19 Aug 2022

Laois Athletics Digest (November 6)

This week’s Laois GAA Digest. See this week’s Leinster Express for more photographic coverage. Now on sale on Tuesdays

This week’s Laois GAA Digest. See this week’s Leinster Express for more photographic coverage. Now on sale on Tuesdays


Ballyfin GAA 10k Mountain Challenge

The first Ballyfin GAA 10k Mountain Challenge took place on Saturday October 27th last. The 10k course weaved through the backroads of Ballyfin on the slopes of the Slieve Bloom Mountains and proved a test for both the serious athlete and the fun runner/walker alike. Ballyfin AC’s Ciaran Keenan came home in third place with Dan Allen not far behind in the top ten. The Ballyfin ladies were out in force with Colette O’Rourke, Antoinette Connolly, Elaine Lawlor and Michelle Dalton putting in great runs in a tough course. And not to forget the many juveniles who turned out to tackle the course. Well done to everyone.

New Kits On The Block!

Watch out in the coming weeks and months as the Ballyfin AC runners will be decked out in a new singlet bearing the navy and sky blue of the clubs colours. The singlet design is based on the new logo, which modernised the deer of the old logo, and the deer element will form a large part of the overall look. So now you don’t have the strain your eyes to make us out! Thanks to Mike McCarthy who designed the logo and singlet.

Juvenile 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 five welcome, €2 per child and max €5 per family.

Friday nights – Indoor/Outdoor Training

Friday night training will resume on the 9th November for children over eight years. 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

Leinster Novice and Even Ages Cross Country Championships

Several of our athletes made the trip to the Garden County of Wicklow and the picturesque setting of Avondale House in Rathdrum for the Leinster Even Ages, Novice and Masters Cross Country Championships. For some it was their first foray into competition outside Laois and everybody acquitted themselves well and gained valuable experience for the future. U-12 Girls: We had two competitors in the U-12 girls race with Mary Kate Brennan cementing her recent great performances in the Laois Championships with a brilliant seventh place finish out of the large field of 138 athletes. One of our newcomers Erin Simpson from Cullahill in only her third appearance for the club finished 108th; U-14 Boys: We had five representatives in the U-14 Boys Race. The team was lead across the finish line by Cian McDonald in 36th place. Lewis Churchouse finished 66th with the trio of Oisin Fitzpatrick, Ewan Brennan and Fintan McGowan finishing 81st, 82nd and 92nd respectively; U-16 Girls: We had one representative in thew U-16 Girls race where Avril Deegan competed very well iin her first provincial championship race; Novice Women: Grace McConnell had a great run in the ladies Novice finishing a highly respectable ninth in a very competitive race with a time of 15.26; Novice Men: Our mens novice team all competed very well and gained valuable experience at this level. The team was lead home by James Hamm in 28th. James was followed by the trio of Ciaran Elster, Thomas Dunne and John Kirwan in 55th, 62nd and 63rd respectively.

Masters Men

Our leading veteran Tony Reilly finished a highly commendable 6th in a very competitive masters mens race. This was good enough to give Tony the bronze medal in the M40 Category.

We would like to congratulate all our athletes, parents and supporters who made the long trip to Rathdrum.

Dublin City Marathon

We had three athletes in the huge field of over 14000 participants in the Dublin City Marathon on the October Bank Holiday Monday. PJ Carroll ran a personal best of 2.43.40 and in the process finish a highly commendable 76th overall in the huge field. Tim Churchouse was also rewarded with a personal best when he crossed the line in 3.52.44. Michelle Fitzpatrick in her first Marathon ran a great time of 4.22.44 which also of course constitutes a personal best. The club would like to congratulate PJ, Tim amd Michelle and wishes each of them a speedy recovery from their Marathon exploits.


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.

Emo Rath

Cross Country

The second day of the county cross country events were held in Emo Court on Sunday 21st October. There was a great turn out in general.

