Schools athletes walk tall in Tullamore


The much anticipated All-Ireland Schools Track and Field Championships got off to a flyer in Tullamore this evening with the next generations of Irish athletics stars producing a superb showing of track and field action at the Tullamore Harries Stadium (May 31st).

Race of the evening was arguably the Intermediate Girls 2000m walk which say Robin Óg Murphy (Mercy Secondary School Ballymahon) and defending champion Savanagh O`Callaghan (High Cross College Tuam) exchange the lead on several occasions over the final lap. Ultimarly it would be the Mercy College athlete who would move clear coming down the home straight to cross in 9:32.53.

The ever-impressive Matthew Newell (Coláiate Bháile Chláir) claimed the Intermediate Boys 2000m walk title in a winning time of 8:05.66, while the 3000m senior titles went the way of multiple national champions Aisling Lane (Mercy College Ballymahon) in 14:18.44 and Seamus Clarke (St. Muredachs College Ballina) in 12:45.71.

The steeplechase events were the penultimate track events and witnessed impressive gold medal performances from Eleanor Foot (Loreto Dalkey) in the Senior Girls 1500mSC (5:01.53), and Noah Harris (ETSS Wicklow) in the Senior Boys 2000mSC equivalent (5:49:90 NU18R subject to ratification).

The Senior Boy’s 5,000m rounded out this evening’s action with Cillian Gleeson showing a superb turn of pace to race clear of the field in the last 200 meters to cross in 14:57:55 for Colaiste Cieran Leixlip.

Action in the field events also got underway this evening with a host of impressive showings from the younger athletes. Aine Frawley claimed the Junior Girls title for St. Marys Charleville in the Long Jump with a best of 5.61m, while the Minor Boys High Jump went the way of Conn McCluskey (St. Benildus College) 1.70m.

Impressing in the throws events were Oliver McDonnell (Ballyclare High School) in the Junior Boys Hammer (68.00) and Cabrini Pyne (Deele Col Raphoe) in the Junior Girls Javelin (37.63).

Day 2 Track Preview

Saturday morning’s track action begins with the Intermediate and Senior Girls 3000m titles on the line. Emily Bolton (Mount Sackville) will look to double up in the Intermediate Girls 3000m and 1500m, while Clodagh Gill (St Marys Ballina) and Anna Gardiner (Assumption GS) will headline a stacked Senior Girls 3,000m.

The long hurdles are set for a 10.30am start, before Ireland’s fastest schools athletes take to the blocks for the 100m showdowns from 10.55am.

Fatima Amusa (Bishopstown CS) continues to impress year on year and will once again look to complete a national sprint double in the Senior 100 and 200m races.

Sean Aigboboh’s (High School, Rathgar) will be one of the most exciting young stars on show following his superb 3rd place at the national senior indoor championships behind Israel Olatunde in the senior 100m. He will however be pushed all the way to the line by the consistent pair of Jesse Osas (Dunshaughlin CC) and Lemar Lucciano Gabriel (CMMG).

Moving up to the 200s, Ratoath’s Katie Doherty (Ratoath College) will be tough to beat in her specialist event in the Intermediate race, while the Senior Boy’s race promises to be a cracker with Toby Thompson (Campbell Col) and Shane Mulligan (Bailieborough) taking to the line once more.

The 800m races will split the 100m and 200m sprint finals and could provide some of the highlights of the day with the now familiar names of Saoirse Fitzgerald (Luttrellstown CC), Pia Langton (Loreto Kilkenny), and Caolan McFadden (Loreto Milford) all set to go in their respective finals.

The short hurdle finals are set for 1.15pm with the senior girls 100m hurdles seeing the return of Okwu Backari (Ashton Cork) who had enjoyed an excellent indoor season for Leevale.

The one lap wonders are set to take to the track from 2.10pm with the senior races looking particularity exciting.  Hollie Kilroe (Convent of Mercy Roscommon) should go well in the girl’s race while Seán Doggett’s (Colaiste an Eachreidh) season has been going from strength to strength and he is sure to be buoyed by his recent relay selection for the upcoming European Championships in Rome.

The 1500m finals will follow and should deliver their usual helping of drama. The girl’s junior race is set for 2.50pm start where Freya and Holly Renton (Sacred Heart Westport) will once again go in search of national honours.

Odhran McBrearty (St Columbas Stranorla) looks a leading contender in the Intermediate 1500 after his Ulster win, while the senior boy’s race should be a cracker if the provincial finals were anything to go by with Cormac Dixon (Holy Family Community School R'coole) and Sean Curran (Colaiste Ghlór Na Mara) both looking hugely impressive.

The Senior Girl’s is also one not to be missed with Nicole Dinan (St Angelas Cork) and Lucy Foster (Down HS Downpatrick) leading the entries.

Relay fever sets in from 3.50pm and there is sure to be no lack of thrills and spills as the 4x100m races get things up and running. The final track action of the day will 4x300m and 4x400m senior races.

Field finals

The Senior Girls High Jump will be one of the first competitions underway at 9.15am. Ava Rochford (Rice College Ennis), who is also a leading favourite for the Pole Vault, is sure to go well along with the ever-improving Siun Quinn (St. Colmcilles CS).

Michael Kent (Good Counsel, New Ross) will be hoping to continue his good run of form in the Intermediate Boys Long Jump, while the Senior Girls Triple should deliver some excellent competition with Sophie Byrne (Newbridge College) and Leagh Moloney (Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh) set to take to the runway.

The Pole Vault competitions should be another compelling watch with Joshua Fitzgerald (Colaiste Muire Crosshaven) coming into the weekend on the back of a recent 4.31 CBP at Munsters.

National senior indoor champion Kara Morrisey (Presentation Wexford) will be the headline act in the Intermediate Girls Pole Vault having recent secured a 3.20 Leinster schools championship record of her own. 

The throws events will welcome a host of Ireland’s most exciting young athletes. Caoimhe Gallen (St Columbas Stranorlar) will hope to take the Intermediate Girls Hammer Throw title, while Cian Crampton (Oaklands CC Edenderry) will take on Liam Shaw (Presentation Athenry) and Finn O’Neill (Limavady GS) in the Senior Boy Discus.

The aforementioned Shaw will also go in the Shot Put where he’ll be joined by national senior indoor champion Andrew Cooper (Kilkenny College) who also holds an entry in the hammer.

In the Intermediate Hammer, Thomas Williams (Colaiste Dun an Ri Kingscourt), who has posted some huge throws in recent weeks, can be expected to challenge the championship record.

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