17 Aug 2022

Laois Athletics Digest (October 30)



Laois County Novice and Uneven Ages

The Laois County Novice and Uneven Age Cross Country Championships took place last Sunday 21st October in the magnificent surroundings of Emo Court and Gardens in the glorious autumn sunshine. There was a great turn out for Ballyfin with eight men and four women competing along with 14 children and young adults who again gave great performances and who are getting closer and closer to winning a “Team Event”.

In what were testing underfoot conditions with the ground on the soft side in places, all our runners put in brave performances and after a lot of hard work put in by club members over the last 12 months, the future looks bright.

Novice Ladies: This was one of the largest Novice ladies fields ever with 31 runners and the Ballyfin AC womens team was one of six teams taking part. Congratulations are in order as the Ladies team took the plunge, running their first ever race for the Club which comprised of Antoinette Connolly, Ger Goode, Rachel Dooley and Elaine Lawlor. Antoinette was the first home for Ballyfin in 15th place, with Ger Goode in 19th. Rachel Dooley and Elaine Lawlor came home in 22nd and 23rd place. The team came home in fifth place and well done to all who took part and no doubt it will stand well to the Ladies in future races.

Novice Men: Ballyfin AC had its strongest turn out of the year in the first race, with eight runners in all, epitomising the nenewed spirt in the club over the last year. Shane Delaney was first home for the club in 10th place in a time of 21.56, less than a minute outside the medals. In fact, Shane, Ciaran Keenan (13th), Stephen Bland (17th) and newcomer John Paul Phelan (19th), who ran a great race, were all inside the top 20 finishers and duly took fourth place in the team standings. Well done also to Kevin White (27th), Alo Maher (32nd), Mike McCarthy (35th) and Fergal Dooley (39th) who all ran well on the day. Indeed it was Fergal’s first ever race for the club and we are delighted to have him compete with us. They made up the Ballyfin B team finishing in eighth place of nine teams. Well done to them all.

Girls U9: The U9 race was the only race where no team event took place with the first ten athletes receiving a medal. Well done to Lucy Goode who put in a great performance and came home in 7th position receiving a medal for her great efforts. A very young and brave, Niamh Bland, put in a tremendous run and was narrowly beaten into 11th position to miss out on a medal with her team mate, Catriona Phelan, on her heels in 12th position. In fact out of the 35 athletes the 3 Ballyfin runners finished in the top 12. Girls U-11: The girls U-11 ran to the best of their ability and are definitely getting stronger with each run with Roisin Bland, Dearbhail Cuddy, Ciara Phelan, Maeve Carroll and Kora Davis flying the flag for the Club – this group came fourth in the team event. Boys U11: With 29 athletes the Boys U-11 was another race that was stacked with young talent. Our highest finisher was Adam Connolly in 15th. Adam was followed by James Wheeler (17th), Sean O’Rourke (19th) and Josh Hogan (23rd) Brian Burke. Girls U-13: In the girls U-13 race, the Club rallied their support for their team mates Ellen Coughlan and Aoife Parnell who again gave 110% and put in strong performances. Boys U-13: The U-13 boys race saw two Ballyfin lads give it their best with Matthew Motts and Cormac Goode – congrats on wonderful performances all round!

Well done to our athletes and our next target is the Cross Country Relay Races at the start of January 2013 – we will keep you posted so watch this space. And finally a word to all our runners - everyone ran out of their skins and we are really proud of you. Indeed well done to all the parents, athletes and organisers who contributed in making the day such a success.

Juvenile Training

Monday Nights – Indoor Training moves back to the Ballyfin Community Hall for the Winter, taking place 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

There will be no training on this coming Friday 2nd November but it will resume again on the 9th November. Training for children over 8 years continues to take place on Friday evenings with a mixture of indoor/outdoor training (weather dependent). Meeting at Treo Nua Community Centre in Portlaoise on Harpurs Lane (across from entrance to the Portlaoise Running Track) from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

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 girls

Why not get along to the Portlaoise Running Track adjacent to Portlaoise College on Monday evenings at 6.30pm, ask for Ger Goode and join in in some light training to get you up and running. For more details contact Ger Goode on 083-1077421.

