Leinster Indoor Championships (Day4)

Leinster Indoor Championships (Day4)
Last Sunday,11th March, saw the rescheduled Leinster Indoor Championships (Day 4) held in AIT Arena, Athlone.  The ‘Beast from the East’ may have pushed these Championships out a week but our team left Co. Meath on Sunday morning knowing that they were going into the white hot heat of competition in the cauldron that is the AIT Arena.
Dunboyne AC had 19 athletes compete on the day in middle distance events, hurdles, Long jump and Shot Put.  The morning session was all about the 600m and 800m heats. Very large entry lists meant qualifying in the u12 and u13 600m was going to be very tough with only 2 automatically qualifying from each heat of at least 12 runners.  Dunboyne AC had 2 runners in the u12 age group, Ciara Flaherty and Dylan Ryan.  Ciara ran very well in her heat finishing 4th in a good time and just missing out on qualification to the final. Ciara can be very proud of her run in her first indoor championships for the club.  There will be many more outings for her as she progresses. Dylan meanwhile ran an intelligent race to make it into his final later in the day after a good run.
We were due to have three u13 girls line up for their 600m heats but unfortunately Elizabeth Comerford damaged her arm on the eve of the race and couldn’t compete but she came down to cheer on her club mates throughout the day.  We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to having this bright prospect back competing very soon.  That left Sophie Brown and Kate Gormley wearing the blue and white in their 600m heats.  Sophie ran a fine race to be 5th in her heat but unfortunately her time was not quick enough to make it to the final.  It was a good run from Sophie and she can be proud of how she battled all the way to the line in a fast heat.  Kate Gormley ran the text book race to easily qualify for her final after a very impressive showing,  finishing 2nd in her heat.  In the boys version Mathieu Kieffer and Ciaran McCormack also had tough qualifications with again only 2 guaranteed to progress.  Ciaran found himself in heat 1 and they didn’t hang around with an extremely fast time, for a heat, ran by the first 3 home.  Ciaran was pipped on the line for the automatic qualifying position but as the other heats were ran it quickly became clear that his time would easily progress him to the final.  Mathieu on the other hand made things a little more straightforward for himself with an impressive run to grab an automatic spot in 2nd place.
With 4 through to the 600m finals it was the 800m runners who had to face their tough qualifying heats.  Aleah Kelly and Sophie Dolan represented us in the u14 800m.  Sophie Dolan who had ran in the All Ireland Schools Cross Country the day previously, sensibly ran well within herself to claim the 3rd and final automatic qualifying place with a mature run.  Aleah did similar with another clever run putting daylight between herself and the 4th place runner and then having the luxury of shutting down in the final straight to ease to the final.  Our 3 girls in the u15 800m event had all ran with distinction in the All Ireland Schools Cross Country the previous day.  Holly Conlon, Kayla Ryan and Aoife McCormack were hoping, like Sophie, that they had enough energy and strength to get them through some tough 800m races.  Holly was up first and she was probably feeling the effects of her exertions in Waterford as she finished outside the qualifying positions and did not progress this time.  Holly has had a great season so far and will continue to progress as she continues her training.  Kayla was up next and in a messy, tactical race where she nearly gave the Dunboyne contingent heart failure by stumbling, she did enough to claim a qualifying place with ease.  Aoife was up next and unfortunately drew the short straw by getting a loaded heat which not surprisingly was also the fastest.  She battled hard to finish 6th missing qualifying my 0.5 sec.  Ross Lyons was up next in the u15 800m and a strong final 400m easily saw Ross progress into the final with minimum fuss.
