ATHLETICS OFFICIALS endured one of their busiest weekends of the year, with the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown hosting two very full days of indoor activity.
On the whole, Wexford athletes gave a good account of themselves.
Maeve Hayes (St. Paul’s AC) was second in Senior high jump (1.50m), third in 60 metres hurdles (11.35 seconds), and eighth in 60 metres flat (8.94 seconds).
Cara Kelly (DMP) was close to her 400 metres PB of the previous week when running 59.45 seconds to take silver in the Junior event.
Masters athlete John O’Connor (Enniscorthy) was third in M55 60m (8.80 seconds) and third in 200m (28.77 seconds).
Jackie Carthy (Kilmore), running in the M50 1,500m, provided one of the highlights of the day when delivering a late surge to overtake the lead athlete and win the gold by a nose in 5.12.26 minutes.
Jackie showed that, despite a long lay-off, she has lost none of her competitive instincts.
Niall Sheil (St. Killian’s) took gold in the M45 1,500 metres with 4.25 minutes. Catherine O’Connor (Menapians) won the W55 race (6.29 minutes).
Clare Barrett (DMP) doubled up in Senior 1,500 metres and 3,000 metres. She ran personal bests in both events, winning the 3,000m in 10.27 minutes and taking silver in the 1,500 (4.58 minutes).
She will take a lot of confidence from these performances as she prepares for the outdoor season.
Making a welcome return to championship running was Elaine Cardiff (Kilmore) who, running well within herself, won the W35 3,000m (11.08 minutes). Jelena Mc Namara (Enniscorthy) was second in the Junior 3,000m (10.32 minutes).
Áine Cullen (United Striders) got a W40 championship best performance in weight for distance with an excellent throw of 5.16 metres, while Catherine O’Connor was second in the W55 event (3.83 metres).
The amazing St. Joseph’s athlete, Mary Breen from Gusserane, won the W60 event with a throw of 5.32 metres.
Junior athlete Sarah Louise Carr (Menapians) continued her progression in the weight for distance, taking silver with a PB of 5.89 metres.
Margaret O’Connor (Enniscorthy), restricted to field events as a result of injury, threw a PB of 8.07 metres in M50 shot. Áine Cullen won bronze in W40 shot (7.22 metres).
John Egan was second in M40 3,000m walk in a time of 15.14, improving on his time in the national championships.
Clodagh Dunbar of Clonliffe Harriers, and formerly of Menapians, took silver in the Senior 400m.
The Menapians AC 4 x 400m women’s team of Helen Wallace, Ilze Bedrite, Mary Gaynor and Catherine O’Connor were runners-up in the Senior event.
The Senior men’s heptathlon took place across the weekend. Jack Forde (St. Killian’s), our sole standard-bearer in the event, had wins in high jump (1.88m), shot (12.63m) and hurdles (8.96 seconds), and second place finishes in the other events, to finish in second place overall with a total of 4,543 points.
The unquestioned highlight of the weekend from a Wexford point of view was the triple gold medal-winning performance of Michael Kent (DMP).
Michael was in scintillating form, winning high jump with a best effort of 1.80m, triple jump with a championship best performance of 13.34m, and pole vault with a CBP-equalling 3.90m.
Another DMP athlete making a welcome comeback from injury was Shannon Codd. She was fourth in shot with a throw of 10.43m.
Bree, Menapians and DMP had teams competing in the Juvenile 4 x 200 metres relays. The Bree Under-14 team of Hazel Breen, Sarah O’Brien, Ava Wilson and Ruth Hassey finished fourth in their heat in a time of 2.03.06 minutes.
The Menapians Under-15 quartet of Josh Nolan, Elijah Page-Redmond, Alex Lonergan and Lorcan Carroll were also fourth in their heat (1.58.02 minutes).
The DMP Under-17 boys gave the county another fourth place in the qualifiers, in a time of 1.45.52 minutes. A back-in-form Kevin O’Mahony was joined by Billy Carroll, Rohan O’Leary and Michael Kent.