Saturday 25th March 2017 at AIT International Arena, Athlone
Longford Athletic Club had double the reasons to celebrate as they won two sets of Silver All-Ireland medals at the Athletics Ireland National Indoor Relay Championships on 25th March at AIT International Arena, Athlone. Improving on last year’s results, five of the Longford’s seven teams advanced from the heats to make the final for their age group with two teams reaching the podium and a further two teams finishing in 4th place.
The morning session got off to a great start with U13 and U17 Girls’ teams setting new pbs and qualifying from the their heats for the final. U13 Girls 4X100m Relay Team: Siog Reilly, Kaela Brady, Funmi Talabi and Laura Farrell, finished 2nd in their heat, time 56.68 seconds, and ran very well in the final to finish in 4th place. U17 Girls 4X200m Relay Team: Gospel Idahor, Sarah Murphy, Yemi Talabi and Precious Oseyemi were 4th in the fastest heat with time of 1.53.30 minute and finished in 5th place overall.
The U17 Boys 4X200m Relay Team were the first to reach the podium as their race was a straight final. Their time of 1.36.57 minute was over 3 seconds faster than their Connacht qualifying time and saw them win the set of All-Ireland Silver medals. For the second year in a row, Longford juveniles Cian Belton, Niall Moran and Nelvin Appiah have a National achievement as they were Bronze medallists in U16 Relay last year. Cian Nolan and subs Keelin McGann and Killian Rawle helped to strengthen this year’s team.
After their second place finish in the U16 Boys heats, Killian Rawle, Keelin McGann, Cian McPhillips and Christopher Conaty (sub Brendan Finnan) looked very competitive for the final and did not disappoint with their time of 1.39.09 minute. They shaved off 3.5 seconds from their Provincial qualifying time to take Silver. Every member of this team has also earned their place at National level in individual events and all will see more action as the Indoor Championships continue over two more days.
Unfortunately the last race of the day was agonisingly close but yet still outside the medals, leaving the U18 Boys team Aaron Kelly, Dylan Horkan, Ronan Farrell, Cian Nolan and Nelvin Appiah bitterly disappointed. After finishing 4th in their heat the team knew they had to give 110% in the final as all the times in their heat were faster than the winner of the previous heat. As the baton was changed for the last time final runner Nelvin Appiah tore around the track chasing the top three teams, closing the gap to a mere fraction of a second, 0.0.49. off a 3rd place medal. They notched up a new pb 1.36.49 minute as they came 4th and made further strides from last year’s 6th place All-Ireland finish, time 1.39.44 minute.
Longford AC is proud of all seven relay teams that competed on the first day of the National Indoor Championships and the continued improvement year after year of all the juveniles reaching National competition. Day 2 will see the Club’s sprinters out on the track and Day 3 will be all the 200m and 800m races.