2020 National Junior and u23 Indoors

National Junior and Under 23 Indoors

January 2020, AIT

The National Junior and u23 Indoor’s are as usual the first of the National Championships to launch the new season. Traditionally this event tests the field events and sprinters as to how their winter training has gone. On the other hand distance runners are transitioning their cross country legs – full of strength and stamina towards those fast muscle fibre’s that are needed for the track season. It is often described as the bridge between two seasons. There were some fantastic competitions over the day with Limerick’s Ciara Neville claiming a magnificent double in the 100m and 200m u23, including a championship best performance in the 60m with a time of 7.33. This was the exact same time as Scottish Senior athlete Alisha Rees recorded when she broke the Scottish record on Sunday in Glasgow at the Scottish Indoors.

Some of the county athletes are still engaged with their cross country endeavours, names like Shay McEvoy, his sister Annie (KCH), Tara Ramasawmy and Aoife Allen (St Senans) along with Thomastown’s Aine Kirwan and Hannah O’Keeffe, gave the Junior Indoors a miss. However there were several other athletes who flew the flag and tested the waters for this early event.

One such athlete was Patrick Darcy of Brow Rangers. Patrick along with clubmates Michael Sherrin and Ciaran Coady had been ramping up their throwing events training over the last few months, leaving the trekking around the muddy fields to others. Under the auspices of legendary coaches Joe and Murty Kelly, the boys have been slowly and steadily gaining momentum.

In the u23 shot putt it was Patrick who threw the best of the three boys and took the silver medal. Michael Sherrin was 3rd – quiet a unique achievement to have two young men from a small rural club on a national podium together. To top it off Ciaran Coady was 6th not too far behind in measuring distance. Later in the day Patrick added another silver medal to his collection when he was 2nd in the weight for distance. Ciaran and Michael were 4th and 5th respectively.

Patrick Darcy is no stranger to National podiums having come through the Juvenile ranks he has successfully made the transition into the more senior age groups and still claiming national medals. Indeed many of his Brow clubmates have also come through the juvenile ranks too. For a club (especially a small rural one) to continuously bring athletes through the transitioning phase can be considered a major accomplishment. In an era where many sports (including athletics) where a generation of young people leave sport being – those clubs working to success levels can only be honoured.

Another Athlete to come away from these championships with a silver medal was Shane Power (St Josephs) in the u23 Pole Vault. Shane has been gaining medals in this event for a considerable amount of time now. In many ways he can be seen as one of the modern pioneering athletes of the Pole Vault, of which there has been a considerable upsurge in participation in Ireland. Shane cleared 4m 20cm just marginally short of the winner Matthew Callinan Keenan of St Laurence O’Tooles. Uniquely we had two Pole Vault medals last weekend. The other one came from Peter Dunne (Gowran) in the u20 event. Peter starting dabbling in the Pole Vault some 18 months ago. Coming from years competing in the High Jump it is what many might call – the natural progression. Turning to this new event has yielded dividends for Peter – he finished 3rd in the Junior competition. His first national pole vault medal and clearing 3m 50cm we hope it is literally onwards and upwards for Peter. Training for Pole Vault is quiet specialised. The pole itself costs upwards of 400 euro is made of fiberglass and can break at any time. Then of course there is the jumping facility itself. Other than landing in a rather uncomfortable sandpit, you must have access to the vaulting mats and pit. Thankfully the track at Scanlon Park has such facilities.

Sophie Jackman (St Senans) took a break from her leaving cert studies to compete in the Junior 800m. As an 18 year old she still has another year in this age category. With nothing only Cross Country training behind her, Sophie’s approach was to use this race in order to benchmark her outdoor track season. It was always going to be a fast race as Ava O’Connor (Tullamore Harriers) who is both the reigning champion and had already won the 1500m title earlier in the day, was all set to complete the double. Ava along with SLOT’s Corinne Kenny set a fast pace. Kenny faded substantially after 150m. Sophie was in 4th position running alongside both Munster athletes Meave O’Neill and Ailbhe O’Neill. With a 60 second 400m the pace slowed a little for the latter part of the race. Sophie finished 4th in a time of 2.15 equalling her PB from last June. A tremendous start to the season.

Another 4th place came in the form of Rory MacGabhann, the tall lean Kilkenny City Harrier. Suffering from injury for the last number of months he made a welcome come back to clear 1m 85cm which was enough to make him happy that progress was being made. Rory has already cleared 2m another of times and with the 1.85cm in his hand at the moment he can be confident that he can scale well in excess of 2 meters as the season moves on. The competition was won (on count back) by the ever colourful Nelvin Appiah of Longford who complete with his usual eye catching bandana’s and quirky personality managed to clear 2.03cm to claim victory. Probably even more remarkable was the 2nd place and 2.03cm achieved by 15 year old Geoffery Joy O’Regan from Cork. Joy O’Regan has attracted much attention since he first appeared on the National scene as a 12 year old.

Jordan Knight (St Josephs) is another athlete who has had some injury problems. He won the heat of his 400m in a comfortable fashion. However with an ankle injury the steep banks on the bends took its toll and the final was not something that went his way. Jordan will now focus on recovery and hopefully bounce back for the next competition.

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