Gold rush as Mills celebrates hat-trick

ATHLETICS action at the weekend centred on the 46th running of the KitKat Tailteann Schools’ Interprovincial Championships in Santry on Saturday and the Woodie’s DIY Junior and U23 Track and Field Championships yesterday in Tullamore.

First off was the KitKat Tailteann Games in Santry with a number of excellent performances from Ireland’s top schools’ athletes. The star athlete of the day was Joanna Mills, Ballyclare High School, who won three gold medals in record breaking performances.

Competing first in the long jump, Mills jumped to gold with 5.87m, surpassing the previous record by 9cm set by Claire Ingerton in 1990.

Mills then turned to the track where she sped to victory over 300m in 39.46 breaking Martina McCarthy’s record set in 1998. The Ballyclare High School Student then made it a hat-trick of gold medals when she led Ulster to victory in the 4 x 300m relay in yet another record-breaking performance of 2:46.95.

The only other record set on the day in inclement weather was by Gabby McNally, Craigavon SHS, who threw the 4kg hammer 48.39 metres.

Claire Fitzgerald, Presentation Tralee, was another to have a good day when she won the shot putt, discus and javelin.

Fitzgerald threw an excellent 38.91m in the discus and followed it with 12.26m in the shot.

In the boys’ events Paul Whelan, Templeogue College, had a good double in the 100m (11.47) and 100m hurdles (14.55).

There were some good finishes in the middle-distance events and Brian Kelly, Knockbeg College, just held off Adam Ingram, Hazelwood Integrated, to win the 800m in 1:58.21. In the field events, Darragh Hanlon, Roscrea, threw the discus a useful 45.21m.

The next event on the schools’ calendar is the SIAB Schools’ International this year being held in Bedford on the 19th July.

A brighter day in Tullamore on Sunday saw more good performances in the Woodie’s DIY National Junior and U23 Track & Field championships.

Ferrybank athletes were to the fore on the women’s side with Niamh Whelan winning junior 100m (11.98) and 200m (24.15), Kalyn Sheehan winning the junior 400m (56.58) and Kelly Proper winning the U23 100m (11.69), 200m (24.38) and long jump (6.26m).

Brian Gregan of Tallaght, who equaled the National Junior 400m Record (46.70) last week, stepped down in distance to win the junior 200m in a swift 21.75. The talented Curtis Woods of Lagan Valley won the junior 400m in 48.98 — slowing before the line in celebration.

There was two close finishes in the junior and U23 800m races. Joe Warne of Doheny just edged Kevin McCloy of Shercock in 1:57.28 to 1:57.35. It was an even tighter affair in the junior race with Anthony Lieghio of Tallaght beating Mark Peterson of North Down by .01 of a second — 1:56.70 to 1:56.71.

There was even less between junior winner Anthony Lieghio from Tallaght and Mark Peterson from North Down in the junior 800m — 1:56.70 — 1:56.71.

Mark McDonald from Clonliffe was third in 1:57.61.


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