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

Laois County Novice and Uneven Ages Cross Country Championships

The Laois County Novice and Uneven age cross country championships took place last Sunday in the resplendent Emo House and Gardens.

Ballyroan Abbeyleix & District really came to the fore as we had 45 children and young adults and eight Novices ready to take part in the days eagerly awaited competition. Where to begin is the question as our club really made its presence felt in the glorious autumn sunshine.

Novice Ladies

We have a new County Champion in the shape of Louise Mahony fron Cullahill who ran a truly outstanding race from start to finish as she dominated the large field of 31 experienced athletes in her first ever cross country race. This was one of the largest Novice ladies fields ever. Louise spearheaded the team to silver medals being agonisingly pipped by just three points by the strong St Abban’s team for gold. Louise was followed by Jean McEvoy (5th), Ann Churchouse (7th) with Louise’s sister Laura Mahony (8th) making up the medal winning quartet. Well done to the Girls. They have blazed a trail of medal successes in he last 12 months and we can look forward with confidence to the County Intermediate Championships.

Novice men

James Hamm had the best run of his short but blossoming running career to date with a truly great bronze medal in the mens Novice. James was always well positioned throughout the 6k and on the last lap he broke clear with the leading group of three and despite a determined joust for silver with the youthful Cormac Kelly from St Abban’s, James was just edged into the bronze medal position over the last 500 meters of an absorbing tussle. Well done also to John Kirwan (16th), Thomas Dunne (21st) and Declan Malone (44th) who all ran well on the day. Indeed it was Declan’s first ever race of any description for the club and we are delighted to have him compete with us. The team finished fifth and well done to them all.

Girls U-9 600m: The girls U-9 race with 35 starters was the largest field of the day besides the Novice men. We had nine young runners in the race which was a magnificent sight with the Primrose and Blue visible everywhere. The girls were all outstanding and finished in the following order. 9 - Faye McEvoy; 14 - Lucy O’Connor; 15 - Blaithnaid Deegan; 25 - Annie Rodgers; 26 - Sarah Sheeran; 29 - Leah Gilnagh; 30 - Eva Dunphy; 31 - Lisa Kirby; 32 - Laura Kelly. Faye McEvoy was one of the medal winners wth a magnificent run. Boys U-9 600m: The boys U-9 had 20 athletes with six of them wearing the Primrose and Blue. The lads finished as follows 6 - Jack McMahon; 8 - Liam Kavanagh; 16 - Ian Dalton; 18 - Eoin Robinson; 19 - Niall McEvoy. Both Jack McMahon and Liam Kavanagh were proud winners of County Medals with their top 10 placings. Girls U-11 1km: The U-11 Girls race was another one to savour as Leah Kelly won brilliantly with her team mate Mary Kate Brennan taking bronze. Even better when we heard the team had won Gold in the U-11 Girls. The other two proud holders of County Gold Medals are Niamh McDonald (7th) and Erin Simpson (10th). We had other great performers as follows 31 - Maebh Duggan; 32 - Emily Duggan; 36 - Bronagh McEvoy. We are proud of all seven athletes as each one of them contributed in their own special way to this gold medal success. Boys U-11 1km: With 29 athletes the Boys U-11 was another race that was stacked with young talent. Our Highest finisher was James Duggan in 12th. James was followed by Jim O’Connor (16th), Davin McEvoy (20th), Daragh Kelly (24th), Luca Macarelli (27th). The team finished 4th and very well done to them. Girls U-13 1.6km: In the large field of over 30 athletes we had 5 young members in this race. Finishers were 15 - Molly O’Connor; 21 - Sarah McMahon; 25 Nessa McEvoy; 26 Sarah Kelly; 28 - Amy Foyle. Boys U-13 1.6km: The U-13 boys were also to the fore with a brilliant Silver medal team performance. Cian McDonald was as consistent as ever as he took individual Silver with Lewis Churchouse 4th. The lads were joined on the silver medal winning team by Ewan Brennan (7th) and Jim Kirby (16th). Other members of the U-13 Boys squad to run magnificently were Mark Deegan (20th) and Joshua Brennan (23rd). Well done to this young team who have such potential. We will support them all the way. Girls U-15 2.5km: Our lone participant in this race was the very talented Avril Deegan from Cullahill. Avril ran a tremendously gutsy ace and finished a highly respectable 7th in the quality field of runners, this despite playing Handball all week in the National Championships. Well done Avril. Boys U-15 2.5km: We had three athletes as follows in the Boys U-15. Evan Deegan from Cullahill in 6th was our best finisher in his first Cross Country Race for the Club. Evan was followed by Tommy White (13th) and Andrew Dunphy (14th). Well done to the lads on their great runs. Girls U-17 3.5km: Our lone participant in the U-17 race was Ballyroan’s very own Aine McDonald. Aine ran a super race finishing fourth just a whisker outside the medals. Well done to Aine as she continues to fly the clubs flag with distinction. Boys U-17 4km: Martin Walsh was our only participant in this race finishing 11th. Well done to Martin. Girls U-19 4km: Kate McDonald won a great silver medal in the Girls U-19 4k, capping a fine days running from all the McDonald Children from Ballyroan. Well done to Kate as she added to her medal tally.

