Irish Universities Indoor
For Kevin Duggan, looking out at the ferocious wind and rain, it was with some
relief that he was competing indoors on Sunday 9th December in the Irish Universities Indoor Championships
at the Nenagh Sports Complex. Competing for NUI Galway, where he is on an athletics scholarship, Kevin was part of the NUIG
4x200m relay team but even though the team ran well, and despite Kevin’s valiant efforts on the last leg, the team finished
in 5th place, out of the medals. Kevin took a break from his exams to compete in Nenagh and lost no time afterwards heading
straight back to Galway for an exam the next day. Such is the life of the student!
AAI National Juvenile Indoors : Day 3
It must have seemed surreal, but while the Country was basking in glorious sunshine, some of
our juvenile athletes were competing indoors at the AAI National Juvenile (u12-19) Indoor Championships in Nenagh. It’s
certain that many there wished they could have opened the roof back and let the sunshine in.
and Amie Giles competed in a straight final for the under 15 girls 800m where they ran very well but were
unlucky not to finish in the medals as Arlene finished 4th and Amie just behind in 5th. Adam Boardman
also had the good fortune to have a straight final where despite running so well in the u/16 boys 800m and being in a medal
position for much of the race had to settle for 5th place, just outside the medals. Aoife Hogan drew a tough
heat in the u/17 girls 800m and was unlucky not to reach the final but will take comfort from the fact that she earned her
place and was competing once more at a National Championship. In the u/19 girls 800m Sarah Drew was most
unfortunate to be caught close to the finish and was pushed out of the medals into 4th place. Despite the lack of medals,
all our juvenile half-milers deserve full credit for competing so well and will no doubt use the experience well in preparation
for the Schools track season just ahead.
On Sunday we had 2 relay teams in action. The Boys u/13 team of Philip
Giles, Aaron Glynn, Shane Fitzsimons and Thomas Lynn was in one
of three heats with the four fastest teams qualifying for the final. The team ran a really great race and competed strongly
right to the finish but just failed to qualify for the final by a very narrow margin. Similarly, the boys u/12 team of Boidu
Sayeh, Padraig Moran, Brendan Keaveney and Daire Conway just missed
out in a place in the final even though they won their heat relatively easily but they were not one of the four fastest teams.
What a pity they didn’t get a better heat with better teams that could have pushed them to run faster. So it was on
Sunday that our relay teams could not end the medal famine at Nenagh and finish the indoor season in style, but it wasn’t
for lack of effort for sure.
European Masters Indoors
Congratulations to Sean McMullin on his fabulous
medal winning performances at the European Masters Indoor Championships in Helsinki last week. Competing in the 5km road walk
last Thursday morning, he finished in 3rd place, only narrowly missing out on the silver medal place. Yes, you read that
right, a road walk at an indoors! Even though it’s an indoor Championship, there are also some outdoor events. Sean
then added to his medal tally on Saturday when he again took bronze, this time indoors in the 3,000m track race-walk, and
again only narrowly missing out on the silver medal place. Over the past number of years, Sean has been to the forefront of
masters athletics in Ireland where he is seldom out of the medals at Regional and National Championships. He has also competed
at several European and World masters events but this is the first time he has won medals at such a Championship, which is
surely a just reward for this truly dedicated master athlete.
AAI National Juvenile Indoors : Days 1 & 2
On the domestic front, last week-end the AAI National Juvenile (u12-19) Indoor Championships were held
in Nenagh. A first-timer at the Nationals was Boidu Sayeh, competing in the under 12 boys 60m. Unfortunately,
despite all the preparation over the past number of weeks since the Leinster indoors, it all came unstuck for poor Boidu.
Expecting to hear a starting gun, he confused the starting siren or “beep” with a recall signal and he pulled
up after an otherwise good start, quickly realised his mistake, but the 60m is too short for such an error and his participation
in the Nationals was over. He will have learned a tough lesson but will be all the wiser when he starts the boys u/12 relay
in 2 weeks time.
No such problems for Louise Darby who had an excellent run in the
u/18 girls 300m where she finished third in her heat but missed out on qualification for the final. The 300m is a difficult
race distance, which Louise is still learning, being run at a very fast but controlled pace, not like the usual flat out sprinting
she is used to. Added to this is the challenge of negotiating tight bends with competitors very close, because it is not run
in lanes as is the case outdoors. Louise’s time in the heats placed her 8th overall, which is an excellent result
and she is sure to build on that in the outdoor season ahead, particularly in the schools competitions.
