Ferry across the Mersey: Clonliffe on Tour

The Clonliffe juvenile athletes enjoyed a very successful weekend trip to Liverpool Harriers for the Ernie Gallagher Memorial Meet, for the younger age groups  and in the afternoon the Tom O’Mahony Memorial. There was a travelling party of some 44 made up of 37 athletes, coaches and of course the lady who is mainly responsible for the thriving juvenile section in the club, Juvenile captain Gladys Cooper.

It was without a doubt an extremely successful and enjoyable weekend meeting the dual requirements of team bonding and serious competition.

Bright and early on Saturday morning the team arrived from their over night base in Chester to the home of Liverpool Harriers at Wavertree Athletics stadium, an extremely well run facility on the outskirts of Liverpool. The Ernie Gallagher Memorial Medal Meeting is one of the most popular athletic meetings in the Northwest of England and attracts top class athletes in the 10 to 14 year old groupings from both clubs and indeed schools on an annual basis.

Weather conditions in the morning were superb to say the least with some nice warm sunshine, however, it soon became clear that this was going to be a tough day for the young Clonliffe athletes, the stadium is open on one side and there was a howling head on gale down the home straight making for a testing morning all round.

Undeterred the young Clonliffe contingent rolled up their sleeves and embraced the event with great determination. It was a big step up in class for a lot of these young Clonliffe athletes many of whom were enjoying their first ever overseas competition and there were several medal winning performances on the day. The first Clonliffe medal of the day was bagged by Aby Sheehy who finished 3rd in the Girls age 11 75 metres. Rachel Fitzsimons also took bronze this time in the Girls age 12 70m hurdles. Jack Horan also won bronze in the Boys age 12 75m hurdles and likewise bronze was won by Anthony Downes in the Boys age 12 800m. Bronze medals were also won by Aoife Hession in the Girls ages 11 600m and in the Boys age 11 soft javelin competition Luchino Romano Gilna also won bronze. In the Boys age 14 competition Joseph Hession and Shane Merrigan battled for supremacy over three events. First off they had a battle royal in the 800m where Shane Merrigan showed a great turn of pace off the final bend to take 2nd place in a time of 2.23.5 with Joseph 4th in 2.25.0. An hour later and the positions were reversed in the 1500m as Joseph Hession ran very strongly to finish 3rd in a time of 5.12.0 with Shane 4th in 5.20.4. Both athletes then made their way from the finish line of the 1500 to the start line of the 300 where Shane Merrigan showed unbelievable pace to finish a superb 2nd place in 43.0 with a tiring Joseph 7th in 47.5.

Clonliffe results from Ernie Gallagher Memorial Medal Meeting:

Girls Age 11 75m:

3rd Abby Sheehy 12.5

6th Vicki McDonald 13.6

Race 3:

4th Aoife Hession 13.1

6th Alannah Fitzsimons 13.5

Race 4:

4th Amy Hodson 13.5

6th Ella Browne 13.6

Girls Age 12 75m – Race 1:

5th Hope Somula 13.6

6th Caitlin Butler 13.7

Race 2:

6th Katie Connolly 13.0

Race 3:

4th Rachel Fitzsimons 11.8

Boys Age 11 100m:

5th Luchino Romano Gilna 17.5

Boys Age 11 100m:

5th Ben Guiden 16.7

Race 2:

6th Jack Horan 16.2

Girls Ages 13/14 100m:

4th Ruth Bergin 14.6

6th Amy McGrath 15.4

Race 5:

8th Amy Connolly 15.6

Boys Ages 14 800m

2nd Shane Merrigan 2.23.5

4th Joseph Hession 2.25.0

7th Alex Gibbons 2.35.5

Race 2

4th Joseph Hutchinson 2.38.5

6th Keith Hodson 2.47.6

7th Sean O’Leary 2.49.9

Girls Ages 13/14 800m:

4th Ruth Bergin 2.42.9

7th Sophie Higgins 2.54.10

8th Lauren Carr 2.57.5

9th Hannah Browne 3.04.6

10th Amy Kelly 3.10.3

11th Amy McGrath 3.13.7

Girls Age 12 70m Hurdles:

3rd Rachel Fitzsimons 16.1

Boys Age 12 75 MH:

3rd Jack Horan 17.0

Girls Age 12 Long Jump:

