Schools stars show paces
Waterford hosts second day of South Leinster tests
The second day of the South Leinster Schools track and field was held on Thursday in a wet and blustery Waterford.
The poor weather did not, however, get in the way of Wexford athletes adding to the successes of the previous week.
At stake in this, a necessary first step on the road to competing at Leinster and All-Ireland levels, is both school pride and the not-insignificant need to achieve qualification.
With only two to qualify from shorter races and three from middle distance, jumps and throws, making it through to provincial level can never be taken for granted.
David McDonald of Wexford C.B.S. looked leaner and stronger than ever as he blitzed his way to victory in the Senior boys' 100m and 200m.
Blathnaid Fogarty of St. Mary's won the Intermediate 200m, with Suzie Brennan of Presentation Wexford in second place. Hannah Roche-Kelly of St. Mary's (New Ross) also made it through to the Inter 200m final but did not medal.
Nathan Murphy (Wexford C.B.S.) showed he is recovered from the nasty injury which kept him out of action for much of last year with a good third in the Under-16 shot putt. And, just in case anyone was still in doubt as to his form, he delivered an excellent silver medal-winning run in the mile.
Darra Casey won the Inter 100m hurdles with Shane O'Neill (Wexford C.B.S.) third.
Sophie Codd (Coláiste Abbáin) won the girls' Inter hurdles sprint ahead of Liadh Dwyer of Loreto Wexford in second.
Aaron Tierney-Smith (Wexford C.B.S.) had a good win in the Senior hurdles. The talented Menapians athlete was awarded the Malachy Sheridan Scholarship at the club's awards night last weekend.
There was an exciting finale to the Senior hammer, not an event known for tight finishes. Gold went to Bronagh O'Hanlon of Presentation Wexford, with Amy Forde (Loreto Wexford) second, a mere one cm. adrift.
Gergely Pap (Wexford C.B.S.) took gold in the Inter discus with a P.B. of 35.95m. He also won the shot putt with a best effort of 12.35m.
Lystus Ebosele of Coláiste Bríde won both the Senior shot putt and discus.
Marguerite Furlong of St. Mary's (New Ross) was second in the Senior shot, with Zara Power in third place. Marguerite was also second in discus.
Éadaoin Stafford of Coláiste Bríde won the Inter shot putt and placed second in discus.
Pádraig Hore of New Ross C.B.S. won both the Senior discus (42.05m) and shot putt (12.80m).
No one was surprised to see long, tall Ryan Carthy-Walsh, in the colours of Good Counsel (New Ross), winning the Senior boys' high jump.
Paul Gately of St. Peter's College was third in the Inter high jump. Dearbhla O'Hanlon of Presentation Wexford placed fifth in the girls' Inter high jump.
Jack Forde of Wexford C.B.S. hop-step-and-jumped 12:40m in the Inter triple jump to take the gold; he was second in high jump with a best of 1.75m. He also played his part in getting the school team onto the podium in the relay.
In the Inter girls' triple jump there was a 1-2 for the St. Mary's (New Ross) duo of Tara Doyle and Grace Cloney. Rachel Power (Loreto Wexford) was fourth.
Patrick Doyle of Good Counsel (New Ross) took the silver in the Inter triple jump.
Aoife O'Connor (Loreto Wexford) won the Under-16 long jump and placed third in the 200m.
Joshua Hewlett of New Ross C.B.S., a member of last year's Tailteann Games team, won the Inter javelin.
There were Inter and Senior silvers in Javelin for Kate Jackman and Sonia Mooney respectively, both girls students of St. Mary's (New Ross).
The girls' Inter 100m showed the depth of talent in this age group in the county with five Wexford girls making the final.
The gold went to the back-in-form Sabia Doyle of Presentation Wexford. Aisling Kelly of Loreto Wexford was second, Blathnaid Fogarty of St. Mary's third, Suzie Brennan (Presentation Wexford) fourth, and April Keeling (Loreto Wexford) fifth.
Róisín O'Reilly (Loreto Wexford) followed her win the previous week in the Inter 1,500m steeplechase with a win in the barrier-free 1,500m.
Conor Doyle (Enniscorthy C.B.S.) won a bronze in the Junior 800m.
Liam Turner (St. Peter's Wexford) had to endure the wind and rain for the Senior 5,000. Running comfortably in third place for much of the race, he finished with a fast last lap to take the silver.
Sammy Delaney of Bridgetown took fourth spot in the Senior long jump and was second in the timed heat of the 400m. Danika Gilshinan (Loreto Wexford) was third in the Inter 800m.
Jack Hayden of St. Peter's gave it a good lash in the Senior 400m. He was also a member of the St. Peter's bronze medal-winning relay team.
The relays provided great excitement. There was a fine win for Loreto Wexford in the Inter girls, with Liadh Dwyer handing to April Keeling to Rachel Power, and Aisling Kelly taking it home.
The Inter boys saw three schools neck and neck in the home straight, with Enniscorthy edging ahead to take the win. Wexford C.B.S. were second and St. Peter's Wexford were third.
The previous week also saw a large number of Wexford athletes making the podium at the opening day of the South Leinsters.
Saidhbhe Byrne of Coláiste Bhríde (Carnew) secured her place in the Leinsters with double gold in Minor hurdles and shot putt. The talented young all-rounder did not let a long delay on the start line of the hurdles race unsettle her, putting technique and experience to good use as she took the win.
Elaine Oladiran (F.C.J. Bunclody) won gold in Junior shot. Eimear Halpin (Loreto Wexford) won the Minor discus and also made the final of the 75m hurdles, finishing fourth.
