Laois Athletics Digest (February 12, 2013)

Laois ladies All-Ireland Intermediate silver medal winners, from left, Paula Grant (Portlaoise), Sharon Grant (Portlaoise), Ruth Hodgins (Portlaoise), Grace McConnell (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District)

Laois ladies All-Ireland Intermediate silver medal winners, from left, Paula Grant (Portlaoise), Sharon Grant (Portlaoise), Ruth Hodgins (Portlaoise), Grace McConnell (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District)

This week’s Laois Athletics Digest. Read it first every week in the Leinster Express.


Monday Nights - Indoor Training

Indoor Training takes place at the Ballyfin Community Hall every Monday from 6.30 to 7.30. There will be a cool “Little Athletics” training programme for children aged 5-9. This age group has been identified as the FUNdamental stage in the long term physical development of the child, and the development of fundamental skills such as agility, co-ordination and balance will contribute greatly to future sporting achievements. Why not get along and give it a go! Contact Ger Goode on 083-1077421. Children from the age of 5 welcome, €2 per child and max €5 per family.

Friday nights – Indoor/Outdoor Training

Friday night training, for children over eight years of age, takes place at the Treo Nua Community Centre in Portlaoise on Harpurs Lane (across from entrance to the Portlaoise Running Track) from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. It consists of a mixture of indoor/outdoor training (weather dependent).

Adult Training

Adult Training for all levels takes place every Sunday in Emo Court at 10.30am with runners meeting up in the car park, and with the days closing in its every Tuesday and Thursday evening in Portlaoise meeting in St Fintans car park across from the prison at 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome so why not dust off those trainers, come along and get active!

Get fit with the Ballyfin AC Ladies

Following on from our first Womens Team taking part in the Laois Cross Country Championship in Emo – we want to keep the momentum going! With the short evenings it can be difficult but why not contact Ger Goode on 083-1077421 and she can give out details on where the girls meet up. So why not get out and get up and running. For more details and updates check us out on the Ballyfin AC Facebook page. All you gotta do is search for Ballyfin AC on Facebook and that will get us.

Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District

All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Cross Country

Grace McConnell was the clubs lone representative in the recent All-Ireland Intermediate Cross Country Championships. This was Grace’s inaugural run in an All-Ireland cross country event and she made the long journey to Derry pay dividends by scoring on the Laois ladies silver medal winning team. In ground that was deteriorating badly by the time it got to this race, Grace made light work of the conditions over the 5km course to finish in a brilliant 17th place. After settling in the mid twenties after the early exchanges Grace finished strongly over the last mile to pick up some valuable points for the Laois team. Grace was joined on the team by Paula Grant, Sharon Grant, Ruth Hodgins and Breda Mahony.

All-Ireland Masters Men Cross Country

We had two participants in the National Masters Cross Country in the form of the experienced duo of Tony Reilly and Martin McDonald. Both were reigning All Ireland champions in their respective categories M40 and M55 from 2012. Martin had a super run to claim a silver medal in the M55 Category finishing 39th overall in a time of 26.05. Tony Reilly was just edged out of the medals after a tremendously gutsy run, finishing 21st in a time of 24.54. Well done to both these super veterans on their performances.

Leinster Indoor Championships

The Leinster Indoor championships took place recently in the brand new indoor arena in the Athlone Institute of Technology. Thomas Dunne made his track debut for the year in the senior mens 800m and he set down a marker for the year by running a highly commendable time of 2m 15s for the event. We will be keeping a close eye on Thomas over the summer months at this distance, as we expect him to better this time once the outdoor track season gets under way.

U-15 Girls Development Cross Country

Avril Deegan’s upward graph soared ever higher as she finished a close second behind her good friend and fellow county woman Louise Stack from Portlaoise AC in the All Ireland U-15 girls race. Avril ran the race of her young but steadily maturing athletics career so far and after leading the the race in the early stages only Louise Stack was able to get the better of her as the race unfolded over 2500 metres. Avril was a pivotal member of the Laois county team which was crowned All-Ireland champions when the points placings were cumulated. To win an individual silver and team gold medal was a truly outstanding achievement for this young girl from Cullohill who is only five months involved in competitive athletics. Huge congratulations from everybody in the club to Avril.

Club AGM

The club AGM was held last Tuesday night in the Ballyroan Community Hall. After a highly successful 2012 both on and off the track, spirits were high among the members in attendance. After the hugely popular “Get Fit For Summer” race series the club would again like to take this opportunity to thank all the sponsors who contributed generously along with all the volunteers, Gardai, Order of Malta members and anyone else who helped in any way throughout the year. The following are the committee members for 2013 : Chairman - Tim Fahey, Vice-Chairman - Martin McDonald, Secretary - Catherine McDonald, Assistant Secretary - Jean McEvoy, Treasurer - Donal Troy, PRO’s - PJ Carroll and Tony Reilly, Registrar - Jean McEvoy, Committee Members - Dan Deegan, Pat Barnaville, Michelle Fitzpatrick, Seamus Miller, Thomas Dunne, James Hamm, Lorraine Gee, Grace McConnell, John Fennelly, John Kirwan, Ann Churchouse, Louise Mahony.


