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Juvenile Nationals Report July 8/9th

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

Another weekend of competition experience, PBs and a National bronze to boot at the highest level of club competition in the country.

It was a very windy and cloudy morning in Tullamore as activities kicked off with field events and hurdles on the track at the National juvenile track and field championships on Saturday.

MSB’s track competitors started early with Emily Ryan and Cara Gorman in the U13 hurdles. While conditions were overcast and blustery all the hurdlers competitors were thankful to have the wind at their back along the straight. For a second weekend of competition in a row, the girls hit the track with gusto and displayed excellent form in their heats. While they didn’t make it through to the finals, both girls ran a PB and showed immense progress in both technique and pace. Well done girls and congratulations also to specialist hurdles coach Cyril Coquart who has been supporting the girls and their year group coaches with their hurdles training.

Field side Mia Brett and Neala McPartland competed in the U15 discus for the first time at nationals. With fierce competition from very accomplished Ulster athletes our girls performed very well for a new event with only a few weeks of training. Neala threw two PBs with her best throw reaching 19.78m. Two PBs in a new competition with great experience banked.

Mia had two very strong throws but unfortunately they were both fouls with her toe slightly tipping over the line in her first, and the disc going a little wide on her second. She played her last throw a little too safe and reached 21.04 which is below her PB. Neither of the girls made it to the final round but both gained invaluable experience and displayed huge potential for next year. It was brilliant to have throwing specialist coach Shane Russell on hand to advise the girls between throws and to have the support of daughter Katie and Ryan McDevitt on the side lines.

Ryan McDevitt also had his own U14 throwing event in Shot Put. Ryan had a great morning and while he didn’t make the final round he threw his 2.72kg shot put out to 7.31m which is a new PB! Well done Ryan.

Staying with throws, Katie Russell was up next in the girls U18 javelin. Katie was throwing the 500g javelin and had a spectacular second throw of 28.49m. While subsequent throws didn’t reach quite as far, Katie can be delighted with a really solid overall 5th place against some ferocious competition.

Katie was back out later in the afternoon for the U18 girls discus where she threw the 1kg discus out to 22.17m. Unfortunately it wasn’t her day and quite a bit below her PB and capabilities but it was more competition experience gained and plenty to build on for next year. Well done Katie.

A special thanks to coach Shane for all his fantastic coaching over the summer as he has helped prepare all age groups for leagues , Dublin and National competitions. MSB are extremely lucky to have a coach with Shane’s specialist throwing and technical knowledge. He is certainly cultivating a brilliant team of passionate throwers across all age groups, from our youngest juveniles, throwing turbo javelin right up to our masters athletes who throw the heaviest 600g javelin and 2kg discus. Our juvenile coaches, including Gavin Howlin, have also learned a lot from Shane and have been able to use that knowledge to develop our youngest athletes. Thank you Shane 👍

Next it was track side where we had no less than six MSB athletes ranging from U15 to U19 competing in the 800m.

First up we had our U15 boys. Cillian Flood, fresh from the Gaeltacht, joined training pal Matthew Keane in the first heat of the boys 800m. With much improved weather conditions both boys ran an incredible race in the sunshine.

While neither made the final, both boys ran super personal bests with Cillian clocking a fantastic 2.14.10s and Matthew not far behind with a brilliant 2.19.21. Well done lads – progress is the food of champions!

Leia Ryan followed in another spectacular race for the U16 girls. It was a straight final with Emily Bolton taking an early lead and holding it all the way to the line. Leia stayed with the top group all the way and came home in a fantastic 6th place and a new PB of 2.21.43s. Well done Leia, another performance underlying the progress you have made this year.

Adam Kelly was up next for the U16 boys in a hot and furiously paced race. Adam stuck with the pace and finished with a brilliant time of 2.10.96, which is just marginally below his PB set at the Dublin leagues this year. Well done to Adam consolidating the progress he has made this summer.

Well done also to coaches Sean Kildunne and Dolores Kelly who train Cillian, Matthew, Leia and Adam.

Leah O’Dwyer was up next for the u17 girls 800m which was another fast paced race. Leah stuck with it all the way and came home in a terrific time of 2.32.76. Well done Leah and coach Mark Mohan.

Finally with the performance of the day we had Aoife Brown. Fresh from her glorious gold medal at the women’s U23 4 x 400m relay just a week ago, Aoife hit the ground with pace right from the gun. She immediately tucked in to a brilliant 3rd place position ahead of the main pack. She stayed with the pace all the way around into the second lap creating a wider gap between her and the group behind her.

Looking strong, consistent and solid all the way, Aoife came in a brilliant and very comfortable 3rd claiming bronze and our first National medal of the day in a brilliant time of 2.17.42. Well done to Aoife on a fabulous race. Congratulations also to her fantastic coach Charlie Martin who has an excellent track record of training and coaching older juveniles and masters of all ages for middle distance and XC racing.

Sunday saw two MSB relay teams tog out for the 4 x 100m. In the uneven age categories we had Sophia Kazmarack, Chidinma Adakaibe, Leah O’Dwyer and Lauren Atkinson running for the U17 girls. The girls had a super race, kicking off with a strong start from Lauren Atkinson and continued with smooth baton handovers all the way around. The girls were unfortunate to miss out on a place in the final coming 9th overall in a time of 52.65s. Well done girls on a smooth and solid performance.

The afternoon saw weather conditions take a turn for the worst as officials had to deal with heavy rain and thunder storms. Our U16 boys lined out on a wet and slippy track. Adam Kelly, Aran Moffit, Ange Makembe and Daniel Magnus Leocca gave it their all in a straight final and ran a tremendous 47.83 to take brilliant 5th place. Well done boys and coaches Sean and Dolores.

It was a particularly poignant day for both Coach Dolores Kelly and son Adam Kelly who has been training with the club since he was a very young juvenile. Adam togged out for the last time in his MSB vest. Dolores, Adam and their family will be relocating back to Mayo after many many years of coaching and competing for the club.

On behalf of everyone in MSB we’d like to sincerely thank Dolores for her commitment to volunteering and wish Adam, Dolores and their family the very best with their move and their new athletics club. No doubt we will continue to see them on the competition circuit.

That’s a wrap for for the weekend. We return to Tullamore in two weeks for two more days of excitement at the National Juvenile Championships on Saturday 22nd and 23rd July. Once again MSB will have a strong lineout of athletes competing in sprints, hurdles, middle distance and field events.

Report: Ruth Moloney

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