RISING STARS & DEFENDING CHAMPIONS RETURN FOR JUNIOR & U23 CHAMPS
The TUS International Arena in Athlone is set to welcome the rising stars of Irish athletics on Saturday as they take to competition at the 123.ie Junior and U23 Indoor Championships (January 20th).
Among those entered is Leevale’s Reece Ademola who finished his 2023 season in impressive style, posting a 7.97m long jump in Italy last September to add 1cm to his previous U23 record.
That performance moved him ever closer to the magical 8m barrier that has only ever been exceeded by one Irish athlete, Ciaran McDonagh who jumped 8.07m.
Ademola’s best indoor attempt came in January of last year (7.51m) and he will be eager to set down another marker for the upcoming season come 4.45pm on Saturday.
Katie Bergin (Moyne AC) will be another of the star names in action this weekend with the Tipperary athlete set to double up in the 60m and 200m. Bergin enjoyed the season of her life in 2023, a year highlighted by 200m senior title she claimed so impressively at last year’s national outdoor championships in Santry.
Bergin has already had a fast start to her 2024 season, posting indoors PBs of 7.63 (60m) and 24.47 (200m) in Athlone last weekend. The defending U23 champion will look to claim the 60m title once more at 12.55pm before returning to the track later in the day for the heats of the 200m set from 2.05pm.
Bergin and Ademola will join the over 500 athletes as they battle it out for national honours across the busy 8-hour schedule which gets underway from 10am.
- Timetable Here
- Live Stream via Athletics Ireland’s YouTube Channel Here
- Entries & Live Results Here
- Spectator Tickets Here
- Please note that pay and display parking will be in operation in some areas of the TUS car parks. See map for further details.
The first track medals of the day will be decided in the 1500m where Lucy Holmes (West Waterford AC) and Amy Greene (Finn Valley AC) should go well on the back of their impressive cross country seasons, while Cathal O’Reilly (Kilkenny City Harriers AC) is another to have enjoyed a superb season on the grass and should go well in the U23 men’s race alongside Colin Smith of Mullingar Harriers AC.
The 1500m finals are preceded by the 60m heats which jumpstart the day’s action. Runo Ayavoro (Newbridge AC) was 5th last year and will be hoping to make a big impression in the afternoon’s final if negotiating the competitive looking heats.
Katie Bergin (Moyne AC) is the standout entry in the women’s 60m having already obliterated the 7.71 which won her this title in 2023 (7.63 last weekend).
Megan Lynch (Lios Tuathail AC) medalled in the U20 race last year and could be one to get among the podium places if improving on her 7.72PB.
The heats of the 400m are set for a 11.50am start and the women’s event could provide one of the races of the day if all likely contenders make it through to the final. Rivals Lauren McCourt (Bandon AC), and Caoimhe Cronin (Le Cheile) made the podium last year and will both be looking to claim gold this weekend, while Kate O’Connell (Lucan Harriers) will also have eyes on the top spot.
The men’s 400 looks just as hard to call on paper with the likes of David Bosch (Dundrum South Dublin AC) and Joe Doody (Cabinteely AC) sure to be among the finalists.
Finn Woodger (Metro/St. Brigids AC) was 3rd in last year’s 800m final and looks one of the leading favourites over the distance once more, while in the women’s 800m Susie Nestor of UCD AC is sure to go well. Heats of the 800m are set for a 1.30pm start.
Heats of 200m will follow swiftly after the 800 where Moyne’s Katie Bergin will be hoping to safely progress as she takes to her second event of the day. Caoimhe Cronin (Le Chéile AC) also looks set to double up in the 200 and could be one of Bergin’s closest challengers.
The men’s race should be a cracker if the likely contenders, including defending champion Padraic Hasset (Nenagh Olympic AC), Callum Barid (Ballymena and Antrim AC), and Andrew Egan (Galway City Harriers AC), all make it through to the afternoon’s final set for 4.55pm.
The men’s 3k walk final is set for a 3.45pm start where last year’s U23 and U20 champions will go head-to-head. Matthew Glennon (Mullingar Harriers AC) will look to once again take the U23 title while Jake O’Brien (Moy Valley AC) graduates to the U20 category following last year’s U20 title and should push Glennon all the way.
The hurdlers take to the track from 4.05pm where Adam Nolan (St. L. O'Toole AC) will look to be one of the leading performers. Nolan looked ultra impressive in taking last year’s U20 title and looks favourite once again to take gold in the U23 race on Saturday.
