Laois Athletics Weekly News - All the latest from the clubs in Laois


South Leinster Secondary Schools Cross Country
Laois Athletes provided some magnificent performances at the South Leinster Schools Cross Country, held for the first time ever at Stradbally Hall, on Wednesday February 1st.
The South Leinster Region covers counties Wexford, Kilkenny, Carlow, Laois, Offaly and south County Kildare. This area has almost 100 secondary schools. The standard in this competition is always very high, and the Stradbally event was no exception.
This South Leinster Schools event is the qualifier event for the main Leinster Schools Championships, and hopefully onto the All-Ireland Schools Finals. Athletes can qualify by Individual Performance - the top 15 go through to Leinster Championships, or by School Team – the first three teams also qualify.
The Leinster Championships take place on Wednesday Feb 15th in Santry, Dublin.
Minor Girls:
First up was the Minor Girls race, running 1000m. Laois Schools got off to the best possible start for the day. It was almost a “gun-to-tape” victory for Ava O’Connor, first year student in Scoil Chriost Rí, Portlaoise. Ava runs with Tullamore Harriers, and she also led her team of Kate Corcoran, Grainne Cotter and Ava Prendergast to victory in the team event.
Kate and Ava run with Ballyfin AC, while Grainne is with St Michael's AC.
Minor Boys:
In the minor boys, another great Laois performance saw Oisin Hooney from Wolfhill and Knockbeg College cross the line in first place. Oisin led his Knockbeg team of himself, Jack Murphy, Oisin Doyle and Darragh Kealy to bronze team medals, and will represent their school in Santry.
Junior Girls:
In junior girls race, Rebecca Fenlon (Colaiste Iosagain and St Abban's AC) ran a superb race to finish third overall. Niamh McDonald and Sarah Delaney (both from Heywood and Ballyroan Abbeyleix AC) finished 6th and 14th respectively, while Dearbhail Cuddy (Mountrath CS and Ballyfin AC) finished 15th, and all four will run again in the Leinster Finals.
Junior Boys:
There was no team success from Laois in the event. However Ben Crotty (Knockbeg), TJ Burke (Knockbeg and St Abban's) and Oisin Jago (Mountrath CS and Oughaval AC) all qualified as Individuals.
Intermediate Girls:
Laois representation was small in this race. However Orla Fennelly (Ard Scoil Athy and Oughaval AC) ran a great race to finish fifth. Orla has had a great cross country season and looks set to run a good race in the Leinster Schools. Jessica Brennan (Heywood and Ballyroan Abbeyleix AC) finished 15th and the two girls qualify for Leinster Finals
Intermediate Boys:
This race turned out to be a most successful event for Laois Athletes. Cian McDonald of Heywood College got delayed at the start, and was at the back of the field after 100m. He worked extremely hard on that first lap, and was back in contention going out on Lap 2. The early running was made up of a group of 12 athletes, with Adam Holden (St. Marys CBS and Mountmellick AC), Eddie Allen (Mountrath Community School and Emo Rath AC) and Cathal Connaughton (Ard Scoil, Athy and Oughaval AC) well placed in this lead group. By the end of the second lap Cian had got up to 4th place, and the other three lads also looked sure of qualification in the first 15. Over the last lap Cian McDonald moved up to third place, and a fast finish brought Cathal, Eddie and Adam in 8th, 9th and 10th respectively.
These lads were part of the Laois Team who finished second in the recent Athletics Leinster U-17 Cross Country, and are well capable of being in the medal in the All-Ireland next week in Waterford.
In addition, the Knockbeg team of Josh Lacey, Jack Lacey, Finbarr Kavanagh and Gavin Ivory finished third, so Laois will be well represented in the Intermediate Race in Santry
Senior Girls:
If Laois girls started with a flourish in the Minor, Louise Stack (Mountrath Community School) finished off the girls races with a most emphatic victory in this 4,500m race. She led from early on, and her lead just kept increasing. Louise is a leaving cert student in Mountrath CS, and runs with Portlaoise AC. She was a member of the Laois Girls U-19 team, who won the All-Ireland in December.
Maebh Maher (Gaelcolaiste Ceatharlach and St Abban's AC), Aoibhean Lawlor (Clonaslee College and Tullamore Harriers) and Katelyn McDarby (Tullamore College and St. Michaels AC) also qualified for their Individual performances, all three finishing in the top 15.
Senior Boys:
The senior boys race saw the laois schools finish on a high. Cian Kelly (Knockbeg and St Abbans) was an emphatic winner and led his team of Oran O’Flaherty, Jamie Wall and Cialann Mulhall to victory in the team category – their first victory in the senior boys in a number of years.
(Thanks to John Scully for the report)

