Deadly Dannan Long powers away in Tullamore

FCJ sprinter an impressive winner of Senior 200m race

Dannan Long of FCJ Bunclody. Photograph: Perri Williams.

Wexford People

THE LEINSTER Schools athletics championships took place on Wednesday and Saturday of last week in the iconic Tullamore Harriers Stadium.

Weather conditions on both days were very good. If the weather was calm, the action on the track and the in-field was anything but, with plenty of hellfire and brimstone battles taking place. Those participating were already battle-hardened, having qualified from the different sub-regions within the province.

Wexford’s best showed once again that they are capable of mixing it with the traditional heavy-hitters in schools’ athletics such as Belvedere College, Newbridge College, Loreto Kilkenny and St. Leo’s, Carlow.

Starting with track and one of our leading athletes, Dannan Long of FCJ Bunclody and Enniscorthy AC, powered away from a competitive field in the Senior 200 metres to win in an impressive 21.9 seconds.

He was very unlucky in his 100m as a fault with the starting blocks meant he was left behind at the gun. He still managed to spring 11.33 seconds and a sixth place finish.

Sprints at Senior level have traditionally been seen as being the most competitive, and therefore most prestigious, events in schools track and field. For Dannan to win the 200 metres so comprehensively sends out a clear signal that he is one to watch, something we in Wexford have known for years!

In the Intermediate 300 metres, Cara Kelly (Loreto Wexford) summoned the wherewithal to push late and claim a silver medal in a time of 41.6 seconds.

Jack Browne (FCJ Bunclody) finished sixth in the Junior 200m, but claimed victory in the long jump with a jump of 5.81 metres. Stephanie O’Connor (Coláiste Bríde, Enniscorthy) took the gold medal in the Under-16 200 metres (26.32 seconds).

The distance events also had plenty of Wexford representation. Rachel Murphy (OLOL Rosbercon) was twelfth in the Minor 500 metres, while Katie Hayden (St. Mary’s, New Ross) placed eleventh in the Minor 1,100 metres.

Ruby Gallagher-O’Reilly (Gorey CS) was fifth in Junior 800m, while Aoife Walsh (Loreto Wexford) secured the bronze medal in the same event at Inter level in an impressive 2.18.44 minutes.

Emma Hickey (St. Mary’s, New Ross) finished just outside the medals in fourth position in Junior 1,500 metres. A member of United Striders, Emma has really improved over the last year.

At Under-16 level, introduced some years ago to bridge the big jump from Junior to the Under-17 Intermediate level, both Max Murphy (Good Counsel) and Éabha Keane (Presentation Wexford) had fine runs, with Max winning a bronze and Éabha finishing in fifth position.

Claragh Keane (Presentation). Photograph: Perri Williams.

Claragh Keane (Presentation Wexford) showed a return to form, getting second in Senior 1,500m steeplechase and third in 3,000 metres flat.

Wexford won three medals in race walking - Lily Ryan (OLOL Rosbercon) won the Junior girls’ event, Maria Coone (Loreto Wexford) took the Intermediate title (as well as placing sixth in 3,000 metres), while Ciara Mooney (St. Mary’s, New Ross) won silver in a competitive Senior event.

The ever-reliable Saidhbhe Byrne (Coláiste Bhríde, Carnew) won both the Senior girls’ javelin (36.80m) and shot put (9.28m). Saidhbhe was the recent recipient of an award from Athletics Ireland for her achievements in the combined events.

Shannon Codd (Presentation Wexford) finished second in the South Leinster a week or so ago, in the Intermediate hammer. This time she went one further, winning the event with a throw of 40.81 metres.

Likewise, Lea Bolger (Loreto Wexford) won the hammer event at Junior level and finished seventh in sprint hurdles.

Aisleann Mullally (OLOL Rosbercon) won a silver medal in Junior shot put and was fourth in javelin, while Elijah Page-Redmond (St. Peter’s) just missed out on a medal in Junior javelin.

Seán Halpin, also from St. Peter’s, won bronze in Minor discus with a gap over the next competitor of 18 centimetres.

James Prendergast (Good Counsel), the talented thrower who burst onto the athletics scene last year as a Minor (and turned a few heads in the throwing community in the process), was second in Junior shot put.

Shay Ellard (Bridgetown College), another relatively new arrival on the athletics scene, swapped his Wexford Wanderers rugby top for an athletics singlet and placed third in Under-16 shot.

Wexford success in jumps and throws did not stop there. Kara Morrissey (Presentation) was third in Intermediate pole vault, the only Wexford medal winner in this discipline.

In triple jump, Abbie Doyle (Coláiste Bhríde, Carnew) was second at Intermediate level, while the Bridgetown duo of Ava Barry (Junior) and Ben Kelly (Inter) finished in sixth and seventh position respectively.

In high jump, Michael Kent (Good Counsel) was second in Inter boys and Neasa Long (FCJ Bunclody) was eighth in Junior girls.

The long jump also delivered plenty of successes: Chloe Reck (Coláiste Bríde, Enniscorthy) followed up on her good form in the South Leinsters to win at Under-16 level, Jack Browne won the Junior event with a personal best of 5.81 metres, while Good Counsel had two gold medalists: the aforementioned Michael Kent winning at Inter level and Daniel Redmond taking the Minor event. Artem Kelly and Rayna Thompson were fourth and eighth respectively in Junior long jump.

The Intermediate and Senior competitors now go on to the All-Ireland schools championships in Tullamore on the June bank holiday weekend for what should be an action-packed event.

The United Striders men’s M50 team of John Byrne, Brendan Lyng and John McGrath won silver medals at the national 5km road championships in the Phoenix Park.

The event, held on Saturday, was run in conjunction with The Irish Runner Series. Brendan Lyng won individual bronze, his time 16.54 minutes.

Recent Wexford Senior road championships winner Ciara Wilson (DMP) was fifth woman home in a time of 17.25 minutes. Eugene Doherty (SBR) was third M65.

Well done to Enniscorthy’s Michael Bowler who knocked 5cms off his pole vault PB when clearing 4.80 metres at the Charnwood AC meet in Loughborough.

Pádraig Hore (DMP) was third in the discus (2kg) at Sunday’s May open throwing event in Templemore.

His best of a consistent series of throws was 41.92 metres.