BLACKROCK AC's Gina Akpemoses was the star turn for club and county at the All Ireland Juvenile Athletics Championships staged at a sun-baked Tullamore last Saturday and Sunday. The exceptionally talented Gina took home two brilliant gold medals from her two events.
On Saturday morning in the under-15 Girls Long Jump Gina completely outjumped her opponents prod ing a stunning best of 5.47m. Then, in the afternoon, she dazzled the crowd with a breathtaking victory in the 100m in aq wonderful 12.56 secs. Gina will be back in two weeks time to attempt a very possible treble in the 200m.
Blackrock's other Ireland medallist was Rebecca Carr who ran a splendid personal best of 59.45 secs from an unfavoured lane 9 in the under-18 Girls 400m to grab a treasured Bronze. Her pal Annabelle Morris had the misfortune to take two fourth places at under-17 level when coming home behind the same three girls in both the 100m Hurdles and 300m Hurdles.
Also in the Hurdles was Louth under-14 champion Gemma McCrave who ran a brilliant second in her semi final before finishing a brave sixth in the Final.
And newcomer to the javelin Paul O'Grady continues to astound. Having medalled at Louth and Leinster in both Javelin and Shot Put after only a couple of weeks throwing, Paul finished sixth in Ireland in Javelin on the Sunday, despite nursing an injury which ultimately prevented him taking part in the Shot Put.
Gina had registered a great win earlier in the week in the under-15 Girls Long Jump during the first round of the Louth Summer League out in a rain soaked Bush on Tuesday evening 2nd July. Gina also ran third in the 800m. And her sister Joy won the under-17 Girls Long Jump from Annabelle.
The League had got off to a great start for Blackrock when, in the under-9 Turbo Javelin, wee Senan McCarthy got second in the Boys, and Ciara O'Brien got first in the Girls. Ciara also ran a fine heat for third in the 300m.
At under-10s, Leo MacRuairi, despite being buffeted about, finished fourth in the 300m,and Lily McEntaggart came a fine second in her heat with strong running Maeve Fee just behind.
Blackrock had it all their own way at under-11 where all Ireland pairs Champions Aoibhinn McMahon and Aoife O'Brien took first and second, as expected, throwing huge distances to be well ahead of the opposition. And Neasa Reilly clocked a superb 49.9 secs when winning the 300m, with Aoife O'Brien fifth ahead of the brand new Caoimhe Staunton, an eyecatching sixth just ahead of Caoilfhionn McCarthy and Eimear Fee.
Sarah Morgan was first Blackrocker home after a very strong finish for third place in the under-12 Girls 600m. Close up were Ciara O'Hanlon, Hannah Reilly, Sarah Clarke and debutante Meghan Hoey who showed great battle over this long distance. Ciara and the two Sarahs also took on the Turbo Javelin.
Kelly Breen had an outstanding second in the under-13 Girls 600m with Penny Morris in behind. Both girls performed very well in the Long Jump without making the podium.
Gemma McCrave and Clodagh Roe ran excellent fifth and sixth places respectively in the under-14 Girls 800m. Gemma jumped a tremendous 4.52m in the Long Jump for second place ahead of Shauna McMahon and Clodagh.