Every single one of our athletes ran with their hearts on their sleeves and we are really proud of them. A special shout out also too our gang from Cullahill as they were so competitive and so energetic and are really new to the athletics scene. Indeed well done to all the parents and athletes who contributed by there presence in making the day so special.

Gerry Farnan Cross Country 2012

Grace McConnell had a good run in the annual Gerry Farnan Cross Country race in the Phoenix Park last Sunday in a high quality field of Irelands best athletes. Grace finished 63rd over the three mile distance in a good time of 19.34. Well done to Grace as she continues her build up for the cross country season.


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 is training each Tuesday evening at 7.30pm 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.

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.

You can follow us on Facebook at BallyroanAbbeyleix Athletics Club.


Cross Country

Stage 2 of the Laois Cross Country championships for uneven ages was held last week in Emo. All of our athletes again competed very strongly, here are the results from the day; Girls U-9: Kayla Darcy, Anna Crean, Alice Bickerdike & Alegra Whitten all ran well; Boys U-9: Blake Kemmy, Conor Whearty, Jake Darcy all ran well; Girls U-11: Jessica Hewitt, Jenny Murphy, Bronagh Scully & Sasha Kemmy all ran well; Boys U-11: Canice Whearty first and our new Laois Cross Country Champion, Jack Fennelly third place, J Heffernan, P Corcoran, O Jago. We also won the team gold medal as well, so well done lads. Girls U13: Orla Fennelly, Heather Crean ran well. Boys U-13: David Corcoran ran well. Boys U-15: Fergal Scully third place, Jake Bickerdike and Dorian Whitten also ran well. Boys U-17: Evan Philips, Daragh Nerney, Conor Stapleton and Dara Stapleton all ran well and won the team Silver Medal, so well done lads.

Training continues on Monday and Wednesday evenings in Vicarstown at 7pm, fit4life group also meet every wednesday at 7pm. Every Saturday training takes place in Oughaval woods at 10:30am


Cross Country

On Sunday Emo was the setting for the Day 2 of the County Cross Country Championships. There were many fine performances by the juvenile and novice runners of Portlaoise AC. In the U-9 girls race, over 600m, Aisling Fleming was third. Penny Conroy also ran well in this race. In the boys U-9 James Conroy was third. His team-mates were David Burke, Conor McMahon and Eoin Molloy. In the girls U-11 Ailbhe Quinn was second. With her team-mates Sarah Fleming, Eleanor Healy, Faith Ameyo and Sinead Murphy, Portlaoise also won a bronze team medal. Fergus Sheehy had a good run in the boys U-11 over 1K. The boys and girls U-13 races were over 1.6K. Erone Fitzpatrick won the girls race and PJ Daly was third in the boys. Katie Walsh, Conor O’Farrell and Ben Fitzpatrick also ran well in this age group. Louise Stack followed up on her U-16 win in Stradbally with victory in the U-15 2.5K in Emo. Amy Walsh, Charlie Walsh and Jessica Bennett all put in good runs in this race to secure silver team medals. With a win in the boys U-15 race Domhnall O Farrell also added to his gold from Stradbally. Portlaoise dominated in the girls U-17 3.5K with Anna Healy, Aoife Campion and Rosie Stack taking the top three positions. Oisín Fitzpatrick then added another gold to the Portlaoise haul in the boys U-17 4K. Chris Finn won the U-19 6K and David Mulhare and Sean Culleton followed him home in second and fifth places. In the novice women’s race Trish Cuddy was sixth and with Pam Power, Frances Deegan and Ailish Kelly won bronze team medals for Portlaoise. The club also had good performances from Noreen Daly, Olwyn Larkin, Michelle Castieux, Patricia Naughton, Marion Carton and Valerie O’Reilly. Thirteen Portlaoise athletes took part in the novice men’s 6k and the bronze team medal was secured by Trevor McCormack, Cyril Cuddy, Mick Boyhan and Paul Cuddy.

