The All-Ireland Juvenile Track & Field Championships take place over two weekends, and last weekend saw some great performances from the best of the current Laois crop of young athletes.
Qualification to these All-Ireland Championships is through the regional championships, so all these athletes have already won medals at the Leinster Juvenile Championships in June.
There was good representation from most Laois clubs and some fine performances, both medal-winning and just outside the medals.
The first medal of the day saw John Ikpotoken (St Michaels AC) finish 3rd in the U-14 80m, running 10.22. John will be looking forward to next weekend – when he runs his specialist event, the 200m
His sisters Naomi and Helen also qualified for their sprint finals.
In the throws, Eadoin Coady (St Abbans AC) finished 2nd in the Girls U-16 Hammer, with a great throw of 37.73m to claim silver.
Her clubmate Sarah Graham finished 2nd in the U-17 Discus, with a throw of 30.20m and also scooped a medal.
The best successes of the weekend went to our Long Jumpers and sprinters.
Ruby Millett (St Abbans AC) who is just home from The European U18 Championships in Hungary, was feeling the fatigue and a little below par, but still finished in 2nd place with a jump of 5.79m
Eoin Keenan (Emo Rath AC) capped off a great long jumping season, by taking the All-Ireland U-19 title, with a new personal best jump of 6.23m.
He needed every centimetre of that jump, the lead changed a number of times, and the second place was just 1 centimetre behind, in 6.22m.
Investment in the new Long Jump Pit and the Rubber Tiles for the run-up is certainly paying dividends in Emo.
Eoin won 3 gold medals over the weekend adding the U-19 Triple Jump and the U-19 High Jump too.
Meanwhile, Eoin sister Gillian also took home gold in the U-19 sprint hurdles.
Emo-Rath’s Aoife and Elaine Daly competed in the U-19 100m with Elaine taking the bronze and Aoife only 0.03 seconds behind in 4th.
Aoife also competed in the U-19 Triple Jump coming 2nd.
Matthew Buggy (Oughaval AC) was unlucky not to qualify from the heats of the U-15 Hurdles. His club-mate Canice Whearty did qualify for the U-17 Hurdles Final, where he finished 5th – and the top 4 were all faster than the previous Championship Record Time for this event, so that was a fast race.
John Hughes (Rosenallis Kilcavan AC) also finished 5th in the U16 Hurdles. Gillian Keenan (EmoRath AC) finished strongly in the Girls U-19 Hurdles, and was just outside the medals.
In the 800m, Ronan Hyland (Rosenallis Kilcavan AC) improved his time by a huge margin – running 2:03 and finishing 5th in the U16 Boys – that magical 2 minute barrier will be broken by Ronan very soon.
Cathal Connaughton (Oughaval AC) is already a consistent sub-2 800m runner, and reduced his Personal Best time once again, running 1:56.83, and finishing an agonising 4th. Cara Maher (St Abbans AC) finished 5th in the Girls U18 event.
The championships conclude next weekend, and all in Laois Athletics are hoping for similar successes.