Day 3 of the National Championships
Great report by Seamus Lynch.
Day 3 of the National Juvenile Championships were held in Tullamore and once more, GCH scooped a superb set of medals, PBs and great memories.
As early as 10am Chloe Casey gave an indication of the great day to come when she soared to leap a huge 5.40m in the Long Jump. She later extended this to 5.46m to clinch the title on countback. Credit is due to 2nd placed Maeve Hayes of St Paul’s AC who jumped the same 5.46m – most years this would have won gold. Despite two arduous 400m runs 24 hours earlier, this was just short of the 5.54m club record Chloe set in Sligo at Connachts – but given the 25cm she had to spare at take-off, it’s surely a matter of times before she goes further again. It did eclipse a long-standing 2003 club record by Elaine Harrington for Nationals of 4.82m, which was in itself a very good record, highlighting how special Chloe’s sequence was.
200m runners then took to the track and there were several excellent performances:
At under 15s Anna Lee was agonisingly close to the final in 9th with 28.36s, while Rachel Fahy was not far away from Anna with 29.11s and 6th in her heat.
Roisin Dalton was 7th in her u16 heat splitting those two times with a respectable 28.72s, before Nicole Quirke again just missed out on qualification for the final with a very quick 27.00s and 5th place in a very fast semi-final.
Luke Dahler was 5th in his heat with a 25.67s time that is hugely impressive given his injury-ravaged season. No doubt Luke will be back to his 2018 level before long. Robert Urquhart continued his very good form with 25.60s in the other very competitive heat.
The under 17s then stole the show with Andrew Egan and Shaun Gilligan both making the boys final in contrasting fashion – Andrew stormed to a heat win with 23.7s while Shaun ran 23.94s to edge through in 4th. However, in the final, both lads reached the home-straight off the bend with equally good positions and chances of podium finishes. Superb battling qualities and raw speed saw both give us all real hopes that top three was possible for either, but in the end they had to satisfied with excellent 4th and 6th places in 23.65s and 23.68s respectively.
The 200m medal did come a race earlier. Fresh from a superb 400m win a day earlier, and a facile morning heat win, Eimear Rowe ran a superb 25.83s to secure silver in some style. To put Eimear’s time into context, the club record is not far ahead at 25.60s by club legend Gemma Hynes from 2004. Gemma won national sprint, 200m and Long Jump trebles at under 14 and under 15, and as an under 17 she was winning her FOURTH national 200m title in a row. For Eimear to get so close to her represents a fantastic achievement itself and shows a large 0.62s improvement on her own 200m time at nationals last year.
In the 1500m races, there were some great battling performances in the searing heat:
In under 15s Aoibhe Joyce was a place higher for 1500m than for her 800m when placing 16th in 5:02.08. Darragh Jennings ran a great tactical race at under 16 level before just falling short in the run-in, crossing the line 7th in 4:25.33. Darragh had earlier thrown the Javelin just over 30m to place 10th in Javelin. Rebecca Lynch was 11th in her u16 Javelin – but a little frustrated that her Connacht throws would have seen her place 5th or 6th.
Over at the Pole Vault, Darragh’s brother Eoghan was competing in front of an appreciative crowd in the stands. He equalled his excellent club record of 3.00m in this technically difficult discipline to finish in a fantastic third place – and medal number three for GCH.
Barry Murphy was a very creditable 10th in his under 18 1500m, never too far from the leaders to cap an impressive season for him. And Sean Forrest was 19th in a competitive under 17 race with 4:41.96.
Then, the long hurdles took centre-stage for the afternoon.
Emma Jane Moran can be well-pleased with a 5th place finish in a quick 51.53s and was unfortunate to just miss out on a final like some others.
There were three hurdlers who did make finals, with Conor Hoade and Callum Healy looking very comfortable in their heats at under 16 level. Last year they finished 3rd and 2nd respectively – and this year, they excelled again. Conor tested the Championship Best Performance, 0.07s away from it in 31.81s when winning the title. Callum Healy ran a fantastic race to take silver with 33.53s, both boys well ahead of Sean Kyne’s 10 year-old club record of 34.44s.
Finally, there were few left in the stadium when Seren O’Toole took to the blocks for her under 18 400m Hurdles final. She had intelligently preserved energy in the heats, and needed most of it to fend off a highly competitive field before surging impressively to an emphatic gold in another club record of 1:04.25 that had been held by her good friend Aoife Sheehy.
All in all, a fantastic day all round showing the club to be in rude health ahead of the National B Championships and Relays next weekend.
Results from Sunday July 14th in brief...
Anna Lee 200m 28.36s 9th
Rachel Fahy 200m 29.11s 6th Heat
Aoibhe Joyce 1500m 16th 5:27.08
Roisin Dalton 28.72s 7th H
Nicole Quirke 9th 27.00s 5th H
Rebecca Lynch Javelin 11th N/T
Luke Dahler 200m 5th H 25.67
Robert Urquhart 200m 25.60 7th H
Callum Healy 2nd 250m H 33.53s
Conor Hoade 1st 250m H 31.81s
Darragh Jennings 1500m 7th
Darragh Jennings u16 Javelin 30.01m 10th
Emma Jane Moran 5th heat 250m H 51.53s
Eimear Rowe 200m 25.83s 2nd, 1st heat 26.00
Shaun Gilligan 200m 23.94s 4thH, 6th final 23.68
Andrew Egan 200m 1stHeat 23.76, 23.65 4th final
Sean Forrest 19th 4:41.96
Chloe Casey Long Jump 1st 5.46m
Seren O Toole 1st 400m Hurdles 1:04.05
Barry Murphy 10th 1500m 4:22.92
Eoghan Jennings 3rd Pole Vault 3m