Gerry Farnan Cross Country

Six of our athletes competed in the annual Gerry Farnan Cross Country Race in The Phoenix Park. All ran well in this highly competitive event. Michael Mulhare was second senior male and Mary Mulhare second junior female. Paula and Sharon Grant took part in the race for the first time. Paula was tenth female O35 and Sharon 24th in the senior category. Noel Marum and Aengus Burke finished fifth and eighth respectively in the O45 men’s race. Noel qualified to run in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country in Belfast on 10th November. Well done to all.

Meet ‘N’ Train

The Portlaoise Athletic Club “Meet ‘N’ Train” programme continues each week. Come along to the track on Thursdays from 6pm to 7pm if you are interested in continuing or starting training. This programme is also open to new members so spread the word and bring a friend. Membership forms will be available at the sessions.


Training sessions: Seniors - Tuesday and Thursday 7p.m. 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; Juveniles - Tuesday and Thursday 7pm at track for sprints, long jump, hurdles, distance. Sunday 10.15am at Emo for 11yrs+; Throws - Sunday @ 10am and Tuesday @ 6pm.

St Abban’s

Double Novice Titles

Emo Court was in excellent condition for the second day of the Laois Credit Union county cross country championships. While a heavy dew made for a testing course the elements were perfect in a beautiful surrounding. The club featured strongly in most events and recorded team titles in the girls U-13, boys U-13, U-15, U-17 and U-19 along with double gold in both the ladies and gents novice.

In the girls U-9 it was first and second for Amy Brennan and Seoighe English with support from Niamh Graham, Katie Brennan, Caoimhe Burke and Audrey Byrne. Our numbers were scarce in the boys U-9 but Darragh Kealy 2nd and Shane Buggy 5th had fine runs. Sarah Graham, Emma Dermody and Denise O’Gorman were our representatives in the girls U-11 while T.J. Burke finishing like a sprinter was an excellent second with Brian O’Sullivan also having a fine run in the boys U-11.

Cara Maher and Daena Kealy had a fine battle for silver in the girls U-13 with Cara just getting the verdict on the line. With Orla Davis 6th and Ruby Millet ninth the gold medals for the team were wrapped up. Support came from Jade Nolan and Orla Kelly. Cian Kelly added the U-13 title to his Stradbally success and with Jonathon Crossley fifth, Conor Mulhall making a welcome return eighth and Adam Nicholl-Waugh 10th having a fine run it was gold for the team. Tom Buggy and Gerard Kelly were the supporting cast here. The girls U-15 had to settle bronze led home by Lauryn Kealy fourth, Laura Graham sixth, Elizabeth Brophy 12th and Niamh Moore 13th with Siobhan Buggy and Aine Burke making their club debut over the cross country this season. Michael Dempsey, making his debut for the club, had a brilliant run to take the silver in the boys U-15 and led the team to gold with Oisin Ryan fourth, Cian Burke fifth and Niall Brennan seventh being the other scorers.

They got great support from David Baldwin, William Hayden and Keelan Dermody. Sharon Kelly and Anna Daly were fifth and sixth in the girls U-17 while Siobhan Nash added another county title to her collection when taking the girls U-19 crown.

