The Bridge House in Tullamore was the venue for the 2019 Athletics Leinster Star Awards at the weekend. These awards apply primarily to Track and Field Athletics.
Now in its 29th year, the awards honour the achievements of the top male and female juvenile athletes in each Leinster county, and also the top adult athlete, along with a number of special merit awards.
The awards are based on their performances at Leinster indoor and outdoor track and field championships.
Four Laois athletes took home awards while a club stalwart also received an Outstanding Achievement award.
Teenagers Cathal Connaughton (Oughvale AC) and Helen Ikpotoken (St Michael’s AC) were joined on the stage by the St Abban’s trio of Barry Pender, Nicole Keogh Dowling and Pat Whelan.
Helen Ikpotoken, who won the female juvenile award, is a sprinter and won Leinster medals in 100m, 200m and 250m hurdles. She is a junior cert student in Colaiste Iosagain Portarlington.
Cathal Connaughton, who won the male juvenile award, is a middle distance runner, and is consistently running under 2 minutes now for the half-mile. He won medals at both 800m and 1500m in 2018. Cathal is a Leaving Cert student in Ardscoil na Trionoide, Athy
The Senior award was won by Nicole Keogh Dowling. Nicole specialises in the throws events – Shot Putt and Discus – and has been a key member of the All-Ireland winning St Abban’s Ladies Team in the National T&F League over the past 2 seasons. She is a nursing student in DCU.
The Leinster Jumps award was won by Barry Pender St Abban’s AC. Barry has been one of Irelands top High Jumpers over the past number of years with a personal best of 2.26m.
The Outstanding Service Award went to Pat Whelan St Abbans AC. A club stalwart, Pat has been at the centre of all the minor and major club activities over the past 40 plus years – purchasing the field, building the clubhouse, publishing the 50th anniversary book, parish sports, table quizzes, organising the annual 4-County-League for more years than he cares to remember.
Five very deserving recipients – well done all.