Clare athletes won five gold medals at the Munster juvenile championships for U-9s to U-13s, which were held on Saturday and Sunday at the Nenagh Indoor Arena. Clare clubs had athletes in all age groups, with St John’s, Ennis Track, Marian, Kilmihil, St Cronan’s, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare and St Mary’s all well represented. Clare athletes took home a total of five gold, six silver and five bronze medals.
On day one, the first race on the track was the girls’ U-9 300m. There were over 50 athletes taking part in four heats, with three to qualify from each heat. Four Clare athletes made it through to the finals, where Rachel Hartigan, Marian, was the top performer, finishing fourth, followed home by Keisha Attwell, St Mary’s in sixth; Shona Fitzhenry, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare, seventh and Alannah McNamara, Ennis Track, in eighth place.
In the 4x100m relay, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare finished second in their semi-final and their team of Shona Fitzhenry, Amy Sexton, Siofra O’Dea and Hannah Shannon produced a great final round to capture the bronze medal in a time of (1m.16.90s).
In the girls’ U-11, Tara Kelly, St Mary’s, and Alex O’Neill, St Cronan’s, competed over four rounds in the long jump. Tara came away with the gold medal with a leap of 3.61m, with Alex a very close second on 3.51m.
In the U-11 600m, again five Clare competitors came through their heats to contest the Munster final. Alex O’Neill finished fourth in 2m.08.20s, with Mary Conneally, St Cronan’s, in seventh; Caoimhe Hogan, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare, in eighth place; Tara Kelly, St Mary’s, ninth, and Emer Hanrahan, Ennis Track, in 10th place.
In the girls’ U-12 600m, over 60 athletes took part and again five Clare athletes reached the final. They were Chantella Burke, St Mary’s; Sharon Egan, Kilmihil; Anna Courtney, Marian; Elaine Shannon, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare and Caoimhe Harvey, St John’s. In the final, Chantella Burke, St Mary’s, set a blistering pace for the first two laps and was looking good for victory with 40 metres remaining but over the final few strides, Sharon Egan, Kilmihil, produced a sensational finish to take the gold medal on the home straight with a time of 1m.57.70s, leaving Chantella Burke having to settle for the silver medal, with Elaine Shannon seventh, Anna Courtney 10th and Caoimhe Harvey 11th.
Orla Waters, who came through four very tough rounds of heats in the girls’ U12 60m to reach the final, was just pipped on the line and had to settle for the bronze medal with a time of 9.18s.
In the girls’ U-13 600m, Clare athletes were again very much on form with Áine Rouine, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare, taking the first heat and Cliodhna Blake, St John’s, twinning the second. In the final, Cliodhna Blake held a slight lead from Áine and, going down the back straight, Cliodhna pulled away from the rest of the field and captured the gold medal in 1m.57.30s, with Áine Rouine finishing fourth.
In the girls’ U-13 60m hurdles, Cliodhna Blake came through her semi-final in fine style and she went on to capture the silver medal in 11.40s. Later that afternoon in the high jump she won the bronze medal when clearing 1.25m, with Áine Rouine clearing 1.15m.
In the boys’ U-9 300m, Ben Whelehan, Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare, showed a clean pair of heels to all in Munster to win his first round by a very big margin. In the final, he was joined by another Clare athlete, Conor Blake, St John’s. Ben went into an early lead and again dominated the final to win by a big margin and a very fast time of 55.4s, with Conor Blake taking the silver medal.
Ten minutes later, Ben competed in the 60m hurdles where he won a bronze medal with a time of 10.47secs.
In the boys’ U-9 long jump, over 60 athletes competed with Conor Blake, St John’s, and Donagh O’Sullivan, St Cronan’s, making it to the jump-off stages. Conor produced six great jumps to take the silver medal in 2.67m. Donagh also had six outstanding rounds and he came away with the bronze medal.
Donagh O’Sullivan, St Cronan’s, led his boys’ U-9 relay team to bronze medals, along with Tony Butler, Shane Harrison and Jamie Grace.
The boys’ U-11 600m had five heats and over 60 athletes, with two to qualify from each heat. Three Kilmurry Ibrickane/North Clare athletes made it through to the finals, with Caoilfhionn O’Dea having to settle for fourth, with a fine run by Cian Shannon to finish sixth. He was followed home in seventh place by Niall Canavan.
In the boys’ U-12 600m, over 50 athletes competed in four heats and two from each heat reached the final. Three Ennis Track Club athletes made it through to the finals, Jamie Roche, Paul Martin and Cathal O’Brien. Jamie Roche set a very fast pace to take his first Munster title in 1m.54.8s from Paul Martin in 1m.55.7s, with Cathal O’Brien finishing seventh.
In the boys’ U-12 long jump there were over 40 athletes and Cathal O’Brien, Ennis Track, who won the gold medal two years ago at U-10, came away with a bronze medal with a leap of 3.84m.
In the boys’ U-12 4x100m relay, Ennis Track’s four-member team of Cathal O’Brien, Cathal Darcy, Jamie Roche and Paul Martin had to settle for fourth position.