The Loftus Report: Big numbers enjoy Spring Series at HQ

Kevin Loftus reports from Morton Stadium: Enthusiasm was in plentiful supply in the Morton Stadium, Santry today; athletes and supporters alike flocking in their droves to the National Athletics Stadium for the second and final round of the Juvenile Spring Series.  Excitement and anticipation permeated conversation in both the stands and the warm up area in Santry Demesne to the rear of the stadium, despite a truly eye-watering, howling easterly wind flooding the track at uneven intervals.  Spectators remarked of a thoroughly riveting morning of racing with action packed fields in all age categories resulting in the boisterous and emphatic collective roar of both parents and coaches of all clubs participating soaring high above the hollow roof-top of the stand.

Gathering at an earlier time of 11:00 a.m. on this cool second Sunday of April, the scheduled of races ran impeccably to time, resulting in a surprisingly efficient 12:00 p.m. finish .  The sunshine of recent mornings eluded competitors and officials at today’s race, replaced by a dense, compacted layer of clouds drifting ominously overhead; spectators only marginally evading heavy downpours forecasted.  Ravaging gusts made competing that bit more rewarding for the keen youths who sought to conquer the prescribed distances with unprecedented courage and fearlessness.  Gary Cooley acted in an official capacity as our motivational, inspirational announcer; guiding athletes of all capacities and talents encouragingly  to the finish line.  Gerry Carr facilitated the start of every race of the day, reminding athletes of the importance of keeping their toes behind the line, in order to give everyone an equal opportunity at competing to win.  The ethos governing today’s competition again emphasised the benefits of racing for enjoyment and to gain positive experience from running in a supportive, fostering environment.

To account for the races themselves, as always a brief and concise reflection is offered below.

Initiating today’s proceedings, the Under 8 Girls demolished a hefty distance of 400 m, Leah Colgan of the host club emerging early as the outright winner, teammate Kitty Daly and Nena Butterly chasing hard on her heels to produce terrific 2nd and 3rd place finishes respectively.  In a tightly packed Under 8 Boys field, Jack O’Connor (Portmarnock) brushed past the finish line in style ahead of duo Donagh Crean; an excellent 2nd and Cormac Cronin, a great 3rd, to take well deserved first class honours.

With attendance in the Under 10 age group category exceeding expectations, there were two heats hosted for both the Under 10 Girls and Boys races.  Moving rigorously through a 400 m lap of the track, Cadhla Nighloinn (Portmarnock) claimed the highest podium position in the 1st heat of the Under 10 Girls race, holding off Grace Dowling in a fighting 2nd, with Aoibhín Donoghue a fantastic 3rd.  Tight for time, the four heats were collectively separated by a 30 second turn around; officials noting this well organised productiveness with protruding smiles on their faces, despite the battering wind.  Shauna Prior (Skerries) had a tremendous finish in the 2nd heat to finish 1st, whilst Sarah McDonnell and Ali Connolly fought the headstrong gusts with commendable determination to finish a wonderful 2nd and 3rd respectively.  In the Boys races; Dylan Moore (Skerries), Daragh Kilduff (Lusk) and Pauric Tuite (Clonliffe), were incredible winners across the two heats.  Tom Walsh finished a fine 2nd despite Jack McDonnell breathing closely down his neck to finish a solid 3rd; while Sean Cronin took an equally superb 3rd.

The Under 12 Girls were the first to suffer the now intensified severity of the biting winds sweeping the stadium as the competition progressed.  Isabel Browne (Clonliffe) had a remarkable performance in the 1st heat of the Under 12 Girls races today, taking 1st from Nicole Hackett, a brilliant 2nd and Lauren Bryce a great 3rd.  In an equally scintillating second heat, Daphney Ndjatang (Skerries) completed the double having won on the Beach last week, rose to victory in astounding fashion, leading Ellie Carr and Daisy Periere home to great 2nd and 3rd place finishes.  The Under 12 Boys remained resilient despite the hampering conditions, Jonathan Fitzsimons (Clonliffe), after a particularly strenuous effort, managed to escape Luke Hannigan to take 1st place, whilst Max Lara drove home in 3rd.

