May 21, 2011 [Noel Guiden] The gale howling down the home straight of the Morton stadium all day put any hopes of fast times well and truely out the window at today`s Leinster Schools track and field. Although the rain held off until nearing the end of proceedings it was a day to forget the watch and simply compete. There were a good number of Clonliffe athletes in action for their schools and as the day came to an end we had three Leinster schools champions: two in the field and one on the track.
The first Clonliffe Leinster champion of the day came early in the day, and from an unlikely source, as Ryan Cleary wearing the black and white of Belvedere literally walked away from the field. You see Ryan is a distance runner, he is also a race walker. Today the race walker well and truely came to the fore as with 600m to go he bolted from his rivals in the inter 2,000 walk to become Leinster schools champion and qualify for the All Irelands on June 4th.
A Leinster title also for another Clonliffe Belvedere lad Alex Anyaebunam in the senior triple jump. Alex also place 4th in the long jump earlier in the day.
Ryan Whelan (Balbriggan) fully justified his favourite tag in the Inter boys Javelin with a comfortable win.
The club`s sprinters were also in action. In the Inter girls 300m there was a great race between Clonliffe girls Shauna Reilly and Elaine Begley and with Shauna running an excellent bend she held the advantage in 2nd place over Elaine in 3rd which she held to the line. Silver and bronze for the girls with Shauna also qualifying for the All Ireland 300 where she`ll join Elaine who qualified for the 300 hurdles earlier in the week. Leah Bergin also had a good run in the senior girls 400m running very strongly over the first 200 although she was almost out of gas on the final straight held on to a well deserved bronze.
The guys didn`t fair out as well, however, with Patrick O`Connor sidelined with a hamstring injury eyes turned to Keith Pike and Stuart Roche in the senior 100m. Unbelieveably bad luck struck again as Keith pulled his hamstring just at the line in about 5th place with Stuart a place further behind.
In the middle distance events the first Clonliffe athlete in action was Fintan Doherty in the senior 800m. After an opening lap of 63 seconds Fintan was in an ideal position, 200 to go, the 1st and 2nd were gone with Fintan poised for bronze, however, when he pushed the button nothing happened. 4th place in 2.03.6.
Mark McKenzie put in a good show in the senior 1500m and was in contention at the bell, however, was caught out with 300 and missed his chance finishing 5th in 4.20.4. In the inter 1500 Mark Ring battled well to 7th.
Roisin Leahy ran well in the senior girls 1500m to take 6th place. 6th place also for John Buckley in the 3,000m inter boys race, the distance runners had a very tough time of it in the wind. Laura Brennan also ran on gamely in the inter girls 3,000 again the wind was a telling factor as she finished in 8th place.
Final race of the day was the senior boys 5,000m where Ian Guiden battle against a talented field and a gale for 12 and a half laps. The early race was very slow, an 80 second opener, followed by another not much quicker before Liam Brady took it up and then Kevin Dooney took over to drive the field on. Ian held on to this group for 3k before being cut adrift to finish 5th but in a new PB of 16.24.
Well done all today, it wasn`t easy and congratulations to all the athletes who`ve qualified for next month`s All Ireland Schools.