Wednesday 26 June 2019

Young bird programme gets under way

THE first race of the young bird programme began on Sunday week from Dungarvan for members of Wexford North/South Road Invitation Club with eleven members entering 270 birds with the South Leinster Federation. In total around 2,000 birds were entered for the race overall.

The birds were released at 9.15 a.m. and with the north-westerly wind helping it took the winning birds just 52 minutes to fly their 47-mile journey to Wexford.

All members who raced got full returns in a short space of time which goes to show how well everyone had trained their birds. Batches arrived together in to town and it was down to the fastest trappers coming to the fore.

Taking the red card was Francis Fanning of King Street who also took fourth position. Francis or Captain Fantastic as he is known in pigeon circles has not been racing much over the past couple of seasons but I know he has been seen up around Billy Cullimore's a lot and it looks like he has picked up a few tips.

As we all know, all of Wexford were celebrating the hurlers' win over Clare on Saturday night but I believe the result of this race is on the noticeboards of The Sailing Cot, Billy Kelly's, The Wicked Swan and The Pike, how ever they got there. Maybe Francis did a bit of celebrating himself.

In second spot was the partnership of Robin and Mary Hillis of Liam Mellows. Robin and Mary are top-class pigeon fanciers and by the look of the result sheet they mean business with the young birds as they took a number of positions in the top 20.

Taking fifth to ninth spots was Billy Cullimore, the best flyer in the club for the past number of seasons, and I have no doubt he also means business as even though he has a number of other interests, pigeon racing is his passion.

Tenth position went to the partnership of Willyie O'Neill and sons, another loft having a good season. The Wexford birds also topped the Federation.

Next week's race is also from Dungarvan and with six or more expected to race, the birdage should be up to the 500 mark which goes to show the club is going from strength to strength.

It has been a long time since this amount of pigeons raced into Wexford, so it's fantastic to see.


The Leinster Kettlebell Championship was held recently in Ballinteer, Dublin and proved to be the most successful one which Wexford Kettlebell Club have travelled away to so far.

Twenty-five athletes, including 14 Juniors, made the day trip up along with Mammies, Daddies, family members and friends which totalled over 40, making Wexford KB Club the largest contingent!

Our Junior lifters were a sight to behold as usual with many commenting on their talent, technique and numbers. They are getting on the platforms. These five-minute competitions are a great opportunity for new lifters to show their new skills and get some valued experience on the platform and in front of a judge!

Cousins Oran Cleary and Mark Shortall were both at their first competition, in long cycle with 2 x 8 kg. Mark won silver and Oran received bronze. Ashling Kelly competed for the first time in long cycle with a 12 kg. bell, hitting almost 60 reps. Mick Kelly, Wexford's coach, said 'it's great to see young girls taking up the sport and I hope to see more girls like Ashling deciding to compete. With more experience they will only get better & better'.

Junior results: boys' 8 kg. kettlebell, Billy Hillis, two golds in Jerk and LC; Gary Carroll and Cian Doyle both hit new personal bests; boys' 12 kg. kettlebell, Adam Kavanagh, silver in Jerk and bronze in LC; Brendan Smith, two gold medals in Jerk and LC; Ian Kelly, gold medal in Snatch.

Junior girls' results: Emma Smith won three gold medals in her three lifts and hit 99 reps. in her snatch discipline, one of the finest lifts of the day. Megan Lane won silver and gold, and Rebecca Dowdall had a pick of three, winning bronze, silver and gold for her efforts.

Shane Kelly lifted long cycle with 2 x 24 kg. bells and won gold. Daniel Curran, lifting 20 kg. in Jerk and Snatch, also got a gold medal. Both guys showed great strength and lifted the equivalent (or heavier) of a bag of coal over their heads every time for repetitions.

Wexford was also very unique on the day as we had not one but two mother and son combination lifters. Fiona Kelly at her first competition won a silver medal and her son, Ian Kelly, snatched his way to a gold. Catherine Creane-Hillis hit a new P.B. in her long cycle event and her very popular son, Billy, kept us all smiling as he lifted!

Senior athletes competing were Clara O'Connor, Collette Butler, Marian Roberts, Marie Laffan-Cullen, Selina Morrin, Paul Hillis, Paul Kelly, Aaron Boyce, Martin Murphy and Keith Dwyer.

Training is ongoing in the club with a very important competition coming up on August 30 and 31, our last ten-minute and ranking event at home and a great chance to promote the club and raise its profile again. All our Junior lifters will really get to show off their new skills and abilities at this event.

