Three Harriers in European U18 athletics selection
Last Tuesday, Athletics Ireland announced the final squad selection for the T&F U18 European Championships to be held in Jerusalem, starting next Monday.
Among the squad of 20 are three from Mullingar Harriers, the largest by one club; in fact, Mullingar are the only club to have more than one member in the squad. Aisling Lane will compete in the 5km walk, Andrew Glennon in the 10km walk and Diarmuid Fagan in the 1500m.
Following their participation in Jerusalem, Mullingar will have seen athletes compete at European U18, U20, U23 and senior level over the past 12 months – a first for the club! Congratulations to Aisling, Andrew and Diarmuid, and their coaches Michael Lane (walking) and Joe Ryan (1500m).
National Senior T&F
The 150th consecutive IAA T&F National Championships continued an illustrious history as the 2022 edition was held in Santry last weekend.
The first National Athletics Championships were held at Trinity College Dublin in 1873 and have been held every year since then, despite two World Wars, the War of Independence, Civil War and two global pandemics (Spanish Flu and Covid- 19), making the Irish National Championships the longest running consecutive Senior National Championships in the world.
To mark the occasion, every athletics club in Ireland was invited to send an ambassador to Santry on Sunday afternoon, wearing their club colours, to run the 150m.
The Mullingar Harriers ambassador was Lauryn Smith, one of the youngest members, and she was delighted to be part of the occasion and after her 150m run she received a commemorative 150th anniversary T-shirt. Kudos to Lauryn for being such a great ambassador for Mullingar Harriers!
All of the Mullingar athletes competed on Sunday, in cool, windy and at times absolutely soggy conditions. Oisin Lane and Matthew Glennon were the first to compete in the 10,000m walk.
Oisín had planned to help Matthew reach the junior world standard and was on track at 5k, but the conditions just weren’t in their favor and, unfortunately, that plan had to be scrapped.
Oisín then finished in an excellent fourth place behind three world-class walkers, in a time just outside his personal best; Matthew finished creditably seventh in his first outdoor senior national final.
Charles Okafor lined up in the fourth of seven heats in the 100m where he finished fourth in a time that would have won some of the other heats or placed second in most.
Even though he was fourth, he was still fast enough to qualify for the semi-finals. Conditions deteriorated and were just awful for the semis, and racing in the third of three semis, Charles again placed fourth in a fierce 5.1m/s headwind, but his time was not fast enough to qualify for the fiercely competitive final. , but top marks for effort.
There were three 5000m races and in Race B Jack Moran and Vinny Connolly competed for Mullingar. There was an early breakaway of four athletes, leaving Vinny and Jack to lead the chase group. With just over five laps to go, Jack put in a significant injection of pace to close the gap on the leaders and quickly climbed into second place.
He continued to work hard to close the gap to the leader, but the effort took its toll and Jack was shut down and caught in the closing stages to finish fifth in 15 minutes 2.74 seconds, just outside his personal best.
Vinny finished fast in eighth place in 15 minutes 12.79 seconds, a new personal best of 20 seconds.
Jack O’Leary and Jamie Battle raced in Race A, which was fast paced from the start. Jack stayed in contention and Jamie was not far off the pace.
However, as the race progressed and the pace picked up, Jack and Jamie had to fall back and although both finished strong, Jack well ahead in the big peloton, with Jamie behind, it was not not their day.
T&F Interprovincial Tailteann
As well as the honor of representing their schools and province at the Tailteann Inter-Provincial T&F in Tullamore last Friday afternoon, what was at stake for three Mullingar athletes was the selection of the Irish Schools team that will face England , Scotland and Wales in Belfast in July. .
Conditions were very changeable with heavy showers throughout the afternoon, but that was no problem for Aisling Lane (Mercy Ballymahon) who showed her class with a dominant display in the middle girls’ walk of 3,000m, and under the scrutiny of the ever-watchful judges gave a polished performance to win comfortably by more than half a lap in 14 minutes 54.91 seconds, a new personal best for the distance, to secure his place in the Irish Schools team.
