Irish Schools Track and Field Finals -Tullamore Sat 4th June
Following the successful regional and provincial championships, the best young Irish talent will compete at the greatly anticipated AVIVA All Ireland Schools Track & Field Final on Saturday, 4th June 2011 at Tullamore Harriers Stadium. Sponsored by insurance provider, Aviva, this annual event signals an accumulation of months of tough competition for schools’ athletes throughout Ireland, who have progressed through regional and provincial championships representing their schools at the highest level in the domestic school’s calendar. You can keep up with all the action on Saturday by LIKING the recently launched Irish Schools’ Athletics Association Facebook.
Despite adverse weather conditions at provincial level there were some outstanding performances which indicate the level of talent which will be in attendance at this year’s championship. On track exceptional performances can bek expected across the board. Some potential highlights include Siofra Cleirigh Buttner of Colaiste Iosagain, the fastest Irish woman this year over the 800m distance who will contest the Intermediate Girls 800m race. At the AVIVA Leinster schools Siofra’s time of 2:08.70 seconds, sheared four seconds off the 28 year old record and inside the current Championship best performance mark set in 2010 of 2.10.80 held by Amy O’ Donoghue of Villiers Limerick who will contest the Senior Girls race.
In the Senior 400m hurdles the Kiely twins, Megan and Ben are likely to achieve individual honours. Both have reached the qualifying mark for the European Youth Olympics later in the summer over the distance. The girl’s race is likely to provide an interesting display of talent with Commonwealth Games athlete Christine McMahon, Belfast royal Academy, winning convincingly in the AVIVA Ulster Schools. Ben is also set to compete in the Senior 400m, which is likely to be a highly contested race for the title with James Green, Comeragh CC and Joe Dowling, Terenure College fighting for honors. The senior boys 400m has been a traditional breeding ground for the Irish 400m tradition setting the careers of athletes such as David Gillick, Brian Gregan and Gordon Kennedy in their way.
In the short sprints, Marcus Lawlor, CBS Carlow who recently broke the Irish under 18 record over the 200m distance will compete in the Intermediate Boys 100m and 200m. Another exciting prospect is Ciara Giles Doran, Mercy Waterford, who will confront the Intermediate Girls 300m Hurdles before fighting for honor’s with Claire Foley, St. Gerard’s in the 100m. In the Senior Girls the Ulster Schools battle between the Aviva Ulster Schools 100m champion, Chloe Boomer and the Ulster Schools 200m champion, Katie Kirk of Sullivan Upper is likely to provide an interesting 200m race. Zach Irwin, Sligo Grammar School, is a young man to look out for with some outstanding performances in the Junior Boys’ sprints already this year.
Other highly anticipated performances will come in the form of the Intermediate Boys 800m. Donegal’s Karl Griffin, Abbey Vocational School, who won the AVIVA Ulster Schools in a time of 1:54.84, Breaking Davy Wilson’s 1985 record and just outside the Irish Schools Championship best mark set by James Nolan in 1993. In the senior race, Irish International medalist Mark English, St Eunan’s Letterkenny, will be the one to watch. The Senior Boys’ 1500m should be good with the outstanding Shane Quinn, DLS Waterford, in top form although the ever-improving Tommy Casey, Sligo Grammar School should not be discounted.
The field event programme will be set in motion at 9am with the Hammer competitions. The senior Girls hammer will provide a fine display of talent. Cara Kennedy, CTI Waterford was among the record breaking performances at Provincial level, breaking Rachel Akers 2002 record of 50.92 meters with a throw of 53.87 meters, further than the current Irish Schools Championship best also held by Akers. In the same event Gaby McNally threw an AVIVA Ulster Schools record of 51.80 meters and will be in shake up. Highlights in the Boys are likely to include Irish International Marco Pons, Wexford CBS in the Senior Boys Discus, James McCabe, Belvedere College in the Senior Boys Hammer and also Andrew Doyle of Northern Regional College who broke the AVIVA Ulster Schools Senior Boys Hammer record with a throw of 61.11 meters. In the Senior Girls Long Jump the Ballyclare talent Joanna Mills will again be in action. Ania Bednorz, Mercy Sligo, broke the Triple Jump record at the AVIVA Connacht Schools’ and could do likewise on Saturday. Other interesting performance’s are likely to come in the Senior Girls and Boy’s high jump’s in all categories. Irish athletics has seen rejuvenation in the Irish High Jump tradition in recent years with athletes such as Barry Pender Knockbeg College and Kourosh Fourougi Gormanston elevating the bar and driving competition at schools level in recent years.
This Year’s Championship is a landmark in the History of Irish Schools Athletics. This year the Irish Schools Athletic Association has entered into sponsorship with AVIVA for the first time. The Irish Schools Athletic Association would like to share its sincere debt of gratitude to AVIVA on behalf of the Association, parent’s, teacher, coach’s, participants, officials and visitors for their support in contributing to the success the Irish Schools Athletic Programme and in providing a platform for emerging talent to display the remarkable ingenuity and spirit that has been present in Irish School’s athletics traditionally. The championship will be an eagerly awaited one and an event not to be missed.