Heywood athletics is well and truly on the rise, shown in part by each of the 11 students qualifying for the Leinster Schools championships.
After qualifying from the South Leinster championships in Carlow two weeks ago, the 11 runners made the trip up to Santry Demesne, Dublin, for the Leinster competition.
Three of these students – Faye Mc Evoy, Jack Mc Mahon and Ireland’s Fittest Family finalist Cian McDonald – made it through to the All-Ireland Schools National Championships in Clongowes College, Kildare, on Saturday, March 9.
Jack finished 11th in the Junior boys 2500m race while Cian, finished 14th in the Senior boys 6000m race.
Faye topped the bunch – finishing fourth in the Junior girls 2000m race.
All three are athletes in their local athletics club – Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District AC.
Well done also to the Junior girls team; Faye, Abby Lalor, Eleanor, Caoimhe Moore, Anna Keane and Amy Bergin who collected their plaque today after winning the South Leinsters.
These girls have shown great improvements over the cross country season, if they keep up the hard training who knows what the future will hold for them.
Niamh McDonald and Sarah Delaney also both well in the competitive Intermediate girls race.
Meanwhile Davin Mc Evoy, who ran a strong race in the Intermediate boys 4500m race, finished up as the first Laois athlete across the line.
Serious dedication was shown by Shane Bowe – who also ran in the Senior boys 6km race with Cian – despite being in the middle of their Leaving Cert Mocks!
It was a great achievement for all get to these championships, as the Leinster province is notoriously competitive.
Of course, it is a help to have two of Ireland’s second fittest family overlooking things. Breda McDonald, who is a teacher in Heywood CS, was joined in training the young athletes by her father Martin.
The McDonald family reached the final of All-Ireland’s Fittest family last year, narrowly losing to the Coney family from Tyrone in the dying seconds of the final race.