All-Ireland Schools champion for the U16 girls mile, Grace Byrne (Loreto Mullingar) has moved up an age for the intermediate girls 1,500m. The field was very competitive and the race got longer after one lap, and although Grace worked very hard to stay in the race, it was not her day.
Also stepping up an age group, Conor Sherwin (Colaiste Mhuire Mullingar) contested the intermediate boys 1500m where he was in the lead group for the first 600m, but an injection of pace stretched the field and he made his best for the remainder of the run to score for the Leinster team in the inter-provincial competition. Grace and Conor will be minoring again for the intermediate next year, so that was good experience gained.
Congratulations to Community Games who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Community Games at Westmeath this year, and after missing two years due to the Covid pandemic, it was great to see the Westmeath Community Games T&F Finals return last Sunday when they took place at the Club Grounds, the first time for many to see our new all-weather track.
A big advantage with the new track is that we only had to mark and line up the inner area for the sprint and hurdle events. Thanks to the hard work of a few volunteers, everything was in perfect condition for the Games.
The weather forecast called for wind and thundery showers, and they certainly lived up to their predictions. We started and finished in windy but dry conditions, but a few thundery showers in the middle of the program completely soaked everyone, but the Games had to go on despite the sometimes difficult conditions.
There was a good turnout and the program went very well thanks to the volunteers who gave up their time to help. Thank you to the Principal and Board of Trustees of nearby National School Mullingar Educate Together for generously allowing the use of their car park. Finally, thank you to the members of the Club who came to officiate and ensure the smooth running of the event.
Congratulations to all the athletes who have now qualified for the national finals. In order to ensure that they are as well prepared as possible to represent Westmeath, they and their coaches and team managers are welcome to train at the Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays between now and the final, which is particularly important for events techniques such as hurdles, relays and field events.
It was clear and sunny but very windy at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast last Saturday where Aidan O’Donoghue was competing in the T&F Northern Ireland Masters.
After a long day of competition in three events, Aidan finished second in the high jump, second in the shot put and third in the javelin in his age category, a fine collection of medals for his efforts.
Taking place on a beautiful summer evening, Stephen Naughton was very happy to finish well in 19th place of 229 finishers at the Dunboyne AC Clonee 10k last Thursday evening when his time of 39 minutes 28 seconds was good enough to place him second in his master category and earn him a well-deserved prize.
The AC 5k from St Coca to Kilcock last Friday evening attracted a large number of entries and among the 486 finishers in a quality peloton were eight, Mullingar. The race’s reputation as a fast race is well founded and James Keegan led the Mullingar group home in 15:42, followed in quick succession by Ian McCormack (15:57), Andrew Nevin (16:09), John Whitelaw (4:25 p.m.), Alan Crowley (4:40 p.m.), Eddie Newman (5:19 p.m.) third in his master class, Glenda Shaw (7:25 p.m.) and Gemma Kelly (10:09 p.m.) a new best time for her for 5 km on the road. Kudos to St Coca’s AC for organizing such a great race.
T&F World Masters
This week, Sean McMullin leaves for Tampere in Finland to compete in the Masters T&F World Championships as part of the 94-strong Irish team, the tenth largest team at the championships. Sean has a very grueling race schedule, starting with the 5k track walk next Friday, then the 10k road walk on Sunday and finally the 20k road walk nest on Wednesday.
Three races in six days at world level is a big undertaking, but Sean has been training hard and everyone at the Club wishes him well.
T&F National Juvenile
Next Sunday, the first of three days of the AAI National Juvenile T&F will take place in Tullamore. Mullingar has athletes entered in the 600m, 800m and 3000m steeplechase, all chasing national honours, and we wish them all the best of luck.
The next monthly meeting of the committee takes place next Tuesday, July 5 at the clubhouse after training at 8:20 p.m. and a full attendance is requested. There will be a full agenda, including final preparations for the Mullingar 10-Mile, so full attendance is required.
Finally, the executive and members of Mullingar Harriers wish to express their sincere condolences to Brian, Gerry, Maurice and Declan Gillen and the entire Gillen family on the passing of their mother, Dolly, last Friday. May she rest in peace.
Check the club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or the Facebook page for all the latest news.