For a variety of reasons, Mullingar couldn’t field
a team in three of the relay races we had entered teams for, but we still had 24 juveniles in action on 8 teams at day 1 of
the Leinster Indoors on Sunday 29th January and by day’s end after some thrilling races, they came away with 2 sets
of silver medals and plenty of very near misses. Also competing in Nenagh were some of our Junior and Senior athletes and
most of them won medals, making this a promising start to the indoor start season for the Club and based on Sunday’s
performances, we expect many of the juveniles will win individual medals on days 2 and 3 in February.
into action was Paddy Kelly in the senior men 3,000m and he revelled in the
atmosphere of Nenagh with the small tight laps and was very pleased to take bronze and put Mullingar on the
medal board. Aine O’Reilly was looking to make amends for the National junior 400m the
week before and she really ran the junior 400m with real purpose and stormed through the opening lap to put
her in a medal position and was very pleased to finish third and take bronze. Aine will now be looking forward
to more improvement in the underage 400m on day 2 in February. Edel Glennon found the step up
to junior 3,000m race walk a challenge but stuck to her task and finished in fourth, just
out of the medals.
On to the relays then, which were run in two blocks, uneven age heats and finals
followed by the even age heats and finals and gave some of our athletes the chance to move up an age to make up teams. First
into action in the girls 4x100m u/13, Caitriona Kennedy, Daria
Fidgeon, Caoimhe Gaffney and Andrea Brady ran a great race
and finished 2nd in their heat, but with several heats, qualification for the final was on times and the Mullingar girls just
missed a place in the final. Similarly for the 4x200m girls u/15 team of Laura Whitelaw,
Rachel Glennon, Dorothy Bane and Claire Fagan
who tore around the tight bends and finished 3rd in their heat but just missed a place in the final. First relay medals came
in the 4x200m girls u/17 where Victoria Harris, Lisa Cooke,
Caoimhe Kelly and Aisling Moody ran an absolutely faultless race
to finish 2nd in a photo finish and take silver medals. It was first time indoors for Lisa
Cooke and Caoimhe Kelly but they really got the hang of running the tight indoor bends and are sure to feature in the individual
200m in February.
The programme switched to the 60m sprints where Victoria
Harris, the youngest in the race, absolutely rocketed from the blocks in the junior women race to take the early lead
and made the older opposition work very hard to catch her, which they only managed in the final part of the race and she finished
3rd to take bronze, her first sprint medal out of the juvenile ranks. One just knows this is not her last.
to the relays again, this time the even ages where the 4x100m boys u/12 team of John
Whitelaw, Enda Gaffney, Eoin Quinn and Colin
Smith won their heat in great style but with several heats, qualification to the final was on times and the Mullingar
boys missed a place in the final by only a fraction of a second. Agonizingly close but they still thoroughly enjoyed the competition
and are looking forward to trying again next year. Ellen Cronin, Alisha
Martin, Niamh Quinn and Adeola Ojoma-Amaka were terribly
unlucky not to qualify from the extremely competitive heats of the 4x200m girls u/14, despite running really
well and finishing 2nd in their heat.
In the 4x200m girls u/16, Lisa Cooke,
Caoimhe Kelly, Aisling Moody and Faye Walsh
were delighted to reach the final courtesy of an excellent team performance to finish 2nd in the heat. In the final, jubilation
at finishing 3rd and thinking they had won bronze medals was short-lived as they were deemed to have committed a lane violation
during the race and were disqualified. A bitter blow but we’ll see these girls win medals in future competitions.
4x200m boys u/16 also made the final after Mervyn Harris, Glen
Gaffney, Dean Murphy and Declan Brady ran their hearts out
in the heat to finish 3rd and their time was good enough to put them in the final. The final was an exciting affair and the
boys combined really well but had to settle for 4th, just outside the medals but top marks for effort.
final relay with a Mullingar interest was the 4x200m girls u/18 where Victoria Harris,
Elizabeth Carr, Lorraine Claffey and Lorraine
Daly qualified comfortably from the heat with a 2nd place finish. The final had us all on our feet as the girls battled
hard and really pulled out all the stops with one last effort and were rewarded with 2nd place and silver
medals to round off the relay programme in style.
Adam Daly unselfishly
took on the job of pacemaker in the junior men 800m, with the purpose of helping Shane
Fitzsimons and Robert Yorke to a fast time. Going off at a very hard pace for the opening
lap, Adam maintained the pressure and led through 400m spot on the predetermined time, with Shane and Robert on his heels.
Shane took the lead on the third lap and urged on by everyone went on to win
in a new personal best time of 1:54.14 with Robert a close
second place behind him. This was team running at its best and great credit is due to Adam for perfect early
It proved a very long day in Nenagh but a successful one for the Club, and
it was great to see so many parents make the long trip too to provide valuable support and encouragement. Our Juvenile athletes
will return to Nenagh in three weeks time for two days of individual competition, all hoping to qualify for the All-Ireland
finals in late March. Judging by Sunday’s performances, we’re confident many will realize their goal of making
the National finals.