North Leitrim's Ella McDaid was the big winner at last Thursday's Irish Life Health Connacht Schools Championships in Athlone as the Ursuline Sligo student brought home two gold medals.
There were also a gold medal for her clubmate Darragh Mitchell who won the Junior boys walk and there were a host of great performances with a lot of athletes qualifying for the All-Ireland Finals on Saturday June 2.
Darragh Mitchell (St. Clare’s CS) was an easy winner of the Junior Boys 1,500m walk as he won by nearly two and a half minutes from the second place walker.
St. Clare’s CS Ella McDaid was a double winner in the Junior Girls 75m Hurdles and the 200m, both in events where she had to battle extremely hard to win. Her strength shone through as she won the hurdles in good style. McDaid recovered from a deficit to see off Carrick CS’s Sophie McCabe in the 200m, running 27.92 to Sophie's 28.05 into a 1.3m/s headwind with Drumshanbo’s Roslyn Kane sixth in the final.
McCabe went on to finish fourth in the Junior 100m, denied the bronze medal on the line by her team-mate Aine McGwynne with 13.75 to 13.80.
Clubmates Lauren Reynolds and Kirsty McHenry produced excellent runs in the Junior 1,500m, Lauren pushing the pace over the final lap as she took four seconds off her pb with a time of 5.14.14 for third place with Kirsty finishing sixth in a time of 5.35.00.
Also in the Junior Girls mid-distance events, Ballinamore Community School’s Siomha Quinn finished eighth in a time of 2.48.20.
Carrick CS’s Eoghan Farrell missed out on a place in the Inter 3,000m in a new personal best of 9.50.70, just 1.7 seconds off a bronze medal. The Inter Boys events also saw a new pb of 55.06 for Carrick CS’s Oisin Kearney who finished fifth in the 400m Final.
St. Clare’s Sarah Brady had a busy day as she finished third in both the Inter 1,500m steeplechase and 800m, running 5.41.18 over the barriers and 2.28.49 in the 800m.
Ballinamore CS's Ellie O'Rourke easily won the U16 Mile with a very impressive display of front running, clocking 5.54.32, winning by nearly 20 seconds.
Mohill Community College’s Alannah McGuinness finished second in the Inter 100m to take silver and the final place at the All-Irelands in a time of 13.05 in a minus 2.8 m/s headwind.
St. Clare’s duo Shannon O’Hagan and Lara Mulvaney Kelly again impressed in the throws, Shannon finishing second in the Javelin with a throw of 28.00m to take second with Lara throwing 23.95m for third. Shannon went on to finish third in the Shot with a best of 9.27m.
In the Senior boys shot, Ballinamore Community School’s James Maguire finished eighth with a throw of 7.69m while the Senior Girls shot saw Drumshanbo VS’s Emma Heeran throw 6.69m to finish fifth.
Fiachra Henry of Carrick CS finished 9th in the 800m in a time of 2.11.59.
The Senior boys sprints saw Carrick CS’s Oisin O’Dowd run 12.21 into a minus 2.3 m/s headwind in the 100m and 24.76 into a minus 2.7 m/s headwind in the 200m, both times good enough for sixth place.
In the Senior Girls 200m, Carrick CS’s Clodagh Sheerin finished third in a time of 28.02 while her schoolmate Ellis Conway ran a superb 59.85 to finish second in the 400m with Drumshanbo VS’s Aisling Gill 6th in a new pb of 68.78.
Carrick Community School saw two relay teams finish second, the Senior boys team of Oisin O’Dowd, Fiachra Henry, Oisin Kearney & Niall Sheerin in the 4 x 400m with a time of 3.42.91 behind an impressive Summerhill Sligo.
The Junior Girls team of Aine McGwynne, Alanna Murray, Aoibhinn O’Dowd and Sophie McCabe were less than two tenths of a second off the gold medal in the 4 x 100m, running 54.20.
NIAMH SHINES AT ULSTER FINALS
In the Ulster Schools Finals, North Leitrim’s Niamh Carolan brought home two silver medals from the Antrim Forum on Saturday after she finished second in the Junior 1,500m and Walk.
Running in the colours of Magh Ene College in Bundoran, Niamh ran 4.54.52 to finish second behind winner Cara Laverty (4.48.84) in the 1,500m while in the 1,200m walk, she was second in a time of 6.25.77 with Ava Ross of St. Louis Monaghan winning with 6.09.
Aaron Bradshaw finished sixth in the Inter Hammer, the Magh Ene Bundoran thrower registering 32.29m and he was unlucky to see two big efforts land on the wrong side of the sector line. His North Leitrim clubmate Oisin Carolan finished tenth.
Alannah Witherow just missed out on the final of the Minor Long Jump while Eugene Doherty finished fourth in his heat of the Inter 400m.