Day 2 of the Downey’s Nissan Track and Field Championships took place in St Abban's AC Sports Complex in Crettyard last Friday.
On what was a lovely sultry evening at the south Laois venue, the track and facilities were looking great. There was a decent turnout, with plenty of action on the track with sprints, distance and relay races, and high jump, long jump, triple jump, javelin, shot and hammer on the field.
The action kicked off on the track with the 100m sprints for the older juveniles, with the U-17s races going to club mates Aoife Daly and Lee Mullen from Emo Rath. Portlaoise’s Amy Walsh took the U-19s race, while Jack Fortune from Emo Rath won the U-19s race.
The field events got underway concurrently with the track competitions, with discus and javelin taking place on the in-field. We do not often get to witness the discus, so it was great to see these athletes performing in this technical event.
The U-15s event was won by the host club pair of Sarah Graham and Ivan Jones. U-17 gold medals went to Gillian Keenan (Emo Rath) and Dorian Corcoran (Oughaval), and there was just the single competitor in the U-19s event, with Seodhna Hoey from Portlaoise throwing 35.61m, almost 10m further than her younger counterparts, both male and female.
The javelin event was just for U-17s, and the winners here, and increasing their haul of medals were Aoife Daly (Portlaoise) and Dorian Corcoran (Oughaval).
Back on the track, the attentions turned to the younger juveniles who had their distance races. First off, were the U-10s, who had 300m to race. There were large numbers in both events, with Naomi Ikpotokin (St Michael's) leading the field home in the girls race, and Aaron Lalor (Rosenallis-Kilcavan) winning the boys race.
The U-12s ran over 600m, and girls race was won in fine style by Ballyroan, Abbeyleix and District AC’s Faye McEvoy, taking up the lead inside the final 100m. The boys race was won by Jack Fenlon from St Abban's, who lead from the early stages.
The U-14s raced over 800m, and Seoige English was a comfortable winner of the girls race. The boys race was more competitive, with Jack Fennelly (Oughaval) running on well to take the gold medal. The U-16s also had 800m to contend with, and here Caragh Maher (St Abban's) and Curtis Lee (Mountmellick) were the winners.
There were two jump events into the sand, with the athletes from St Abban's showing their strengths in these events. Ruby Millet and Matthew Rossiter winning both the U-17s Long Jump and Triple Jump events, and Saragh Buggy and Conor Daly taking the gold medals in the same two events at the Senior level.
The high jump event was a boys only event, with the U-12s going to national sprint star John Ikpotokin (St Michael's), the U-14s to Jack Fennelly (Oughaval), and the U-16s to Eddie Allen (Emo-Rath). The senior event went to St Abban's AC’s Patsy Baldwin.
The track events continued with the U-18s 1500m race, which saw Maebh Maher (St Abban's) and Niall Bracken (Mountmellick) taking the golds. The senior athletes had the 200m sprints, with Lauryn Kealy (St Abban's) first over the line in the women’s event; and Niall Bracken (Mountmellick) doubling up on his 1500m medal, which is not a usual occurrence on the track scene!
The shot putt was for both boys and girls, and there were good numbers in this event. The U-12s were won by Oughaval AC duo Allegra Corcoran and Aaron Foley. The U-14s winning medals went to Emma McCann (Rosenallis-Kilcavan) and Shane Buggy (St Abban's), while both U-16s golds went to St Abban's athletes Sarah Graham and Coady Tunstead.
The evening's events ended with the usual sprint relay races, and these are always great viewing. Where some teams are incomplete, all athletes wanting to run usually get a chance to go, generating great competition and good camaraderie at the same time.
The full results of the day’s events are on the Laois Athletics Facebook page (search Laois Athletics and “like us“ to keep up to date), and also on the Laois Athletics webpage (www.laoisathletics.ie).
Well done and thanks to St Abban's for hosting this year’s Track and Field Championships. The next county event will be the Primary Schools Track & Field Championships, which will be held on the tartan of Tullamore Harriers on Wednesday June 8.