Carraig na bhFear AC Cruise into National League Finals!

January 16, 2024

Day two of the National League qualifying competition with our senior women in 4 th place overall after round 1. Athlone TUS was the venue for the days’ competition with first series of events kicking off at 11.00hrs. Our first 3 athletes into action were Lily O’Riordan (60m), Katie Walsh (high jump) and Orla Coffey (shot put). Lily stepped into fill the 60-meter sprint in what is a bit of an Achilles heel for us. Without an out & out short sprint specialist Lily secured 12th place and 3 points to get the ball rolling. Katie and Orla who were accomplished multi eventers in their younger years pulled in good results with 6th place in the High Jump (9pts) & 4th place in the Shot Put (11 pts).

Katie Walsh of Carraig na bhFear AC
Katie Walsh in action in the High Jump at the National Indoor League Round 2

Next into the arena was one of our newest members Sarah Morrison who was racing her first ever indoor event in the 1500 meters. A fantastic performance by Sarah for 7th place where she dug deep in the middle laps and finished so strong in the final two laps to post a PB of 5:01. Lucy lynch, defying her tender years by getting into the blocks in the 400-meter races against some seasoned senior competitors secured a terrific 5th place overall. An indoor PB and a valuable 10 team points for Lucy’s second year of eligibility to race senior. The last field event of the day was our long jumper Caoimhe Geoghegan making her first appearance in competition of the year. Caoimhe got a good solid series of jumps in for 7th place and another valuable 8 points keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

Our last individual track athlete of the day was another youngster in under-17 Aoife Martin in the 1500-meter race walk. Never shy in putting herself forward Aoife took on the race from the gun leading a group of three away from the rest of the field. A brave move that set her up for our performance of the day where Aoife was a fantastic 2nd place overall to Dundrum South Dublin’s Ciara Wilson Bowen who has just returned from a two-week training camp in Portugal. An impressive first ever senior start for Aoife and just rewards for a winter of solid dedicated training.

Aoife Martin of Carraig na bhFear AC
Aoife Martin competing in the 1500m walk at the National Indoor League Round 2

With that great return from Aoife, we were solidly in 4th place and had the luxury of running our 4 X 200 team in the Under-23 relay competition giving them a blow out before the national championships next weekend. A fantastic opportunity to blow off the cobwebs for Orla Coffey, Emma Akinkuolie, Isobel O’Meara and Lily O’Riordan who tagged on another 5 team points to keep us in 4th position over the two days qualifying.

We set the girls a target of staying in contention to secure one of the 8 places in the national final ahead of the days’ competition. Overall, the hope was to provide top-level competition to keep our athletes focused through the winter. We are more than excited about making the final. Another national final appearance and blooding more of our young squad exceeds all prior expectations. Top marks to athletes & coaches who again performed as a team much higher than the sum of their parts. The National League Finals in Athlone on the 3rd of February will now keep everyone focused and busy planning in the weeks ahead.

On Saturday in Athlone TUS also, the National Indoor Masters track and field championships took place and we had one athlete in attendance. Our club strength coach Sonya Walsh had stepped up to become our specialist weight for distance thrower when we qualified for the indoor league final this time last year. Despite being a complete novice to Throwing disciplines, Sonya took to the challenge with a gusto and with no shortage of application she’s had 12 months of competition where she’s racked up 3 National medals. She completed the set with a bronze medal last Saturday in what is becoming an extremely competitive event with 7 women in her category. She now has an indoor & outdoor Masters medal and a Senior medal with the victorious East Cork National League team in 2023 making her one of our top performers over the last 12 months. A great return from a lady who this time last year was in crutches following serious knee surgery, now enjoying a sporting renaissance in her 51st year.

Other News: The City parkruns made a welcome return this week having fallen foul of icy conditions last week. MJ Walsh was first JM 11-14 and 19 th overall with a solid run of 22:05. Cliona Hurley ran a parkrun pb of 24:55, just missing out on first place in her category by one second, great running!

IMRA: Sunday saw the running of IMRA's second race of the year. Perfect weather conditions at Corrin Hill in North Cork, a cool, sunny morning and 180+ runners lined up over the short course (5km) and long course (9.2km) races. Carraig had 5 members in action. Siobhan and Cathal Walsh took on the short course and came away with two excellent performances. Cathal with a smashing run finishing 5th overall and 3rd in his M14 category. Siobhan finished 2nd female and 1st place in category (F40), topping off a couple of excellent weeks racing. The short course provides a brilliant introduction to trail running for younger athletes and beginners. With 25 runners taking on the short course on Sunday, an increase on numbers for previous events, it is a sign of the growing interest in trail and mountain running. Rachael O'Callaghan, David O'Riordan and Tadhg Crowley lined up for the long course race. Some changes to the route this year led to plenty of challenges for runners, but the consensus was it was a hugely enjoyable course. Very steep downhill and uphill sections saw the majority of competitors mix walking and crawling with running! Tadhg (11th) first of the Carraig crew to finish with David (51st) and Rachael (126th) both coming in 6th place in their respective categories. Well done everyone! Next up on the IMRA calendar is a trip to Glengarra Woods in Tipperary on Sunday 21st January.

Look Ahead: The National Junior and U23 Indoor Championships take place on Saturday 20th January in TUS Athlone, best of luck to our travelling contingent. Please note that our annual AGM will take place in the Arches Bar Carraig na bhFear on Sunday February 18th at 7pm, all adult members are welcome to attend.

Written by Willie Walsh.

Featured Image: The Carraig na bhFear AC women's team who qualified fo the National Indoor League Final.

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