Schools’ stars to descend on Tullamore
Ireland’s best schools’ athletes head for Tullamore this weekend to compete at the Irish Life Health All Ireland Schools Track and Field Championships (Sat June 4th).
The all-action programme will be streamed live on Youtube HERE from 9:30am and includes some rising stars such as Scott Fagan, Conor Callinan, Lucy-May Sleeman, Maeve O’Neill, and sisters Kirsti and Lucy Foster.
The walks get the track programme underway with Ciara Wilson-Bowen (Stepaside ET) and Meabh O’ Connor (Waterpark College) sure to be to the fore in the senior girls 2,000m, while Aisling Lane (Mercy Ballymahon) should go well in the intermediate race having already secured the U18 European standard.
Jake O'Brien (St Geralds Castlebar), Matthew Glennon (St Finians Mullingar), and Sam O'Sullivan (Rockwell College) will look to battle it out in the senior 3,000m.
From the walks attention turns to the girls 3,000m races, with Jane Buckley (Col na Toirbhirte Bandon) and Roise Roberts (Dominican Col Belfast) looking likely to contend for the top podium places in the senior race.
Action moves quickly to the long hurdles where Lucy McGlynn (Colaiste Cholmcille Ballyshannon) is sure to be in contention for national honours in the senior 400mH race. McGlynn narrowly missed the World U20 standard last weekend and could go close once more. McGlynn also goes in the 100mH and it should also be a great race with Katie Nolke (St Angelas Waterford) also set to take her place.
Adam Nolan (SLOT) set a new CR in the Boys U19 60mH final (8.08) at national juveniles and should be a tough nut to crack in the senior boys 110mH race. The talented pair of Sean Carmody (CBC Cork) and Conor Callinan (Col an Chroi Naofa) could provide the greatest threat.
Finn O'Neil (Limavady GS) is one to look out for in the intermediate hurdles race having twice broken the U18 decathlon record already this summer.
The distance gets longer, and the hurdles become barriers with open steeplechase races in the offing from 12.05pm. Eleanor Foott (Loreto Dalkey) goes in pursuit of the European standard in the intermediate 1500mSC, while Cara McNally (Lusk CC) should go well in the senior race.
Billy Coogan (Kilkenny CBS) and Sean McGinley (St Eunans Letterkenny) are two to watch out for in their respective intermediate and senior steeplechase finals.
And then it’s on the 100 metres and the fastest schoolboys and girls in Ireland.
Lucy-May Sleeman (Bruce College Cork) has been in flying form this season and will be one not to miss in the senior race. Sleeman (Leevale AC) provided one of the highlights of the indoor season in clocking a 7.43 CR (Juv) for 60m, taking over from the 7.44 clocked by Patience Jumbo-Gula in 2019.
The intermediate boys race should be fascinating with Max O'Reilly (Carrigaline CS), Toby Thompson (Campbell Col Belfast), and Lemar Luciano Gabriel (Col Muire Mathair) all in the hunt for gold.
Oliver Sweeney (Dominican Portstewart) secured a world U20 standard last week with a 10.47 and should be right in contention in the senior 100m. Nkem Onwumereh (St Declans Cabra) continues to impress and will be right there too. The St Brigids AC athlete took the U19 60m crown in 6.85 already this season.
Both Sleeman and Onwumereh will return for the 200m race later in the afternoon and again will be among the favourites. Sleeman set a 24.24 CR (Juv) at indoors and will be looking to continue her scintillating season. Jenna Breen (Grosvenor GS Belfast) is likely to push Sleeman all the way.
The 800m races follow and there should be no shortage of competitive races. The junior girls’ race could be a cracker with Jodi Foster (Down HS Downpatrick) and Isa McCarron (Our Ladys+St Pats Knock) sure to be right there, while Maeve O'Neill (MICC Dunmanway) had a brilliant 2021 season and looks the one to beat in the senior race following her World standard performance last week (2:06).
Neil Culhane (St Olivers Drogheda) looks an exciting young athlete, clocking 1:51:91 in Belfast last month and one not to miss on Saturday afternoon in the senior 800m.