Rachel Gregg (Presentation Wexford) jumped a P.B. (1.40m) in taking gold in the Minor high jump. The school showed its strength-in-depth in field events with two further medal-winning performances: Triini Jurisco won a silver in the Junior hammer and just missed out in long jump; Sophie Kelly took bronze in the Junior shot putt.
Aisling O'Brien (Mercy New Ross) won a silver in the Minor discus and bronze in the Junior hammer.
Competing for New Ross C.B.S. were Jacob English who got silver in the Senior 400m hurdles, and Tadhg English who placed fourth in the Junior long jump.
St. Mary's had a successful day, with Triona Mooney an easy winner of the Senior walk and three silvers going to Aoibhinn Crean, in Junior walk, Ellie Cloney, in Junior triple jump, and Ciara Mooney, in Minor javelin.
Sinéad O'Reilly (Loreto Wexford) improved on her 500m silver at the All-Ireland Loreto Schools the previous day with a gold in the 500m.
Róisín O'Reilly, also Loreto Wexford, ran her first-ever steeplechase in the Intermediate class, the distance 1,500m. She settled into the race well and followed the lead girl (a Senior!) for the early part of the race until easing ahead and romping home to take the gold.
Claragh Keane of Presentation Wexford placed a spirited third in the Junior 1,500m. Hanging well off the pace in the first lap, she got down to business over the second lap and fought her way to a fast-finishing bronze medal position.
Ciara Mullally (Our Lady of Lourdes) had a very successful day, winning silver at Minor level in both 100m and 800m.
Ben Wall of Good Counsel took bronze in the Junior 100m.
Conor Doyle (Enniscorthy C.B.S.) was third in the Junior 800m while Eimear Fortune (Loreto Wexford) was third in the Junior girls' 800m.
Darragh Flannelly (Good Counsel) picked up silver in the 800m and also in the relay.
Orlaith Deegan (F.C.J. Bunclody) won a pair of silvers in the Minor girls' 500m and high jump, the latter coming following countback. Darragh Breen, also F.C.J. Bunclody, was fifth in the Minor 800m.
Sophie Codd of Coláiste Abbáin was second in the Inter 300m hurdles. Darra Casey of Enniscorthy C.B.S. took bronze in the Inter 400m hurdles. Anna Finan (Coláiste Bríde, Enniscorthy) came third in the Minor girls' hurdles.
Brídín Doyle of Coláiste Bhríde (Carnew) won gold in the Junior 1,200m walk.
Jack Byrne (Gorey Community School) placed second in the Junior walk. Jack is new to walking and, following on from his indoor bronze, is improving at the event all the time. His schoolmate, Elizabeth Gahan, took silver in the Junior girls' 100m.
There were two medals in race walking for New Ross, with Ciara Murphy (St. Mary's) picking up a bronze and Ryan Kielthy (Good Counsel) collecting a silver.
Loreto Wexford had Emma Carr in the Junior long jump and 200m, and Bonnie Murphy in the Minor long jump and high jump. Both girls competed well but were just outside the medals.
Ciara Martin for Presentation Wexford was unlucky not to advance to Leinster in the Junior 800m, placing fourth.
Despite battling hard on the back straight, she was denied a podium place.
Ailbhe White (Presentation Wexford) ran a gutsy 800m and was unlucky in ending up outside the medals in fifth.
Jane Sinnott (Loreto Wexford) was fifth in Junior hurdles. Oisín Kehoe (Wexford C.B.S.) was fourth in the Minor long jump, while schoolmate Darragh Collins was fourth in the Inter steeplechase. Chloe O'Toole of Presentation Wexford was fifth in her 200m.
New Ross athletes who competed valiantly but finished outside top three in their events were Finn Kelly, Louise Doyle and Aidan Shannon. Ditto for Jessie Akinyemi (Presentation Wexford) and Alex Gregg (Wexford C.B.S.).
Loreto Wexford travelled to the All-Ireland Loreto Schools in Santry on April 26. While the team was a little below par due to injury and the fact that some girls were minding themselves for the following day's South Leinsters ,the team did the school proud, coming second overall.
If the school had an award for most valued athlete there would have been a number of contenders.
Aisling Kelly would definitely be among them. She won the Senior sprint and placed second for silver in the long jump. She was also part of the bronze medal-winning relay team along with April Keeling, Liadh Dwyer and Rachel Power. Rachel also won silver in the Intermediate javelin.
Another contender might have been team captain Amy Forde who took gold in the Senior discus and silver in the shot.
Then there was Eimear Halpin who took gold in the discus and silver in the 75m hurdles. Emma Carr won silver in the Junior long jump and bronze in the 200m.
Zara Power won the Intermediate shot putt. Sinéad O'Reilly was second in the Minor 500m.
April Keeling won her 100m heat and placed fifth in the final. Liadh Dwyer was just outside the medals in the sprint hurdles, placing fourth.
Clubs are reminded that the new dates for the Mr Oil County Wexford Juvenile track and field championships in Enniscorthy are: day one on Sunday, May 13, and day two on Sunday, May 27, 11 a.m. start for both. See programmes on the Athletics Wexford website.
There was a good response to last weekend's Athletics Leader course and the previous week's officials' course, both held in Enniscorthy.
Coming up next is a Level 1 coaching course at Waterford R.S.C. on May 25, 26 and June 1, 2. Note the times: May 25 and June 1, 6-9 p.m.; May 26 and June 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price: €100.
Then on June 9 there is an endurance running coaching course at Aspect Hotel, Kilkenny. Further details are at athleticsireland.ie.
Fixtures: May 11 (7 p.m.), Co. Wexford Novice road race championships, Camross, hosted by United Striders; May 13 (11 a.m.), Mr Oil Wexford Juvenile track and field championships (day one), Enniscorthy.