The Woodies DIY National Senior Track and Field Championships begin this weekend in Morton Stadium, Santry, for what will undoubtedly be an action-packed weekend with the best of Irish athletics on display.
In the women’s Shot Putt, Claire Fitzgerald (Tralee Harriers) will be the one to beat having set her personal best throw of 14.89m this season. Last year’s champion, Fitzgerald, is over a metre and a half ahead of her nearest rival in the Irish ranks and will look to push the 15m barrier this weekend. The battle for medals will be an exciting one, regardless, with just over half a metre separating Laura McSweeney (Bandon AC) from Fiona Moloney (Dooneen AC) and Alanna Frattaroli (Limerick AC).
Last year’s Mens Shot Putt champion, Sean Breathnach (Galway City Harriers), will go in as favourite for this year’s title. Breathnach is the only man in the field to have thrown over 16m this season, but, will have stiff competition in the form of Clonliffe Harrier Tomas Rauktys and Leevale AC’s Dave Tierney.
Claire Fitzgerald (Tralee Harriers) will again go in as favourite for the women’s Discus title. Fitzgerald represented Ireland at the European U/23’s in the event and has thrown a mighty 53.01m personal best this season. 20 year old, Kathy Hetherington (North Down AC), will be a likely medal contender having thrown 42.68m this year.
The men’s Discus will likely be a tense battle with Marco Pons (D.M.P. AC) going into the competition the highest ranked athlete on the 2013 Irish Top List, but, only lies 32cm ahead of Sean Breathnach (GCH). Last year’s champion, Tomas Rauktys (Clonliffe Harriers) will take to the circle, but, has not recorded a season’s best as of yet.
Aoife Hickey (Kilkenny City Harriers) will be hard-beaten in the women’s Hammer – her season’s (and personal) best throw of 61.54m being some 12 metres ahead of her nearest rival in the Irish ranks. Hickey represented Ireland at the European U/23’s this season and will be looking to take home the gold.
Conor McCullough (Crusaders AC) is the hot favourite for the men’s Hammer title. McCullough came 6th at the European U/23 Championships this month and has an outstanding personal best of 75.09m set in 2012. Padraig White (Dunboyne AC) will compete in his 9th National Championships (having won 4) and after throwing a personal best of 66.09m this season, he will pose the biggest threat to McCullough. Dempsey McGuigan (Finn Valley AC) and Thomas Furlong (D.M.P. AC)will battle it out with for the medals with McCullough and White.
Anita Fitzgibbon (DSD AC) will be the favourite in the women’s Javelin. Fitzgibbon has thrown a seasons best of 49.29m – some 8 metres ahead of nearest rival, Claire Fitzgerald, who will compete in her third event of the championships.
The men’s Javelin will be an intriguing battle with only 3 metres separating the top five ranked athletes in the competition. Jaco Oosthuysen (Donore Harriers) leads the pack with his 57.30m season’s best.
Last year’s 56lbs for Height champion, Dave Tierney (Leevale AC) will be looking to take home the gold again this time around, but, will have throws rival Sean Breathnach (GCH) to beat. Both athletes will take to the line in the 56lbs for Distance event too, but, will have last year’s champion, Tomas Rauktys (Clonliffe Harriers) to beat.