Michaela Walsh star turn as records tumble

Michaela Walsh

An early deluge didn’t prevent some outstanding performances at the Irish Life Health All Ireland Schools Track and Field Championships in Tullamore on Saturday.

There was a flood of new championship records with Mayo thrower Michaela Walsh (SM&P Swinford) the standout performer.

The Swinford student smashed her own Irish junior record when throwing 62:79m in the senior girls hammer, moving her to second on the European rankings this year. She came back to win the shot put with another Irish junior record of 15:48m.

Ciara Neville (Castletroy College) also won on the double, taking the senior girls 100m in a record 11.52 and anchoring her school to victory in the 4x100m relay in a record 48.02. Her performances also helped Castletroy to the senior girls team title.

Newport’s Sharlene Mawdsley also produced eye-catching performances, winning the senior girls 200m in 24:02 and then returning to smash the record in the 400m, clocking 53.99. Aaron Sexton of Bangor Grammar powered his way to a sprint double in the intermediate boys, setting records over both 100m in 10.77 and 200m in 21.43.

The sprinters were in sparkling form — Mark Smyth (St Fintan’s HS) won the senior 100m and 200m double with Rhasidat Adeleke (Pres Terenure) completing the same double in the junior girls.

Early in the day, Sommer Lecky (Strabane Academy) broke the long-standing senior girls high jump record with 1.81m, eclipsing the 1985 mark by Ursula Fay. 

Joseph McEvoy (St Anne’s CC) was another to almost reach new heights. The high jumper cleared 2 metres to win gold in the intermediate boys.

The Ryan family made history with five siblings competing on the same day, winning a total of eight medals. 

Anna Ryan (Ursuline Thurles) won the junior girls pole vault with a record of 2.92m beating Orla Coffey (St Angela’s Cork) on countback. Eldest Daniel (CBS Thurles) won the senior 110m hurdles and finished second in the shot put.

David won double silver in the intermediate boys long jump and in the 4x100 relay for CBS Thurles, helping the school to the intermediate boys team title. His brother Jack also played a key role, winning the intermediate shot put. Youngest Dillon was fourth in the junior boys pole vault.

In the middle distance races, Munster athletes were in top form. Darragh McElhinney (Colaiste Phobal Bantrai) won the intermediate boys’ 1500m, blitzing the field by five seconds to win in 4:10.22.

Johnny Giles’ grandson, Craig Giles (Portmarnock), got up for second having finished in the same position in the 800m earlier in the day.

Charlie O’Donovan (Coláiste Chriost Rí) showed guts and guile to win the senior boys 1500m in 4:04.53. Ailbhe Murhpy (St Flannan’s Ennis) showed great range in winning the junior girls 800m in 2:18.00 and winning silver in the 200m.

The Under 16 Boys Mile was arguably the race of the day with Aaron Cullen (Portmarnock CS) edging Tommy Connolly (CBS Cork) in 4:31.49 to 4:31.53.


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