With entries in excess of 200, there were further heats in the Under 14 Girls age group category.  Leading from the line, Clonliffe`s Emma McDonnell produced an extraordinary performance to finish a thrilling 1st in the 1st heat, while Aoife Hession out paced Kristin McGrady-Hogan in a ferocious battle to the finish line.  Katie Halpin (unattached) was deservedly victorious in the 2nd of the heats today, when she emerged alone from the leading pack; Holly Roche following promptly behind to a daring 2nd place finish, Alana Fitzsimmons finishing just shy in a marvellous 3rd.  Meanwhile the Under 14 Boys contested a distance of 800 m, where Lusk`s Thomas Lara tore down the finishing straight to a valiant 1st, Lorcan Devine a magnificent 2nd with James Kenny a splendid 3rd.

The schedule of events concluded with the Under 16 Girls and Boys races, the sun appearing momentarily to offer respite to the frozen contestants and their supporters at this late stage.  In the Under 16 Girls race, Clonliffe Harrier Ella Brown displayed promise for her track season, as she swallowed a distance of 1000 m with little discomfort to finish a sublime 1st, with team mate Amy Hodson just short in an outstanding 2nd and Lily Heaney a fantastic 3rd.  The sole competitor of the Under 18 Girls race, Evelyn McCarthy, finished a whopping 1st in this mixed race.  Finally, in an all-Clonliffe affair, Colin Sweeney finished exceptional 1st ahead of Daragh Carter a fine 2nd with Diarmuid Buckley an impressive 3rd, to complete a Clonliffe 1, 2, 3.

It is an unfortunate truth to report that this concludes the 2016 Juvenile Spring Series.  In what has been an enthralling two days of stupendous racing, we have witnessed promising talent and charisma from all of our young athletes who competed not only for enjoyment but for valuable experience in a pressure-free environment.  As always, the organisation of such a successful event like this couldn’t be done without the continued contribution from club coaches and parents.  Your work and effort is very much appreciated.  To all of the athletes who competed across the two weekends with such passion and motivation, you are a testament to your coaches and parents, congratulations on this wonderful achievement.  Remember that perseverance and drive will lead you to success.  Nil Desperandum.

Report by Kevin Loftus

See Clonliffe Harriers new Instagram page, @clonliffeharriers, for all of the latest photos of all our athletes, both young and not so young!

Juvenile Spring Series Round 2: Results Morton Stadium

Under 8 Girls

  1. Leah Colgan — Clonliffe
  2. Kitty Daly — Clonliffe
  3. Nena Butterly — Portmarnock

Under 8 Boys

  1. Jack O’Connor — Pormarnock
  2. Donagh Crean — Clonliffe
  3. Cormac Cronin — Clonliffe

Under 10 Girls 1st Heat

  1. Cadhla Nighloinn — Portmarnock
  2. Grace Dowling — Clonliffe
  3. Aoibhín Donoghue — Lusk

Under 10 Girls 2nd Heat

  1. Shauna Prior — Skerries
  2. Sarah McDonnell — Clonliffe
  3. Ali Connolly — Clonliffe

Under 10 Boys 1st Heat

  1. Dylan Moore — Skerries
  2. Tom Walsh — Skerries
  3. Jack McDonnell — Clonliffe

Under 10 Boys 2nd Heat

  1. Daragh Kilduff — Lusk
  2. Pauric Tuite — Clonliffe
  3. Sean Cronin — Clonliffe

Under 12 Girls 1st Heat

  1. Isabel Browne — Clonliffe
  2. Nicole Hackett — Skerries
  3. Lauren Bryce — Skerries

Under 12 Girls 2nd Heat

  1. Daphney Njatang — Skerries
  2. Ellie Carr — Skerries
  3. Daisy Periere — Skerries

Under 12 Boys

1. Jonathan Fitzsimons – Clonliffe

2. Luke Hannigan – Lambay

3. Max Lara — Lusk

Under 14 Girls 1st Heat

  1. Emma McDonnell — Clonliffe
  2. Aoife Hession — Clonliffe
  3. Kristin McGrady-Hogan — Clonliffe

Under 14 Girls 2st Heat

  1. Katie Halpin — Unattached
  2. Holly Roche — Clonliffe
  3. Alana Fitzsimons — Clonliffe

Under 14 Boys

  1. Thomas Lara — Lusk
  2. Lorcan Devine — Skerries
  3. James Kenny — Skerries

Under 16 Girls

  1. Ella Brown — Clonliffe
  2. Amy Hodson — Clonliffe
  3. Lily Heaney — Skerries

Under 16 Boys

1. Colin Sweeney – Clonliffe

2. Daragh Carter – Clonliffe

3. Diarmuid Buckley — Clonliffe

Under 18 Girls

1. Eibhlin McCarthy – Skerries


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