Upcoming Races
Downey Nissan Road Race Championships
- Intermediate Road Race Venue: Vicarstown on 19th February.
- Senior Road Race Venue: Kilcavan on 26th March.
- Junior and Masters Road Race Venue: Portarlington on 23rd April.
Local Races
- Vicarstown Parkrun every Saturday at 9.30am.
- The Heritage 5k Killenard, 5th March.
- The Streets of Portlaoise 5k. 17th March.
- The Emo Forest Run, 14th April.

If your race does not appear on the calendar please contact us via Facebook or our website.


Laois Novice Road Race Championships
It was a big day for Ballyfin AC as they hosted the Downey's Nissan Laois Novice Road Race Championships and top athletes were back on the roads in Ballyfin once again.
It was another good day for the mens senior team taking third place behind the might of Portlaoise and St Abbans. The team was made up of Liam Buggy, Andrew Kehoe, Tony Cox and Diarmuid Murphy. Ronan Lynch and Tommy Looney, who was making his debut, also ran fine races. Well done all.
And it was a special day for the Ladies with a team taking part in the Novice Ladies race. Made up of Martina Ryan, Bronagh Allen, Karen Seale and Denice McGrath, they all ran a fine race and we hope they have many more great days out. Great stuff girls! There is also a full Juvenile roundup on out Facebook page from the day.

Ballyfin AC Ladies
I was great to see Ballyfin AC have a Ladies Team participating in the Novice Women's road race. These girls are not long running - they showed great spirit and determination and ran very well in a field of 48 athletes. Well done Martina Ryan, Bronagh Allen, Karen Seale & Denice McGrath. Hopefully these girls will set the scene and inspire other ladies to join the Club. Super stuff!

Dunleer AC Ras Na hEireann
Well done to Dearbhail Cuddy who took part in the Dunleer AC Ras Na hEireann in the last week. She finished in fifth place in the U-17 Category in what was a very competitive race.

South Leinster Schools Country
Dearbhail Cuddy took part the South Leinster Secondary School Cross Country Championships in Cosby Hall in Stradbally. Dearbhail finished in 15th place In the Junior girls race and in the process qualified for the Leinster Schools Cross Country which will be held in Santry Demesne on the 15th of February. We wish every athlete the best of luck in the Leinster Cross Country.

Charlie Curran Memorial 10k
Ronan Lynch made the trip to Carlow to take part in the Charlie Curran Memorial 10k and came home in a fine time of 45:18 in 33rd place overall. Well done Ronan.

Heath 10k
Well done to Liam Buggy and James Prendergast who took part in the Heath 10k. In what were tough conditions Liam finished in 8th place in a time of 37:54 and James came home in 71st place in a time of 45:55. Well done lads!

Ballyfin AC Training Schedule
Strength and Conditioning: Wednesday from 8-9pm in the Ballyfin Community Hall.
Senior Men: Tuesday 7.30pm meet at St Fintans Car Park, Portlaoise. Thursday 7.30pm  meet at St Fintans Car Park, Portlaoise. Sunday 10.30am  meet at Emo Court Car Park.
Senior Women: Monday from 6.30-7.30pm, meeting in the Old Dunnes Store Car Park in Portlaoise.
Juvenile Training: Every Monday from 6.30-7.30pm in the Ballyfin Community Hall. Every Friday from 6.30-7.30pm in The Portlaoise Leisure Centre, aimed at kids 10 and over.


