Celtic Games 2016
The late Breda Synnott would have been justifiably proud of the Irish team that took part in today's Celtic Games triangular international between Ireland, Scotland, Wales (and a Wales Development). Breda dedicated her life to juvenile athletics and is synonymous with this competition, which celebrated its 40th birthday today (6th August) in a sun-drenched Swansea University Stadium.
The Irish team won six of the seven trophies on offer today: U16 Girls, U18 Girls, U18 Boys, Overall Boys, Overall Girls and Overall Team. This is probably the first time the team has been so successful in the competition.
There were 11 new Games records set today including two by Irish athletes. These came in the U18 Girls 4x400m where the quartet of Katie Magee (DSD), Niamh Malone (Monaghan Phoenix), Alex O'Neill (St Cronan’s AC) and Davicia Patterson (Beechmount Harriers) set a new standard of 3.50.66 and Miriam Daly (Carrick-on-Suir AC) in the U16 Girls 80m Hurdles with a 11.97 clocking into a -2.8m/s wind to exceed the previous electronic timed record of 12.12. There was also a record equalling performance from Shane Keane (Crusaders) of 6.96m in the U18 Boys Long Jump however the following wind was marginally over the limit at +2.1m/s.
The U16 Girls team were captained by Miriam Daly who got the track action underway with a win in the sprint hurdles. Hannah Kelly (Kilkenny City Harriers), Ruby Millet (St Abban’s AC), Anna McAuley (City of Lisburn AC) and Corrine Kenny (St Lawrence O’Toole’s AC) matched the captain's performance winning the Shot Putt in 11.93, Long Jump in 5.64 (+2.1m/s), 100m in 12.60 (-1.0 m/s) and 800m in 2.13.82 respectively. Corrine was second overall in the combined U18 and U16 race, which was a brilliant performance from an athlete who is still U15!
Also in the field events, Katie Moynihan (Liscarroll) added points to the team total with a 38.67 throw in the javelin. The only blip in performance was the 4x100m mixed relay that was red flagged for an illegal changeover...just needs some more baton practice next year!
Despite that, the girls finished with 27 points well clear of Wales in second and Scotland in third.
Louis O'Loughlin (Donore Harriers) was a popular choice as U16 Boys team captain and led by example taking victory in the 1500m in 4.13.46. Darragh Miniter (St Mary's AC Clare) led the 100m Hurdles from the gun but hit hurdle ten hard, slipping to third place in the run in to the line (14.11 -2.5m.s). Conor Morey (Leevale) ran well in the 200m taking second place in 23.54 (-1.9 m/s). Also taking silver was Nelvin Appiah (Longford AC) with a best of 1.79m. The Discus saw an 18-year-old BLOE record fall to a Welsh athlete (53.05m). Conor Fogerty (North Westmeath) competed well to take 2 points for the team with a throw of 39.55m. The team finished third with 17 points just a half point off Scotland in second with victory going to Welsh on 19.5 points.
Niamh Fogerty (North Westmeath) and Emma O'Brien (Inbhear Dee) were joint captains for the Girls U18 and again, both responded with dominant victories in their events, Niamh with a 44.45m throw in the Discus and Emma with a 4.40.47 clocking in the 1500m. Lydia Doyle was first up for the team on the track in the 100m Hurdles and she battled well to snatch second place in a very close race in 15.84 (-2.1 m/s). Davicia Patterson was a star performer at the All-Ireland track and field championships and continued that form smashing her 400m PB to 55.51 going very close to the Celtic Games record of Caroline O'Shea set back in 1976. Rachel Keane (Tullamore Harriers) finished third in the combined u16/u18 100m but second in her category in 12.62 (-1.0).
Lauren Roy (Ballymena and Antrim AC) and Aoife Cloke-Rochford (Bree) finished 1, 2 in the invitational 100m in 12.41 and 12.43 (-1.5 m/s) respectively. The U18 3000m was another high quality race and Alana Bate (Mullingar Harriers) ran very well to claim third in 10.48.52.
Niamh Malone ran 63.15 in the 400m Hurdles taking second place with the Celtic Games record falling to Scotland. Aoife Lynch (Donore Harriers) matched that placing with a 25.79 (-3.9m/s) clocking in the 200m. The Steeplechase is one of the toughest races on the track but Laura Nicholson (Bandon) never flagged when running 5.17.42 for second place. Aoife Mahony (Lios Tuathail AC) placed third in the 800m in 2.20.34.