The field events look set to deliver some of the most enthralling match ups of the day, no more so than the women’s long jump where Laura Frawley (Nenagh Olympic AC) and Katie Nolke (Ferrybank AC) will renew acquaintances.
Reece Ademola (Leevale AC) is sure to capture much of the attention when he gets his long jump competition underway alongside brother Alex Ademola (Leevale AC) from 4.45pm
Ciara Sheehy (Emerald AC) is back to defend her title in the Shot Put, while Aoibhín McMahon Blackrock (Louth) will also look to challenge for the podium once more.
Eleanor Foot (Bray Runners AC) will look to defend her junior 1500m title in what should be a competitive race with Kirsti Charlotte Foster (Willowfield Harriers), Clodagh Gill (Moy Valley), and Aimee Wallace (Mullingar Harriers AC) just some of the likely contenders.
The men's race is sure to be a thriller with Louie Woodger (MSB AC), Cormac Dixon (Tallaght AC), Sean Cronin (Clonliffe Harriers), Harry Colbert (Waterford AC), and Diarmuid Fagan (Mullingar Harriers) all entered.
The heats of the 60m will see the return of defending champion Jesse Osas (Ratoath AC) who will look to put on another show on Saturday. The men’s 60m does looks to have several athletes with the potential to challenge Osas and no one will be surprised if Toby Thompson (Ballymena and Antrim AC) and Jamie Moffatt (North Down AC) make their mark in the final.
The women’s 60m is also one not to be missed with Okwu Backari (Leevale AC) and Katie Doherty (Ratoath AC) set to get their busy days up and running.
The heats of the 400m will see the return of defending champion David Mannion who could be given most to do by brother Stehpen who also looks set to take his place.
Fintan Dewhirst (Tír Chonaill AC) was third in the race last year and cannot be discounted along with Sean Doggett (Athenry AC).
Niamh Murray (Bray Runners AC) dominated the women’s 400m last year and the defending champion will once again be hard to topple if building on her superb 2023 form. Hannah Murray (UCD AC) was second in this race last year and could push her namesake closest, while Hollie Kilroe (Suck Valley AC) will be one to keep an eye on if making the final.
The 800m will see the return of Ace AC’s Neil Culhane who will be looking to continue his rapid progression, while Saoirse Fitzgerald (Lucan Harriers AC) continues to look a star of the future and she will have all eyes on defending her title on Saturday.
Dannan Long (Enniscorthy AC) is defending champion in the 200m and he’s sure to face a tough task in holding of Toby Thompson should the Ballymena and Antrim AC suffer no ill effects from the 60m earlier in the day.
Ratoath’s Katie Doherty looks the standout entry in the women’s 200m and she too will look to defend the title she claimed in 2023.
The 3k walk will see Mullingar’s Andrew Glennon go in search of the U20 title, while Tuam AC boast another strong walks contingent with Matthew Newell and Savanagh O’Callaghan set to spearhead the Galway challenge in their respective races.
There will be some cracking hurdles action in the afternoon’s session with Sean Carmody (Leevale AC) and Fintan Dewhirst (Tír Chonaill AC) likely to battle it out in the men’s 60m, while Darmody’s teammate Okwu Backari will look to defend her 2023 title in the women’s 60m hurdles race.
One of the duals of the day could be the women’s high jump from 1.10pm with the talented pair of Siun Quinn (Brothers Pearse AC) and Ava Rochford (Nenagh Olympic AC) set to go head-to-head once more.
The Leevale pole vaulters will be looking to pick up another gold on Saturday with Joshua Fitzgerald looking a red hot favourite in the men’s event.
There will be no shortage of interest in the throws competitions with Athenry’s Liam Shaw one of the standout entries in the men’s shot put, while multi-eventer Finn O’Neill of Lifford Strabane AC will also be looking for a strong shot put showing.
Kotryna Pacerinskaite (Fanahan Mc Sweeney AC) will look to go back-to-back in the women’s shot with Ashleigh McArdle of Lifford Strabane AC set to be her main challenger.
The 4x200m relays will sign off the 123.ie National Junior and U23 Championships for 2024 with the women’s race the penultimate final of the day scheduled for 6.00pm. The races are sure to provide their customary end of day drama as action comes to a close.
Live Results HERE
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