Longford AC Juvenile athletes did the club proud with their stellar performances at the Athletics Ireland National Indoor Championships on March 22 & 23 at the AIT International Arena. Top honours went to Cian McPhillips winning the gold medal in the U13 Boys 600m race by 20 metres, a full second ahead of his nearest opponent. Cian’s time of 1.39.78 fell agonisingly short of the U13 record of 1.39.32 making him the athlete to watch for the upcoming outdoor track & field season. As the defending champion, the pressure was on him and a slow start added to the tension. By the end of the first lap he had himself in 2nd position and remained there to the bell for the last lap where he suddenly injected a kick and opened up a 10 metre lead in a few strides going on to win comfortably. Sarah Murphy was competing in her first All Ireland Indoors and went into the U 13 600m race as the Connaught silver medallist. She finished in 7thplace with a new personal best time of 1.51.84, showing excellent improvement on her Connaught time. The pace in this race was ferocious and Sarah remained in medal contention right up to the 500m mark. Her performance was full of promise and she can look forward to the outdoor season with renewed confidence. Brendan Finnan swapped his turbo javelin where he has the longest throw in Ireland for the under 12 boys High Jump. He finished in 7th place overall achieving a new personal best when he cleared the height of 1.25m. This was the same height cleared by the fifth placed athlete but Brendan lost out on count back. Newest club member Niall Moran was the only Longford AC competitor at Day 2 in the U14 Boys Long Jump. It’s hard going into your first All Ireland but being the only club competitor makes it much more difficult. He had already recorded a jump of 4.21m to win Bronze in Connaught but was unable to repeat this distance in his three jumps. His first jump had excellent distance but he inadvertently brought his hand back in landing and lost up to a metre. However he will have learned a great deal form his experience and should get another chance in the All Ireland outdoor in the Summer. This week end brought an end to a very successful indoor season for the club juveniles with lots of new PB’s, great performances, a few near misses and everyone looking forward to the outdoor season in the coming weeks.
Thanks to Peter Mooney & Family for the great photo’s at the Longford AC 10K/5K Road Race 16/03/2014.
28 juvenile athletes from Longford AC competed in the Connaught Indoor Championships held at the International Arena at Athlone IT last weekend. More than 800 children from Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon, Leitrim and Longford took part in the 2 day event comprising indoor track, field and relay competition. The best juvenile U12 to U18 athletes in the Western Region were up against very high standards in every event – 60m sprint, 60m Hurdles, 600m/800m, 1500m, Long Jump, High Jump, as they competed for Connaught titles and the opportunity to progress to the Athletics Ireland National Finals.
Niall Nerney, Stonepark, showed his top form winning 3rd place in the U18 1500m race. He is still in the midst of schools cross country with an excellent 5th place result in last week’s Connaught final, progressing to the upcoming Aviva Irish Schools All- Ireland Cross Country Championship in Cork.
After a very successful cross country season both Cian McPhillips, Ardagh, and Sarah Murphy, Dromard, dominated in the U13 600m. Cian as last year’s Connaught and National U12 600m champion lived up to his reputation winning 1st place in a time of 1.44.88, a full 5 seconds ahead of his nearest contender. Sarah easily won her heat and claimed 2nd place with a time of 1.54.07. Longford had 9 athletes compete in the 600m category including James Galligan, Jim Crossan, Daniel Hayden, Rory Maguire, Adam Shields and Dearbhaile Rooney (800m), who all put their weeks of training to the test in the 600m event.
David McDonnell, Strokestown, and Cathal Farrell, Ardagh, excelled in the U12 Boys 60m sprint with both Longford athletes winning their heats and running against each other in the final to claim 4th and 6th places respectively from the field over 50 runners. Jenny Purdy, Edgeworthstown, clocked a fast time in her heat and made a great showing in the U12 Girls final. The 60m sprint was the most popular event with 17 Longford AC members entered including Oisin Mac an Bheatha, Orlaith Mulligan, Tadhg Nerney, Evan Moran, Katlyn Cororan, Aoife Maher, Peter Parker, Martin Parker and Niall Moran who all gained valuable race experience.
When it came to the field events Longford AC had already done their research and set their sights on placing in the medals. Brendan Finnan won Silver at 1.2m in the U12 Boys High Jump and new club member Niall Moran won Bronze in the U14 Boys Long Jump with his superb 4.21m jump. Long Jump was Longford’s most popular field event with 11 athletes such as Niamh Brady, Aoife Maher, Tadhg Nerney, Evan Moran, James Galligan, Jim Crossan and Peter Parker all hitting the sand in the long jump pit.
The fantastic atmosphere in the arena was palpable when the large crowd gave enthusiastic support during the relay competitions. With the growth of the Club in 2014 Longford AC was able to enter 5 relay teams -U12 Girls, U12 Boys X 2 teams, U13 Boys and U14 Boys. For many of the club’s new members it was their very first opportunity wear their singlet and to assess their talent on the track. Great performances were noted by 4 of the U11 athletes that moved up a year to compete on relay teams: Jack Gallagher, Tommy Corcoran, Aideen Mulligan and Sarah McPhillips. Several of the teams placed very well and although they did not win any medals every team gained competition experience and can build on their speed and competency for the upcoming Outdoor season.
The 5 Connaught medallists from Longford AC, Cian McPhillips, Sarah Murphy, Brendan Finnan, Niall Moran and Niall Nerney will put in 2 more weeks of training and then return to Athlone IT’s International Arena on March 22 & 23 for the Athletics Ireland National Indoor Championships. Congratulations to coaches Padraig Farrell, Paddy McPhillips, Caitriona Hayden and the parents who volunteer their time and enthusiasm to athletics in Longford.
Here are some pictures of our Athletes who took part in the Connaught Indoor Championships 2014 which were held at the AIT International Arena on March 1st.