Connacht T&F Squad 2018/19 Report
The Connacht T&F Squads began in early November and continued once a month into December and January before taking a brief break across the jam packed indoor calendar and finally finishing on Sunday 14th of April in AIT with 89 athletes across sprints, hurdles, jumps, throws, middle/long distance and walks attending.
Athletes from U14-U19 from all across Connacht who medalled at their provincial championships in clubs and schools events were invited to attend the squad. The average attendance across all squad days was 99 athletes which sees a bigger attendance than the previous year’s squad. It was fantastic to see large numbers of athletes across different event groups and clubs mixing and chatting creating a real team environment in what can be a very individual and lonely sport.
Each of the events groups worked under the guidance of a lead coach across all of the days with parents and coaches attending strongly encouraged to observe, ask questions to the coaches and network with other coaches as the sessions were underway. This was emphasised throughout all of the days in the hope that coaches as well as the athletes themselves would learn and develop new ideas to bring back into their training programmes and clubs.
The squad were given a talk from Westport AC’s (and proud Connacht man) Cian McManamon on Day 2. Cian talked about his journey as an athlete from the West of Ireland, his involvement in the Connacht Squads as a juvenile athlete and how they helped him progress, the struggles he has faced along the way and the many international caps he has achieved including: a European Team Cup Bronze Medal, European Senior Championships, World University Games as well as his current upward progress in qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Athletes received their squad wristband which was presented by Cian to all squad members.
After talking to the squad coaches it was great to hear that they noted a vast improvement in technique, fitness, ability and (almost most importantly) craic amongst the athletes as each of the squad days progressed from Nov-April
A huge well done to the Connacht clubs, coaches, athletes and parents who’ve helped along the way in driving the improvement of the squad and Connacht Athletics. A big thank you to all squad coaches; Ger Hensey, Mary Barrett, Cliff Jennings, Padraig Joyce, Brendan Glynn, Laura Reynolds, Cian McManamon, Dermot McDermott, Philip Finnerty, Rosie Daniels, Bob Bailey, Daniel Finnerty, Colm Bourke, Roddy Gaynor, Sean McDermott, Tom Kelly and Brendan Staunton. Looking forward to seeing many of the squad athletes pop up in upcoming outdoor championship results.