JUVENILE STARS SIGN OFF INDOORS IN STYLE
The 2023 Irish Indoor season came to an enthralling conclusion today (April 2nd) as the TUS International Arena in Athlone played host to the final day of the 123.ie National Juvenile Indoor Championships.
Some of the country’s best up and coming athletics stars descended upon the venue with high hopes of taking back national honours to their home clubs. The action certainly didn’t fail to disappoint.
The first track final of the day delivered the first championship record. Zoie Richie (Rathfarnham WSAF A.C) led the Girls U18 800m race from gun to tape. Richie dug deep in the closing stages, gritting her teeth up the home straight, to cross the line in an impressive time of 2.10.67.
Neil Culhane (Ace A.C.) is no stranger to the big stage having competed at the European U18 Championships in Jerusalem last summer. The rising star kicked with 200m to go in the Boys U19 800m to obliterate his rivals, celebrating with his arms aloft in the final metres of the race. His time of 1.51.54 takes over a second off the previous championship record.
Freya Renton (Westport A.C.) was a popular winner of the Girls U14 800m. Renton dipped under the championship record to take victory in 2.15.97. Twin sister Holly won bronze, while Aisling Kelly (Ennis Track A.C.) took silver.
Robert Gleeson (Newbridge A.C.) won the Boys U14 title in a championship record of 2.09.92.
The one lap 200m races also provided plenty of excitement for those in attendance. Jack O’Connor (St. Michael’s A.C.) stormed to victory in the U16 Boys final clocking a new championship record of 22.85s in the process.
Colin O’Dwyer (Leevale A.C.) and Hannah Murray (Finn Valley A.C.) showed their class to win the U19 titles.
Okwu Backari (Leevale A.C.) is no stranger to the podium and returned to top spot in taking the Girls U18 60m Hurdles title. Backari crossed the line in a time of 8.47s ahead of Veronica O’Neill (City of Derry Spartans A.C.) and Leila Colfer (St. Laurence O’Toole A.C.), who added another medal to her ever growing collection having won gold in the 60m and Long Jump the day before.
Cara Ryan (Clonmel A.C.) also added to her medal collection as she backed up her High Jump gold from yesterday with another gold medal in the U14 Girls Long Jump. Ryan jumped 4.97m.
Evan Hallinan (Craughwell A.C.) had a day to remember winning gold in the U19 Boys Long Jump and High Jump.
Siun Quinn (Brother Pearse A.C.) was within a whisker, 1cm to be precise, of breaking the championship record in the U17 Girls High Jump. She cleared 1.75m on her first attempt, before three near misses at 1.77m.
Later in the day Quinn returned to action in the Girls U17 Triple Jump where she added 19cm to the previous championship record, jumping into the lead with 10.95m in the final round.
In the Shot Put, Kieran Keane (An Riocht A.C.) and Méabh O’Connell (Blarney/Inniscara A.C.) took Boys and Girls U16 honours respectively.
Ava Rochford (Nenagh Olympic A.C.) was in scintillating form once again as she won the U19 Pole Vault clearing 3.00m. It follows her High Jump title yesterday.
Attention for Ireland’s juvenile athletics stars now turns to a busy outdoor season.