Wednesday 13 December 2017

Mawdsley and Walsh rewrite record books with impressive Tullamore displays

Tipperary sprinter Sharlene Mawdsley. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Tipperary sprinter Sharlene Mawdsley. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Cathal Dennehy

Tipperary sprinter Sharlene Mawdsley and Mayo thrower Michaela Walsh played starring roles at the GloHealth All-Ireland Schools Track and Field Championships in Tullamore yesterday.

Between them, the pair rewrote the record books in four events on what was a sun-drenched day in the midlands.

Mawdsley reigned supreme on the track, the St Mary's, Newport student clocking 11.80 for the 100m and 23.62 for 200m at senior level to eclipse both of Phil Healy's previous records.

Walsh was equally imperious in the senior girls' throws, launching the hammer out to 56.90m in the morning - a personal best by two metres - before returning to hurl the shot 14.91m, a national junior record.

"The shot had been going really well this year, so I'm happy with that, but I was very surprised at the hammer," said Walsh, whose main target for the summer will be the World Junior Championships in July. "I'd like to make the final there."

Limerick's Ciara Neville impressed at intermediate level, winning the 100m/200m double in 11.86 and 24.67 before overcoming a massive deficit to anchor Castletroy College to victory by a hundredth of a second in the 4x100m. "I took the baton and just ran for my life," said Neville.

Aaron Sexton of Bangor Grammar also took a sprint double at intermediate level, winning the 100m in 10.86 and the 200m in 21.85. In the junior girls' discus, Dromcollogher's Megan Lenihan bettered Marita Walton's 41-year-old record with 39.56m, while Belfast's Ellie McCartney also set an intermediate girls' pole vault record with 3.60m.

Jack O'Leary of Clongowes led all the way to win the senior boys' 5,000m in 14:54.65, watched on by his uncle Michael, the CEO of Ryanair. "I knew it was going to be tough, so in the middle of the race I slowed down the pace and tried to have a big last two laps," said O'Leary.

Kevin McGrath also impressed in the senior boys' 1,500m. After a slow early pace, he unleashed a devastating kick on the final lap to take victory in 3:58.68.

"After the first lap I was like, 'There's nothing more they can do now; once I kick, I'm gone, they won't catch me'," he said.

Irish Independent

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