Harriers has quite a reputation in the middle-distance events, built on the back of strong cross country squads. Elizabeth
Carr was the first to reinforce this reputation as she lined up for the u/13 girls 600m. Even though there were 11
girls in the event, it was decided to dispense with heats and run a straight final. The start was therefore quite crowded
and one girl fell, while Elizabeth herself stumbled but luckily managed to stay on her feet. After the difficult start, she
quickly settled in to her running and took control by the second lap and eased away from the field and gradually increased
the pressure and finished comfortably clear to win yet another National title to add to her growing collection. Elizabeth’s
stature in this event is without rival.
Taking part in his first National indoors, Padraig Moran
qualified comfortably from his heat of the u/12 boys 600m and was not afraid to take on the early pace in the final. He led
after one lap but was passed by the eventual winner on the second lap and was unlucky to be passed by another runner on the
last lap in the home straight and so he finished in 3rd place, but this is still a great result for someone so very new
to the sport. There is little doubt but his brave early front-running pulled him comfortably clear of the field to ensure
he finished in the medals. Padraig has a very bright future ahead of him.
In the u/13 boys 600m, we had two athletes,
Shane Fitzsimons and Thomas Lynn. Both qualified from the heats, as expected, and took their
places on the start line for the final. No great surprise that Shane dominated the race from start to finish, seeing off any
opposition with apparent ease to win by a wide margin in a Championship Best Time. Further back, Thomas was having a great
run and finished in 7th place. Thomas is only running a few months and to qualify for and finish so well up in a National
final is a terrific result. He is a young man sure to improve further.
Kevin Duggan powers to National Junior Indoor Sprint Title
Duggan dominated the 60m sprint last Sunday at the AAI National Junior Indoor Championships in Nenagh. Qualifying
comfortably from his heat in which he was afforded the luxury of being able to coast to the line, he lined up for the final
as favourite and made no mistake as he led from gun to tape to win a well deserved National sprint title and even bettered
his personal best time for the 60m into the bargain. Kevin had a busy few hours in Nenagh as he also competed in the 200m.
He qualified easily for the final by winning his heat but as he in still on the road back to full fitness after injury earlier
in the season, the effort of 4 races in a couple of hours took its toll and he was forced to settle for bronze but was still
very pleased with his performance and looks forward to the outdoor track season with renewed enthusiasm.
Martin Fagan competes
in his final NCAA Championships
Martin Fagan took
part in his last National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 indoor track and field Championships in Fayetteville,
Arkansas last Saturday. Martin has been on an athletics scholarship at Providence College and during his time in the USA he
has performed at the highest level and matured into a truly class athlete and he has more than justified Providence College’s
investment in him. Going in to the race, Martin was seeded 6th of 15 athletes. After an intriguing race, Martin finished
in 6th place in a time of 7:57.88. If Martin had run 7:55 to equal his pre-race form, he would have finished in 3rd place,
but as often happens in Championships, pre-race form was irrelevant. For the record, the race was won by the 12th seeded
runner as the form book was effectively thrown away. As Martin’s excellent athletics career on the USA Collegiate circuit
closes, his attention now turns to this year’s World Championships in Osaka.
More success for Club athletes at Leinster Indoors
Proving that there is no substitute for competition to hone athletic
skills, and it is a vital part of the learning-curve, the Club’s juvenile athletes took on the best of Leinster in the
juvenile indoor championships on 3rd/4th March) and proved more than a match in many events and brought home a number
of titles and medals. A good many medals were won, but not surprisingly it was in the middle distance events that Mullingar
reaped a great harvest of medals.
Amie Giles was up bright and early and first
on the track on Saturday morning when she took on the challenge of a new event, the under 14 girls 1,000m race walk. This
is a very technical event and it takes a long time to master the exacting technique but Amie was rewarded with a very solid
fourth place finish.
The under 13 boy’s 4x100m relay team of Philip
Giles, Aaron Glynn, Shane Fitzsimons and Thomas Lynn proved that
their pre-race confidence of success was well founded when they finished in second place after a thrilling race and secured
their places in the National Finals. This is a great relay team and will improve with practice.
We had a number of sprinters in action in the 60m events, but the 60m is a short and therefore very
explosive event requiring a lot of practice and there is no room for error. Both Una Reville and Faye
Walsh ran very well in the heats of the u/12 girls 60m but unfortunately didn’t advance to the final. Faye
Walsh is still under-age next year and will have learned a great deal from the experience. Similarly, Jane
Leydon (u/13) and Muirne Robinson (u/14) were unlucky not to advance to their finals despite running
well in their heats. Aoife Hogan ran an excellent race in the final of the u/17 girls 60m but finished
outside the medals, but as this was her first serious competition for the Club, she will have learned a lot and will use this
to good effect in the future.
