10 July 2016 at Tullamore Harriers Stadium
Longford Athletic Club: 1 Gold, 1 Bronze and 3 new pbs
With the relays, combined events and ‘B’ competitions all completed last week the focus of juvenile athletics across Ireland is now on individual events. The Programme for Day 1 of the GloHealth Athletics Ireland National Juvenile Outdoor Championships held in Tullamore on July 10th was U16-19 field events, middle distance and hurdles races.
Longford Athletics Club had 6 juveniles qualify for action on Day 1 from last month’s Provincial competitions in Galway and Sligo. Despite the inclement weather, Longford came home with 1 Gold and 1 Bronze, and 3 new personal best times.
After two 4th place finishes in both High Jump and 200m in March at the Indoor Championships, Nelvin Appiah knew he had to bring determination and focus to his events. To succeed in outdoor high jump in wet and slippery conditions you need to be fearless and when it came down to the final three competitors Nelvin had to dig deep to hold his nerve. He made hard work of it, having to flop over the bar 8 times as it was moved up in increments. There was a great cheer from the Longford coaches and supporters when Nelvin was the only one to clear 1.84m and win Gold in the U16 Boys High Jump. This performance sees him make the list to be considered for the August Celtic Games Track and Field in Swansea, Wales.
Longford’s four middle distance runners were in great form heading to Tullamore. Having secured Gold in the U13, 14 and 15 Boys races at Provincial level the Club was eager to be represented in all 3 age groups at the Nationals and to see how they stack up to the highest standard.
Jack Gallagher, Ardagh, was first up in the U13 Boys 600m and as expected, he gave his all to set a new personal best at 1.43.51, a 4 second improvement on his Connacht time from early June. The winner set a new Championship Best Performance in this age group so the fast pace pressure was on from the starting gun.
Joe Reilly, Moyne, and Christopher Conaty, Colmcille, worked very well together in the Connacht race pushing each other to win 1st and 2nd in the U14 Boys 800m. Having spent the last three weeks doing interval training together they were extremely well matched going out onto the track at All-Ireland level. Both knocked 8 seconds from their Provincial time to get a new pb each, Joe finishing only a fraction ahead at 2.20.80 for 6th place and Christopher 7th place at 2.20.91.
Medals were proving hard to come by until Cian McPhillips took his place on the line for the U15 Boys 800m. He got up to the front pack and stayed there throughout the two laps to finish 3rd and secure a Bronze at 2.13.05, despite being pushed and getting spiked on his shin. Cian looked very comfortable with the pace and will contest the 1500m next weekend.
The final Longford AC competitor in Day 1 events was Brendan Finnan running in the U14 Boys 75m Hurdles. He used this opportunity to gain more confidence in hurdles which he needs for pentathlons.
Next week’s Day 2 timetable will see Funmi Talabi, Gospel Idahor, Killian Rawle and Aaron Kelly competing in sprints.