Week ending Saturday 17th July
Mullingar in the medals at Leinster T&F
The Leinster T&F Championships continued last Saturday in IT Carlow and this time it was the turn of the under 12 and under 13 athletes to compete and show their talents, along with the 3,000m for the older under 16 to under 19 athletes. For many of the Mullingar under 12 and 13 athletes, this was their first time to compete in a Leinster track Championship but they all gave great accounts and can be very satisfied with their performances against the very best in Leinster. As expected though, given their experience at this level, the day belonged to our older juveniles, winning five medals.
There were so many entered for the 600m for girls under 12 that that it took five heats to sort them, so qualification to the final was very difficult. Lisa O’Brien ran very well and finished strongly in her heat, well up, but not enough to advance to the final. There were fewer heats in the 600m for girls under 13, but competition was still intense and despite great efforts by Blathnaid Peters, Eleanor Kiernan and Tianna O’Leary, they didn’t advance to the final, Tianna coming closest with an excellent fourth place finish in her heat but missing a place in the final by just three tenths of a second. Mullingar had three boys in the 600m for boys under 13 where Conor Walsh, Conor Geoghegan and Cian Hyland tried very hard but didn’t advance from the tough heats.
Providing a break to allow recovery time between the heats and finals of the 600m events was the 3,000m races for under 16 and 17. The 3,000m for girls under 16 was a thrilling race where Grace Byrne was always in contention and went into the final lap in a battle for the medals. Coming into the home straight it looked like bronze, but Grace was not about to give up, and with a fantastic sprint finish moved into second place with 50m to go, crossing the line in second place to win the Leinster silver medal. The 3,000m for boys under 16 was a very tactical race with the group staying close together up to 2km, but at that point Conor Sherwin decided to take control and pulling away from the pack finished very strongly to win the Leinster title in great style. The 3,000m for boys under 17 went out at a fast pace right from the gun, with Diarmuid Fagan and Ross Killalea right in the thick of it. As the laps counted down, the number in the leading group began to slowly reduce but Diarmuid and Ross stuck to their task. It became apparent with 800m to go that the Championship Record set by our own Jack O’Leary in 2013 was going to fall and in a furious final lap, Diarmuid drove hard to keep himself in a medal position and finishing very fast was narrowly edged into second place in a close finish, with Ross finishing very fast in seventh place behind him. The winner eclipsed the old Record by over 20 seconds, but the top seven all went under the old mark too, such was the quality of the race, rightly regarded as the best race of the day.
There were eight heats of the 60m for girls under 12 where Chloe Duggan and Lisa O’Brien competed very well and can be proud of their efforts but didn’t advance from the fiercely competitive heats. Tianna O’Leary and Eleanor Kiernan returned to the track in the 80m for girls under 13 but though they ran extremely well didn’t advance from their heats. Similarly, Cian Hyland ran well in the 80m for boys under 13 but didn’t advance from the heats.
After the sprints the 3,000m for under 18 and 19 were held to provide time to recover before the sprint semi-finals. Meabh Killalea continues to improve with every race and with a polished performance in the 3,000m for girls under 19, kept in contention throughout and was rewarded for her efforts with third place and the Leinster bronze medal. Colin P Smith has been making his mark over 800m and 1,500m this season but moved up to the 3,000m for boys under 19 and was just too good for the opposition. After a somewhat tactical race, his fierce kick came to the fore and he won well, his first ever Leinster title. Unfortunately, Lorcan Mullen was clipped from behind early in the race, hurting his calf and though he ran on for a few laps he was forced to withdraw. Hopefully he recovers in time for the 1,500m only a week away.
Mullingar Harriers Track Meeting a great success
Despite the rain, feedback from parents and participants on the track competition we organised for our younger athletes last Sunday on the outdoor all-weather track in Athlone IT suggests it was a great success. Despite the weather, the vast majority of juveniles who entered turned up to race, in all nearly 70 youngsters aged 8 to 13 years took part in a sprint and middle-distance race, tailored to their ages. We gave medals to all finishers aged 8 and 9 years, but the older ones competed for gold, silver and bronze, adding to the buzz of competition for them.
We held the event because there is no track and field competition this year for our youngest members, those aged 8, 9 and 10 years in particular. For very many of them, it was their first time to compete on a full size all-weather track, so they were very excited about that and it gave them and their parents a taste of what’s in store when we’ve finished our own track in the coming months.
Many thanks to everybody who helped out on the day and in planning the event, in particular Colm Walsh who was instrumental in its organisation and was a great track manager on the day, keeping everything moving along nicely! The event proved so popular and successful that we plan to hold a similar one on our own new track when it’s finished, so watch this space!
Track Fundraiser Raffle Draw
We’re on the final countdown to the draw for our grand fundraiser raffle, which takes place this Saturday evening and this time next week we’ll know who the lucky winner of the €20,000 top prize is. Will it be you? It can’t be if you haven’t bought a ticket! If you’ve been following recent posts on Facebook, you’ll know that great progress is being made on site but the fundraiser is very important to see the project completed in full and on time, so if you’d like to win the €20,000 top prize and play your part in helping the effort to pay for your track, we’re asking every member to give further support and buy another raffle ticket at training this week or online through the Mullingar Harriers website and persuade a friend to buy one too.
Mullingar quartet to compete in Europeans
Oisin Lane (10k walk), Matthew Glennon (10k walk), Eoin Quinn (800m) and Charles Okafor (4x100m relay) depart this week for Tallinn in Estonia as part of a very big Irish team to compete in the European under 20 T&F. This is a big step for each of them in their athletic careers, but they know that everyone at Mullingar Harriers wishes them and Team Ireland well and we’ll be following their progress on the live stream broadcast available on the European Athletics website.
Leinster T&F continues
This coming Saturday and Sunday, the Leinster T&F continues in IT Carlow for under 14 to under 19 and Mullingar has a strong squad of twenty five athletes entered in thirty events across a range of disciplines. We wish everyone the very best of luck in Carlow. A detailed timetable, entry lists, information for athletes and parents, and the link to the Covid health questionnaire will be available on the Athletics Leinster website by Friday evening. Unfortunately, under current health guidelines in order to limit numbers at the event, only one parent or adult is allowed to accompany each child competing, so no siblings or other family members should travel to support – they won’t be allowed in. also, both athlete and parent must complete the Covid form on each morning of competition.
Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.