In the boys races, Boidu Sayeh was a runaway winner of his u/12
boys 60m heat and in the final he powered his way to an excellent silver medal in convincing style to secure Mullingar’s
first medal of the Championships. Aaron Glynn was equally impressive in his heat of the u/13 boys 60m but
was edged out of the medals in a very fast final. Sean Reville was unlucky in the u/14 event and despite
running well did not advance from the heats. Warren Walsh made no mistake and eased into the final where
even though he finished out of the medals was very pleased with his performance. Boidu Sayeh also competed
in the u/12 long jump and shot put but finished out of the medals.
There were a greater number of Mullingar athletes in action on Sunday. Louise
Darby moved up to the unfamiliar distance of 300m and qualified easily from the heats to take her place in the final
where she ran a fantastic race and never stopped battling hard and earned a well deserved bronze medal and a place in the
National Finals. The 300m/400m looks likely to be Louise’s strongest event for the future.
In the u/12 boys 4x100m relay, the team of Boidu Sayeh, Padraig Moran,
Brendan Keaveney and Daire Conway gave an exhibition of how to run a relay and led from
gun to tape and Daire was greeted with the wild cheers of the Mullingar supporters as he crossed the line to take gold. The
manner of their running was awesome and the lead at the finish was enormous and makes this team a very good bet for National honours. Jane Leydon competed well in the u/13 girl’s long jump and shot
put but finished out of the medals.
Stacey Darby was drawn in a very fast heat of
the u/12 girls 600m and was unlucky not to advance to the final. It was a similar fate for Brendan Keaveney
in the u/12 boys 600m, for Sarah Whelan (u/16 girls 800m) and David Moran (u/15 boys 800m)
where despite competing well they failed to advance to the finals. No such problems for Elizabeth
Carr (u/13 girls 600m), Arlene Coughlan, Amie Giles and Lisa Darby
(u/15 girls 800m), Padraig Moran (u/12 boys 600m), Philip Giles, Shane Fitzsimons
and Thomas Lynn (u/13 boys 600m), and Adam Boardman (u/16 boys 800m) who all came safely
through their heats to set up a feast of middle-distance running for later in the day.
these finals, Aoife Hogan (Moate) showed some of her former best in the u/17 girls 800m and was rewarded
with a well deserved silver medal after a solid confident run. Sarah Drew was very unlucky to be just caught
in a sprint finish to the line in the u/19 girls 800m but was still pleased with her bronze medal.
The highlight of the afternoon came not from one great performance, but the performance of some of our
middle-distance athletes over the space of 45 minutes. Padraig Moran led from gun to tape in the u/12 boys
600m and just kept pulling further and further ahead with each lap to win by a large margin, even managing a cheeky wave to
his fans in the crowd as he crossed the line. Obviously taking a leaf from Padraig, in the u/13 girls 600m Elizabeth
Carr was in equally flying form and led from gun to tape too to also win by a very large margin and even made it
look easy. Shane Fitzsimons is never one to run away from a challenge and he took the u/13 boys 600m out
in a punishing early pace and kept increasing the pressure with each lap to win in convincing fashion. Following in his significant
wake, Thomas Lynn and Philip Giles tucked in to the pack and bided their time. On the final
lap, Thomas made his move and powered down the back straight passing several runners and was in fourth place coming in to
the home straight. Once he got the finish line in his sights however, he went hell for leather and ran down the third place
athlete to just pass him at the line and take bronze. The pace was just too much for Philip but he was delighted to have made
the final, an improvement on his 2006 performance.
Voices were getting hoarse by this time,
but no rest for the Mullingar supporters. The u/15 girls 800m was a thrilling race in which Arlene Coughlan
ran an inspired and extremely brave front-running race to echo the performances of the previous races and win with a large
lead. Following her in was Amie Giles who surprised everyone with a gritty and determined run to take a very
well earned bronze medal. Lisa Darby was clearly hampered by a leg injury and was unable to match the ferocious
pace of this race and was obviously disappointed but will reflect in time and take comfort from the fact that she made a Leinster final.
The last race of the day with a Mullingar interest was the u/16 boys 800m where
Adam Boardman was hoping to feed off the success of what had gone just before him. Settling in after a relatively
poor start, Adam slowly started to work his way through the field and once clear of the pack made a great burst away and tried
to pull in the leader. The finish line came too soon but Adam was delighted with his silver medal, the 7th for the Club
in the space of 45 minutes, after which the Mullingar contingent was thankful to be able to rest their voices.
