Spanning four days of competition in three different provinces Tullamore Harriers athletes won twelve medals in their provincial track and field championships. The medal haul may be the biggest ever but what is equally impressive is the range of events that Tullamore athletes were getting podium finishes in. With three sprinters, two middle distance runners, a couple of jumpers and three throwers medaling the club definitely has a bright future in all the athletic fields.
Tullamore College’s Darragh MacNamara has had his fair share of bad luck during his athletic career with illness and injury blighting him on a number of occasions. However his persistence has paid off and while last year he made magnificent breakthroughs at a national level and was selected to run for Ireland his magnificent win last Saturday in Senior boys 400m in the Leinster Schools’ Track was another huge improvement. Darraghs winning time of 50.57 seconds is almost two seconds of an improvement on his previous personal best and while he was tying up in the last straight he managed to hold on for victory by .04 of a second over St. Benildus Kevin Lynch.
Dean Power of Killina had a great day last Saturday in Santry winning gold in the 200m and silver in the 100m in the intermediate (Under 17) age bracket. Dean is now ready for the All Ireland’s in two weeks time at which he will be one of the favourites in both events.
Paddy Heffernan of Moate CS also had a great day on Thursday at the Connaught Schools Track and Field. He won the Senior boys 110m hurdles.
Keelin Guilfoyle of SHS Tullamore had a great run on Wednesday in the Leinster Junior 200m. She missed out on a medal by only hundreds of a second but has showed huge improvement in her sprinting in the last month.
At the track in Cork IT on Saturday Eileen Rafter who attends the Ursuline, Thurles had easy qualification in the Under 16 girls mile. Eileen stuck to her race plan and she slowed the race down from the start. Three ninety second laps followed and then at the bell Eileen started a long kick for home and ran a magnificent last lap of 62 seconds to win by over fifty metres from second place Bella Sherlock of Bandon Grammar School.
Nicole Cuskelly of Killina had taken part in the Intermediate Steeplechase on Wednesday in Santry and although a bit under the weather with the flu she ran a controlled race and ensured her qualification for the All Irelands with a hard won bronze medal.
Sinead Rigney, Cara Todd, Chinnie Izuchukwu, Connor Butler, Joe Gilligan, Jason Donegan and Diarmuid O’Carroll had all qualified for the the Leinster Championships last week. All will have gained invaluable experience and have plenty of potential for the future.
Having a broken finger, James Mulligan was understandably frustrated by this physical impairment. Still the Ardscoil Rathangan student should be proud of his two silver medals with throws of 14.01m in the shot putt and 52.89m in the hammer.
His brother Connor recorded a great win in the Junior boys hammer with a throw of 40.89m to give him victory by half a metre over Eoin Sweeney of Belvedere College.
Tullamore College’s David McElligott showed that he hasn’t lost his talent with a throw of over forty metres to take the silver medal in the Senior boys Javelin.
Kristina Sapovola of Tullamore College had a great jump of 9.60m in the Junior girls Triple Jump on Wednesday for her first Leinster title. Colaiste Mhuire’s Jordan Hoang had earlier got a hard earned bronze medal in the Minor boys long jump with a jump of 4.60m.