U-9 girls 5th Ciara Crowley, 18th Chloe Keenan. U-11 girls 16th Mollie O’Toole, 28th Molly McCormack. U-11 boys 21st Eoin Montague. U-13 girls 4th Aoife Mooney, 5th Rebecca Balfe, 7th Gillian Keenan, 12th Isabella O’Toole, 16th Victoria Moore and 19th Zoe Keegan. Our U-13 girls were second over all with the first four from our club to score so well done girls. U-13 boys 6th Eddie Allen and 14th Eoin Keenan and 22nd Evan Pender ( this was Evan’s first time to race for Emo Rath AC so well done Evan we look forward to seeing you at many more events.)

Leinster Championships for even ages took place in Avondale House in Rathdrum in Co. Wicklow on Sunday 28th Octorber. We had five athletes competing on the day, the course was very hilly and the weather conditions were dreadful. U-12 girls 2000m saw Rebecca Balfe come 16th out of 140 athletes first 12 were awarded medals. Eddie Allen ran in the U-12 boys 2000m he was placed 60th out of 120 athletes. U-14 girls 3000m saw Aoife Mooney running above her age group there were 127 athletes in this race and Aoife was placed 67th, what an unbelieveably tough course. Our U-14 boys was Liam Crowley who ran in the 3000m race also and was placed 54th out of 93 athletes. Finally we had Finbarr Crowley competing above his age group in the U-16 boys 4000m race again a seriously difficult course he was 42nd out of 77 athletes. A huge congratulations to these five athletes who pushed themselves to the limit in dreadful conditions and crossed that finish line with great gusto !!


Leinster Cross Country

Portlaoise A.C. members were kept busy this week with Day 1 of the Leinster Championships and the Dublin City Marathon. Well done to all who competed, and a big thank you to the many supporters who cheered them on. Sunday saw the Leinster Even Ages, Novice and Masters Championships in Avondale Co. Wicklow. Noel Marum and Jimmy McCormack scored on the County Masters team taking silver medals over 6km. Noel and Jimmy along with Cyril Cuddy, Trevor McCormack, Michael Boyhan and Paul Cuddy, helped Portlaoise finish fifth club. In Juvenile events, David Mulhare put in a great performance, finishing sixth in U18 6km. Louise Stack claimed her first Leinster individual medal coming fourth in U-16 4km, followed by Anna Healy finishing strongly in 18th position. Rosie Stack had a good run coming 26th in U-18 4km. Erone Fitzpatrick was first Portlaoise girl home in U-14 girls in 36th place, followed by Amy Walsh, Charlie Walsh, and Jessica Bennett. Katie Walsh ran well in U-12 girls, while Ailbhe Quinn gave a great performance finishing 15th in the Open U-10 race. The next Cross Country event will be the Leinster Intermediates and Uneven Ages in Dunboyne on the 11th November.

On Bank Holiday Monday we had six athletes toeing the line for the Dublin City Marathon. Congratulations to Trevor Percy (3.46), Niall Collins (3.44), Ed O’Dwyer (3.44), Niamh Kavanagh (3.57), Elaine Moore (4.14), and Olive Maher (4.38). This was great running by all and a huge achievement. Ed was also presented with the King of the Spartans which was a fantastic achievement and this earned Ed a trip to the New York, well done all.

Bristol Cross Country

Mary Mulhare was in good running form finishing eighth in a quality international field in the McCain UK Cross Challenge in Bristol on Sunday.

Ballyfin GAA 10k

Portlaoise AC had a good few representatives out in Ballyfin today for the inaugural running of the Ballyfin GAA 10k. First man home for Portlaoise and first overall was Aengus Burke in a time of 34.10, a great time on what was an up and down hilly course. Aengus was our only man in action on the day but we had several ladies out too. First lady home for Portlaoise and first overall was Noreen McEvoy. Noreen was followed shortly after by Audra Conroy with Ailish Kelly third lady home on the day. We also had Helen Bleach and Valerie O’Reilly in action, both had great runs and both were very happy with their times on what was a hilly course.Well done all.


Meet ‘n Train programme continues each week at the track from 6 to 7pm for those interested in starting or continuing training. Seniors: Tuesday and Thursday 7pm at track. Saturday in Oakvale, meet at 10.45, run at 11 sharp. Sunday in Emo meet at 10.15 run at 10.30. Progressive run from Portlaoise Church car park Thursdays 9pm. As extra sessions are sometimes arranged, check our facebook page for up-to-date information. Juveniles: Tuesdays and Thursdays 7pm at the track for sprints, long jump, hurdles, distance. Sundays 10.15 in Emo for 11 yrs+. Throws Sundays at 11 in St. Fintan’s field.