Monday night run from Sue Ryder Ballyroan leaving at 7pm. Tuesday night training at the GAA at 7:30pm for all ages. New members welcome.

South Leinster Schools Cross Country
Many of our club members represented Heywood CS. The top 15 athletes in each race qualified for the Leinster Schools Cross Country which will be held in Santry Demense on the 15th of February.
Niamh McDonald 6th and Sarah Delaney finished 14th in the junior girls race.
Jessica Brennan also qualified finishing 15th in the inter girls race. Cian McDonald ran well winning bronze in the intermediate boys event.
We wish each athlete the best of luck in the Leinster cross country.

East Munster Schools Cross Country
We had two members running for their school in the East Munster Schools Cross Country. Avril Deegan kept up her great form to win gold and Sorcha Moloney also ran well to place fifth.

Downeys Nissan Laois Novice & Juvenile Development Races
Ballyfin was the host venue for the first in the series of the Downeys Nissan Laois Road Races. We had many ladies turnout in the biggest ladies novice of race yet and all ran well on the day. Siobhan Burke finished 7th with Laura Mahoney 16th, Agnes Fennelly 18th, Aine McDonald 20th, Martina Peacock 31st and Michelle Harvey 41st. Our mens team had the bare minimum but gave a spirited display. Larry Mahoney running his first championship race had a brilliant run coming in 9th place in 21.32, Paul Burke was next home in 15th place in 22.32 , Roland Tarrant also in his first championship race was next in 24th place in 26.19 and Don Sheeran 25th in 26.48.
We had three members in the juvenile development race's. Faye McEvoy place second in the girls U-14 800m. Aaron powders placed sixth in the boys U-14 800m and Caitlin Tarrant placed sixth in the girls U-16 950m event. Well done to all who represented our club.

Training continues every Monday night 6.45pm – 7.45pm. Our TY students are of great assistance on Monday nights. Training for our older athletes continues on Friday nights 7.30pm – 8.30pm. For those involved in the Laois Sprints Squad there is a strength training session on Wednesday nights in Vicarstown hall 7.30pm – 8.30pm and sprint training on Sunday mornings 11.00am – 12.30pm.


County Road Race Championships
Mountmellick AC had 13 of our young juvenile Athletes in action in Ballyfin on Sunday 5th February for the first round of the 2017 Downey’s Nissan, Laois Road Race Championships. The juvenile non-championship races took part in very cold and frosty conditions and our young athletes braved the ice cold weather and gave great accounts of themselves. Of the thirteen Mountmellick athletes who competed in the very competitive juvenile races of the event, the club had six of them finish in the first six individual placings in their respective age categories, picking up a medal for their efforts.
The following club members placed well and took home medals: Cara Culleton, 5th place – U10 Girls; Conor Bergin, 6th place – U10 Boys; Adam Connolly, 4th place – U12 Boys; Chloe Quirke, 3rd place – U18 Girls; Adam Holden 1st place – U18 Boys; Colin Grennan 4th place – U18 Boys.
Our other athletes in action and doing the club proud were: Isabel Stafford, U10 Girls; Emma Connolly, U10 Girls; Ella Hannon Moss, U10 Girls; Ellie Boland, U12 Girls; Isabel Connolly, U12 Girls; Sarah Coyle, U14 Girls; Emma Bergin, U14 Girls. Well done to all who competed.
The next event in the county road race championship series will be the Laois Intermediate men and women’s championship and juvenile non championships, which will be held in Vicarstown and hosted by Oughaval AC on Sunday the the 19th of February. It would be great to see even bigger numbers at the next event.

Club Training
Mountmellick AC hold their training every Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7-8pm at the running track in Smiths Field. we are reminding all juvenile Athletes and their parents to make sure that they are dressed and kitted out in the right attire for winter training sessions and also as the flood lights are on a timer it is imperative that all parents arrive on time to pick their children up at the end of training. It is club policy that juvenile athletes under the age of 10 must have a parent/Guardian present during training.


