Week ending Saturday 18th March
International selection for Tianna O’Leary
At a rain soaked SETU Sports Arena in Waterford last Saturday, the All-Ireland Schools Cross Country Finals took place. A number of Mullingar Harriers were representing their schools and colleges competing strongly over a difficult, hilly and at times treacherous course to bring home both individual and team medals.
First up were Tianna O’Leary and Eleanor Kiernan (Ursuline Convent Thurles) in the Junior Girls 2,500m. Tianna stayed in the top ten during the first half of the race with Eleanor never far behind. During the second half of the race, both girls ran very strongly to finish fifth and sixteenth respectively, helping their school team to third place. More importantly, Tianna’s fifth place finish earned her a place on the Irish Junior Schools team that will compete in the SIAB Schools International Cross Country against teams from England, Scotland and Wales in Liverpool later this month. This is a fantastic and very well earned achievement for Tianna, her school, her family and the Club, and we wish her well.
Next up was the Intermediate girls 3,500m where Mullingar Harriers had two representatives with Caoimhe Kilmurray and Grace Byrne competing for Loreto Mullingar. Caoimhe battled all the way to the line and finished well placed in thirteenth. Grace worked hard over the difficult ground to finish strong in a competitive race.
The Colaiste Mhuire Intermediate boys team was next up over 5,000m of hills and muck. While the rain had stopped at this stage, the ground conditions were still very poor. Jamie Wallace was first home in fifteenth place followed by Conor Sherwin, Pablo Lozano, Luke Greene, Niall Brady, Conor Liston, Daniel Hickey and Jorge Martin, all packing well to give the boys third place in the team competition.
Aimee Wallace was representing St. Finian’s College in the Senior girls 3,500m race and was in contention from the start. The testing course and poor ground took its toll though and it turned out not to be Aimee’s day.
The final race of the day was the Senior boys 6,000m. Colaiste Mhuire was represented by Diarmuid Fagan and Ross Killea. This was a fiercely competitive race and went out hard and fast. The two boys were side by side for the first three laps and working well with each other. During the final lap both pushed on well resulting in Diarmuid finishing ninth and Ross nineteenth, fantastic performances against top class opposition.
Congratulations to all who competed and to Tianna on her international selection. This concludes the cross country season and the school’s track and field season is now just around the corner.
Great Leinster Indoors medal haul for Mullingar Masters
The Leinster Junior, Senior and Masters Indoors took place last Saturday at the National Indoor Arena in Dublin and our master athletes absolutely stole the show for Mullingar.
First into action was Pauline Troy who competed in the master 1,500m. Battling hard over seven laps, Pauline was rewarded for her efforts with first place in her category and she was delighted to receive the Leinster gold medal. Next up was the race walks, where Colm Walsh looked strong in the master 3,000m walk to win his category with ease in a fine time only three seconds off the Championship record. Sean McMullin used the master 3,000m walk as part of his final preparations for the European Masters Indoors in Poland later in the month, winning his category comfortably as expected, to win another Championship gold medal.
Among the masters, Kyle Faherty was our only junior athlete and he was using the event as race preparation for the All-Ireland Juvenile Indoors in early April. Finishing third in his heat of the junior 200m saw him qualify for the final. Running in the tight inside lane in the final was always going to be difficult but Kyle gave his very best and though he finished out of the medals, this was his first Leinster junior final and he will have learned so much from the experience of competing at this level.
Aidan O’Donoghue had a very busy day. He had entered the masters high jump, shot putt, 60m hurdles and pentathlon. In the pentathlon, performance in 60m hurdles, long jump, shot putt, high jump and 1,000m run equate to points and the athlete with the highest points total at the end of the five events is the winner. However, on the day it was agreed that he could double up the individual events with the pentathlon, so he wouldn’t have to compete twice, with his performance in the pentathlon events counting in the individual events too. Aidan’s campaign got underway with the 60m hurdles, which he won comfortably to take the early lead on points. Fourth in the long jump saw his lead reduced, but he was still leading overall. Strong wins in the shot putt and high jump saw Aidan going into the final event, the 1,000m run, with a big lead and though he finished fourth in the run, he had more than enough of a buffer to place first overall by a good margin and win the pentathlon gold in a new personal best of 2,464 points. His performances in the hurdles and high jump won him gold and in the shot putt won him silver, so he ended the day with three Leinster titles and a second place.
Tom Walsh competed in the master weight for distance, where he made throwing the heavy 28 pound weight look easy, improving with each of the four rounds to win by a big margin in a new Championship record of 7.71m. This was an excellent record breaking performance by one of our finest master athletes. Our final athlete in action was Linda Cunningham who blasted around the tight two laps of the master 400m to finish second and was delighted to win the silver medal and end an excellent medal-filled day for Mullingar.
