Tullamore Harriers Stadium was the excellent venue for the Midland Juvenile Track & Field Championships (Four Counties) on Friday 17th April. Longford sent a small but ultimately very successful team to compete in glorious early evening sunshine. Funmi Talabi and Anna Hayden were first up in the under 9 girls 60m sprint. Both girls ran well in the heats and qualified for the final with Funmi finishing a strong second. Funmi then went on to win the 300m under 9 with Anna Hayden finishing strongly. Funmi continued her rich vein of form with a second place in the turbo javelin and is certainly an exciting prospect for the future.
The under 10 girls 60m sprint was contested by Sarah Mc Phillips who won her heat and went on to take a great silver medal in the final. Sarah then moved to the long jump where she won another silver medal, just missing the gold by 3 cms. Tommy Corcoran in his first outing at this level ran a great race in the under 10 60m sprints and was a comfortable winner of the gold medal, this competition provided an excellent experience for him. Jack Gallagher qualified for the final but his best run was in the 500m under 10 where he finished a great second in a fast race with a lot of competitors. Tommy Corcoran then won a silver medal in the turbo javelin one of the most popular events on the night.
In the under 11 girls, Jenny Purdy was unable to recover from a poor start in the 60m sprint and finished just outside the medals but returned to win a silver medal in the under 11 Girls turbo javelin. Jenny will have better starts than this and will return to her winning ways in the near future. In the boys under 11 Brendan Finnan and Daniel Hayden flew the Longford colours with distinction. Brendan won a silver medal in the 60m sprint and later he won a second silver in the 600m race. He then moved over to the turbo javelin where he was an easy winner with a massive throw of 20.22m. As the light began to fade he was found at the long jump pit where he picked up a bronze medal and the fourth of the night, Brendan is a great all round athlete and no doubt we will see a lot more from Brendan this summer. Daniel had some great performances but in truth he is better suited to the longer distances. Rory Maguire also had some very good performances and both Daniel and Rory will have gained valuable experience at this level.
In the under 12 girls, Yemi Talabi won her heat of the 80m with a very impressive performance and was the hot favourite to win the final. However a mix up with times meant that she missed her final which was a great pity. She quickly got over her disappointment to win a silver medal in the in the long jump with a jump of 3.35m. The under 12 boys was dominated by Longford athletes. Daire Mc Manus had to be at his best to beat two other all Ireland finalists to claim gold in the 80m sprint. He then had his first outing in the shot putt and won gold there too beating club mate Keelan Mc Gann in the process. Keelan ran a great race in the 80m heats to qualify for the final but with the first three all holing all Ireland medals he was always up against it. Then it was the turn of Cian Mc Phillips who showed why he is the All-Ireland 600m champion by running away from a quality field where the first five home all have All Ireland medals. He then turned his attention to the long jump where he won with a leap of 4.07m.
Well done to all the athletes and parents and coaches who made the journey to Tullamore. Thanks also to club chairman Padraig Farrell who acted as an official on the night along with Noel Finnan and Gerry Mc Gann. The events ran off very quickly and efficiently and this was made possible by the very efficient Tullamore officials along with the officials from all the competing clubs. These performances in Tullamore suggest that all our athletes are hitting form at the right time and we can look forward to greater things to come in the next few weeks.