Tipperary sprinter Sharlene Mawdsley spearheads a cast of young stars who will be in action at the GloHealth Munster Schools Track and Field Championships in the Waterford Regional Sports Centre today.
The marathon programme, which features 121 events, gets underway at 10am with the race walks and hammer throws, and will conclude at 5:40pm with the senior boys’ relay.
Mawdsley has been in sparkling form of late and is expected to dominate the senior girls’ sprints.
The 17-year- old set a personal best of 23.62 for 200m at the Tón Le Gaoithe meeting in Waterford last weekend, and won the senior girls’ 100m and 200m in convincing style at the North Munster Schools Championships.
At intermediate level, Limerick sprinter Ciara Neville looks set to continue her success. The Castletroy College student shone last year, clocking 11.64 to win the intermediate girls’ 100m at the Irish Schools Championships – the fastest time ever run by a girl in any age category at the event.
Neville opened her outdoor campaign with a sprint double at the North Munster Schools earlier this month, and the runner-up there, Lauren Ryan of Crescent College, should provide the biggest challenge to her today. Later in the day, Neville will anchor national champions Castletroy College in the 4x100m relay.
Joe Gibson of Bandon Grammar School looks the strongest candidate in the senior boys’ 100m, having already dipped below the 11-second barrier this month, running 10.99 at the Leevale meeting a fortnight ago.
One major name missing from today’s event is Kevin Mulcaire of St. Flannan’s, Ennis, who has been granted a bye to the Irish Schools Championships on June 4 . Mulcaire, who is the schools 5000m champion, competes over 10,000m in Highgate, London tonight, where he targets Frank Greally’s national junior record of 30:17.
Rhona Pierce of St. Angela’s will start as favourite for the senior girls’ 3000m after a commanding win at the South Munster Schools earlier this month.
Munster schools cross country champion Fiona Everard (MICC, Dunmanway) should provide the strongest challenge.
Miriam Daly of Scoil Mhuire, Carrick-On- Suir will be one to watch in the intermediate girls’ category. The 15-year- old broke two records at the East Munster Schools, running 44.39 for the 300m hurdles and 11.36 in the 80m hurdles. She will also play a crucial role for Scoil Mhuire in the intermediate girls’ relay, having helped them to a record of 50.99 at the East Munster Schools.
In the field events, Vicki Cusack of Davis College, Mallow should prove tough to beat at intermediate level, having won both the shot put and javelin with clear margins at the South Munster Schools.
Ciara Kennelly of St. Brigid’s, Killarney is another to watch, having set a South Munster high jump record of 1.65m in recent weeks. At minor level, Megan Carr will attempt an unusual double in the 800m and long jump; the Loreto, Fermoy student won both at the South Munster Schools Championships.
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