Paul's dream start to provincial competition
YOU can't keep a good club down and so it was for Blackrock AC as it took home lots of metal from the Leinster Track & Field Championships, staged at Tullamore last weekend.
One of the earliest to star was Paul O'Grady (pictured below) in the Javelin, where he broke the Under-13 Boys championship record with his very first throw! Not only was it his first throw, but it was his first ever appearance in the Leinsters. Paul was robbed of gold late on when the reigning champ came back and actually surpassed Paul's mammoth 27.8m throw. But silver was tremendous, and Paul added an excellent fourth in the shot to ensure he appears in the All Ireland finals in two events in July.
On the other end of the spectre, Joy Akpemoses - returning to the Leinsters at under-17 level after a three-year absence - showed she is on the way back to her best with bronze in the Long Jump with an excellent 5.07m and qualified for the final of the 100m, but was unable to compete owing to illness.
Joy's under-15 sister, the brilliant Gina, continued her immense form when streaking to gold in the 100m and Long Jump, and silver in the 200m. Gina then anchored the Louth
team to drive her colleagues to a huge victory in the Under-15 4x100m relay.
Also posting two golds and a silver was Annabelle Morris who was very impressive in both Under-17 Hurdles events, the 100m and 300m. Annabelle, who has been having High Jump run-up problems recently, nonetheless took a brave silver in that event.
Annabelle's sister Penny did herself proud also. Whilst not reproducing her Leinster silver from last year, Penny did record a fine personal best in the Under-13 High Jump, but was shaded out of the medals.
Penny's pal Kelly Breen was another to show great promise. Having eased into the final of a very hot Under-13 Girls 600m, Kelly produced a superb 1:54 which sadly wasn't enough to place her on the podium.
Gemma McCrave is another wonderful young Blackrock athlete who will be back in Tullamore for the All-Irelands. Although Gemma did not reproduce her fine Louth Championship-winning 4.61m in the under-14 Girls Long Jump, she did produce her great Hurdles form. Having won her semi-final with authority, Gemma pushed the top hurdlers all the way in the final to grab a hugely deserved bronze.
Although the excellent Rebecca Carr had to cope with the heartbreak of losing the under-18 Girls Long Jump by just 2cm, she was majestic when leaving her challenge late to take a thrilling 400m, with what appeared to be a bit in hand. Rebecca also ran very well in the sprints. Right at the end of the day, she was joined by Megan McGuigan and Aine Lynch to bag a great under-19 county 4x100m relay win for Louth.
Also starring on the day were Aoife Cunningham, Erica Murphy and Aine McElarney who were unlucky not to go home with a medal when, along with Annabelle Morris, they comprised the whole Louth under-17 relay team, but had to be content with fourth place.
Meeanwhile, the Blackrock AC Annual Beach Races kick off at 7pm this Friday in the village, with contests from tots up to under-19.