Mullingar teams give spirited performances at Leinster Indoor Relays
The Leinster indoors concluded last Sunday when the Leinster Juvenile Indoor Relays were held in the National Indoor Arena in Dublin. Mullingar had entered four teams and for most of them it was their first time to compete indoors at a Leinster Championship but they didn’t show any signs of nerves or anxiety and each and every one of them competed with great determination and thoroughly enjoyed the event.
The uneven ages were held in the morning and Isla Brennan, Ruby Brennan, Aoibhe Martyn and Lily Walsh ran in the heats of the u/13 girls 4x200m. With three heats, only the winner of each and the next two fastest times would qualify for the final, so the competition was fierce. The Mullingar girls ran their hearts out and despite a great final lap by Lily Walsh closing the leaders down very fast, the girls finished third and missed a place in the final by just one place and a very narrow margin on time.
In the afternoon, the even age relays were held. We had two teams in the u/12 girls 4x200m, where there were five heats and only the six fastest times would advance to the final. The team of Aoife Gouldsbury, Maria Gouldsbury, Amelie Kelly and Clodagh Keane ran a brilliant race and finished a terrific second place, but unfortunately it wasn’t fast enough to qualify for the final. Our second team of Liadan Gavin, Lily McDonald, Alice Hyland and Ellen Gallagher also ran really well but despite a great team effort, they too didn’t qualify for the final. These are young teams and the experience will stand to them for the future.
Conor Gavin, Cillian Gavin, Aaron Robinson and David Canning ran in the heats of the u/12 boys 4x200m where only the winner of each of the three heats would be guaranteed a place in the final, along with the next two fastest times. The Mullingar boys left nothing on the track and though they finished out of the qualifying places, like our girls teams, they can be very proud of their efforts in their first Leinster Indoor Relays.
Bohermeen Half Marathon
Bohermeen AC hosted yet another fantastic and probably the fastest half marathon this year last Sunday morning. With over 1,300 finishers, the event continues to be very well supported by clubs from all over the country. It’s not the flattest course but it produces fast times, due in no small part to the high quality of runners who push each other along. There are no quiet spots where a runner may be left on their own and there is always someone to tag along and race with. Just three weeks after setting a new personal best of 1:11:29 in the Barcelona Half Marathon, Andrew Nevin was back in action and finished tenth place in an excellent 1 hour 11 minutes 46 seconds, followed in by Alan Crowley (1:20:52), Enda Seery (1:29:10) and Declan Claffey (1:37:04) all running extremely well and rightfully pleased with their races. Well done to the Mullingar athletes and to Bohermeen AC for hosting another great race.
The Tullamore 5k last Sunday morning started outside the Tullamore Harriers Stadium and the course was on closed roads before ending on the track in the Stadium. Being part of the Peugeot Race Series and the Offaly 5k Race Series, it attracted big interest and over 360 toed the line for the event. Leading the Mullingar group home in an excellent 16 minutes 22 seconds was Ross Killalea in eleventh place overall, the third junior man. Running strongly behind and finishing fast was Kris Foster (16:39), Mary Stuart (20:56), Emer O’Hanlon (21:38), Brigid McCabe (22:59), Nuala Moran (24:28) and Nicky McCabe (25:30).
Nicky was second in his master category and with Mary and Brigid winning their master categories and Emer O’Hanlon finishing third in hers, it was little surprise that the Mullingar master women team leads the Offaly Race Series after race one and are eagerly looking forward to the next race in the series.
Winter League Round 4
The fourth and final night of our winter league last Wednesday evening on the track turned out to be a very enjoyable and competitive race. Thirty nine athletes took to the start line for the 3,000m. The first six men finishers were Vinny Connolly (9:26), James Keegan (9:35), Kedagh Geoghegan (9:52), Andy Boyhan (10:00), Eoin Clarke (10:12) and Enda O’Carolan (10:39). The women’s race saw Sinead Whitelaw lead home (11:18), followed by Áine O’Reilly (11:18). In a great battle, a mere two seconds separated the next 3 athletes, Jenny Algar (11:32), Michelle Bohan (11:33) and Jacintha Reilly (11:34). Aisling Corcoran was sixth woman finisher, in 11:51.
The competition for team placings was only starting and after all athletes completed the race it took careful calculations to separate the mixed teams for the team placings. Team 1 and Team 8 emerged joint winners with 41.5 points each. Indeed Team 1 had moved from fifth position after the penultimate night to share victory, showing the importance of team racing in these events. Second place went to Team 9 (44 points), Team 4 was third (44.5 points), Team 6 finished fourth (46 points) and Team 3 got the nod for fifth (50 points). We had a tie for sixth between Team 7 and Team 10 (51 points each). Team 2 finished on 53.5 points and Team 5 on 55 points.
Overall the league was a very welcome addition to our winter training and valuable experience of track running has been gained as well as a focus on pace and timing over the different distances covered.
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