It was great to see a good contingent from our near-neighbours, North Westmeath AC, who won two medals.
Sincere thanks to the many parents who provided transport to Nenagh and support over the two days. It is vital now that all
those who have qualified for the National finals put in a real effort over the coming weeks to be in the best possible condition
for the finals.
European Indoor Championships
Mark Christie’s dream of making the final of the 3,000m in the European Indoor
Championships was shattered in Birmingham on Friday 2nd March) when he finished 22nd overall in the heats in
a time of 8:33.61. Had he run as well as he had at the Nationals in Belfast two weeks previously he would have been very close
to making the final but it was always a big ask. However Mark will undoubtedly learn from this race and the experience of
competing in a major championships at such a young age will be of great value to him in the future.
Martin Fagan wins 5,000m at New England Indoors
Further afield, Martin Fagan was in
action last week-end at the New England Indoor Championships at Boston University where he secured maximum points for Providence
College by winning the 5,000m in a new Championship Best Performance of 13:55.05, with a winning margin of over 30 seconds,
which is phenomenal running. Martin’s winning time eclipsed the old long-standing record by nearly 5 seconds, which
was set in 1985.
Mark Christie takes
AAI National Indoor 3,000m Title
hasn’t run indoors in many years but two weeks ago he finished fourth in the 3,000 at the UK Indoor Championships
at Sheffield, in a time of 8:06.88. Clearly he learned from that experience and last Sunday in the AAI National Indoors
at the Odyssey in Belfast, Mark led a field of over 20 athletes from the gun in the 3,000m and was a very convincing
winner in a time of 7:58.12, which is very close to the automatic qualifting time of 7:54 for the European Indoors in
Birmingham in two weeks time. Mark ran the entire race out in front and doubtless could have run faster if he had been
pushed at all. Such was the manner of Mark’s victory, as he lapped most of the runners in the field, that in the post-race
analysis on RTE, Gerry Kiernan was full of praise for Mark’s brilliant performance and considered that Mark has a very
bright future ahead, and is one more in a long line of excellent athletes to hail from Mullingar.
in Belfast was Brendan Marshall, who qualified for the last eight in the men’s long jump with an excellent
personal best jump, bettering his previous best by an amazing 0.2m, which he set only a few weeks ago in the Leinster Indoors
in Nenagh. Brendan is making a very serious come-back to
competition this year and things look very good for
an impressive outdoor season ahead.
Martin Fagan wins Big East 3,000m
Martin Fagan continues to dominate in his last
indoor US Collegiate season competing for Providence College. Last Sunday, he was a clear winner of the 3,000m at the Big
East Indoor Championships at the University of Akron, Ohio. His winning time of 8:05.26 was only marginally outside the Championship
record set in 1995 by Ireland’s Mark Carroll, who also ran for Providence, but the time is less important to Martin
than qualification for the Regional Finals.
Scottish Junior Indoor Championships
to Kevin Duggan who finished third in the 60m sprint in the Scottish Junior Indoor Championships in Glasgow
last Sunday where he was competing on a Leinster team. His time in the final was only one hundredth of a second outside his
personal best so he was very pleased with his performance.
Fagan in the USA
Martin Fagan continued his indoor season in the
USA when he competed in the Tyson Invitational Men’s College 5000m at the University of Arkansas on Friday 9th February where
he finished 9th in a time of 13:55.05. Judging by the results, Martin appeared to have become detached from the pack
as the first three places were clear but there was a crowded finish from 4th to 8th place. No doubt Martin will
be disappointed but 5,000m is an unusual distance indoors and he knows he is better than this performance. Being the greatly
experienced athlete that he is, he won’t dwell too much on it and will put it behind him and come back stronger the
UK Indoor Championships
Great to see Mark
Christie sporting the Mullingar Harriers vest on the BBC on Sunday 11th February as he competed in the UK Indoor
Championships at Sheffield. Mark ran a very quiet race for the early stages but began to move up the field about half-way
through and ran very well with the pack right to the finish. He was very unlucky not to take a medal for 3rd place, as
he was inched out by only two hundredths of a second in a sprint to the line to finish in 8:06.88. A great race and well done Mark.
Mullingar gets 2007 indoor season off to a good start
Day 1 of the Leinster Indoor Track and Field Championships were held on Sunday 28th January. There was
a full programme of events for junior, senior and master athletes but just some events for Juveniles under 16 to 19. The balance
of the juvenile programme will be on days 2 and 3 in March. For some it was their first taste of indoor competition, for others
it was a return to familiar surroundings.
