Leitrim's young athletes showed their talents in two provinces last week as one Ulster and five Connacht titles were won at the Irish Life Health Provincial Schools Track & Field in Antrim and Athlone.
North Leitrim AC’s contingent at the Ulster Finals had a very successful day with Rachel Keaney winning the Junior Girls walk in a time of 6.43.88, coming home five seconds clear of second placed Ava McNally of Enniskillen.
This was a breakthrough performance for Rachel and sets her up nicely for the All-Irelands in Tullamore on June 1, where she will be joined by clubmate Sarah O’Beirne who finished third in the Connacht event in a time of 6.26.7 seconds, just four seconds off the bronze.
Aaron Bradshaw, competing for Magh Ene College Bundoran, threw 30.70m to take bronze in the Senior discus and was less than a metre away from the gold with clubmate Oisin Carolan sixth with 13.47m.
The North Leitrim AC athlete was also denied a bronze medal in the triple jump where his 12.29m jump was just four centimetres behind the third place athlete with Oisin Carolan again finishing sixth with 7.95m.
A fourth place finish was recorded by Eugene Doherty in the Inter Steeplechase, the Colmcille College Ballyshannon student running 5.11.23 and just nine seconds off the medals.
North Leitrim’s day was completed by Alannah Witherow, fifth in the Junior Long Jump 4.33m while Niamh Carolan threw 22.12m to finish fifth in the Inter discus.
Back in Connacht, provincial titles were secured by Carrick’s Toyosi Fagbo, Ellis Conway and the Inter Girls relay team while North Leitrim’s Ella McDaid and Darragh Mitchell were also top of the winner’s podium.
Toyosi won a very close Inter 100m, clocking 11.74 to win by 0.04 of a second thanks to a superb dip on the line! Earlier Toyosi had finished third in the 200m with a 23.66 clocking.
Ella McDaid of Dromahair was one of the earliest winners on the day as she clocked a good time of 48.84 to win the Inter 300m hurdles by over half a second, she also finished fourth in the 80m hurdles with a 13.23 clocking.
North Leitrim's Darragh Mitchell was one of the most commanding winners on the day as he won the Inter boys walk by 78 seconds in a time of 10.32.35 to leave him in good stead for the All-Irelands.
Ellis Conway, who set a new pb of 2.15.05 in France on Sunday, ran a commanding race to win the Senior Girls 800m in a time of 2.21.81, some four seconds clear of the second placed athlete.
Leitrim’s last winners came in the Inter Girls relay where the team of Aine McGwynne, Alanna Murray, Lauren Reynolds and Sophie McCabe were clear winners ahead of Ella McDaid’s Ursuline Sligo in a time of 53.37. McCabe, who had finished fourth in the 200m in a time of 28.05, ran a storming last leg.
Carrick’s relays also saw a bit of good fortune when St Mary’s Galway crossed the line in second but were disqualified for running an entire leg out of their lane. It meant the team of Oisin Kearney, Cian Mollohan, Sean Brennan and Toyosi Fagbo were elevated to second in a new best of 48.31.
Kearney qualified in the Inter 400m where he smashed his pb to finish second in a time of 52.79 with schoolmate Cian Mollohan 5th in 58.89, Oisin had earlier run the 200m where he finished fourth in 24.10.
Sarah Brady and Lauren Reynolds each ran two events and met over 800m where the St Clare’s runner took third in 2.25.28 with the Carrick runner clocking 2.30.85.
Sarah had earlier finished second in the steeplechase in a time of 5.46.75 while Lauren finished third in the U16 mile in a time of 6.02.32.
Mohill CC’s Alannah McGuinness faced a strong headwind of minus 2.3 metres per second to record a time of 12.43 to take second behind Lauren Cadden, two years her senior, in the Senior Girls 100m.
Oliver Kearney ran a strong time of 28.05 to take third in the Minor Boys 200m while Sarah O’Beirne threw 18.78m in the Junior Girls discus to take fourth.
Jack Keenehan was third in the Inter boys long jump for the entire competition with a best leap of 5.38m but he was knocked out of the qualifying places in the last round by just two centimetres.
Fionn O’Brien of Carrick CS set a new pb of 4.45.65 to take sixth in a tactical Senior 1,500m while Sean Brennan (2.23.37) just pipped schoolmate Cian McKiernan (2.23.57) in the Inter 800m as both smashed their previous bests.