With the middle distance heats completed we had 2 athletes battling it out in the infield.  Sarah Nyhan was competing in the u15 Shot Put and Aideen Reilly was lining up for her u14 Long Jump.  Sarah competed very well in her shot put competition putting together an impressively consistent set of throws, fouling just once and pulling out her best in the second last round showing her competitive instincts.  That effort was enough for her to finish a fantastic 6th place overall. Well done Sarah.  Aideen lined up in a very big field of jumpers that had to be whittled down to the best 8 after the first 3 jumps.  Aideen’s effort in her first round was enough to see her through to the final 8, she matched the distance again in the 3rd round.  In the final she improved her best in round 4 and then in her final jump she produced her longest effort of the day to seal a fantastic Silver medal. This showed what a great competitor she is so a huge well done Aideen.
Before the middle distance finals we had the 60m hurdles heats and Dunboyne AC were represented by 3 speedsters, all at u15 age group.  Kate Griffin, Rachel Norman (another who had run in Waterford the day previous) and Pablo Mendoza have been perfecting their hurdling technique for some time now.  Kate was up first and she drew a tough heat but she ran really well and her time was easily quick enough to make it through to the final.  Rachel was in the second heat and grabbed an automatic spot in a driving finish after a very good run.  Pablo didn’t have the best of starts in his heat which seemed to impact his hurdling technique but he battled hard all the way to the line but unfortunately did not progress this time.
Eventually the finals came around and Dylan Ryan’s u12 600m final was first.  The pace here was breathtaking and Dylan did his best to live with it.  He battled hard to the line and should be very proud of his day’s work.  Great running Dylan.  Kate Gormley lined up in her u13 600m final and went out in a positive manner from the gun.  The pace again was so quick throughout with hard running from the gun being the tactic of choice.  Kate was up there throughout and finished in a hugely impressive 6th place with a big PB. Kate keeps improving and has had a very successful cross country season behind her, so we look forward to see her progress throughout the track season.  Very well done Kate.
Mathieu Kieffer and Ciaran McCormack went off hard in their u13 600m final and the pace had to be seen to be believed.  They traded places throughout and were both up with the pace and as they ran down the final straight the boys battled for 5th place with Mathieu crossing the line just ahead of Ciaran.  Both boys can be very proud of their runs in a race that saw the Championship record obliterated.  A PB each was just reward for their day’s work.  Well done Mathieu and Ciaran.
Aleah Kelly and Sophie Dolan were to the fore as their u14 800m began.  Both girls held up just behind the leaders as a fierce pace was set.  As things progressed Sophie moved more to the fore and battled hard to hold her position in 3rd place.  Aleah was a couple of places back.  Over the last lap Sophie dug deep and maintained her position to finish in a fantastic 3rd place to get a richly deserved Bronze medal.  Well done Sophie.  Aleah battled all the way to the line to finish 6th.  Well done Aleah.
The next event on the track was the u15 800m final with Kayla Ryan lining up.  As the gun went the pace was frantic and Kayla sensibly settled in just off the pace.  As the race unfolded Kayla made her move towards the medal positions and  she kicked hard as she began the last lap, closing on the leader while cementing her 2nd position.  In the end she finished a fantastic 2nd place earning a richly deserved Silver medal in a race which saw another new Championship record set.
The final middle distance event with a Dunboyne athlete involved was the u15 800m final where Ross Lyons was representing us.  Ross settled in the pack and held his position as the race developed.  As he made his effort, Ross just could not find the strength to close down on the leaders but kept pushing to finish in 7th place on the day.  Ross gave his all and can be proud of his effort.  Well done Ross.
Finally after a long day at the office it was Kate Griffin and Rachel Norman’s time to run their 60m Hurdles final.  Both girls ran extremely well, showed great technique and in a very tight race Kate finished in a fantastic 5th place with Rachel just behind finishing 6th.  Super running from both girls who are inching closer to a podium finish in this very challenging event.  Well done Kate and Rachel.
A big thanks to all the parents and supporters who came to Athlone on Mothers Day to support all the athletes competing.  The standard yet again was incredibly high with records being broken all over the place.  It was very heartening to see so many of our athletes be so competitive and run well,  as well as qualify for so many finals.  Many thanks to Elaine Ryan who was our volunteer official on the day.

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