Last Saturday and Sunday saw the Leinster Track and Field Championships held in Tullamore – and under the sweltering sun, Ardee & District Athletic Club’s young stars handled the heat superbly as six qualified for the All-Ireland championships.
In total, 11 athletes competed in events across the two day provincial championships – and a total of six qualifiers to the All-Ireland stage at the same venue on July 8th and 9th.
It was at the long jump that the Ardee athletes excelled in particular – with two gold medal wins. In the Boys Under 13 category, James Maguire lead the group with a jump of 4.83m to claim the Leinster title, his coveted gold medal and a place in the National finals.
Also successful was Conor McMahon in the boys Under 18 long jump. A superb sequence of jumps saw Conor add to his personal best with a jump of 6.23m.
Jonathan Commins was also among the big winners on Saturday, taking home a personal tally of three medals – two silvers and a bronze, all in the Under 17 category. First, the teenager won silver in a hotly contested 100m hurdles before he repeated the trick in the 400m, as he kept his speed up and endured to finish second.
Finally, Jonathan signed off by throwing well to claim bronze. Whilst James, Conor and James were doing great things in their categories, the girls weren’t to be outdone. Three girls took home medals from competition on Saturday. Abbie Sheridan won bronze in the Under 16 high jump, thanks to a count back decision.
That was followed by Sian Mothiram throwing a brilliant 19.18m to earn bronze in the Under 15 hammer throw while Emma Gillespie competed well Under 15 long jump and Eireann Hoey also showed well in the Under 15 shot put.
Special mention however goes to Hallie Sands who ran a super heat in the girls Under 13 60m hurdles, finishing first. Hallie followed that up by storming down the track to finish 2nd in the finals, earning silver and progress through the national finals in the process.
Five athletes returned for Sunday’s action and there was another addition to the medal collection as he finished third in the Under 18 high jump.
Fresh from his win at Saturdays long jump, Conor McMahon competed in the boys u18 high jump. Conor cleared a height of 1.75m and was rewarded with the bronze medal. Sian Mothiram finished fourth in the girls Under 15 shot put and whilst that was just outside of the medals, Sian did enough to go through to the nationals in July.
Elsewhere, Abbie Sheridan ran a very fast two laps in the girls Under 16 800m to finish fifth. In the throwing events, Kya Mothiram finished eighth in the girls Under 12 turbo javelin. Also throwing well in the shot put was Aoibheann Carolan – in the Under 16 category – who finished 6th.
Commins, McMahon, Sheridan, Sands, Maguire and Siam Mothiram can now all look forward to the Irish Life Health National Juvenile Track and Field Championships in two weeks time.