LAOIS TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
LAOIS TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS – DAY 1
Day 1 of the County Track & Field programme was postponed from the original date of 8th May due to severe rain, however the participants and supporters for this re-scheduled event on Sunday afternoon were greeted by a much drier and a more pleasant St Abban’s Sports Complex in Crettyard. Both spirits and competition were high, as Day 1 action got underway at 2pm. Laois Athletics has implemented some changes to the Track & Field programme this year, and this first day was aimed at older juveniles and senior athletes. It also featured the inaugural presentation of the Michelle Oxley Cup, which was awarded to the club receiving the highest overall points on the evening. Michelle, who sadly passed away in January of this year, was a prominent member of Mountmellick AC and a committee member of Laois Athletics. She is sadly missed, and we are grateful to Mountmellick AC for providing this trophy. The Paddy Fitzgerald Shield was another new club based award in honour of Paddy who passed away in 2010 and was a long time supporter of athletics and other sports in Laois.
The track events kicked off with the sprints and finished with the 1 mile race for junior and senior athletes. Meanwhile the field events began with the Long Jump and High Jump, and the discus took place in the infield. This specialist, and not often seen event attracted those adept at casting the lenticular shaped disc ranging in weight from 2kg for men, to 1kg for women and youths. The track events saw some excellent performances, including Helen Ikpotokin from St Michaels took a gold medal in both the 80m and the 200m. Fellow club mate Darragh Bannon took the gold in the Senior Men’s 100m and also the Senior Men’s Long Jump. Oughaval’s Adam Coss took home two gold medals also, in the Boys U19 100m and the U18 400m. Senior athlete Philomena Dempsey from Mountmellick had a terrific afternoon, and took home three gold medals by winning the 400m, the Long Jump and the Discus. St Abban’s athlete Tom Buggy also took home two golds by winning the U15 100m, and the U15 High Jump. Emo-Rath’s Jack Fortune had a good afternoon too when he took the gold medal in the U17 100m and U18 Long Jump. Ballyroan, Abbeyleix and District’s Cian McDonald had a very impressive win in the Boys U17 1500m, and Cathal Grennan from Rosenallis -Kilcavan ran well to take the Junior Men’s Mile title, with Portlaoise’s Noel Marum taking the Senior Men’s Mile race.
The discus saw a wonderful father-daughter double for David Keenan (Ballyfin) and Gillian Keenan (Emo-Rath), both bringing home county gold medals in this event. Gillian also trebled up with a gold in the Girls U16 long jump, and the Girls U17 100m, so a great afternoon for the Keenans!
The Paddy Fitzgerald Shield was up for grabs to the club attaining the highest number of overall points in the long jump. Paddy was a long time supporter of athletics in Laois, and as a decent long jumper in his time it was decided to promote this event by honouring his name. In the end, the shield went to Mountmellick AC, who had a decent number of good athletes competing in this event.
Finally the Michelle Oxley Cup was awarded to Oughaval AC who ran and jumped their way to success, and were fitting recipients of this award. Noel Coss, chairman of Mountmellick, presented the trophy and gave a lovely speech in honour of Michelle, remembering the wonderful person she was, and acknowledging her tireless work and dedication to juvenile athletics.
Thanks to St Abban’s AC for hosting Day 1 of our track and field championships, which ran smoothly and finished off in good time. All who attended had an enjoyable afternoon of athletics. The full results from Day 1 will be posted this week on our facebook page (www.facebook.com/LaoisAthletics) and on our webpage (www.laoisathletics.ie). We all look forward to Day 2 which will be a paired event for athletes aged U9 to U12 and is due to take place on Saturday 30th May in Portlaoise. See you there!