Laois Novice Road Race
Another medal filled morning for Oughaval AC in Ballyfin at the Novice road races. There was a full programme of non-championship races for juveniles from u8 - u18.
For Oughaval we had: Jake Murray 3rd U-8, Adam Murray 6th U-12, Harry Browne 3rd U-10, Eamon Browne 5th U-12, Denis Brown 7th U-10, Oisin Jago 1st U-16, Orla Fennelly 1st U-18, Sean Sheridan 3rd U-18, Cathal Connaghton 2nd U-18.
Well done to all these athletes who are great for getting out and competing for the club. The next of the road races is on Sunday the 19th of February in Vicarstown. Once again there will be a full programme for boys and girls from U-8 to U-18.

TRIM AC 10 mile
While the younger club members were tearing up the roads around Ballyfin, our ladies travelled to Co Meath for the 3rd Trim AC 10 miler. Clear blue skies, crisp air and no wind made for a great day to run, with the event being superbly organised. The race attracted over 1200 participants and headed out the Trim/Athboy road, through townlands of Dunderry and Kilbride, with some hills at the 3, 6 and 8 mile segments. Karen Connolly was first home for Oughaval in a time of 1:31 followed by Liz Jago in 1:35, Suzanne Scully and Susan Dunne finished well in a time of 1:41 and 1:45 respectively. Well done girls, great running!

Training continues on Monday nights for younger ages and Wednesday for the older athletes from 7 to 8pm. Registration for any athlete who has not registered for 2017, contact Susanne Scully.

Membership of the club is open to adults and children over the age of seven years.

Contact Details
For information on membership or anything else you can visit our Facebook Page. Leave a comment or private message. Or you can contact us directly on the club phone at 087-3493503.


Downeys Nissan Laois Novice and Juvenile development road races
Tom Lupton left it late but stormed to victory in the men’s novice road race held in Ballyfin. With 600 meters to go Tom had drifted to third place but his never say die determination led him to victory. Portlaoise men won silver medal team today with first place for Tom, John Campbell in fifth place, running his first novice road race, followed in eighth place by Paul Cuddy and 18th place for Domhnalll O’Farrell completing the team. Other members of the team on the day were Joe Walsh, Alex McDonald and John Broderick. Well done lads.

Gold for Louise and the Ladies team
We had as many as 15 running in the red and white with six of these running their first championship road race. Louise Stack, on her senior debut, also stormed to victory in her first outing in this Novice Championship. She was followed in third place by Joanne Carroll, 4th Maria Cuddy and 5th Anna Duggan, making up the winning team. Also running today were Catherine Ryan, Olwyn Larkin, Ailbhe Culleton, Amanda McDonald, Norah McGrath, Lucy Dunne, Sarah Conroy, Tracy Gavin, Margaret Mary Grant, and Suzanne Milley. This was a very fast race and each and every lady worked very hard to hold their positions. Well done girls.
Fionn Marum and Amy Walsh were both in as guests in the novice races. Fionn had a great race coming home in fourth place overall. Amy Walsh also had a great run coming in 18th overall. Well done to both of these junior athletes.

Ballyfin Non Championship Juvenile Event
We had few Juveniles in Ballyfin, but those who were there performed to the very best and each one should be very proud of themselves.
U-10 girls - Emma Jane Cuddy (3rd); U-10 boys - Fionn Cuddy (1st) and Tom Macauley. U-12 Girls - Caoimhe Cuddy (2nd) and Aoife Cuddy; Boys U-12 - Oliver MacAulay and Jack Fennell. U-14 girls Grace Meade. U-18 Girls Kate Walsh (2nd).
Well done to you all.

