The excitement is building in Santry as the Clonliffe Junior Men get ready for the challenge that lies ahead next weekend with the Clubs first foray into the European Junior Clubs Track and Field Championships. The team travels to Leiria in Portugal on Friday where the magnificent Estadio Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa awaits. This 23,500 seater stadium was built only 9 years ago for the European Football Championships at a cost of in excess of €50.2m and is overlooked by the majestic ruins of Castelo de Leiria.
The team have been back in training since the summer break and rather than training for cross-country, for the middle and longer distance guys and indoor for the sprinters and field eventers, they have maintained their normal track and field regimes and all have been working hard under coaches Joe Cooper, Brian McDonald and John Shields. This is a first European Competition for the vast majority of the fifteen strong team, only two have seen European action previously: Ian Guiden with the Junior Team at the European Clubs Cross-country in Bilbaou in 2010 and Andrew Heney with the Senior Team at the European Clubs Track and Field in Slovokia on the 27th of May last.
The black and amber brigade will face top class European opposition including teams from France (Entente Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines), the Neatherlands (AVLYCURGUS), from Switzerland St. Bern, whom the Seniors faced a couple of years ago, the Danish Junior Champions Skive Am, two Portuguese Clubs Sport Lisboa e Benfica and Juventude Vidigalense. In all there are nine European clubs taking part in the Championships. The Clonliffe athletes will give a very good account of themselves, there is a very strong team travelling, including a number of athletes who have previous international experience: Keith Pike, Andrew Heney, Ryan Whelan, Ian Guiden, Aaron Hanlon and Fintan Doherty. The experience of these athletes will be vitally important next weekend.
The full Clonliffe team is:
100m: Keith Pike
200m: Stuart Rocke
400m: Fintan Doherty
800m: Liam Ashton
1500m: Aaron Hanlon
3000m: Ian Guiden
110h: Joshua Essuman
400h: Eoin Power
3000sc: Eoin McCullough
Discus/Shot: Safari Aketch
Hammer: Simon Gallaigan
High Jump/Pole Vault: Andrew Heney
Long Jump/Triple Jump: Daniel Doran
Javelin: Ryan Cleary
4 x 100m Relay: (from) Keith Pike, Daniel Doran, Conor Byrne, Joshua Essuman, Stuart Roche
4 x 400m Relay: (from) Liam Ashton, Fintan Doherty, Aaron Hanlon, Eoin Power, Ian Guiden
With the final heavy training session taking place in Santry tonight the team will not lack in the preparations department, furthermore the steely look of determination in the eyes of the athletes over the last fortnight has been commented upon by several astute observers. The team will travel to Europe knowing that they are well up for the challenge that lies ahead.