Last weekend was the first chance for Juveniles to see the majestic Indoor Arena in Athlone and what a spectacle it is. For many of the athletes it was the first time competing at the Athlone Institute of Technology. The All Ireland Indoor Juvenile Championships is always promoted over three days but for this year an adventurous timetable saw all events scheduled over a two day timetable.
On Saturday morning the first event on the Track was the Girls race walking events and Clonmel’s first athlete to compete was Chloe Lynch in the Under 16 Race Walk. Chloe was in a very strong field and battled hard throughout to finish in 5th place in a respectable time of 8.29.
In the Under 16 60 metre sprints Phoebe Murphy was in flying form and set the day up when running a PB of 7.86 in her heat getting her centre lane in the final. Phoebe was not fazed in the slightest by the favourite tag in the final or the countless false starts which create nightmares for athletes and starters alike. Phoebe went through her routine and when the gun went in her final there was only going to be one winner. Phoebe stormed out of the blocks showing a clean set of heels to all her opponents winning comfortably in a time of 7.86 and yet another All Ireland Gold for the sprinting superstar.
Phoebe was in action on Sunday again after her exploits in the 60 meters Phoebe turned her attention to the 200 meters. Phoebe in formidable form after Saturday was keen to do it all again and started with great hope winning her heat and qualifying for the final. Phoebe was once again poised on the line of the 200 meter final and once again there was only going to be one winner as she powered home in a PB of 25.50 to once again complete the sprint double and show she is indeed the lady of the moment.
In the Girls Under 18 400 meters Clonmel had two competitors. Megan O’Brien and Roisin Cleary and they were keen to make the final. Megan a young lady getting better every time she appears on the track was unlucky not to progress when finishing 4th in her heat. Roisin Cleary ran very strongly in her heat and marked the leader all the way finishing a comfortable second and a guaranteed place in the final. Roisin looked strong on the line in the final but found herself with some work to do from the start. She rallied well and got stronger as the race progressed storming down the final straight to finish in 4th place slightly over that 60 second barrier Roisin is striving hard to break.
Clonmel had no fewer than three girls in the Under 18, 1500 meter final after their fantastic runs in the Munster Championships. Orlaith Moynihan, Aoife Laste and Laura Tobin all toed the line in the final and again were amongst some formidable athletes. Aoife and Orlaith exchanged places numerous times during the race running slightly off the leading pack of four with Laura tracking close behind.
Orlaith and Aoife worked their magic together and used their training familiarity to work themselves into a medal placing with 300 meters to go. The only disappointing aspect the two Clonmel girls were battling for one medal as they caught and passed the third place girl. As the two entered the home straight locked together Orlaith took the initiative and earned herself a Bronze All Ireland Medal when pipping a brave Aoife on the line both giving their all, Orlaith finishing in a time of 5 mins with Aoife running a PB of 5.01. Laura finished strongly to come in in eight place.
After a much delayed timetable it was the turn of the male race walkers to take to the track. Alan Boland was the first of the boys and he walked a technically flawless race walking 5.59 and earning him a 5th place finish in the under 15 boys 1000 meter walk.
The boys Under 17, 18 and 19 Boys 1500 meter walks were all set off together in the final even of the day. Aaron Egan and Anthony Tobin were competing in the under 17 event while Evan returning from injury was in the under 19 Walk. The race quickly became a Clonmel training session with the three Clonmel boys taking up the front three places leaving all others in their wake. Aaron and Evan exchanged 1st and 2nd for the first 1km with Anthony marking their progress from 3rd. Aaron took up the lead with 500m to go urged on by his team mate Evan. Aaron went on to win the Under 17 event in a fine time of 6.26 with Anthony Tobin finishing second to him in a time of 6.52.
Evan Lynch won the under 19 boys event in a time of 6.37 and completed a remarkable record of a clean sweep in all Indoor race walking events having won the All Ireland Race Walk every year since he was under 14. A nice memoir as he leaves the Juvenile ranks.
Orla Winston was in action on Sunday in the under 12 Long Jump and like a good wine kept the best till last. Orla is excelling at the Long jump of late and was jumping down the field until the last leap when she jumped a fantastic 4 meters to end a nail biting competition and clench 3rd place and a Bronze medal by 1cm.