James Moore showed he is on his way back to form when taking the silver U-17 with Alex Crossley settling for the bronze. With Dylan Byrne fourth and Michael Nash fifth it was a clear win in the team. Fionn Maher was sixth and unlucky not to make the scoring team while Aaran Murphy eighth showed a big improvement on his Stradbally run. Kevin Brennan led his U-19 squad to victory when taking the bronze individual medal. James Delaney fourth, Mark Byrne (in his first club run) sixth and Joseph Barry seventh were the other scorers. Chadrack Landu eighth and Denis Brophy ninth provided the support.

In the Novice ladies Maire Griffiths, in her debut for the club, showed plenty of potential to take the silver from track specialist Sinead O’Gorman in bronze and with Mairead Moore fourth the team success was wrapped up when another debutant Carol Brennan finished ninth. Linda Ramsbottom 11th, Ann Nicholl/Waugh 13th, Laura Buggy 14th and Carmel Hughes provided excellent support.

James Griffin and Cormac Kelly were always in the leading group in the men’s novice event and as the 6K progressed they started to move up a gear. James opened some day light with a little over 1500m to go and came home an impressive winner to take his first Laois title, while Cormac made sure of the silver over the last 800m. Diarmuid Ayers, making a welcome return to the sport, had a fine run for seventh while the leader of the masters squad the previous week Liam Byrne made sure of the team title when finishing ninth. Others to wear the club colours proudly were:- Joe Curran, Anthony McDonald, Matthew Warren, Liam Delaney, Francis Fleming, David Buggy, Patsy Baldwin and Dinny Whelan. Many thanks to all those who turned out and performed so well. Special thanks to all the parents who helped out on the day.

Coaching Ireland

An impressive and interested group of 25 showed up for the Nutrition course given by Coaching Ireland’s tutor Brian Bourke in the clubhouse on Monday evening last. With quite a few questions being asked it ran for a little longer than anticipated and it will be interesting to see if the same numbers will be present for the next one on Monday the 5th November. The topic scheduled for this presentation is Hydration.

The course will get under way at 7.00pm and all are welcome to come along.

St Michael’s

Laois Cross Country Novice and Juvenile Results

Congratulations to our mens team who won second in the Laois Novice Cross Country race on 21st October, Derek Coogan ran a great race to finish fourth followed by Owen Connelly in sixth place, Noel Coss in 12th place and John White in 16th completing the silver mens team, great performances were also put in from Mario Holohan, Aidan Mullally and Damien Donagher. Well done to our novice ladies Colette Dempsey, Valerie McCauliffe and Ciara Herron on their first novice race.

Our juveniles had a great day, taking home 20 medals. U-9 started with the girls, Rebecca Mullally winning the first individual medal coming home in sixth place, and then we had a first place position for U-9 boys with John Ikpotokin running a wonderful race. Girls U-11 brought home team silver with Aoibhean Maher, Kate Eacrett, Della Doherty and Helen Ikpotokin. U-11 boys also brought home team silver with Eoin Higgins, Iarlaith Galvin, Darragh Fenlon and Lee Kavanagh. U-13 girls achieved team bronze Jessica Higgins, Sinead Cullen, Aoibhean Murphy and Katie O’Donnell. We had two individual medal winners in the girls U-15 Eva Galvin second and Leah Cooney third and then won team gold with Naomi Luttrell and Kayleigh Woods. Great days work, well done to all athletes who took part.

Next day out for cross country is at Leinster even ages in Avondale in Wicklow on Sunday 28th October.

Dublin Marathon 2012

Well done to all St Michael’s members who participated in the 2012 Dublin City Marathon. We will have results in next weeks papers.

Winter Training Schedule

Senior Training has moved to McCann park Portarlington for the Winter months Tuesday and Thursday evening from 7pm. Each session is €2. Wes Reilly trains the Fit for Life group on Tuesday and Aidan Mullally on Thursday evenings. Noel Coss trains the other groups on both evenings. Juvenile Training takes place on Monday and Thursday evening at 6pm in McCann park.

New Members welcome

New members are always welcome to St Michaels AC senior Club and Juvenile Club for information about juvenile training contact Bill Devereaux 086-3057563 or Mark Higgins 087-2431154 and for details of Senior Training contact Wes Reilly 085-1252352. .

Sunday Morning Run

The long run on Sunday morning continues at the winter scheduled time of 10am. Meet at the car park in Emo.

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