The Longford Athletic Club Juvenile Awards Presentation marked the end of the Club’s most successful year of competition to date. The occasion focused on celebrating the 2016 achievements at Connacht and National level. Among the highlights of 2016 were All-Ireland Bronze for the U16 Boys Relay Team, International High Jump Silver at the Celtic Games, and Cian McPhillips crowned National U15 Boys Cross Country Champion.
Thirty-nine Longford athletes medalled at Connacht level, 14 Girls and 25 Boy, in sprint, cross country, relay, long jump, 800m, high jump, turbo javelin and 1500m. Top performers at Connacht Championships in 2016 were Nelvin Appiah 8 medals, Cian McPhillips 7, Brendan Finnan and Funmi Talabi 6 each and Joe Reilly and Christopher Conaty with 5 each.
Over the last four years the Club has made great strides in relay. The progress was evident when 6 teams qualified for the GloHealth National Indoor Relay Championship last March giving 23 juveniles the opportunity to compete at All-Ireland level with the best underage athletes from across the country. U15, 16 and 17 Boys teams showed continued improvement as all three made it through the heats stage to reach the ultimate goal of running in the final six. Cian Belton, Nelvin Appiah, Niall Moran and Daire McManus were presented trophies to commemorate their outstanding achievement winning the set of Bronze All-Ireland medals in the time of 1:39.78.
Congratulations were also given to 2 Girls Relay teams for their achievements at July’s GloHealth National Outdoor Juvenile Relay Championship. Both teams had the distinction of progressing to finals with the unusual number of 9 teams and gained valuable competition experience. Display medals were presented to U12 Girls Laura Farrell, Kaela Brady, Siog Reilly, Funmi Talabi, and U13 Girls Sarah McPhillips, Melissa O’Kane and Avril Cosgrove.
Joe Reilly, Christopher Conaty, Aidan O’Boyle, Brendan Finnan, Cathal Farrell, Daniel Hayden and Dan Crossan were recognised for their top performance at the 2016 All-Ireland ‘B’ Cross Country Championship at Dundalk IT. The U13 Boys took top honours in the 1500m race winning Gold as a team, Silver in the County category and 2 individual Bronze.
Kate Hagan, cross country, Yemi Talabi, sprints, Brendan Finnan, combined events, and middle distance runners Jack Gallagher, Joe Reilly and Christopher Conaty all received praise for their achievements placing in the top ten in National competition. Two of the youngest athletes to receive awards were Dromard twin brothers, Cormac and Padraic Mulligan. The U9 turbo javelin pair finished in 7th place at the All-Ireland Juvenile Games in July and improved their combined throws by over 5 meters from their Connacht score.
Club Girl/Boy of the Year was given to Gospel Idahor, Rachel Mulligan, Dylan Horkan and Hayden Nolan recognising them as leaders and motivators among their peers.
The coveted Perpetual Cup for Juvenile Athlete of the Year 2016 went to joint winners Cian McPhillips and Nelvin Appiah, both having impressive lists of accolades for the year. Cian is reigning National Cross Country Champion as well as All-Ireland Bronze medallist in both indoor and outdoor U15 Boys 800m, and had a 6th place All-Ireland finish in the 1500m. He has been selected by Athletics Ireland National Juvenile Committee as 2016 Emerald Star Juvenile Athlete for Longford at next month’s Awards Gala in Tullamore.
Nelvin burst onto the athletics scene only one year ago and he has made his presence known at both Connacht and schools provincial level. Finishing just outside the medals in 3 events at National Indoor Track and Field, he went on over the summer to win All-Ireland Gold in U16 High Jump and earn his first international cap competing in the Celtic Games in Swansea, Wales bringing home Silver. Nelvin seems to have found his niche in the Schools’ Combined Events pentathlon winning All-Ireland Bronze and his second international appearance as a member of the Irish squad that captured Silver in the U16 Boys category in December.
Club Chairman Paddy McPhillips thanked parents for their commitment bringing children to training sessions and competitions throughout the year. He praised all the volunteers involved in coaching Little Athletics and Juveniles in Longford, Kenagh and Dromard for the time and enthusiasm they give to the children involved. Lastly he wished all good luck for 2017 and the new achievements that lie ahead.
Photos from the Awards Night can be viewed here