For the 15th year in a row the KitKat Irish Schools’ Track & Field Championships will be held next Saturday, 3rd June, in the magnificently appointed Tullamore Harriers Stadium at Tullamore starting at 9 am and finishing at 6 pm.
Over the past month approx. 16,000 schools’ athletes have been attempting to qualify for this event from their zones and regions all over the country. This All-Ireland perspective is surely unique in Irish Athletics and, also, vitally important in these days of peace and reconciliation. What other organisation can bring to the same start-line athletes from Dublin, Carlow, Tralee, Cashel, Galway, Stranorlar, Belfast, Ballymena and Crossmaglen? This strong mixture pervades all out activities and next Saturday will be no exception as we will have competing in Tullamore athletes from all denominations and social backgrounds, who will be there to compete in friendly rivalry.
We are delighted to welcome Olympian and one of Ireland’s truly world-class athletes, Sonia O’Sullivan, as our special guest on the day. Sonia will be making her first appearance at the KitKat All-Ireland Schools’ finals since she competed in them herself. As well as meeting the competitors she will present some of the awards. She will also be presenting the awards to the successful competitors in the Irish Milers Club promotion which will be held in conjunction with these finals.
In the sprints and hurdles as usual we will see many exciting races and close finishes. The highlight will be the Boys’ Senior 100m and 200m where the rivalry between Jason Smyth, Limavaddy GS, and Damian Duff, Glanmire CC, will be renewed. In the Girls’ sprints we have the emerging talents of Amy Foster, Glenlola Collegiate, Louise Kiernan, Colaiste Ide Finglas, Mairead Murphy, Mercy Waterford and Katie Lydon, St Enda’s Galway. Much attention will be on Niamh Whelan, Presentation Waterford, who steps up from the junior ranks. Her performances at Inter 100 and 200m will be eagerly awaited. One of the highlights of the day could be the Inter Boys’ 400m where Brian Gregan, St Mark’s CS, Tallaght, and Josh Williamson, Newry HS, do battle. Brian having broken a Leinster record set in 1981 in windy conditions will be endeavoring to rewrite the record book again. One of the doubles of the day could come from Gerard O’Reilly, Bailieboro CS, in the Inter Boys’ 100 and 200m. The hurdles races always provide some exciting finishes and this year will be no exception. The highlight could be the Senior Boys 110m Hurdles where the winner could come from Dan O’Connor, Castleknock College or Eoin Hannon, Our Lady’s Templemore. The Inter Girls 80m Hurdles will be another good race where Kalyn Sheahan (Ursuline Waterford) could threaten the record. In The Inter Boys’ 100m Hurdles we have the exciting talent of Ciarain O’Cathain, Marist Athlone, who dominated in Connacht.
The Senior Boys 1500m will be an exciting race with Ciarain O’Lionnard, DLS Macroom, hoping to continue his run of victories in schools’ athletics. Here he will have to contend with the Leinster pair, Daire Bermingham, Sutton Park, and John Coghlan, Castleknock College. Similarly in the Girls’ 1500m Sarah Treacy, The King’s Hospital, should continue her impressive string of victories at the KitKat Schools’ All-Ireland. Having just failed in his attempt on the Inter 800m record last year David McCarthy, St Augustine’s, will be looking to attack the Senior Boys’ 800m record.
In the field events we will see some good competition as usual. Kelly Proper, St Paul’s Waterford, could go near the record in the Senior Girls’ Long Jump. The Hammer competitions will provide plenty of excitement where Patrick McCabe, Belvedere, and Ann Marie Cronin, Col Choilm Ballincollig, should win the senior events. Cian Healy, Belvedere College, fresh from his exploits at the U/19 Rugby World Cup will be hoping for a double in the Senior Shot and Discus. Luke Mangan, Belvedere College, was an impressive double winner at the KitKat Leinster Schools’ in Inter Shot and Discus and will be expected to repeat the performance here. Another to watch will be Anthony McCreery, Belvedere, in the Senior Boys’ Pole Vault. Anthony set a new National Junior record in the KitKat Leinster Schools’
Often the most exciting races come at the end with the relays and this year will be no exception. Nowhere more so than in the last race of the day where Castleknock College , Belvedere College and Glanmire CC renew their rivalry in the Senior Boys’ Relay.
No matter where you look there will be great competition and always the great surprises often from the most unexpected sources. For a great day’s sport put the KitKat All-Ireland Schools’ Track & Field in your diary.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Avril Collins / Angie Grant - Tel: 01 676 0168
Weber Shandwick FCC - Mob: 086 3964368 / 086 3772791
John Shields -Tel:087 2633376