The Loftus Report: Dublin Juvenile track & field 2015 (days 1,2 & 3)

As the Irish Schools Athletics calendar comes nearly to the end of another fantastic year’s competing, in the form of the Tailteann Interprovincial Games next week, the many days of competing in the Dublin Clubs Championships issues.  On offer are the coveted places to line up alongside Ireland’s very best next month; as well as the equally impressive glimmering medals and a spot on the podium.
Day One Friday:
The opening day of these championships were held in the Morton Stadium, with the specialist distances of 500, 600 and 800m on offer to athletes.  As the sun faded from sight, a rusty, red sky with scattered cloud patches illuminated the sky.  However this departing left the track in a frosty, damp climate towards the end of the competition; reminding all athlete and spectators of the necessity to be prepared for all sorts when arriving to both support and run.
As is the wonderful norm nowadays, the standard and quality of the racking seen focus was nothing shy of brilliant.  All of our brave, determined runners competed with conviction and determination in copious amounts; leaving nothing out on the track come sundown.    All who competed today did so to such a high level, and in doing so have made their coaches and families proud.  Some of the highlights of this evening’s races were the following:
Early on in the schedule of events young Daniel Coleman had a superb 2nd in the Under 10 Boys 500m.  Daniel, leading for most of the race, chased the emerging leader right down the finishing straight leaving a distinct gap between the rest of his counterparts.
Soon after Jonathan Fitzsimons lined up in the Under 11 Boys 600m, and after a thrilling mid race battle recorded a fine win after facing very stiff competition.
Moving through the age groups now, Craig Giles added silver to his heavy belt with a fantastic effort in the Under 16 Boys 800m.  Leading from early on, Craig only let the victors lip from his grasp towards the end of the race, however remains very close to record a great time of 2:03, coming very close to his personal best.
Joseph Hession had an equally impressive 2nd place in the Under 17 Boys 800m, running particularly well in the opening lap, to finish in another fast 2:03.
Following this, Alannah Cooley toed the line in the Under 18 Girls 800m.  In this combined race, Alannah raced well indeed to finish in an encouraging 3rd place, securing a spot in the All-Ireland Finals in doing so.
Hope Saunders, known all too well for her pace over long distances, today came down in distance in the Under 19 Girls combined 800m.  Hope, suffering from the heat of a 63s opening lap, finished slightly tired yet satisfied in a great 2nd place.
Finally, in an undisputed most exciting race of the day, Cathal Doyle arrived home in a terrific 2nd in the Under 19 Boys 800m.  Cathal, like many of today’s medalists, went from early on to secure Dublin silver and yet another place in the Nationals in a few week’s time.
This draws the first day of competition to a neat and tidy close.  Day Two continues in Morton Stadium, Santry tomorrow.
A. Cooley Dublins
(Alannah Cooley U/18 800 bronze)
C. Giles Dublins
(Craig Giles U/16 800 Silver)
H. Saunders Dublins
(Hope Saunders U/18 800 Silver)
J. Hession Dublins
(Joseph Hession U/17 800 silver)
Day 2 Saturday:
The second day of completion in the Dublin Clubs Juvenile Track and Field Championships were held, once again, in the Morton Stadium.  Today’s races consisted of the sprint distances and field events, athletes seeking once again to gain safe passage to the Nationals and of course one of the illustrious gold, silver or bronze county medals available to them.
Despite previous weather forecasts to suggest otherwise, sunny spells were few and far between today, as a heavy, blustery wind swept rain shower after rain shower across the track.  However athletes remained undeterred in their attempts at securing Dublin titles for themselves and their club, making for quite the day of competition.  Below are only some of the star out performances from all of our athletes.
First out of the starting blocks was Joseph Hession, showing little ill effects from last night’s silver in the 800m.  Joseph came down in distance to 400m where this time he was rewarded with a great 3rd place for his strong effort.
Emma McDonnell had wonderful success in her Under 13 High Jump where she cleared 1.35m safely to secure another silver in fine style indeed.  Emma was just shy of gold, the winner clearing only 0.01 of a metre more than her.
Michael Coleman, adding to his gold from last night’s 500m, had another terrific endeavour in the High Jump  earning a wonderful 1st place podium position for his clearance of 1.45m.
Jonus Norauisas claimed another silver medal finishing a fine 2nd in the Under 12 Boys Shot Putt, throwing, once again, close within the range of the eventual victor.
Then in the first set of sprints of the day, having travelled from afar overseas, Caitlin O’Reilly demolished the rest of the field in the Under 16 Girls 200m, arriving home victorious in a speedy 26.3s.
Shortly after this the javelin throwing began, where another one of our international athletes had a fantastic performance.  Finn O’Reilly threw 30.9m, close to his personal best, in the Under 15 Boys Javelin earning himself silver for a hard day’s work.
After waiting anxiously for her final in the Under 15 Girls 200m, Rebecca Fitzsimons powered right down to the finish line in a superb 3rd in an action-packed race, having faced stiff opposition on either side of her lane.  Rebecca recorded a flying 28.3.
Katie Connolly added to the accumulation of medals won in the throws, placing a great 2nd in the Under 15 Girls Shot Putt, again just shy of gold by 0.01m, having thrown a massive person best of 6.81m.
Mario Bowden had an encouraging outing in the Under 19 200m to place 3rd, never letting those in front of him far out of his sights as he came around the finishing bend.
A glutch of medals was gathered in by the black `n`amber in the field events late in the afternoon: Ellen McGrady-Hogan 1st U/18 triple jump, Jonathan Toal 1st U/16 long jump, Justinas Gerdvilis 1st U/18 Javelin with Conor Byrne 2nd.
Finally, in one of the last events of the day, the arduous task of completing 3000m whilst race waking didn’t phase Greg Hosseny as he coasted to victory, Greg adding the title of “Dublin Champion” to his name.
All in all, yet another top notch day of young, grassroots athletics witnessed here in Santry.  Days three and four now move to Tallaght stadium, tomorrow (Sunday) and next Friday respectively.
Greg Dublins
(Greg Hossenny Dublin U/18 3000 race walk champion)
Rebecca Fitzsimons Dublins
(Rebecca Fitzsimons U/14 200m bronze)
(Luchino U/15 200 race)

