Sean Cronin takes National 800 gold

Eugenia Bateson reports: Day 1 of the Juvenile Track and Field Championships took place in Tullamore today with a number of Clonliffe athletes taking part in the 800m and Steeplechase events.
Anne Murry’s U/15 Ellen Morgan was our youngest contender taking part.  Ellen finished 11th in a time of 2:30.95 in her 800m straight Final.Gerry Carr had two U16 Athletes competing today in their 800m’s,  Rebecca Walsh finished 11th in a time of 2.27.21 and  Rory Quill finished 10th in 2.08.86.
Micks U17 and U18’s were unfortunate to have to endure heats in the 800m.  In the U17 Boys 800m, Sean Cronin ran the 2nd heat and with fastest 3 + 2 to qualify played it cool to secure a place in the final with a time of 2:06.17.  In the U18’s Johnny Fitzsimons ran in the fastest heat of the day and took the small q in a time of 2:01.04.  JD Kelly ran the 2nd heat and secured a second place finish in a time of 2.03.16
The 2000m Steeplechase U17 Boys saw Tom Breslin take to the start line.  In a race that stretched out very quickly in terms of medals contention, Tom ran well in the following pack and finished a strong 6th in a time of 6:53.54
U18 Boys 3000m Steeplechase – with two athletes breaking early it seemed only a fall could upset the gold and silver.  Sam Murray and Cillian Keegan worked closely for the first couple of laps with Sam never looking like he was really going to settle for the bronze.  Focused, calm and steady he waited for the signs of fatigue, and it came. With 4 laps to go Sam was closing in on the silver and by the water jump managed to put himself in silver contention.  With two laps to go Sam was very comfortable in 2nd position.  Sam took a very convincing and well deserved silver behind Billy Coogan of Gowran A.C in 9.41.99 with Sam in 10.03.59.  Cillian Keegan continues to improve in this event finishing 6th in a time of 10.57.18.
The 800m Finals – U17 Boys – Sean Cronin takes to lane 7.  Sean runs his first lap looking too calm and collected for any spectator to relax while he positions himself in the pack like he is invisible to them.  He sits and waits.  The 8 athletes were tightly bunched as they hit the bell and a slight surge came with Sean taking the 2nd position.  All playing a cautious tactical game Sean appearing calm keeps us on our toes with the pack hot on his heels.  At 200 to go,  when he decides, I’m off, and puts in a well executed move with a spectacular sprint finish to claim the well-deserved and very impressive U17 Boy’s 800 m National Title in a time of 2:00.05.
U18 Boys 800m had two athletes, Johnny Fitzsimons and JD Kelly.  Johnny had a fine run but heading into a strong wind at 350m the fast heat started to show in his legs.  Nonetheless, a very stylish classy run by Johnny finishing in 7th in a time of 2:05.44.  JD packed in well and was in 5th at the bell.  With a fall at the bell JD took full advantage and propelled himself into 3rd position.  The fall changed the race opening up a medal for any of the tight group.  At 200 to go, JD was pushed back into 5th position but he was not letting that medal go.  Coming into the final bend he fought hard and regained his medal finishing in a time of 1:59.63.
This concluded Day 1 of the National Championships in Tullamore with two more action packed days on the 9th and 10th.