5th Rachel Fitzsimons 3.39

10th Hope Somula 3.05

11th Katie Connolly 2.95

12th Caitlin Butler 2.54

Boys Age 12 800m:

3rd Anthony Downes 2.52.1

4th Ben Guiden 2.52.8

Girls 13/14 75 MH:

5th Hannah Browne 17.1

Race 2:

5th Amy Kelly 20.3

Race 3:

5th Lauren Carr 16.9

Boys Age 11 Long Jump

6th Luchino Romano Gilna 2.75

Girls Age 11 600m:

3rd Aoife Hession 2.09.7

4th Amy Hodson 2.14.4

6th Alannah Fitzsimons 2.15.5

9th Ella Bergin 2.22.8

10th Vicki McDonald 2.31.9

Race 2:

4th Amy Warren 2.03.6

5th Ella Browne 2.07.3

7th Abby Sheehy 2.16

Boys Age 11 Soft Javelin:

3rd Luchino Romano Gilna 15.75

Girls Age 12 High Jump:

4th Katie Connolly 1.10

6th Caitlin Butler 1.0

Girls Soft Javelin:

7th Lauren Carr 1.25

Girls Age 11 Long Jump:

12th Alannah Fitzsimons 2.95

14th Aoife Hession 2.81

16th Vicki McDonald 2.73

17th Ella Bergin 2.62

20th Amy Hodson 2.09

Boys Age 14 1500m:

3rd Joseph Hession 5.12.0

4th Shane Merrigan 5.20.4

Boys Age 14 300m:

2nd Shane Merrigan 43.0

7th Joseph Hession 47.5

Girls Age 13/14 Long Jump:

7th Amy Connolly 4.19

11th Ruth Bergin 4.06

18th Sophie Higgins 3.60

19th Amy McGrath 3.19

Boys Age 13/14 Long Jump:

4th Fintan McManus 3.90

The afternoon Meet was The Tom O`Mahony Memorial Meet for U/17, Junior and Senior athletes, by this stage the weather had turned decidedly for the worst with rain now mixed in with the strong wind and it had at this stage got pretty cold indeed. The club’s U/16 & 17 athletes were in action and acquitted themselves remarkably well after a long day, these athletes had been in the stadium from 9 in the morning and in several cases their races did not take place until 3.30/4 p.m.

First in action Kate Hession who ran in the Senior Women’s 200m race where she ran an excellent bend and finished in 4th place in a time of 30.2.

As the weather worsened the organisers made the decision to mix the one mile race, therefore, this race was a mix of U/17 men, Junior men and Senior men along with U/17 women, Junior women and Senior women. It was a pretty inspiring sight to see five black and amber clad athletes lined up for this race. There was a storming run from Cathal Doyle who finished 2nd overall and 1st U/17 in a time of 4.51.4. Adam O’Brien was 7th overall and was 3rd U/17 in a time of 5.10.8. Laura Tuite was 1st U/17 woman and 3rd woman overall. Laura running a time of 5.42.0. Sally Ahern was just behind Laura in a time of 5.50.0 and was second U/17 woman with Hope Saunders running remarkably well for an athlete who has not been able to train all week and underwent two mid week  physiotherapy sessions, Hope was 3rd U/17 woman in a time of 5.55.10.

Not being content with just running a mile race a number of these athletes decided that the day`s work was not yet finished and lined up again for the 800 metres some 30 minutes later. Another fine run by the Clonliffe contingent, Cathal Doyle was 6th overall in this mixed race and was 3rd U/17 in a time of 2.14.0. Adam O’Brien was 10th overall in a time of 2.29.4. Hope Saunders was 13th overall and 2nd U/17 woman in a time of 2.37.6 and Stephanie McCaul, another athlete who has missed training through illness this time was 3rd U/17 woman in a time of 2.43.3 and 15th overall.

These impressive results, however, of course only tell part of the story, more importantly it represented an opportunity for the younger and older juvenile members of the club to meet and support one another and it was a heart-warming sight to see clubmates who probably did not even know one another’s names before the weekend out there cheering on their older or younger team-mates. It must also be said that throughout the course of the weekend all were impeccably behaved and were an absolute credit to themselves, their families and Clonliffe Harriers and it was a pleasure to be in their company.

It is also important to note that no adults were harmed in the making of this successful venture!


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