South Leinster Schools Cross Country
The South Leinster Schools Cross Country was held in Stradbally recently. Five members of our club took part, Niall Kirby, Jack Delaney and Robert Laffan all running at this level for the first time found it tough and the windy conditions did not help their cause but each and every one of them ran well and put in some great performances for their schools.
Louise Stack and Amy Walsh ran the Senior girls race, and like Louise did in the Laois Schools cross country she went out hard from the start. Louise built up a lead and held it all the way to the finish, while Amy Walsh also ran well in this race and put in another great performance. Well done to all.

Couch to 5K Update
All groups are now at the half way point, therefore well on their way to completing for many their first 5k on the 17th March with the Streets of Portlaoise road race. Well done to all taking part.

Trim 10 Mile
Well done to James Hamm, Cyril Cuddy and Nuala Arrigan who travelled to Trim for this 10 mile. James was 10th overall with a PB time of 55:27. Cyril was 14th overall and 2nd O40 in another PB time of 56:22. Nuala ran her 10 mile in 1:40.

John Treacy Dungarvan 10 mile
We had three running in Dungarvan 10 mile. Paula Grant in a time of 64:25. Paula was third in her category and eighth female overall. Great work Paula. Sinead Curtis also ran in a time of 1:39.17 and Niall Collins ran 1:13.43. Great running guys in what was reported as a very well organised 10 mile.

Vicarstown Park Run
Good group out again this week. Vicarstown is very well organised park run with a friendly atmosphere yet great race practice each week. Tony Reilly was first home this week for Portlaoise and first overall, Noel Marum was second followed by Riche Reid in third place with a new PB, fourth Trevor McCormack, sixth Patrick Marshall, and 25th Aidan O'Connor. Well done lads. Our first lady for Portlaoise this week was Patricia Naughton followed by Elaine Moore. Well done girls.

Female: Tuesday and Thursday, 6pm to 7pm, Track, Portlaoise College.
Male: Tuesday and Thursday, 7pm to 8pm, College Track.
Juveniles: Tuesday and Thursday, 7pm to 8pm, Portlaoise College Track.
Please check our Facebook page for updates.


Training every Tuesday evening in Kilcavan GAA field at 6:30pm.


Paul sets Irish best
Last Monday night, Paul Byrne competed in France in the 400m Hurdles indoors at the meeting De Leure. He finished the race in third with 51.79 which betters the Irish indoor 400mh record he set two years ago.

AAI games
Back in Ireland, Several Abbans athletes had their first outing in the new Indoor arena in Abbotstown, Dublin at the AAI games. Saragh Buggy continued her fine form and furthered her indoor PB to 12.96m winning the triple jump. Her brother Eoghan ran 50.60 in the 400m while Aran Murphy ran 55.19 on his indoor 400m debut. Daena Kealy set a PB of 1.70m in what was a very competitive women’s high jump. Another indoor PB came from Maisy O’Sullivan in the 3k, running a time of 9.49:30. In the men’s 1500m, John Fenlon ran 4.04:96, showing consistency in his running, having ran 4.04 last week. Matthew Rossiter finished 5th in the men’s PV with 3.45m narrowly missing 3.65m.

Laois Novice Road race
The Laois road race championships got underway with the Novice, hosted by Ballyfin AC. Juvenile non-championship races were held in conjunction with senior Championships and St. Abban’s were well represented. In the girls U-8 250m, Ciara Milton was the winner while in the U-10 girls 350m Cara English also won. Kalem Buggy placed second in the boys U-10. In the U-14 races, Evan English and Jack Milton placed first and second in the boys while Jessica Murray and Rachel Ayres finished third and fifth. In the U-14s, Adam Buggy finished first and Lee Murray was second in the boys. In the girls, Seoighe English won, while Audrey Byrne finished fifth and Aoibheann McDonald was sixth.
In the Ladies’ race we had 11 representatives with the first four St. Abban's ladies home finishing second team, these were Sinead Kelly in second, Caitriona McDonald in sixth, Sharon buggy in 11th and Katie Bermingham in 15th. Deirdre Brennan finished 17th, Carol Brennan was 27th, Anne Nichol was 29th, Linda Ward finished 30th, Marie Fleming, Colette Brennan and Sinead Milton finished 35th, 36th, and 37th.
In the men’s race we had seven representatives. Sean Geoghan led them home finishing second in 20.15, just ahead of Dermot Ayers in third with 20.30, Colin Coyne was just outside the medals in fourth with 21.01and James Nolan placed 11th with 21.36. The team made up of Sean, Dermot, Colin and James won the team event. Liam Byrne finished in 12th with 21.47, Francis Fleming was 20th in 24.01 and Anthony McDonald came home in 22nd place with a time of 24.58.

