On Saturday last Tullamore was the venue for the Aviva All Ireland Schools’ Track and Field Championships.
The first event on the track was the Junior girls 1200 meter walk and Chloe Lynch representing Gael Cholaiste Cheitinn was the first Clonmel athlete to take part. Chloe competing in her first Schools All Ireland was keen to build on her fine performance in the Munster Schools and she was not to disappoint. Chloe in very stiff competition walked a personal best performance of 6.24 finishing strongly down the field.
The pairing of Aaron Egan and Anthony Tobin were representing the High School, Clonmel participated with distinction in the Junior Boys 1200 metre Walk. The pair stuck to the race plan walking conservatively for the first 200 metres despite a blistering start by Chriost Ri’s Diarmuid O’Cadhla which saw him open a 20 metre gap over the first 200 metres. Aaron led the chasing pack and by the 300 metre mark he took the initiative and didn’t relinquish this, lead pulling away with every stride to earn his first All Ireland Schools Gold in 5.29.82. Anthony stuck to his guns throughout and with 200 meter to go was walking strongly in fourth place. Anthony chased down the bronze medal in a nail biting finish which saw third and fourth locked together with the line quick approaching. Anthony’s determination was to prevail earning him a hard fought bronze medal in 5.48.36.
Evan Lynch representing Gael Cholaiste Cheitinn was the final Clonmel race walker of the day and he gave the performance of his life leading the 2000 metre Intermediate Boys Walk from gun to tape. Evan walked hard chasing the Irish record for the event set back in 1990 and never touched since. Evan gave everything on the day earning him the gold medal and a PB of 8.04.84, a mere 4 seconds outside the record.
Orlaith Moynihan representing Loreto Convent was in action in the Intermediate girls 3000 metre event and what a performance. Orlaith attached to the leading group and ran comfortably on the shoulder of the leading lady for much of the race. In the closing laps a break away group saw Orlaith relegated to fourth place as the field strung out not many could keep the pace. Orlaith finished strongly and can be delighted with a Personal Best time of 10.50.98 and a reputable fourth place finish.
In the Intermediate girls 1500 metre steeplechase Laura Tobin also representing Loreto Convent was in fine form. Laura, a seasoned campaigner, ran strongly throughout her race and ran yet another Personal Best of 6.05.12 to finish in seventh place.
In the Senior boys 2000 metre Steeplechase Michael Carey representing High School Clonmel ran a blinder. Michael’s now legendary graceful running style saw him take the initiative from the start soaring over the jumps and gaining ground which each leap. Michael appeared in total control until the last lap when he was passed on the back straight in what those who don’t know Michael might have been a race winning manoeuvre. Michael showed the ultimate courage and determination and chased down the lead he had just relinquished gaining it back to enter the home straight in the lead and break the tape in yet another personal best performance of 6.08.78 and yet another Gold Medal.
Phoebe Murphy representing Loreto Convent was eager to impress having pulled off the sprint double in the Munster schools. It wasn’t to be Phoebe’s day in the 100 metre as a fraction delayed start saw the pack get away and despite a gutsy run gaining with every stride the tape eluded Phoebe who had to be content with 5th place in 12.66. Phoebe having qualified for the 200 metre also was keen to make amends and despite it being her weaker of the two events she powered home to snatch the bronze medal on the line in what was one of the races of the day in yet another personal best performance of 25.99 .
Roisin Cleary representing Presentation Convent was in fine form as usual, competing in the Intermediate girls 800 meters. Rosin was among a very strong field which included Siofra Clerigh Butner, a young lady on the up in the Athletics middle distance world who set a new Irish schools record on the day. Roisin battled hard throughout finishing in 5th place just outside her Personal Best in a great time of 2.21.69.
The last Clonmel man standing was Sean Tobin representing High School. Sean one of the finest middle distance runners in the country was in a very competitive field in the senior boys 1500 metres. He sat in behind Shane Fitzsimmons who slowed the race to a pedestrian 66 second first 400. Sean was eager to get the race going and took the lead after 400 metres and held this lead until with 500 meters to go both Shane Fitzsimmons and Patrick Monaghan shot by him gaining a vital five metre by the time the bell was reached. Sean fought with all his might and dragged back second place and was gaining with every stride on Fitzsimmons who was only saved by the line. Sean took the silver medal in a time of 3.55.6.
It was an exceptional day of athletics in an event that always displays the best and brightest of athletes of the future and 2012 was no exception. Clonmel Athletic Club are very proud of our athletes competing in such numbers at the national finals.