Both relay teams were dominant, in addition to victory in the 4x400m, the girl’s 4x100m team of Aoife Lynch, Lauren Roy, Aoife Cloke-Rochford and Rachel Keane won in 47.62.
In the field events, Fodhla McFadden (Rosses AC) surprised herself with a win in the Triple Jump with a hop, skip and jump of 11.08 (+3.0 m/s) taking maximum points for the team. Rachel Bowler (Tralee Harriers) placed third in the Long Jump with a leap of 5.33 (+0.9), Katelyn Furlong (DMP) picked up the same points with a throw of 51.44 in the hammer while Angharad Loughnane (Marian AC) was also third in the Shot put with an 11.79 throw. Grace Casey (Eire Og Chorra Choill AC) was just outside her PB in the Javelin taking second place in 45.35m.
Daena Kealy (St Abban’s AC) hurt her back in the warm up for the High Jump but decided to compete anyway to make sure the team gained points and she was rewarded with third place in 1.61m. Sarah Derham (Lusk) placed third in the Pole Vault in 3.19m which was just outside her season’s best.
When the points were totalled, the team scored 69 points ahead of Scotland in 62 and Wales in 59.
The Boys U18 were captained by sprint hurdler Shane Mooney (Tireragh AC) who got proceedings underway with a close second place in 15.71 (-0.4 m/s) over the high hurdles. Jamie Mitchell (Emerald AC) also took second in the 400m in 49.07. Danny Brown (Finn Valley) placed third in the 100m in 11.48 (-1.0 m/s). In the 200m, Aaron Sexton (North Down) had a battle on his hands but pulled ahead over the final 20m to take the win in 22.21 (-1.9 m/s)
Craig Giles (Clonliffe Harriers) scored a big PB of 1.57.10 to finish third in a very high standard 800m in which over two seconds was removed from the Games best (1.50.61). Diarmuid Clancy (Abbey Striders) smashed his PB by 2.5 seconds when finishing second in the 400m Hurdles in 55.10. Fintan Stewart ran a smart 3000m to strike for victory over the last lap in a time of 9.07.96. Gold also went to Robert Crowley (St Lawrence O'Toole's) in the 1500m when he showed the crowd a superior sprint finish taking victory in in 4.07.26. Alex Hunter (Ratoath) placed third in the 2000m Steeplechase in 6.24.01.
In the 4x100m, our number one ranked athlete, Aaron Sexton injured himself in the individual 200m, which led to Long Jumper Shane Mooney being drafted on to the team. Unphased by the change, the team of Shane, Shane Keane, Danny Brown and Shola Edodo (Tallaght AC) dominated the race taking victory in 42.92. The 4x400m team of Jamie Mitchell, Mark Glynn (Newbridge AC), Diarmuid Clancy and Niall Harvey (St Lawrence O’Toole’s AC) ran well finishing third in 3.38.71
Out in the field, Brendan O'Donnell (Lifford Strabane) got proceedings underway with a good win in the U18 Hammer in 67.37m. He almost snagged the games record on his last throw which was well over 70m but unfortunately just lost balance and fouled the trial. Ryan Carthy Walsh (Adamstown) and James Kelly (Finn Valley) were favourites for the High Jump and Shot Putt and both duly obliged with a 2.05 clearance and 16.82m throw respectively. Gareth Crawford (Lifford Strabane) was well over 60m in the javelin with 62.39m and first place.
Adam McNally (Lusk) took second place in the U18 Pole Vault with a height of 3.61m, as did Darragh Gaffney (North Westmeath) with a throw of 53.34m. Brendan Lynch (Loughrea) took third place in the Triple Jump in 13.61 (+2.3 m/s)
The boys took the team title with 68 points from Scotland in 60 and Wales with 58.
The Management Team would like to thank all the athletes for their performances and behaviour on the trip. They were a credit to their country and hopefully this weekend will spur them to greater things in the future.
The Juvenile Committee of Athletics Ireland would like to thank the Management Team who looked after the team in the run up to the event and all over the weekend:
John McGrath (West Waterford AC)
Evelyn O’Reilly (Annalee AC)
Amanda Hynes (Swinford AC)
Dermot McGranaghan (Finn Valley AC)
Emby Walsh (Carrick-on-Suir AC)
David Murphy (Waterford AC)
Jim Corcoran (Bree AC)
Eamon Flanagan (Abbey Striders AC)
Jim Ryan (Claremorris AC)
Teresa Kinane (Greystones and District AC)
Kathleen McConnell (St Peter’s AC)
The next Track and Field Celtic Games will be hosted by Athletics Ireland in Morton Stadium, Santry on Saturday 5th August 2017.