Clonmel Athletic club had no fewer than 11 of its athletes participating in the All Ireland Schools Finals in Tullamore on Saturday last. Chloe Lynch representing Gaelcholaiste Cheitinn was first up in the Junior girls 2km walk and walked a consistent race in a very competitive field, finishing 7th in a time of 6.22. Orlaith Moynihan representing Loreto, Clonmel battled hard in the Intermediate girls 3000 meter and finished strongly to come home in 6th place in a time of 10.49.
Phoebe Murphy representing Loreto, Clonmel was moving up an age and although running in the Intermediate girls 100 meter she will be eligible to run in the same category next year. Phoebe with her noted determination was not at all fazed by the field and finished a very close fourth in a time of 12.49. Phoebe has ran faster than this just the previous Saturday in the Leinster Juniors where she ran a fantastic 12.30 and at present is the only Irish girl with a European Youth Olympic time qualification standard so fingers crossed this gutsy lady will be selected.
Alyx O Dwyer representing Loreto, Clonmel walked with distinction in the Intermediate 2km Walk and will have learned a lot from her 7th place finish in a fine time of 12.21. Laura Tobin representing Loreto, Clonmel was in great form in the Senior Girls 3000 meters and finished strongly in a time of 11.29 in 7th place. Megan O’Brien representing Loreto, Clonmel is finding her form again and will be delighted with a 6th place in the senior girls 800 meters where she finished in a time of 2.32. Earlier in the day she ran well when finishing 4th in the 400m hurdles. Michaela Crosbie representing Colaiste Dun Iascaigh, Cahir was unlucky not to medal in the Senior girls 3km walk when finishing in fourth place in a personal best of 18.35.
Aaron Egan and Anthony Tobin both representing the High School, Clonmel competed in the Intermediate boys 2km walk. The pair now used to the big occasion had decided well in advance of the event that positions 1 and 2 were not going to be taken from them. Aaron set about his task from the gun and took control from the front. Aaron was being pushed all the way by Nathan Murphy with Anthony watching every move. Aaron never panicked and burnt off his challenger who then set about spoiling Anthony’s party. Anthony showed great restraint despite bursts of speed by the challenger. Aaron kept in control not letting the great battle behind him sway his thinking and finished in first place in a time on 9.00 and Anthony completed the plan when finishing in second place and bringing home gold and silver to Clonmel with this duo sure to be picked on the Intermediate Irish Schools team later on in the year.
Evan Lynch representing Gaelcholasite Chluain Meala competed in the Senior boys 3km walk and was bitterly disappointed after he and the race leader fell foul of some overzealous judging and were both disqualified in the last 200 meters. Michael Carey representing High School, Clonmel competed in the Senior Boys 2000 meter Steeplechase and he was keen for a big performance as he was competing in his last Schools Championship and what a performance. Michael battled hard against the formidable Kyle Larkin. As the pair matched each other stride for stride around the 5 laps the only difference appeared to be the barrier clearance method which saw Karl get the slight edge which he needed in the last 100 meters as Michael beared down on him with each stride. The final straight was just not long enough for Michael with the finishing line coming too soon and saving Karl. This performance was a huge one for Michael who knocked 7 seconds of his personal best to finish in a time of 5.58 and take the silver medal.
The man of the meeting was undoubtedly Sean Tobin who gave an exhibition of middle distance running and bowed out of Schools Athletics with his name securely etched on the record books. Sean representing High School,Clonmel was in flying form and was eager to display his dominance in Irish Middle distance running. Sean competed in the Senior boys 800 meters and fought tigerishly at the break to take the lead shadowed all the way by Cillian Kirwan who was eager to stay in touch. After a blistering first lap nobody could have thought it possible that the pace was maintainable but that’s everybody but Sean. Sean’s strength on the back straight destroyed the dreams of all his challengers and he powered down the home straight in a magnificent time of 1.50.65 breaking the existing record set back in 1982 by Sean O’Neill from Ballymena. Sean Tobin wasn’t around then and it is unlikely that the man who will break this fantastic time is around yet either. Sean’s performance brought the stand to its feet as they applauded brilliance in the making. This 800 meter time is also a B Standard for the European Juniors that will be held in Italy later on in the year adding to Sean’s two B standards he has done for the 1500mts. Sean was not content and could be seen straight away after the race jogging to relieve his legs of the Lactic build up as he had other things on his mind. It was now 14.10hrs and Sean was already looking forward to the Senior boys 1500 meters set to take place at 5pm. Sean was ready and willing when the gun went and controlled the race from the onset. Sean had challengers to his dominance throughout which he quickly dismissed with his relentless pace. Sean’s dominance was obvious as he stretched his lead the further the race went allowing him to jog the last hundred meters waving to the crowd as he bowed out of Schools athletics.
Sean becomes the first schoolboy to complete the Senior Boys 800m and 1500m double since Niall Bruton back in 1989. “ I didn’t know that” said Sean who was equally delighted to break the 800m record with a 1.50.65 clocking. “I was so focussed on trying to get the first lap right that I ran tight.” Sean has been an inspiration to many athletes and taking home the gold in the 800 and 1500 is just reward fitting and appropriate to man of his stature.