and taxing event she was unable to reproduce the form of last year and finished out of the medals in 5th place on this occasion. Attention then turned to the 800m where Laura Whitelaw battled well but just didn’t seem to be able to fully settle and find her customary fluid form, though she retained her trade mark fast finish to move within striking distance of the medals but not close enough and unfortunately finished just out of the medals in 4th place. The heats of the junior men 800m were extremely competitive and qualification to the final was very tough. Though not advancing to the final, Liam Tyas was nonetheless happy with his race and he can look forward to running even faster as the indoor season unfolds. Also not advancing to the final but running a fine race where he kept in close contention was Declan Brady and he too can look forward to improving with more races on the tight indoor bends.
Raheny 5 Mile
In less than ideal cold and windy conditions, Kevin Baker impressed at the Raheny 5 mile road race on Sunday afternoon 31st January, finishing well up in 26:25. As usual, the event organized by Raheny AC attracted a huge attendance of several thousand, all eager to run in one of the best regarded events on the road race circuit.
AAI Masters Cross Country
Well over 200 athletes contested the women’s race at the AAI Masters Cross Country in Dundalk IT on Sunday 24th January and among them was a good number from Mullingar. Leading the Mullingar women home was Maura Dervin, followed in by Patricia Broderick, Eva McMorrow-Byrne, Nuala Moran, Sharon Bates, Terri Greene, Paula Murray, Emer O’Hanlon, Brigid McCabe and Geraldine Walsh, all running well and delighted to be competing in an All-Ireland Final. The Mullingar women finished 5th Club, outside the medals, but Geraldine Walsh won her individual master category.
There was an even larger field of over 250 in the men’s race, where Mullingar was represented by Mark McCann and Christy Creagh who ran well but finished out of the medals in what was an extremely competitive race.
AAI Indoor Combined Events
A PB of 9.87 seconds in the 60m hurdles to place second after the opening event of the u/15 pentathlon at the AAI Indoor Combined Events in Athlone on Saturday 23rd January gave Shauna Leydon a great opening score on which to build. Despite a very good high jump she lost a bit of ground, dropping to third overall but still remained very much in contention. She bounced right back with a PB of 10.95m in the shot putt to move into second place behind Orla Winston (Clonmel AC).
Shauna then closed the gap to within two points after a great long jump competition, but only ten points ahead of third place, defending champion Holly Meredith of St. Mary’s (Limerick) AC, to set everything up for a thrilling finish in the last event, the 800m. Giving it everything in the 800m, Shauna battled hard and lost some ground but was very pleased to still finish in the medals, winning the bronze medal just six points off the silver, to continue her excellent medal winning record in Championship events.
Annual General Meeting
There was a very good attendance for the Annual General Meeting held on Friday evening 22nd January in the Annebrook House Hotel and it gave an opportunity for everyone present to be reminded of the many successes enjoyed by the Club over the last year. Chairman, Joe Ryan, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and then moved off the agenda for the surprise element of the evening, the appointment of four honorary Life Vice-Presidents and the recognition of five members of the Club that have given 40 years service since its foundation. By unanimous vote, Bobbie Begley, John Mulvihill, George Bell and Christy Creagh were appointed Life Vice-Presidents. Together with Seamus Gibney, who had been appointed an honorary Life Vice-President in 2007, presentations were made to the five in recognition of the 40 years of unequalled service they have given to the Club since it was founded at the inaugural AGM in December 1975. The AGM then continued with the presentation of the reports of the Secretary and the Treasurer, followed by the Chairman’s Address and the President’s Address. Several important issues were discussed and debated. Subscriptions rates for 2017 were also agreed and they will remain at this year’s rates. The following were elected as officers and committee members for the coming year:
Christy Creagh (President), Sean McMullin (Vice-President), Joe Ryan (Chairperson), Caitríona Duffy (Vice-Chairperson), Tom McGrath (Treasurer), Margaret Daly (Secretary), Greg Duggan (Assistant Secretary – PRO, Registrar and Competition entries), Clare O’Donnell (Minutes Secretary), Pauline Quinn, Margaret Daly and Greg Duggan (Child Officers), Cormac Finnerty, Pat Muldoon Senior, Vera McCool and John Shaw (Trustees). The officers and trustees are automatically on the new committee, as are Life Vice-presidents Seamus Gibney, Cormac Finnerty, Martin Fagan and now Bobbie Begley, John Mulvihill, George Bell and Christy Creagh, and will be joined by Mark Bate, George Bell, Philip Burke, Amanda Dalton, Joan Flynn, Pauline Quinn and Joanna Tyrrell who were elected to the committee.
