The Athlone Institute of Technology was the venue for the 2012 national inter-county SPORTSHALL Athletics Championship for primary schools. The discipline, which is gaining popularity across Ireland, saw twelve counties register for the national final up from seven in 2011. Co. Offaly was represented by Ballinamere National School in the 3rd/4th class girls’ category, Ballinagar in 5th/6th girls and Edenderry Boys National School in the two boys’ categories.
With the increased number of participating counties, the Offaly teams firstly participated in a prequalifying round against teams from Meath, Westmeath, Laois, Galway and Limerick City. All four schools qualified for the national finals with Ballinamere and the two Edenderry teams winning their respective categories and Ballinagar finishing second to the Laois team.
In the 3rd/4th class girls’ category Ballinamere shared the lead with the Donegal team on 48 points after the six track events were completed with teams from Laois and Louth giving chase just two points adrift of the lead. In the field events the Ballinamere girls started to slowly stretch their lead and emerged victorious after all twelve events on 102 points, five points clear of Laois and seven ahead of Louth.
In the 3rd and 4th class boys’ category, the reverse happened to the Edenderry boys’ team. At the mid way point two teams, Edenderry and the representatives of Donegal were pulling away from the rest with Edenderry on 61 points, Donegal on 54 and Laois the next best on 42. However a very well drilled Donegal team clawed back and overtook Edenderry in the throwing and jumping events eventually winning with a final score of 112 points, 18 points clear of Edenderry in second place.
The 5th and 6th class boys from Edenderry seemed to have a more difficult task on their hands. Here again it was a two way battle between Offaly and Donegal. At the half way point Edenderry had a mere two point lead, 58 to 56. But in the field events the Edenderry boys made no mistakes and extended their final winning margin to six points, 105 to Donegal’s 99.
The Ballinagar team in the 5th and 6th class girls were perhaps the most unfortunate. Without a school hall as their new school was been built, they were always going to be underdogs as not enough preparation could be done for the finals. Nonetheless they came out very determined and when they won the opening race of the day, everyone knew that they could not be discarded. By the half way point however teams from Laois and Donegal with Ballinagar in third place. While some excellent performances were recorded in the field events there was to be no closing of the gap with the leaders. The Portarlington girls from Laois ran out winners on 118 points, Donegal were second on 102 and Ballinagar came in third on 90.
Offaly Sports Partnership is very grateful to everyone that offered help and assistance in preparing county teams for the national finals, in particular Claire Grehan and Buntu Mlisana and also James Nolan who sponsored two of the events. The Partnership has been instrumental in promoting the spread of SPORTSHALL to other counties in Ireland and it is hoped that these national finals will continue to grow in future years.
The Offaly teams were
3rd / 4th class girls - Ballinamere National School: Hannah Heffernan, Aoife Burke, Hannah Corbell, Martha Brickland, Aine Mooney, Emma Nolan, Rosie Kelly, Maddie Smith, Therese Donoghue, Laura Hand, Rachel Wyer and Niamh Donovan.
3rd /4th class boys - Edenderry Boys National School: Alan Harte, Ben Lynch, Niall Leonard, Edmond Agbaje, Liam Farrell, Eoin Tyrell, Jordan Glynn, Lee Pearson, Brian Nolan, Adam Byne, Nathan Udoh and Raheem Yusuf.
5th / 6th class girls - Ballinagar National School: Rachel Horan, Emma Darby, Laura Cuskelly, Lauren Gorry, Caitlin McDarby, Aisling McDermott, Eabha Joyce, Claer Daly, Kiah Wogan, Aoife McDermott, Ciara Crombie and Aideen Owens.
5th / 6th class boys - Edenderry Boys National School: Bobby Reynolds, CiaranFarrell, Andrew Murray, Robert Kirsch, Ryan Glynn, Joseph Kane, Sean Masterson, Kealan Farrell, Jeremiah McEvoy, Cathal Farrell, Ciaran Harris and Darnell Udoh.
For further information on the SPORTSHALL programme or other athletics based programmes of Offaly Sports Partnerships contact Eamonn Henry on 057 – 9346843, mobile 086 - 7948054 or email email@example.com