The club is trying to raise funds again so we have bag packing coming up in Dunnes Stores from Thursday, July 31, until Saturday, August 2. Please contact Kathleen in the club if you have a couple of hours to spare on any of these days. We would appreciate any help at all.

The Ivan Denisov training camp on August 12-14 is filling up fast Also, Honorary Master of Sport Arsenij Zhernakov is coming to Wexford for a coaching/training seminar like no other on September 6-7. If you're looking for details on either please contact Mick on 086-2621488 or call into the gym any morning from 10 a.m. onwards.


It was a busy weekend for Slaney Olympic club members. Friday evening we had the third night of the summer league 7k in Camross. Thanks to Lar and Bridget Doyle and helpers for organising the event.

A total of 71 started the race, which was won by 'Farmer' Monaghan, and the ladies was won by Lorraine McMahon from Menapians.

Next Friday, July 25, the summer league race is a five-mile in Bree, and race director is Mick Jordan.

On Saturday Marie Chapman and Danielle Dempsey travelled to Killarney. Danielle had a P.B. of 1.59 in the half-marathon, and Marie was the pacer for the 4.30 in the full marathon, and helped to get everyone home safe and on target.

Ger Dempsey, Paul Browne and Bobby Redmond were in Courtmacsherry, West Cork, for an 18-mile race. Conditions were very warm and humid. Paul finished in 2.06 with Bobby in 2.11 and Ger in 2.58.

Congratulations to new club member Deirdre Boland who secured a silver medal in Belfast on Saturday in the 12-hour event of the Energia Track Ultra Marathon.

Taking a break from running for a few hours, some of our club members took part in the St. Luke's Charity Sportive in Ferns on Sunday last. Well done to Catherine Murphy, Mag Dunphy, Martina O'Sullivan, Jason Dunne, John O'Leary and Tom Herlihy.

Cub member Louise Nolan travelled to Germany last weekend, competing in the Challenge Roth Iron Man on Sunday. Louise's early morning swims, late night runs and cycles to work durning the last six months shows the dedication and commitment that she has. Louise completed her first Iron Man in 12.52.58 which was a massive achievement. Well done Louise.

Dates and details of all summer league races are on the club website: These races are open to non-club members also.

Training is in The Showgrounds on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6.45 p.m. For further details contact Siobhán O'Shea (ladies' captain, 087-6956894), Mick Morrissey (men's captain, 087-8584196) or any club member. These training sessions are suitable for all levels of fitness, and a great opportunity for people thinking of joining Slaney Olympic to come along.


Two teams from the club ran in the All-Ireland 4 x 100m relays. Taking on the best clubs in the country, the boys' Under-14 team of Sam Sutton, Darragh McDonald, Killian Griffin and Jack Elliott (substitutes Oisín Griffin and Ian Byrne) crossed the line in a wonderful third place in an extremely close finish.

The girls' Under-12 team of Áine Ryan, Sophie Mullally, Kelsey Kehoe and Marie Claire O'Dwyer (substitutes Kate Lyng and Áine McDonald) ran very well in the heats and finished seventh in the finals.

In the national Juvenile track and field championships, Shannen Dawkins was the winner of the girls' Under-19 100m hurdles and sixth in the 100m sprint final.

Sophie Becker ran well in the 100m, but unfortunately didn't qualify for the finals. Jack Elliott finished fourth in the Under-14 80m, running a new personal best time in 10:10 seconds.

In the Development All-Irelands, Killian Griffin won the 600m and in the process won his hugely-deserved first All-Ireland individual medal.

Sally Forristal is having a wonderful summer on the road race scene and success continued for her in the Rathgormack five-mile, finishing first lady in 32:51.

She followed this up by leading the St. Joseph's ladies home in fourth place in the Kilmore Quay five km. race.

Sally was followed by Siobhán O'Leary, Anita Barry, Susan Lanigan, Chloe Richardson, Maggie Helen O'Connor, Sarah Lawlor, Helen McDonald and Julie Lawlor. The women's team of Sally, Siobhán and Anita finished second.

In the men's five km., the evergreen Rocky Mernagh was first Over-50 and led the men home chased down by David Lanigan, Tom McDonald and Ciarán Cullen who had a super sprint finish.

Chloe Richardson was first Junior to finish while in the Juvenile 800m race, Richie Hennessy finished first , Eva Roche second, and Naoimh O'Connor also ran very well.

Gorey Guardian