Laois athletes shine at National Indoor Finals

Laois athletes brought home two gold and one silver medal from the All-Ireland Indoor finals over the weekend, with St Abban’s continuing to excel at a national level in the jumping events.

Laois athletes brought home two gold and one silver medal from the All-Ireland Indoor finals over the weekend, with St Abban’s continuing to excel at a national level in the jumping events.

High-Jumper Barry Pender retained his title from 2010, and he did it with quite a bit to spare, as his long time adversary, Koroush Foroughi, failed to clear a single jump in the competitions. Barry, meanwhile, was comfortable at 2.15m, having cleared 2.16m at the University Games the week before.

With Foroughi floundering, it meant Barry’s nearest challenger, Michael Bowler, was way back on 1.9m, meaning the Killeshin man had nearly a foot to spare over his nearest rival. The victory here cements his position as the top high-jumper in the country.

In the 800m, Brian Kelly continued his outstanding recent form to take a well-deserved gold medal in a time of 1.54.94, half a second ahead of Karl Griffin. Kelly has been in a rich vein of form for the last few months, and his gold medal finish here is just rewards for that.

Back to the jumping events, and Saragh Buggy secured St Abban’s third medal at the games, as her silver medal finish in the ladies triple jump saw her move up one step on the podium from last year.

Buggy registered her best jump in the last of the six rounds to secure second place behind Mary McLoone from Tir Chonaill AC, who covered 12.47. It is all progress for Buggy though, who came third with a jump of 11.51 last year.

St Abban’s had two other athletes competing, although both finished outside the medals. Conor Daly came fourth in the mens triple jump with a jump of 13.53, while Barry Regan failed to progress beyond the heats in the fiercely competitive 60m sprint.

Elsewhere in athletics, Mary Mulhare was the star performer from Laois in the Leinster Schools Cross Country championships in Santry last Wednesday. After gold medal runs in the Laois and South Leinster championships, Mary had to settle for silver last week behind Clar Nic Chartaigh.

In the team events, the senior boys race saw Knockbeg and Portlaoise CBS win silver and bronze respectively.