2021 Leinster Juveniles T+F Day 1

July, 2021 Carlow

Leinster T+F Day 1

Carlow IT was once again the venue for the Leinster Track and Field championships. This time it was the turn of the u12 and 13s and the u16-19 3,000m. With the complete juvenile track and field programme being cancelled last year due to COVID, it has been two years since juveniles have competed at provincial level on the track. For the u12 and u13s it was their first time. Competition is a real driver for our young athletes who have been starved of athletics for far too long. The effect of lockdown prohibiting clubs to train together was most definitely reflected in the lower than average numbers in the field events, where their very technical nature, requires these young athletes to have more coaching expertise. Something clubs could not offer during lockdown. Clubs have been very good to their youngsters with most volunteer coaches doing their best to facilitate coaching in all events, in the short time that they have been back training. And no doubt catch up will happen in the coming year. The good thing is – the sport of athletics is still alive and we are loving a return to it.

First medal of the day went to Joe Doyle St (Senans AC) who won gold in the u12 Shot putt. Joe was competing in his very first competitive shot putt event, as this event was not included in the counties. Joe’s win was followed by a gold in the u13 High Jump by Thomas Carroll (Gowran). Carroll cleared 1.33 winning on countback from Sean Sullivan (Ratoath) who jumped a similar height. The versatile Rachel Duff (Gowran) got a great start to reach the line in first position in the girls u12 60m sprint. Not far behind her was Ellen Daly who finished in 3rd place. Ellen then went on to finish 3rd in the 600m – a race that saw a blistering pace being set by Dunleer athlete Cliodhna Rielly who went out at what one would consider a 200m pace. Ellen chased all the way and produced a flying last 100m to clinch the bronze. Similarly, in the boys u12 600m, Robert Coogan followed the blistering pace set by Fionn Kirby of Kildare. Robert finished 4th a tantalizing half a second off the third spot.

Young Odhran Prendergast managed to replicate the impressive performances he had at the county championships a week ago, to finish 2nd in both the 60m and the Long Jump. Doireann Haughney (Brow Rangers) was 3rd in the girls u13 shot while Aishlinn Mullally was 3rd in the girls u13 Javelin.

In total there were 3 gold, 7 silver medals and 5 bronze medals across the county. There were some other firsts too – Barrow Harriers athlete Hugo Tierney was the Graiguenamanagh clubs first ever representative in a Leinster Outdoor track and field, where he ran in the u12 600m. Great to see medals across all disciplines too from our Kilkenny clubs. Medals were won in sprints, middle distance, high jump, long jump, shot and javelin. The middle distance races at u12 and u13 can be extraordinarily competitive, so it is encouraging to see youngsters take up some of the field events at first. It is good for younger athletes to experience all events.

Qualification changes

Due to covid there are some new qualifying rules in operation this year. Normally the first 4 in each event go to the All Irelands. While u17 to 19 can also enter directly into the Nationals (as long as they have a Leinster entry in one event). The latter rule allows older athletes a better opportunity to prepare and also makes for an exciting nationals. This year however there is no direct entry and only 3 go to Nationals. Leinster having the highest population, the largest number of counties and perhaps in many respects the toughest to qualify from, is to a certain extent disadvantaged by these rules.

First four break national u17 3,000m record

Also held with the u12 and 13 championships was the u16 to 19 3,000m. Ruairi McEvoy (KCH) ran a great race to take 3rd in the u16 event in a time of 10.31. The winner was Conor Sherwin of Mulllingar in a time of 10.25. This was Ruairi’s first ever individual Leinster medal. Clubmate Cathal O’Rielly was 2nd in the u19 race, his first ever Leinster medal at this distance, having previously medalled at Steeplechase. Aine Kirwan (Thomastown) was 2nd in the u19 girls – her final year in juvenile athletics. Aine will compete over the steeplechase in Day 4.

Caoimhe Phelan (St Senans) and David Williams (St Senans) were 4th in the u16 and 17 races respectively. While Hannah Kehoe (Thomastown) also suffered the same fate u18 girls.

Interestingly, the u17 boys race was perhaps one of the most exciting race of the day, when 7 out of the top 9 athletes in Ireland were contesting just 3 places for an All-Ireland spot. In doing so the first six athletes broke the old Leinster record (set by Jack O’Leary in 2013). Not only was the Leinster record broken but the National record of 8.59 also went under the hammer, when the first five athletes smashed this too. Just 4 seconds separated the first four athletes. David Williams (St Senans) having ran 8.55, found himself in the extremely unique position of having smashed the national record by 4 seconds, the Leinster record by 18 seconds and yet by finishing in 4th place failed to qualify for the All-Irelands. Such is the depth of middle distance talent in Leinster.

Next weekend sees a further two days of the Leinster Juvenile track and field, where our u14 to u19 athletes will compete over a plethora of events.

3,000m: Boys: u16 3 Ruairi McEvoy (KCH). U17 4 David Williams (SS). U19 2 Cathal O’Rielly (KCH)

Girls: u16 4 Caoimhe Phelan (SS) u18 4 Hannah Kehoe (TT) u19 2 Aine Kirwan (TT)

600m: Boys: u12 4 Robert Coogan (G). Girls: u12 4 Kate Maher (KCH)

60m: Boys: u12 3 Mickey Phelan (KCH) u13 2 Odhran Prendergast (G). Girls: u12 1 Rachel Duff (G) 3 Ellen Daly (KCH)

Shot Putt: Boys: u12 1 Joe Doyle (SS). Girls: u13 3 Doireann Haughney (BR)

Javelin: Boys: u12 2 Evan Ryan (G). Girls: u13 3 Aislinn Mullally (SJ) 4 Grace Gilmartin (SS)

High Jump: Girls: u12 2 Ellen O’Sullivan (TT) 3 Aoibhlinn Steger (G). Boys: u13 1 Thomas Carroll (G)

Long Jump: Boys: u12 2 Thomas Hayes (KCH) 4 Patrick Wall (KCH) and Mickey Phelan (KCH), u13 2 Odhran Prendergast (G)

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