With several heats in the juvenile 200m races,
qualification for the finals was very difficult. David Moran and Warren Walsh ran well in
their heats of the under 16 boys 200m but didn’t advance to the final. Damien Palfreyman found the
pace and the tight bends of the u/17 boys 200m not to his liking either and he didn’t advance from the heats. Despite
running a very good heat in the u/18 girls 200m, Louise Darby was unlucky not to advance to the final but
will use the race as preparation for the 300m in March. First medal of the day for Mullingar came from a reliable source,
Stephen Moran, as he took bronze in the junior men 200m after a great race.
There was further celebration for the Mullingar supporters when Greg Duggan, fresh
from National success the previous week-end, cruised to victory in his age-category of the masters 200m. Later in the day,
Greg easily won the master men’s 60m and added another Leinster title to his credit and retained the Leinster indoor
sprint double he won in 2006.
Switching to the middle-distance races, Sarah
Whelan competed in the u/16 girls 1500m but as she is new to indoor running, she found the early pace and the tight
bends difficult to manage but will have learned from the experience. She ran a good solid race but finished out of the medals.
Aoife Hogan showed some of her former best in the u/17 girls 1500m. Lying fourth and just out of the medals
as she passed the bell for the last lap, she put in an amazing burst of speed and closed quickly on the girl in third place
but just when it looked like Aoife would pass her the other girl just found enough strength to hold Aoife off on the final
bend and held her place to a very close finish. This was an excellent race by Aoife and she was unlucky to finish in fourth
and just out of the medals.
Mullingar had three athletes in the u/16
boys 1500m where Adam Boardman ran a great race but finished in fourth place, just outside the medals. He
was disappointed with his performance but he sets himself a high standard and will learn from the race. Shane Fagan
also had a great race and finished an excellent 6th place, followed in by Warren Walsh who also ran well but probably
suffered a little from the earlier 200m. Damien Palfreyman ran a good solid race in the u/17 boys 1500m and
was rewarded with a well deserved silver medal and automatic qualification to the National Finals on 24th and 25th March.
While there was great excitement on the track, over at the long jump, Brendan
Marshall continued his comeback to competitive athletics and in the senior men long jump, within a good series of
jumps he jumped a personal best and this was good enough to win the gold medal. Brendan’s performance clearly inspired
Stephen Moran who also jumped a personal best, in the junior men long jump, and he won the silver medal.
Stephen rounded his day off with a brilliant silver medal in his favourite discipline, the junior men 400m. This was a good
day for Stephen, with two silver medals and one bronze
Sean McMullin had an extremely busy day. He competed in the master men’s 800m and duly won it, but
then had to switch footwear very quickly and go straight to the race walk where he finished in second place. After a suitable
rest, he rounded the day off with a gold medal in the 3000m. An excellent day’s competition and two Leinster titles
and a silver medal for this dedicated master athlete. Many thanks to the parents who provided transport and much needed vocal
support and encouragement on the day.
Fagan wins Mile at URI Sorlein Memorial Indoors
Martin Fagan got his final US Collegiate indoor
season off to a great start by winning the mile at the URI Sorlein Memorial Indoor Classic on Saturday 20th January at
Kingston, Rhode Island. Martin won by an impressive 6 clear seconds in a time of 4:06.64, which is very respectable so early
in the season. One week later, competing at the Terrier Invitational Meeting hosted by Boston University last week-end, Martin
won a thrilling 3,000m in a blanket finish with a time of 7:55.06. Martin is clearly showing some excellent early season form.
AAI Master Indoor Championships
Last Saturday, Mullingar was well represented by Greg Duggan and Sean McMullin
as they competed in the AAI Masters Indoor Championships at the Nenagh Indoor Complex. Sean McMullin had a very busy and demanding
schedule, starting with a fantastic silver medal in his age-category in the 3,000m race walk, followed by a bronze medal in
the 1,500m and rounding off the afternoon with a well deserved silver medal in the 3,000m not long after the conclusion of
the 1,500m. Meanwhile, Greg Duggan competed in the 60m and 200m sprints. In the 60m, he won the gold medal and regained the
National title he last won in 2003. In the 200m, he also won gold to retain the title he has now won for three years running.
Particularly pleasing for Greg is that this is his first National sprint double. Well done to Sean and Greg.
AAI Indoor Games
Competing at the AAI Indoor Games back on 14th January, Brendan Marshall made
a welcome return to long-jumping and finished an excellent third after a series of good jumps. It’s great to see Brendan
make a return to his favourite event.