Stars in our midst
Wexford quartet feted at awards night
A RECEPTION to honour the recipients of Leinster Athletics Star Awards for 2018 took place at the Bridge Hotel, Tullamore, on Saturday.
For the second year in a row, the award for best Juvenile female athlete in Co. Wexford went to Maeve Hayes of St. Paul’s A.C. Maeve is a fourth year student at Loreto Wexford.
At the Leinster Indoors, Maeve won the Under-17 long jump (5.03m) and high jump (1.63m P.B.), and placed fourth in 60m hurdles.
She won a bronze in the high jump at the national indoors. At the Leinster schools she placed second in the high jump despite going into the event with an ankle injury. She went on to finish eighth in the event at the All-Irelands.
At the Leinster outdoor championships, she won the long jump (5.00m) and placed second in the high jump (1.53m), progressing to the nationals where she won gold in the high jump, her first national title, and silver in the long jump.
At the Leinster schools indoor combined events in September, Maeve took the silver in Intermediate girls with 2,899 points. The following month at the All-Irelands, she placed fourth with 3,103 points. At that event she had the joint best result in the high jump (1.59m).
In November she won her first Irish vest when she was selected on the team for the schools international pentathlon meet in Glasgow. She won a silver medal with the Intermediate girls’ team.
The award for best Juvenile male athlete in Co. Wexford went to Jack Forde of St. Killian’s A.C. Jack, a combined events specialist, is a fourth year student at Wexford C.B.S.
Jack started 2018 on a high note, taking gold Under-16 at the Irish Life Health indoor combined events championships.
He won two Under-16 golds at the Leinster indoors - high jump (1.80m P.B.) and shot putt (12.68m).
At the national indoors he placed second in the shot putt and fifth in the hurdles.
At the Athletics Ireland combined events championships he embodied all the qualities of a champion as he repeated his gold medal-winning performance of the previous year to take the Under-16 title with P.B’s in high jump (1.83m) and long jump (5.75m). His overall points total was 3,914.
Jack won five Under-16 medals at the Juvenile Wexford track and field championships: gold in the high jump (1.60m), triple jump (12.05m), shot putt (10.98m) and long jump (5.64m), and silver in the 200m.
Competing at the All-Ireland schools track and field in June at Intermediate level, he placed fourth in the high jump (1.88m) and eighth in the triple jump (11.96m).
Jack was everyone’s athlete of the meet at the Leinster Juvenile championships where, competing Under-16, he won the shot putt with a P.B. of 13.41m, set a new championship best performance
Wexford winners Jack Forde, Clare Doyle, Maeve Hayes and Peter O’Connor.
(C.B.P.) of 12.42m to win the triple jump, and cleared 1.86m, another C.B.P., to win the high jump. Any time you come away from an event with three golds and two C.B.P’s is a good day!
The same month he won a bronze medal at the prestigious Tailteann Games at the Morton Stadium, Santry.
On then to the All-Irelands where Jack won the high jump (1.85m) and was runner-up in both the shot putt (12.52m) and triple jump (12.26m).
Jack started the month of August with a second place finish in the Under-16 high jump at the Celtic International Games in Glasgow.
The following month he placed second in Inter boys at the Leinster schools indoor combined events with a points total of 2,890. At his final event of the year, the All-Ireland schools combined events, he placed sixth in Inter boys.
In a year when the multi-eventers starred, Peter O’Connor of Enniscorthy A.C. was the recipient of the award for best Senior athlete in Wexford.
Peter was second in both the 60m hurdles and high jump at the Leinster indoor championships. He was also a member of the Enniscorthy team which won the 4 x 400m and placed third in the 4 x 200m.
At the Leinster outdoor track and field championships, Peter was third in the discus and second in both the shot and javelin.
He made the podium for combined events at the outdoor and indoor Irish universities championships, finishing second in the former and third in the latter.
At the Wexford championships last summer, he made the podium in both the high jump and the long jump.
The last of the four awards returning to Wexford was one for lifetime service, and it went to Clare Doyle of Bree A.C.
Clare has been active in athletics administration and coaching since the early 1980s. She first became involved with Bree A.C. as Juvenile coach and club P.R.O., going on to become Secretary in 2006.
Her involvement at county level began in 1999 when she took over from John Godkin as Wexford B.L.O.E. Secretary under Chairman Jim McGee.
In 2000, the year the A.A.I. was formed, Clare was Assistant Co. Secretary with responsibility for Juvenile events. The following year, she was elected Co. Secretary and remained in that position until 2011.
During those years, the position of Co. Secretary involved looking after the admin side as well as organising both Senior and Juvenile championship events. She also took on the role of Co. Registrar in 2004.
From 1999 to 2011, Clare attended Leinster meetings as a county delegate as well as attending National Congress on many occasions. She was elected Leinster Registrar in 2004, and became Recording Secretary in 2008.
She retired from this position in 2010 when she was elected Leinster Indoor Secretary. As a Leinster committee member, she worked at championship events, mostly as time recorder and photo finish judge.
Clare is still very much involved with her club, serving as both Secretary and P.R.O. She is also a Juvenile coach.
Fixtures: January 12, A.A.I. National Indoor League round one, Abbotstown, Dublin; January 13, Leinster cross-country (Inter, Masters and Juvenile relays), Gowran, Co. Kilkenny. ‘I MIGHT possibly be in the best shape of my life.’
Those were the words of Menapians A.C. athlete Leon Reid having qualified for the men’s 200m final at last April’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.
He then went on to win a bronze medal, Northern Ireland’s first Commonwealth Games athletics medal since 1990.
Leon, who won European medals for Britain at Junior and Under-23 level, made a decision a couple of years ago to switch his allegiance from the U.K. to Ireland.
He then endured a frustratingly long wait for a satisfactory outcome to his application to the I.A.A.F.
His case was not helped by the Federation introducing a total freeze on inter-country transfers. Shortly after it announced that transfers would recommence under new rules, word finally came through that Leon’s transfer was officially approved.
He was on the next plane to Berlin for the European championships where, for the first time, he would be wearing a green singlet.
Leon was ultimately disappointed with his Berlin experience as he could only manage a seventh place finish in the 200m final, despite clocking 20.37, just outside his Irish record of 20.27 which he ran when placing third at the 2018 British championships.
This result did not stop ‘ The Irish Times’ announcing that he represented ‘ the future of Irish men’s sprinting’.
He clearly showed, earlier in the year, that he is top dog in Irish men’s sprinting.
At the A.A.I. indoor games he did the 60m double, winning the series one race in 6.81s and the series two race in 6.79s.
He also placed second in the 400m in a time if 48.48s. He also had double success nationally at both the indoor and the outdoor championships.
Leon is delighted to be a committed member of Team Ireland and says he is totally focused on the world track and field championships in Tokyo.
Athlete of the month Aisling Kelly of Taghmon – All-Ireland Under-16 100m champion and silver medal winner in 200m – with Seamus Darcy of Mr Oil (sponsor) and Paddy Morgan (AthleticsWexford Chairman). Aisling is an outstanding prospect.
International sprinter David McDonald with coach Shane McCormack.
Leon Reid of Menapians.