Meath star's dilemma over Euro finals clash
MEATH's progress to the Leinster final means their flying teenage corner-forward Eamon Wallace will have to put his athletics dreams on hold for the moment, WRITES CLIONA FOLEY.
Wallace, a member of Ratoath AC, is one of the country's rising sprint talents and had already been winning national titles before being called up by Meath manager Mick O'Dowd midway through the National League campaign.
Last year he won an U-19 sprint double (100/200m) at the All-Ireland Junior Championships and earlier this year he became the Irish junior 400m indoor champion. He was hoping to qualify at 400m for the upcoming European Junior Championships in Italy but the Royals' progress to the Leinster final has put paid to that.
Meath's defeat of Wexford has put them through to meet the Dubs on Sunday week. With the European Juniors taking place in Reiti (Italy) on July 18-21, and his football commitments not letting up, he will not have time to qualify.
Wallace's increased football commitments had forced his track talent to take second place this summer yet his only run over 400m (50.10) was not far off the European junior qualifying standard of 48.30.
He admits that football has always been his primary passion and he has been part of Meath development panels from U-14s upwards.
"Football has always been number one," he said.
"It's only been in the past couple of years, since I became a sprinter, that athletics have been big.
"It's been a juggling act so far, to keep the two sports going, but I want to do it for as long as possible. I probably prefer the GAA because you're part of a team... It's better training with a team, you have the camaraderie and team spirit," Wallace (above) added.
"Athletics can be lonely because a lot of the training is on your own but when you win a medal in athletics it is your achievement alone, so that's very satisfying."