Day Three:

To conclude another fantastic weekend of very youthful athletics, day three of the Dublin Clubs track and Field Championships were held in an unfamiliar rather sunny Tallaght Athletics Stadium.  The schedule of events today mainly incorporated the finals of the qualifying heats from the previous two days of competition and the long distance races for older age groups.

Although spectators and athletes alike were not without cloud cover for the most part of the morning and afternoon, the sun somehow managed to appear if only briefly.  The strength of the rays was somewhat admirable given the recent unpredictability of Irish weather.  This gave athletes added hope as they set about their task of racing with the ever present determination and conviction, and doing so in such fashion.

With an early start on foreign soil, Michael Coleman continued his superb winning ways to prove he is an athlete of both short and long distance, as he took double bronze in both the 600m final and also the final of the 60m in the Under 12 Boys category.

Also claiming bronze in the field this time was Keith Burke, an athlete who has come on leaps (forgive the pun) and bound in the past number of months.  He jumped 4.15m in the Long Jump, also in the Under 12 Boys age group.  Sally Sumola had another great outing in the Under 12 Girls 60m, where she fought a blustery breeze and fended off her competitors to secure silver in a very fine 2nd.

Then, Emma McDonnell showed no signs of fatigue from her heat last Friday night as she emerged victorious in the Under 13 Girls 600m delivering yet another gold medal for her club.  To follow this, Blaize Carroll had a very encouraging series of jumps in the Long Jump to place a super 2nd.

In an absolutely cracking Under 13 Girls 800m race, Amy Hodson, in a gallant effort lead for 700m only to fall into 3rd place on the finishing straight; with training partner Ella Brown piping her in a brilliant 2nd to the post and Rachel Fagan came home just behind in a great 4th.  All three girls ran exceptionally well, each clocking 2:28, separated by only a hair’s breadth.

Shortly after this, Rebecca Fitzsimons received two great silver and bronze medals for her wonderful efforts in the 250m Hurdles and 100m respectively. This was following on from Rebecca’s commendable performances in the heats two nights ago.

In another most invigorating race, Cian Bolger and Aaron Cullen both clocked two massive personal bests in the Under 15 Boys 800m, recording 2:12 and 2:18 respectively now proving the great strides they have made in training.

Adding to her recent gold in the 200m and the Long Jump, Caitlyn O’Reilly successfully defended her title yet again in the Under 16 Girls Shot Putt throwing a wonderful 9.60m for gold. Laurn Carr, having won U/16 800 bronze on Friday night added high jump gold to her collection.

Finally, ending on a high of sorts, many of our older athletes were competing in the 3000m distance event.  With “slight” delays in the programme and lack of bullets in the starting gun, some of these races where run with mixed age groups.  First to toe the line was Daniel Lacey, putting in another strong and improving performance in the Under 16 Boys race placing 4th.  In a mixed Under 17 / 18 / 19 Boys race Sean O’Leary ran very well indeed to take Dublin silver, just ahead of a tired Alex Hogan in a defiant 3rd.  Matthew Jenkinson took a good 4th in 9:52 from Kevin Loftus in an improving 5th and Fintan Mc Manus 6th.  Adam O’Brien, leading the entire pack home obtained a well deserved Dublin title and gold medal, whilst Kevin McKenna finishing incredibly well placed 3rd.  Brian Flanagan, solely representing the Under 19 Boys category also had a fine outing, now being able to call himself Dublin Champion with another superb win.

Altogether, this was one more terrific outing for the club’s younger members, representing Harriers in such a fine light.  The final day of competition, held again in Tallaght Athletic Stadium is next Friday, 12th June, starting at 7:00 pm.

 dublin 3000
(3,000 Adam leads pack of Sean, Alex and Matthew)
Report & photos Kevin Loftus