The intermediate boys 800 could be one of the races of the day with Ben Clavin (St Attractas Tubbercurryben), JD Kelly (St Josephs Rushclaven), Oisin Lynch (St Brendans College), and Senan O'Reilly (St Colmans Fermoy) all in contention.
The 400m races look sure to be brilliant spectacles, in particular the senior girls with Kate O'Connell (Mt Sackville Chapelizod) and the returning Maeve O'Neill (MICC Dunmanway) set to battle it out.
O’Neill provided arguably the performance of the national indoors (Juv) in taking the U19 800m title in a a big CR of 2.08.80, taking over from Ciara Everard’s 2.09.74 from 2008.
The 400m races should be as thrilling as always, with Adam Courtney (Dunclug College Ballymena) and David Mannion (Seamount KinvaraBoys) set to go in the senior race.
The 1500m will see the return of the impressive Foster sisters. Lucy Foster (Down HS Downpatrick) will go in the intermediate race, having set a 4:37.96 CBP at the national juvenile championships in April.
The intermediate boys’ race will also include a rising star, with Lughaidh Mallon (Rathmore Belfast) continuing to impress with each appearance. Cormac Dixon (Holy Family Rathcoole) is one to also keen a look out for and is also entered in the 3000m.
The senior race for girls should be another superb race, with Ruby Streven (St Marys Edenderry) sure to give her running. Kirsti Foster (Down HS Downpatrick) broke Nadia Power’s U18 indoor record with a 4:33.64 CBP and will look to continue her form here.
Foster’s schoolmate, Rebecca Rossiter (Down HS Downpatrick), will ensure a truly run race from the gun and will be right there coming around the final bend.
Scott Fagan (Castleknock CC) has been on fire this season, claiming gold in a stacked all-Ireland schools’ cross country which included Irish U20 10,000m record holder Dean Casey. Fagan will look to show his class in the senior 1500m race alongside Jack Fenlon (Col Iosagain Portarlington) and Kyle Thompson (Regent Hse Newtownards).
Relay fever sets in from 5.15pm and there is sure to be no lack of thrills and spills as the 4 x 100m gets things up and running. The final track action of the day will 4x300m and 4x400m senior races.
The hammer, high jump, long jump and pole vault get action underway in the field events bright and early, with competitions starting from 9am.
Gallen sisters Caoimhe and Adrienne are set to represent St Columbas Stranorlar and will take all the beating in their respective hammer competitions.
Katie Nolke (St Angelas Waterford), Grace Fitzgerald (St Annes Tipperary), and Laura Frawley (St Marys Charleville) will ensure a competitive senior long jump competition, while Daniel Quirk (Temple Carrig Greystones) is entered in both the long and triple jump and should go well in both.
Katie Nolke and Grace Fitzgerald will also return to triple jump action later in the afternoon. Sophie Byrne (Newbridge College) goes in the intermediate triple jump following her Leinster record last month.
Maeve Fleming (Scoil Mhuire Cork) has been in super high jump form this season, already securing an indoor title and the qualifying standard for the European Youth Olympics Festival in Slovakia later this year. Ava Rochford (Rice College Ennis) should also go well and will double up in the pole vault.
Adam Nolan (Scoil Chonglais Baltinglass) is one to look out for in the senior boys’ high jump competition following a string of consistent performances.
The record-breaking pair of Conor Callinan (Col an Chroi Naofa) and Una Brice (Mount Mercy Cork) will be back competing in the pole vault competitions come the afternoon.
Brice posted a CR of 3.50m in the Girls U19 pole vault recently, breaking the previous 3.35 CR of Ciara Hickey which had stood since 2018.
Conor Callinan has already claimed a famous treble of indoor titles, securing the U19 juvenile pole vault title with a Championship Record 4.35m. The title completed a remarkable indoor season for Callinan who has secured a senior indoor title, an U20 national title, and an U20 national record this indoor season.
Ballinrobe CS pair of Dairmuid Duffy and Oisin Joyce will go throw-for-throw in the senior javelin competition, while Maebh O’Connor (St Vincents Dundalk) will look to follow in the footsteps of sister Kate in the intermediate javelin final.
Callum Keating (Hazelwood Col Dromcollogher) will go well in the senior shot put final, and watch out for Liam Shaw (Presentation Athenry) in the discus as he continues his rapid progress.