Wet weather fails to dampen team spirit
THE incessant heavy rain leaving Dundalk on the M1 had thankfully abated by the time the young athletes from Dundalk St Gerards AC arrived at Drogheda's Lourdes Stadium for the annual Boyne AC Open Sports on Sunday last.
Representing the club were Grainne Moran, Conor and Ciara Gorham, Oisin and Catelyn Byrne, Ciara Cunningham, Shane Smith, Neil McCarron, Ellen Murphy, Patricia Jumbo-Gula, Maria Smith, Caitlin Mulholland and Scott Dorian.
Grainne Moran had an impressive haul in the girls U8 category qualifying for the 80m decider where she sped to a fine 3rd place and followed that up with a strong finishing 2nd in the 200m. Conor Gorham showed he is one to watch for the future qualifying for the boys U8 sprint final where he ran another fine race. In the turbo javelin he moved up an age group to take on the older boys and gave another bold showing.
Ciara Cunningham used her super speed to great effect with 3rd place finishes in the U9 girls 80m and also the 200m. In the turbo javelin she once again showed her mettle taking a hat trick of bronze medals with a fine 3rd place. Ciara Gorham took part in the girls U10 events. In the 80m & 200m she gave her all and showed up really well. She went on to take part in the turbo javelin where once again she performed strongly. Shane Smith showed great potential in the U10 boys 80m & 200m and performed with great distinction in the turbo javelin where he showed great promise for the future.
Catelyn Byrne made a welcome return to competion, blowing off the cobwebs with a strong finish to qualify for the U11 girls 100m final. In the decider she once again showed great speed to finish powerfully just outside the medals. Big brother Oisin showed Catelyn wasn't the only talented athlete in the household with an excellent run in the U13 boys 100m where he showed great form to just miss out on a medal in 4th place.
Neil McCarron showed up well in the U12 boys 100m & 400m, running bravely and showing great pace. In the long jump he moved a year up to compete against the older boys where he once again showed great promise. Patricia Jumbo-Gula & Ellen Murphy were drawn with numerous provincial & All Ireland medallists in a loaded semi final in the U12 girls 100m. Patricia started brightly and led all the way to win and qualify for the final with Ellen just missing out making up good ground late on after a slow start. In the final Patricia unfortunately didn't get away well but gave her usual barnstorming finish to take a fine silver medal. In the turbo javelin Patricia was again to the fore with a great new PB to take gold. Ellen moved up an age group to take part in the U13 girls long jump. Despite being shy of the board with her efforts she still jumped really well to take a fine silver medal against the older girls.
Maria Smith showed her blinding speed to great effect taking the U13 girls 100m impressively. In the 600m she ran another fine race pouncing late to snatch second place in a strong contest. Caitlin Mulholland made no mistake in the U15 girls 800m hitting the front from the start to lead all the way for an impressive victory. In the long jump she once again performed strongly for an excellent silver medal. Scott Dorian almost missed the junior men's javelin arriving just in time for the start.
Despite not warming up properly he wasted little time, getting straight down to business and throwing really well to take a silver medal. In the u17 boys 100m he ran strongly to just miss out in the podium in 4th place. In the 800m he once again performed well to take another medal in 3rd place.
Finishing off the day were the ever popular relay competitions. In the U13 girls 4 x 100m St Laurence O'Tooles of Carlow's Ciara Moore donned the red singlet to team up with Maria Smith, Ellen Murphy and Patricia Jumbo-Gula forming a formidable quartet who went on to record an all the way victory in impressive fashion.
Having just collected their gold medals and barely caught breath Ellen, Maria and Patricia were back on the track with Neil McCarron to take part in the U13 mixed 4 x 100m. Showing no signs of fatigue the team romped home to another impressive victory. Caitlin Mulholland also got in on the act forming part of an inter club team to take gold in the U15 girls 4 x 100m to round off a very successful day's competition.
Next week sees the inaugural running of the Setanta Open Sports at Glenmore AC's track at Bush, Cooley, and training continues on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in Young Irelands GFC's grounds on Hoey's Lane at 6.30pm.