There is training Cullahill GAA Grounds at 7pm each Monday evening. Anybody with an interest in athletics/general fitness regardless of age or experience is most welcome. All levels of fitness are catered for. We would encourage and welcome parents especially to bring their children and maybe even participate with them in becoming fit for life.

There will be a group run in Cullenagh each Monday evening at 7pm. This is an easy run on hills. There will be a group training run for adults organised for each Sunday morning. Next sunday the run will begin at the Library in Abbeyleix at 9.30am. Distance can be varied depending on ones current endurance but the emphasis will be on an easy pace to suit everyone.

There is training each Tuesday evening at 7.30 pm at Ballyroan GAA grounds. Anybody with an interest in athletics/general fitness regardless of age or experience is most welcome. All levels of fitness are catered for. We would encourage and welcome parents especially to bring their children and maybe even participate with them in becoming fit for life.

There is a tempo run on hills scheduled for 09.45 each Saturday morning at Oakvale Woods in Stradbally. You can follow us on Facebook at BallyroanAbbeyleix Athletics Club.


Club News

Welcome back to all our athletes . Training is every Monday 6.45pm till 7.45pm €1 and every Friday evening for athletes 10years and over who wish to take the next step in their training . Registration in due now it is €15 per athlete and €45 for a family of 3 or more, please chat to Mary Keegan if you wish to pay in installments there is no problem in doing so. Two of our young athletes competed in the National Development Cross Country Championships which were held in Derry on Sunday 3rd February. Eddie Allen competed in the U-13 boys 1500m he came 30th which was an excellent result as there were athletes competing in the race that were an age above his own. Well done Eddie. Rebecca Balfe was also competing in the U-13 girls 1500m, another fast race, Rebecca came 17th which was a fantastic result as there were athletes who were an age above her own competing too. Congratulations to you both keep up the good work. We are looking forward to a busy track and field season both indoors and out we hope that parents will get behind the kids and travel to these events. Any queries contact our coaches David Keenan, Grace Balfe, Anita Allen, Claire Hetherington, Mary Keegan and Martin Gleeson.


All-Ireland Intermediate and Juvenile development Cross Country

On Sunday Derry was the venue for the weekend cross country action. A small group of athletes made the long but worthwhile trip and came away with excellent results. First to run was Erone Fitzpatick in the U-13 2.5k. Erone put in a fine performance to finish in ninth place and pick up an individual medal. Then we had the performance the day from Louise Stack in the girls U-15 2.5k. She took the lead early in the race and gave a sterling performance to claim her first national title. Louise also led Laois to gold in the team event. In the girls U-17 3k Rosie Stack also picked up an individual medal when finishing in sixth place. Portlaoise AC had three women running in the Intermediate 4k. Paula Grant was the first of the trio, finishing in 10th place. Ruth Hodgins and Sharon Grant came in behind her in 20th and 22nd respectively. Accompanied by Grace McConnell these performances were enough to earn silver medals for Laois.

Leinster Indoors

The Leinster Junior and Masters Indoor Championships took place in the fabulous new indoor facility at Athlone IT. Seamus Fitzpatrick was once again to the fore and picked up two gold medals in the masters shot putt and weight for distance. Niamh Quinn was also a gold medallist, winning the junior 800m. In the junior 3000m Chris Finn won a bronze medal as did Aoife Campion in the 400m.

Couch to 5K

The couch to 5K programme continues each Tuesday at 6pm. It’s great to see so many people sticking with the programme. We look forward to working with everyone over the remaining weeks to help them achieve their fitness goals and complete the Streets of Portlaoise 5k road race on St Patrick’s Day. Information will be posted on Portlaoise AC facebook page and StreetsofPortlaoise facebook page. A big thank you to all the coaches and helpers who give their time voluntarily.


Training continues at the usual times. Seniors -Tuesday and Thursday 7pm at track. Saturday in Oakvale, meet at 10.45, run at 11.00. Sunday in Emo, Meet at 10.15, run at 10.30 sharp. Couch to 5k Tuesdays at 6pm. Meet and Train Thursdays at 6. Juveniles - Tuesday and Thursday 7pm at track for sprints, long jump, hurdles, distance. Sunday 10.15am in Emo for 11yrs. Throws: Shot Putt, Tuesdays at 6, Discus and Hammer, Sundays at 11.

St Abban’s

Medals Scarce at Universities

Club members found the going tough at the universities indoor championships in the world class indoor arena at Athlone IT. Ailish Brennan was desperately unlucky finishing fourth in the 800m in a season opener of 2:20:53. It was fourth also for Emma Daly in the weight for distance with 7.05 metres and sixth in the shot with 9.50m.

