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Top schools talent set to take to Tullamore

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Cream of the crop for Irish Life Health Championships

It’s that time of year again where Ireland’s best schools’ athletes compete in the much vaunted Irish Life Health All Ireland Schools Track and Field Championships in Tullamore on Saturday (June 3rd).

It’s hyped for a reason. The cream of Irish talent competes and it’s through that pipeline Ireland’s best athletes have travelled.

The 122 event programme will be streamed live on Facebook HERE from noon and includes some already well-known stars such as senior girls’ Ciara Neville (Castletroy) in the 100m, Sharlene Mawdsley (St Mary’s Newport) in the 200m and 400m and Michaela Walsh (SM & P Swinford) in the shot put and hammer.

Add the likes of Mark Smyth (St Fintan’s Sutton) and Aaron Sexton (Bangor) in the respective senior and intermediate short sprints along with Christopher O’Donnell (Ballinode College) in the senior 400m and Darragh McElhinney (Col Pobail Bantry) in the intermediate 1500m, you can see how show that’s in store.

The senior girls 3,000m walk sees Orla O'Connor (Waterpark) and Niamh O'Connor (St Wolstan's) on the start line – both competed recently at the European Race Walking Cup.

From the walks it goes to the long hurdles with Ciaran Carthy (St Micheal’s) looking to make an impression in the intermediate boys’ 400m hurdles as Leinster champion. He also goes in the 400m flat as Leinster champion.

The distance gets longer and the hurdles become barriers with open steeplechase races in the offing. And then it’s on the 100 metres and the fastest schoolboys and girls in Ireland.

Rhasidat Adeleke (Pres Terenure) will feature in the intermediate girls’ 100m and 200m. Interestingly she should be challenged by Ailbhe Doherty (St Flannan’s) in the 200m with the Clare schoolgirl also competing in the 800m.

Ciara Neville (Castletroy) is favourite in the senior girls’ 100m while Mark Smyth (St Fintan’s) will face off with David McDonald (CBS Wexford) once more.

Aaron Sexton (Bangor) is excelling in Rugby and also on the track with the Ulster schoolboy set to light up the track in the intermediate boys’ 100m and 200m.  

The 800m races will provide another exciting and open spectacle. Alex Clarkin (Castleknock CC) and Molly Scott (Scoil Chonglais) are two of the top sprint hurdlers in the senior ranks (110m hurdles and 100m hurdles). 

There is plenty of distance talent on show with the likes of Sarah Healy (Holy Child Killiney) and Darragh McElhinney (Colaiste Pobal Bantrai) in the intermediate 1500m races.

Davicia Patterson (Hunterhouse) heads the rankings in the intermediate girls’ 300m while Sharlene Mawdsley will face Ciara Deeley (Loreto Kilkenny) and Mollie O’Reilly (Loreto Dalkey)in the senior girls’ 400m. Christopher O’Donnell should have a good tussle with Jamie Pender (Carlow VS) in the senior boys’ 400m.

There will be a number of family affairs on the day but none bigger than the Ryans with all five competing.  Anna Ryan (Ursuline Thurles) set a new junior girls’ pole vault record of 2.90m at the Munsters.

Her siblings, younger and older, followed that success with David Ryan (Thurles CBS) winning the intermediate boys’ long jump with 6.50m while Daniel (Thurles CBS) bagged double gold in the senior boys’ 110m hurdles in 15.15 seconds and the shot put with 15.04m. For good measure their brother Jack won the intermediate shot put with 14.80m and youngest Dillon was second in the junior boys' pole vault.

Niamh Fogarty (St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge) competes in the senior girls’ shot and discus with her brother Conor Fogarty (St Joesph’s Rochfordbridge) in the intermediate boys’ shot put.

Multi-eventer Kate O'Connor (St Vincent's Dundalk) is a force to be reckoned with in the intermediate girls’ shot put and javelin.  Ciara Sheehy (St Mary’s Charleville) broke her own Munster junior girls’ shot put record with a best of 14.58m while also winning the hammer with 40.79m. Tirna Ni Chathail (PS na Trionoide) won the intermediate girls’ hammer with a new record of 48.63m and will throw for gold.

Sommer Lecky (Strabane Academy) set a new Irish U20 high jump record of 1.82m at the Ulster Championships and has a clear gap between her rivals in the senior girls’ high jump. She also is in the senior girls’ long jump.

Grace Furlong (CBS New Ross) won the Leinster senior girls’ triple jump in a new record of 11.63m. She also won the long jump with 5.37m and will face Lecky in the horizontal jump. Ruby Millet (Kilkenny College) won the Leinster intermediate girls’ long jump with a new record jump of 5.74m and the high jump with 1.65m – she will hope to match or better those performances.

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