Throws Coaching
Throws coaching will take place on Wednesday nights at 7.30pm over all over the age of 10.


Laois County Novice Road Race
Well done to all our athletes who took part the Novice Road Race and the underage races in Ballyfin
Well done to George Hackett who took part in the U-8 race, Heidi Hackett in the U-10s girls race, Kate Connolly in the U-14 girls 800m race, and Andy Murphy who took part in the boys U-14 800m and lastly Charlie Hackett in the boys U-16 950m race. Well done to all our young athletes who competed.
Well done to our ladies team of Louise Murphy McEvoy 9th, Karen Phelan 10th, Gwen La Cumbre 12th, and Helen McMahon 19th, to claim bronze medals. Great achievement ladies. 
Well done to Ciara Herron, Amanda Weldon, Niamh Cullen who all did very well also in what was a very tough course
Well done to the our male athletes who took part in the mens race. Well done to Owen Connolly who came 6th, ahead of Cathal Grennan in 7th, Liam Duffy 16th and Andrew Murray 27th. Well done to all from all in St Michael's AC.

Ballinkillin GAA 5k
Well done to Liam De Buitléir who came home first juvenile and fifth overall in the Ballinkillin 5k in a great time of 21:48. Well done Liam from all in St Michael's AC.

Rathcoffey GAA 10k
Well done to George Sharpe who took part in the Rathcoffey GAA 10k and finished in a great time of 45:34.Well done to George from all in St Michael's AC

Athgarvan GAA 10k
Well done to Kevin Mulpeter Snr who ran the Athgarvan 10k in a time of 46:06. Well done to Kevin from all in St Michael's AC.

Irish Life Health AAI Indoor Games
Well done to John White who took part and excelled with the best of Irish walkers in the 3k Senior Mens walk recently. John competed against Olympians Alex Wright and Brendan Boyce who took first and second place respectively. Third place third was won by Cian McManamon. It took no less than three world class athletes to beat John White who came fourth overall, which is a brilliant achievement. Well done John from all in St Michael's AC.

Well done to our athletes Aindriu O Comhraidhe and Monica Corcoran who took part in the Trim 10 mile race Recently. Aindriu O Comhraidhe ran it in 57:48 (a new club record) to come 20th overall, brilliant running by Aindriu. Well done to Monica Corcoran who ran it in 67:41. Well done Aundriu and Monica from all in St Michael's AC.

Senior Training
Senior training takes place twice each week from 7pm to 8pm. Tuesday training takes place at Heritage Hotel – meeting at 7pm. Thursday Training for the next few weeks will take place in Corrig. New members are always welcome at any time, just turn up at one of our training sessions, and give it a go!
Senior members still meet each Saturday morning at 9am in the Lidl car park (beside Odlums) for a long steady run. Distance range from 5K to 20K, and anyone is welcome to join in for an easy run and a friendly chat on the scenic country roads and forest trails around Portarlington, Emo and Killenard.

Juvenile Training
Juvenile training will continue each Monday and Thursday in 2016 from 6pm to 7pm recommencing in September at McCann Park in Portarlington. We would ask that all who take part in the sessions are fully registered with Michael’s athletics club, registration forms are available at each session. For more information, contact Jean on 087-2125870.

Contact Us
Find us on Facebook (Michaels AC) and send a friend request to keep up to date with all that’s happening, or check out our club website on Any questions and comments are welcome by e-mailing

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