Sarah O’Shea (Beara Community School) quit athletics at 12 years of age to concentrate on football.
After winning Munster and All-Ireland underage titles with Cork, she returned to her first love and sprang a major shock at the AVIVA Munster Schools championships at the CIT Stadium in Cork on Saturday when she defeated champion Amy O’Donoghue (Villiers) in the senior girls’ 800m.
It was an exciting return for the 17-year-old Beara schoolgirl. She took on the double Munster and All-Ireland champion from the gun and powered her way to the front to inflict a first schools defeat on the Limerick girl in 2:14.56.
O’Donoghue returned a short time later to successfully defend her Munster schools 1,500m title, winning in 4:50.37 from Niamh De Hora (Pobalscoil Chorcha Dhuibhne), 4:59.85.
There was another shock in the senior girls’ 400m hurdles where Jessica Neville (Mount Mercy, Cork) claimed victory in a pb of 62.20 seconds over Gráinne Moynihan (St. Mary’s, Macroom), 62.82, and Ciara Giles-Doran (Mercy, Waterford), 63.60.
The Cork schoolgirl went on to retain her 400m title in another pb of 57.51 ahead of Stephanie Carroll (Laurel Hill), 58.24, and Niamh Markham, 58.67.
Kate Veale (St. Augustine’s Dungarvan), who missed the championships last year due to international commitments, returned to win the senior girls’ 3,000m walk in 12:31.89.
Star hurdler Sarah Lavin (Castletroy College) won the senior girls’ 100m hurdles title in 13.91 secs, breaking the record first set by another Limerick girl, Olive Burke (Laurel Hill) at 14.1 in 1984 and equalled by Nenagh’s Eileen Murphy in 1991.
Sean Tobin (High School Clonmel), just back from illness, had Mark Carroll’s 1990 senior boys’ 1,500m record (3:52.5) as the target but an ice-cold wind and effects of a lay-off took their toll and he was happy to claim his first senior title in 3:54.73.
400m hurdler Ben Kiely (CBS Tramore) won the title in 54.13. He later went on complete a double in the 400m, beating his training partner, James Green (Comeragh College).
Jack Murphy (Christian Brothers Cork) broke Antoin Burke’s 1990 junior boys’ high jump record with 1.76m, completing a notable double after earlier winning the 80m hurdles in 12.45 secs.
Among a number of other records broken, David Cussen (Coláiste An Spioraid Naomh) set an intermediate high jump record at 1.95m, Alice Akers (Scarriff CC) maintained the family’s stranglehold on the hammer with an intermediate record at 46.91 metres, Jessica Coyne (Crescent) set an intermediate steeplechase record at 5:33.2, Jessica Sheehan (Kinsale CS) set a senior triple jump record at 11.33m, and Kayleigh Cronin (St. Brigid’s, Killarney, set an intermediate discus record at 42.64m.
Phil Healy (Coláiste na Toirbhirte Bandon) claimed the senior 100m in 12.09 and the 200m in 25.11, while Greg O’Shea (Crescent Limerick) won the senior 100m in 11.03 and the 200m in 22.14. and Eoin O’Carroll (Mount Mercy Hawk) won the senior long jump with an impressive 6.94m.
Eoghan Courtney (Mercy Mount Hawk)won the intermediate 100m hurdles in 14.35 and completed a double by winning the 400m hurdles in 57.63 while Elaine Courtney (Pres. Killarney) and Iarla Courtney (Mount Hawk) won bronze in the triple jump and hurdles, respectively.
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