Christopher Buggy was fifth in his heat in the 400m while Paul Byrne was third in his 400m heat and fifth in the final in 51:02 seconds. It was seventh both for Stephen Lawlor in the 3k breaking nine minutes for the first time and for Francis Egan in the triple jump with 12.44m. Brian Kelly won his 800m heat and took the bronze in the final in a fine time of 1:54:46.

Barry on the Double

Day 1 of the Leinster indoors saw the junior, senior and masters individual events decided in the beautiful setting of the arena in Athlone IT. Our girls U-13 relay team qualified for the final impressively but had to settle for fourth in the final, the team being Ruby Millet, Orla Davis, Ciara McDonald and Cara Maher. Eoghan Buggy was sixth over 800m in the junior men, with Conor Daly taking silver in the triple jump with 13.12m. It was gold and a P.B. for Siobhan Nash in the 3k walk with 15:34:1. Emma Daly improved to 9.87m in the shot to take silver while the happiest person leaving the arena was Maire Griffith who collected the silver medal in the ladies 1500m after a mighty battle over the 7.5 laps. For John Territt it was gold in the masters O50 with 10.17m in the shot and 6.99m in the weight for distance.

Eoin Kelly made a welcome return after a year and half away and it was a fitting performance to take the triple jump title with a distance of 14.53 metres. However the star of the show turned out to be the sprint sensation from Graiguecullen Barry Regan who recorded an excellent double winning the 60m and the 200 metres in convincing fashion.

Knockbeg for All-Irelands

The Leinster schools cross country were decided over the Santry course on Wednesday. Knockbeg had all four boys teams qualified from the South Leinsters. In the minor boys it was sixth place with Cian Kelly, Killian Mulhall, Niall Brennan and Mickey Dempsey carrying the colours. The junior boys finished a fine second place just four points behind St Aidan’s and should have a right go at the All-Irelands in Jordanstown. The intermediate team were weakened due to injury and flu and were never in contention. The senior squad were involved in a fine scrap and finished 3rd to qualify with Ethan O’Neill 16th, Kevin Brennan 22nd, James Moore 32nd, James Tyrrell 36th and James Delaney

52nd, doing the business. Best wishes to both teams in the All-Ireland’s.

Woodies DIY National Seniors

The arena in Athlone is the venue for the National senior indoor championships on the 16th and 17th February. It certainly has the potential for a good championships and anyone interested is welcome to come along and soak up the atmosphere.

St Michael’s

AAI All-Ireland Juvenile Development Cross Country

St Michael’s AC had a very successful all Ireland Championship in Derry with the achievement of individual and team medals for club and county on the day. St Michael’s were well represented at the recent national juvenile development cross country Championships held on a tough course in Derry on the 3rd February. First up we had Aoibann Maher,

Della Marie Doherty, Megan Donagher in the girls U-11 all putting in strong performances on the day. Next up we had U-11 boys Rioghan Murphy, Irlaith Galvin, Eoin Higgins and Daragh Fenlon on the boys team. Rioghan Murphy put in a great performance to come through the field and take individual gold and become national champion with strong support from his teammates who each played a vital team role with great runs to take national team silver club medals. The girls U-13 team put in great performances on the day Jessica Higgins, Erin Murphy Sinead Cullen. Next up were the girls U-15 Orla Mullally, Naomi Luttrell, Leah Cooney, Shauna Fenlon and Katie Piggott taking club national gold and county national gold medals. Well done to all who represented their club and county on this tough course and all are a credit to their club. Thank you to all the parents and supporters who travelled to Derry.

Leinster Schools Cross Country

Congratulations to the Colaiste Iosagain students who competed in the recent Leinster schools cross country in Santry, Dublin recently. The Minor girls team taking home bronze team medals.

Circuit Training

Adult Circuit training takes place indoors every Friday evening at 7pm. Venue GAA Centre Portarlington. There is a great response to this training only 3 euro for the circuit training session. All welcome. Circuit training is the most time efficient way to enhance cardiovascular fitness and muscle endurance.

Training Schedule

Senior Training takes place every Tuesday and Friday in McCann park Portarlington at 7pm. Tuesday evening session is €2. The Firday night is now a circuit training based session it targets strength building and endurance. John Fenlon leads the circuit training. The Circuit training will take place indoors, beginners are welcome.

New Members welcome

New members are always welcome to St Michael’s AC senior Club, for details of Senior Training contact Aidan Mullally 087-6968844. Beginners catered for if you know anyone who enjoys running, wants to get fit and would like to join St Michael’s AC club please invite them along.

Sunday Morning Run

The long run on Sunday morning continues at the winter scheduled time of 10am. Contact Wes - 085-1252352.

St Michaels AC Club Contact Details

Website: e-mail:; Facebook: Search for “Michaels AC” send friend request; Contacts: Aidan Mullally Tel 087-6968844, Noel Coss Tel:087-9900840; Wes Reilly Tel: 085-1252352; Juvenile info: Mark Higgins 087-2431154.




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