Aoife strikes Gold at National Championships!

April 09, 2024

On last Saturday 6th April in Athlone at the Athletics Ireland National Juvenile Indoor Championships star race walker Aoife Martin won Gold in the U17 1500m Walk. In a highly competitive race, Aoife showed her class by powering away from her competitors and crossed the line 15 seconds ahead of the 2nd placed athlete. Wonderful scenes at the finish with Aoife embracing family and teammates. All the hard work paying off. Congratulations Aoife and coach Martin Hurley.

In the U16 1500m Walk, Robyn Maher and Anna Mullins put in excellent performances to finish 6th and 7th place respectively. Comfortably amongst the top ten athletes in the country.

Ruaidhri Boyle flew into action in the morning session in the U19 400m, his 2nd place finish in the heat 2 qualified him for the afternoon final. In a really gutsy display, Ruaidhri blasted through the first lap to give himself every chance. Unfortunately, lactate kicked in with metres to go and Ruaidhri was caught. A fast time of 50.97s and a 5th place finish in the end gave plenty of positives to take away.

Our sole competitor at Nationals on Sunday was Caoimhe Gray Walsh who ran in the U17 800m heats. In a very competitive event unfortunately a good finishing time of 2:35:83 was not enough for a place in the final for Caoimhe. However, Caoimhe gained hugely valuable racing experience and for an athlete who’s making great strides there will be plenty more National Championships appearances.

Also taking place over the weekend were the Inter-Varsity Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the Mary Peters track in Belfast. Conditions were difficult with strong winds, but it didn’t detract from some great performances. Orla Coffey representing UCC won an impressive silver medal in the 400m hurdles. Orla ran a conservative semi-final to finish in 3 rd place to qualify for the final. Conserving energy clearly paid off as she ran one of her fastest times ever to finish in a time of 64:49 despite the challenging conditions. Orla also won gold as part of the 4 x 400m mixed relay team who ran an impressive 3:44:48 to finish best of 10 competing teams. Congratulations Orla!

Locally, the big race of the weekend was the Sonia O’Sullivan Cobh 10-miler. The race which had 828 finishers was sold out weeks in advance for the first time. Tadhg Crowley had a brilliant 19th place finish in a time of 1:00:12. Tadhg was targeting sub-60 minutes and paced exceptionally but was just outside his target by 12 seconds, nevertheless an excellent achievement on the hilly course given the added difficulty of running into a headwind for the last 2 miles. Good running also by Darragh O’Keeffe who finished in 61st place overall in a time of 1:07:13. Congratulations to Helen Roche on her 3 rd place category finish in a well- paced 1:24:25. Well done to all three runners who run superbly on a tough course.

Other News: Colm Crowley was one of the brave competitors taking on the Quest Adventure race in Glendalough on Saturday 6th . Undeterred by high winds, Colm completed the challenging course with 1900m of elevation in 3hrs 54mins (results pending). As day 1 of the East Cork Track & Field Championships in Clonmel next weekend comes in to focus, some of our younger athletes put in good performances at the Ballincollig Junior Parkrun on Sunday. Great running by Allie Phillips, Mary-Kate Dawson, Emma Johnson & Lily O’Keeffe.

In Summary, a week of good results but sad news was to follow. It is with a heavy heart that this week we report our esteemed Club President Noreen Murphy has passed away after a long battle with illness. We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Murphy family and Noreen’s wide circle of friends.

Noreen Murphy was a founding member of Carraig Na BhFear Athletic Club having taken up the position of secretary as part of the inaugural club committee back in 1980. A driving force ever since, Noreen fulfilled many roles within the club including Chairperson for many years and latterly Club President. Noreen’s involvement in Athletics in Cork for 40 years culminated in a particularly proud moment in January 2004 when she was elected the first female Chairperson of Cork Athletics County Board.

Noreen brought her can-do attitude to all aspects of club activity and was central to the club hosting the National Juvenile Cross Country Championships in 1991, the Junior and Senior Inter-County Cross Country Championships in 1999 and the National Intermediate and Masters’ Championships in 2006.

For decades Noreen stood on the fields of Colaiste an Chroi Naofa in all types of weather coaching club athletes, fostering a passion for the sport and guiding young girls and boys to success. Noreen proudly oversaw many huge triumphs for the club including County, Provincial and National Cross-Country successes, US scholarships for her own daughter Michelle, Valerie Lynch and Patricia Dorgan, and in recent years a flurry of Track and Field achievements.

Some of Noreen’s last outings with the club included a visit to the Mardyke in Spring 2023, when she attended the inaugural Noreen Murphy Challenge Cup between Carraig Na BhFear AC and Cork City AC, and last summer Noreen was on hand to witness a new generation of young athletes being introduced to the sport through the club’s Athletics Ireland Summer Camp.

A life lived to the fullest, Noreen’s significant legacy will continue to inspire us all.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.

Featured Image: Aoife Martin with her gold medal, taken by Jo Martin.

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