St Abban’s

History Repeated

30 years ago December 1982, the Leinster Intermediate cross country championships were decided on the race course in Wexford. It was a notable day in the life of St Abban’s AC as Eamon Kelly and Seamus Lawlor finished first and second respectively. Last Sunday in the picturesque surroundings of Avondale House in Rathdrum, County Wicklow it was the Leinster novice title that was up for grabs. After a fantastic run over a fast hilly circuit Brian Kelly (nephew of Eamon) came home the victor over a fast finishing Stephen Lawlor (son of Seamus). Both had been in the leading group from the off and it was only over the final 600 metres that Brian succeeded in breaking the long time lead from Mullingar man Vinny Connolly and with a mighty effort over the final hill he made sure of the title. Stephen came in hot pursuit and nailed down the silver medal over the tough climb.

Making it a very successful day the two lads got excellent support from their team-mates with the county novice champion James Griffin putting himself in the right places at the right time finishing a brilliant 7th and with the youngster on the team Cormac Kelly (Eamon’s son) having a fantastic run for 21st and the gold medals were secured for the club title. This marked our first set of gold medals at this level. The same quartet of Brian, Stephen, James and Cormac were level on points with Dublin for the county title, but had to settle for silver as the Dub’s fourth man was home before Cormac. James Nolan had his best run ever finishing 33rd, with the returning Dermot Ayres putting in a savage effort for 35th and newcomer Anthony McDonald 53rd providing a solid back-up to support a fantastic achievement.

In the girls U-12 Cara Maher enjoyed her trip up the tough finishing hill also as she came from fifth to second place over the final 300 metres to nail down the silver and sure if it was a little longer might have gone a place better. Orla Davis, Ruby Millet and Jade Nolan completed the team that finished seventh club. In the boys U-12 Jonathon Crossley, TJ Burke and Brian O’Sullivan were the men. Daena Kealy and Laura Graham finished strongly in the girls U-14 and were supported by Aideen Barry and Niamh Moore. Cian Kelly was 25th in the boys U-14 with support from Adam Nicholl-Waugh and Oisin Ryan. Lauryn Kealy was unlucky not to qualify for the Nationals when finishing in 13th just one place outside the qualifiers in the girls U-16. In the corresponding boys age group Alex Crossley ran out of gas climbing the hill for the last time finishing a game 22nd in his first Leinster championships. Fionn Maher and Arron Barry were the others to the fore. The boys U-18 finished fourth club with James Delaney, James Moore, Joseph Barry and Mark Byrne wearing the club colours and doing well over a demanding 6K.

Liam Byrne led home our Masters contingent in 27th place with Matthew Moore, Francis Fleming, Liam Delaney and Dinny Whelan completing our participation on a great day for the club in Wicklow - who knows what the story will be in 30 years’ time?

Marathon Monday

The October Bank holiday means the Dublin City marathon where in excess of 14,000 took to the streets this year. As usual we were well represented, though not in the same numbers as the past couple of years with injury prevented a few from being involved. Well done to all those who took part and apologies to anyone omitted. Finbar Fitzgerald ran into trouble around the 16 mile and had to walk the remainder but with large sponsorship riding on finishing he duly made it to the finish. Finian Guinan was in the top half and just over 4:09. David Buggy succeeded in getting home before the 4 hour mark in a time of 3:32, Shay Healy came in 3:38, John Brennan was 3,358th in 3:44, with Patsy Baldwin close by in 3,483rd in 3:43:28 which was a big PB. For Mark Wogan it was 3,226th in 3:41:22, Lynda Fay made it in a time of 3.58, while Paula Guinan was delighted with her 3,074th placing in 3:40. However the big performance from the gang came from Teresa Agar who had a fabulous performance to finish in 788th place in an excellent 3 hours 11 minutes and 18 seconds - no doubt plenty of pain but a contented and happy group. Roll on 2013!

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