IT was a busy weekend for Kerry athletes of all ages with medals won at the Aviva Schools All-Ireland Track and Field Championships which were held in Tullamore on Saturday and the Munster Senior and Master Track and Field Championships which were held at CIT on Sunday.
The best of Ireland's schools' athletics talent competed at Tullamore Harriers Stadium on Saturday. This yearly event ended months of tough competition for Kerry athletes who progressed through Kerry and Munster finals to secure a place in the final.
In the Junior Girls Aoife Doyle (IS Killorglin) won gold in the discus and bronze in the hammer with a new PB of 40.71. Rita Casey of St Brigids took gold in Intermediate Girls javelin and the Senior Girls Pole was won by Katie O'Riordan Presentation Tralee. For the boys gold medals were won by Michael Foley (Tarbert CS) in the Junior 800m, David Kenny (St Brendan's) in the Junior 1200m walk, Jason Foley (Tarbert CS) in the Intermediate 100m hurdles and Adam King (Col na Sceilge) in the Intermediate hammer. Eoghan Courtney (Mercy Mount Hawk) won silver in the Senior Boys 400m hurdles.
It was the turn of our slightly older athletes to shine on Sunday at the Munster Senior and Master Track and Field Championships. For the Senior Women Claire Fitzgerald (Tralee Harriers) took gold in the shot and the discus with Hannah O'Sullivan (Gneeveguilla AC) in second place and Kayleigh Cronin (Spa Muckross) in third. Ann Marie Costello (Gneeveguilla) won the 5000m. For the Senior Men, Ger Cremin (An Roicht AC) took gold in the 110m hurdles and silver in the 400m hurdles.
The shot and the discus were won by Daniel Clifford (Farranfore Maine Valley) with Alan O'Connor (Tralee Harriers) taking the silver in the same events. The Senior Mens hammer was won by Michael O'Neill (Gneeveguilla AC).
In the Masters competition, the stars of the day were undoubtedly the ladies of Gneeveguilla AC. Elaine Cronin (women O35) took gold in the 200m, long jump and shot and silver in the 100m. In the O40s Annette O'Brien won gold in the 100m, just ahead of club mate Brid Stack. Annette then went on to win gold in the high jump, long jump and shot, while Brid took gold in the 200m and 400m. Eileen O'Riordan was second in the O40 shot and discus. Jennifer Walsh also had a good day taking silver in the O35 high jump and long jump.
In the Men O40 100m the gold was won by Tomas Griffin (An Riocht) just ahead of Jeremiah McCarthy of Kenmare AC. Tomas also won gold in the 200m. Silver was also won by O35 Kenmare athlete David Littlejohn and the Kenmare O40 men won bronze in the 4 x 100m relay. John Barrett (Gneeveguilla AC) won the O45 3000m and Artur Novak (St Brendan's) the O40 high jump.
The O40 shot and discus were won by Sean O'Shea (Farranfore Maine Valley) with Artur Novak taking third place in the shot. Not to be outdone by his son Alan, Patsy O'Connor (Tralee Harriers) took gold in O55 shot and javelin. Jim O'Shea (Farranfore Maine Valley) took the honours in O70 men with gold in 100m, 200m, high jump and long jump. In the same age category Mike Browne (Gneeveguilla AC) took gold in the 800m and 3,000m.
Final honours of the day to Ed Mulcahy who in the 80+ category won the shot and the hammer.
It was an exceptionally busy weekend for one Kerry athlete. As well as competing in the Munster Seniors on Sunday, Claire Fitzgerald had competed in the Celtic International Track and Field Championships – an international meeting between teams from Irish Universities and Scottish Universities – at Tallaght AC's stadium the previous day. Here she won both the shot and the discus, setting a new universities record of 14.54 in the shot.
Over in Manchester at the British Milers Club Grand Prix on Saturday Laura Crowe (An Riocht AC) was in top form when she was a runaway winner of the 1,500m. Her winning time of 4:12.25 is the fastest by an Irish woman so far this season and improves on the 4:16.48 she ran in Athlone in February.