Juniors gunning for glory
Big weekend for young athletes in indoor Athlone tests
Over the next two weekends, Athlone I.T. hosts the Irish Life Health National Juvenile indoor championships.
Wexford will have several athletes who will undoubtedly be in the medal shake-up. These athletes are now counting down the days and hours until they get to prove themselves against the rest of Ireland's top Juvenile talents.
Jack Forde has already had a scintillating season. The renowned multi-eventer is in P.B. shape at the moment and will have his eyes firmly on the highest step of the podium.
The St. Killian's athlete won a plethora of medals at the Leinster championships. Jack will be eager to add even more silverware to his ever-growing collection.
On Sunday, Jack will be in action in the high jump and the hurdles, with the shot putt to come on the following Saturday.
Aisling Kelly (Taghmon) has also had a superb season to date. Having won Leinster Under-17 gold in 200m as well as bagging silver medals at 60m and 200m, she will be looking to end her season on a high. Aisling competes in the 60m on Saturday and the 200m on Sunday.
High jump specialist and multi-eventer Maeve Hayes (St. Paul's) will also be going for gold at the weekend.
Maeve won Leinster Under-18 medals in high jump, long jump and shot. She competes in all three events at the nationals and, in each case, will be hoping to get among the medals.
Joining Maeve in shot putt will be her clubmate, Erin Van Straaten. Erin won the event at the Leinsters, ahead of Maeve, and will be among the favourites for the title in Athlone.
Another St. Paul's athlete, Gergely Pap, goes in the boys' Under-18 shot putt and, given that he won the event last year, it would be foolish to bet against him.
D.M.P's Lystus Ebosele will be chasing gold in the Under-19 shot. Her training partner, Adamstown's Eadaoin Stafford, second at the Leinsters, will also be looking for podium success.
Eva Casey (Macamores) is current Leinster Under-15 shot putt champion, and she will be seeking further success next weekend.
Another talented multi-eventer, Saidhbhe Byrne of Enniscorthy, will be in with a shout in the Under-16 shot putt. Saidhbhe is also likely to compete in the high jump and, her favourite event, the 60m hurdles.
Myles Hewlett is one of Wexford's top young middle distance talents as he showed when representing Ireland at last weekend's S.I.A.B. schools international cross-country.
The United Striders boy ran a time of 2:08 to win Leinster gold in the Under-15 800m. He will be hotly fancied at the nationals.
Myles' clubmate, Adam O'Connor, having won Leinster bronze in the Under-16 1,500m and placing fourth in the 800m, will likely double up again at the weekend. If he is in form and he gets his tactics right, he could make the podium.
Another United Striders athlete who will be aiming for the final is Darragh Flannelly. Darragh was fourth in the Under-16 1,500m and will be looking to have a good weekend.
Danika Gilshinan of St. Paul's lines out in the Under-17 800m, having medalled at the Leinsters.
Emma McCarthy of St. Killian's was a superb and well-deserved medal winner in the Under-12 girls' 600m at the Leinsters and will be hungry for further success this weekend.
Another Striders athlete, Patrick Doyle, will be looking to put in a strong performance in the Under-18 60m.
Two Striders' athletes, Isabel Bawden and Ryan Kielty, compete in the walks.
Joining Bawden in the Under-15 race will be Brídín Doyle (Craanford Harriers) and Ciara Mooney (Adamstown). Wexford achieved a one-two-three in this event at the Leinster championships.
Another Adamstown hopeful in the walks, Aoibhinn Crean, competes at Under-17 level.
Multi-talented Kevin O'Mahony of D.M.P. will also be in the mix at the weekend. Kevin is a prolific cross-country and track runner.
He performed excellently across the board at the Leinsters, winning medals at 60m, 600m and long jump.
Blanaid Fogarty (Enniscorthy) competes in her favourite event, the 200m, and will be aiming to firstly get through to the final and then to give it her best shot.
Menapians will have two talented young athletes competing. Ruby Reynolds has only been involved in competitive athletics for just over a year but in that time has proven herself to have a real talent for both sprint hurdles and long jump.
No less important is the fact that she genuinely enjoys the sport and simply loves competing. Ruby will be in action at Under-14 level.
Her clubmate, Kara Morrissey, jumped out of her skin in the Under-13 long jump at the Leinsters and is really looking forward to her very first national championships.
Bree will be well represented at the championships. Dara Casey and Sophie Codd compete in the boys' Under-17 and girls' Under-18 60m hurdles respectively.
Abbie Doyle will be in contention in the girls' Under-14 60m. Ciara Laffan competes in the Under-12 long jump and 60m hurdles.
She won the latter event at the Leinster championships.
Katie Doyle will be in action in the Under-13 60m hurdles, having finishing second in the Leinsters.
In the field events, S.B.R's Orla Deegan will be in action in both the Under-15 high jump and long jump.
Cian Bates (Kilmore) was fourth in the national Juniors and winner of the Under-19 Leinster long jump. He will be chasing a podium spot.
Tara Doyle of Adamstown will be in action in the girls' Under-19 triple jump. D.M.P's Michael Kent competes in both high jump and shot putt while his clubmates, Darragh Stone, Shannon Codd and Layla Stafford, will be in action in shot, high jump and long jump respectively.
For Wexford to have so many athletes competing at the national indoor championships is impressive in itself; that so many of these athletes are real medal prospects is particularly noteworthy.