Concluding the meeting, Joe Ryan thanked all present for their attendance and input and closed a successful AGM.
Antrim International Cross Country
The Antrim International Cross Country in Greenmount, Co. Antrim on Saturday morning 16th January presented the competitors with a real test of cross country running at its most challenging. Biting cold weather and muddy underfoot conditions, with a tricky and slippery side slope on parts of the course, greeted the runners in Greenmount, among them Alanna Bate competing for Ireland in the u/17 girls event. Despite the conditions, Alanna was more than able for the challenge and finished ninth overall, fourth score for the victorious Irish team, and afterwards expressed satisfaction with her race and will give her confidence ahead of the upcoming schools cross country season.
AAI Indoor League
Given the cold on Saturday 16th January, it was probably a better option to remain indoors and that’s exactly what Paddy Kelly and Stephen Nea did when they competed at the AAI Indoor League in Athlone. Competing in an open 800m event, Paddy finished in 2:04.89 and Stephen in 2:08.48 but it’s early in the season and they are sure to run quicker with more race practice.
Great Edinburgh XC (incorporating Celtic International XC)
At the Great Edinburgh Cross Country in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh on Saturday 9th January there were 5 Mullingar Harriers athletes on international duty. For Jamie Battle and Aoife Darby it was a day to remember as they represented Ireland for the first time in the Celtic International Cross Country against teams from Scotland, Wales and Ulster. It is a significant milestone for any athlete to run for their Country and both Jamie and Aoife have shown great dedication in the months leading up to their selection. Both names will now be added to the International roll of honour in the Clubhouse.
Aoife was first into action and ran a great race, finishing strongly and played a key role in helping Ireland to finish second in the under 17 team competition. Jamie Battle was 2nd Irish finisher in the under 17 event and helped Ireland to win the team competition. He was well supported by Jack Moran also running a very good race. In the Junior (under 20) race, the Celtic Nations competition was combined with a match between Europe, USA and Great Britain. Jack O’Leary was on the European team with Shane Hughes racing for Ireland. Jack continued his recent outstanding form to finish sixth overall and score on the winning European team. Shane was a scoring member of the Irish ream that won the Celtic International.
It was a great experience for the athletes to compete at the same meeting as double World and Olympic champion, Mo Farah and several other established international athletes were also in action in Edinburgh. It was a great honour for the Club to have five members competing on Irish and European teams and reflects the success that has been enjoyed over the course of the cross country season.
Waterford Half Marathon
Eddie Newman flew the flag for Mullingar as the Club’s sole representative in the Waterford Half Marathon on Saturday 9th January. The race had been postponed from early December because of flooding on the course, but last Saturday the more than 1,340 competitors only had to cope with the cold and wind. Eddie was more than pleased with his 11th place finish in an excellent 1:16:05, which placed him 1st in his master age category.
Leinster Star Awards for 2015
At a Gala Function in the Seven Oaks Hotel in Carlow on Saturday evening 9th January, supported on the night by Club officials from Mullingar Harriers and North Westmeath AC and family and friends, Athletics Leinster Star Awards for 2015 were presented to Mervyn Harris (senior athlete), Niamh Fogarty (juvenile girl) and Darragh Gaffney (juvenile boy). The awards are based on results in Leinster Championships in 2015. Mervyn won the silver medal in the 100m at the Leinster senior T&F to win the senior award for the first time. Niamh won the shot putt at the juvenile indoor u/17 Championships and outdoors won the shot putt and discus. Competing for North Westmeath AC, Darragh also won the shot putt at the juvenile indoor u/17 Championships and outdoors won the shot putt and discus. The award winners had an excellent year of competition in 2015 and fully deserved these awards from Athletics Leinster, which should motivate them to even greater achievements in 2016.
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 15th year in a row; Mullingar has won this Cup every year since it was first presented in 2001. We came a very close second in the Foley Cup for the best County in Leinster in Juvenile cross country, and just failed to retain the Euro Tab Cup for juvenile u/16 to 19 outdoor T&F by only a few points, so perhaps we can target success in these awards for 2016?
The Club continues to go from strength to strength and we expect 2016 to be another terrific year of competition. Congratulations to Mervyn, Niamh and Darragh on their Awards and to all the Club’s juvenile cross country teams that helped Mullingar to win the Morrissey Cup at the Leinster Star Awards for 2015.