Galway athletes were on the winners' podium at the National Junior and U23 Track and Field Championships which took place over two days at Morton Stadium, Santry.
There were a number of medal winning performances from the Galway clubs at the Irish Life Health sponsored championships with Galway City Harriers’ rising star Robert McDonnell taking pride of place.
McDonnell produced a superb time of 20.93 seconds over 200m to win the junior men’s race with ease - a time inside the A qualifying standard for the European U20 championships.
The Galway athlete now has standards for both the 200m and 400m, and his time of 20.93 takes him to the top of the 2021 Irish rankings, equalling the time of the current leader Marcus Lawler.
Others to shine at the event were Richard Kamsen of GCH, who won the U20 triple jump. There was drama aplenty when he took the lead from Joseph Gillespie of Finn Valley with a huge leap of 13.56m in the final round.
Seren O’Toole, also of GCH, executed a superb run in the 400m hurdles and was a clear winner in a time of 65.47, while Liam Shaw of Athenry AC was one of the youngest winners of the weekend. He took gold in the junior men’s shot putt with a huge new personal best throw of 14.27m.
GCH thrower Chloe Casey enjoyed a successful return to the national stage, claiming silver in the U20 shot putt with a big throw of 10.62m, behind competition favourite Casey Mulvey of Inny Valley. And in Sunday’s schedule, the club added to their tally with another bronze medal when Laura Nally had an excellent run to place third in the U23 400m final behind Rachel McCann and Laura Crossan, finishing in a time of 58.02 seconds. Aaron Brennan put in a tremendous performance in the U23 men’s 1500m to earn a bronze in a cracking time of 3.59.58 behind James Dunne and Donal Devane, and Eimear Rowe finished fifth in the junior 400m final in 58.93. Rowe and Nally both competed with the Irish relay 4 x 400m squads.
Craughwell AC athletes were competitive in some high-quality distance races. Kyle Moorhead clocked a new club best of 1:54.71 in the junior men’s 800m final for fifth place, while William Fitzgerald knocked a whopping 18 seconds off his pb with a 15:03.60 in the U23 5000m to place fifth also.
There were also good performances from Alix Joyce of Tuam, who made the junior women’s 400 final, Ella Rafferty of Tuam, fifth in the U20 shot putt , and Abas Edris Adam of Castlegar, fourth in the steeplechase at U23 level.
Galway Children’s Games
The Galway County Board's first juvenile competition of the year took place at Dangan with the U9 to U11 paired event.
The top three pairings for each event and the top three relay teams in each age group progress to the Connacht Children’s Games to be held on July 10 in AIT.
At U9 Level, the GCH pair of Emma Barry and Ava O'Brien won the 60m, while Kiera Butt and Aoibheann McGowan won the 300m for Loch Lurgan AC. Conor Mannion and Jack Hibbitt of Craughwell AC claimed a super double win in the 60m sprint and 300m distance race .
The girls' long jump was won by Caoife Kenny and Mila Harty of South Galway AC, with Roan Lydon and Luke McLoughlin of GCH claiming the boys' event. The turbo javelin event was claimed by Caoimhe Cavalieri and Emma Barry for GCH, and Gerard Murray and Aaron Burke of Craughwell AC. In the relays, South Galway AC took the girls' gold, and Castlegar AC won the boys' event.
In the U10 section, the South Galway pair of Ella O'Sullivan and Roisin Bartley won the 60m, with Craughwell's Laoise Colleran and Ruby Maher claiming gold in the 500m race. Louis Jean Hounkponou and Rory Tauchen of GCH won the 60m sprint, with Tauchen combining with Darcy Noel to win the 500m distance in the for GCH.
Lola Whitney Mangan and Cerys Johnson of Craughwell AC, and Louis Jean Hounkponou and Darcy Noel of GCH were the long jump winners, while the turbo javelin event went to Ava Conlon and Madeline Schmitt of Loch Lurgan AC, and Brian Griffin and Darragh Curran of Clare River Harriers. Craughwell AC won both relay events.
At U11 level, GCH's Aisling Tauchen and Lucy O Connor, with Sally Fahey and Cait McLaughlin of South Galway winning the gold in the 600m race. Sean Colleran and Lincoln King of Craughwell AC, and Cathal Walsh and Theo Gantley of South Galway AC dead heated for first place in the 60m sprint. In the 600m boys' race, Ryan Scully and Patrick Lee of Clare River Harriers AC took gold.
There were turbo javelin wins for Katie Brogan and Saoirse McEvoy of Clare River Harriers, and Dara Jacobsen and Cillian Cawley of GCH, while Daisy Griffin and Lauren Loughrey of Loughrea AC, and Ruairi McNena and Darragh O Donnell of Craughwell AC took gold in the long jump.
South Galway AC won the girls' relay, with Craughwell AC winning the boys' event.
National Senior Track and Field Championships
The National Senior Track and Field Championships will be held over three days, next Friday to Sunday June 25 to 27 at Morton Stadium, Santry in Dublin.
Many Galway athletes will compete, with the talented 400m duo of Cillin Greene and Robert McDonnell, Sinead Treacy of Craughwell over 400m, and the evergreen Sean Breathnach of GCH in the throws among those expected to feature on the podium.