Athletes from all corners of the county travelled en-masse to Nenagh on Saturday last for the Downey’s Nissan Laois County Track & Field event.
Now in its fifth year the event was well represented by the nine clubs within the county, with all club’s taking home a fair share of the spoils.
Katie Walsh from Portlaoise AC was first winner of the day, taking gold in the Girls U-18 200M. Infield, hurdles were being set up for the U-15 and U-17 60M hurdles.
Here, Chloe Keenan, Emo-Rath won the first of her two gold medals, in what was the tightest finish of the day, where she just shaded it over Seoige English from St Abban's.
The hurdles were quickly followed by the 60M sprints, where Ballyfin’s Orla Carroll was first gold medallist in this event, winning the Girls U-10 category. In the Boys U-10 it was first and second placings for St Michael's pair, Cillian Hoey and Brian Chinda.
St Abban's athletes Eoin Cawley U-14 and Josh McDonald U-16 were also winners in the 60M event.
Fresh after her silver medal winning exploits last week in the Leinster event, Grainne Lawlor from Rosenallis Kilcavan stormed to victory in the Girls U-16 60M.
Attention quickly turned to the 200M or one lap event. Darragh Corcoran from Ballyfin was an impressive winner of the Boys U-18 category, with Emo-Rath duo of Gillian Keenan and Jack Fortune winning the Senior events.
Distance races were next, and these did not disappoint either. First up was the senior men’s and women's 1500m event. In the mens there was a tactical battle all way through between Tom Dunne (Ballyroan Abbeyleix and Disctrict) and Cathal Connaughton from (Oughaval), with Cathal biding his time and making his move with a lap to go to take gold.
In the women's event Breda McDonald from Ballyroan, Abbeyleix and District left nothing to chance leading from gun to tape to claim the gold medal.
The juvenile distance events followed. Here, it was a double for Portlaoise in the U-11 with Emma Jane Cuddy winning the girls and Daniel Downey the boys event. It was a similar scenario in the U-13s with St Abban's athletes Ciara Malone and Evan English taking gold.
Faye McEvoy from Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District was a comfortable winner in the Girls U-15 800m event, and St Abban's made it a clean sweep in the boys, where Lee Murray took gold in a close affair.
Emily O’Neill from Emo-Rath won her first gold county medal when she won the girls U-17 800M and Ronan Hyland won the boys event after a tough battle with Oughaval athlete Oisin Jago.
The long jump event saw most of the spoils being shared between Portlaoise and St Abbans. In the High Jump Seoige English from St Abban's was an impressive winner in the Girls U-15 category.
Sarah Coyle and Munirat Shobawale made it double gold for Mountmellick AC winning the girls U-14 and U-16 Shot Putt events. Sarah Graham from St Abban's won the Girls U-18 event, while Adam, Shane and Tom Buggy, St Abban's won gold in the U-14, 16 and 18 Boys shot putt respectively.
All in all it was a great day of athletics. Many of these athletes will be in action again over the next few weeks at regional and national level, where we wish them all the best.