As the chains all hung around us start to fall away at last (to coin a phrase from the Waterboys), we are able to witness more events appearing, although there are still restrictions on having spectators at these events.
Last week would in fact have presented a good, if not surreptitious, opportunity to follow our athletes on the track in Tallaght stadium for the first graded meet of 2021 as it’s a stadium pretty much set up for social distancing viewing. However, we are still not there yet and, despite it being something feasible, it would not have been officially condoned and, as a consequence, there were really only the competitors there to see some great action on the night.
Several Crusaders had signed up for the evening which involved a series of 100m and 1500m races, as well as a field event, which for Wednesday evening was the hammer, featuring, as it happens, two of our female members in a significant field of 18. A few of our members were unable to start, but still we had a good turnout across the board with some excellent outcomes.
In the women’s grade C2 100m sprint, Tess O’Loughlin scored a clear victory ahead of her 5 competitors in a time of 13.28. The 2nd and 3rd placed times were 13.74 and 13.77. The club also dominated the men’s grade B1 100m. In a field of 5 runners, we took all the podium places. Valentinos Goularas took the win in 11.70, followed by Charlie Bastow in 2nd in 11.82 and Max Doyle, 3rd in 11.90, well clear of 4th place.
Then, we had athletes in 6 of the various grades of 1500m. The women’s grade B race involved a field of 10 runners, 3 of them from our club. Newcomer Kate O’Malley found herself leading the race early on, much to her surprise, but eventually had to settle for 6th place in a time of 5:01.90, somewhat behind the time she recorded in Belfast recently, but decent enough and a good learning experience. Kate was followed by Fiona Shine who ran 5:11.30 and Rachael Yorke, just rebuilding after injury, who ran 5:34.30, for 8th and 10th places, respectively. Isabelle Cairns placed 7th in the 9-strong field of the women’s C1 event. The winner came home in 4:53.50 and Isabelle’s time was 5:33.70. The women’s grade D1 race was a truly exciting affair, with only a small field of 6 runners, but involving 3 Crusaders. Typically, Tanja Narancic set off hard from the gun and put herself firmly in 2nd place for much of the race, narrowly failing to overhaul the winner from Donore. Tanja ran 5:41.90 to the winner’s 5:41.30, so close! Miriam Logan had a steadier start but ratcheted up her pace to finish closely behind in 5:47.30 and 4th place, followed not so far back by Emer Kenny, who placed 6th in a strong finish with the 5th placed runner and with a time of 5:51.50. It is likely that each of our athletes recorded a PB from their efforts.
The men’s grade A1 1500m involved 9 athletes and was dominated by two training partners from Rathfarnham, Mitchell Byrne and David Scanlon, who recorded times of 3:56.80 and 3:57.30. Finn Boyle had a good outing, finishing with a time of 4:11.90 for 7th place. Then, in the B1, young Matthew Ryan ran 4:47.97 to finish in 9th place, whilst in the D1 event, Brendan Glynn ran 5:38.30 for 7th and Gian Piero Allerta, 5:43.47 (a PB) for 9th. Finally, on the track, Henry Griffin distinguished himself with a 3rd place finish in the D2 race, where he ran an excellent 4:45.35. In the same race, Paul Kelly placed 10th running 7:22.17.
As mentioned above, the women’s hammer event had a substantial field of 18. The winner threw 36.30m and our two athletes, Karen and Phillipa Conway, placed, respectively, 7th and 12th with throws of 32.46m and 23.75m. Results for the evening can be found here: https://graded.dublinathletics.com/results.php
The next event on Irish soil to feature our athletes was the AAI Games, held over two days this weekend in the Morton Stadium in Santry. We had quite a number of athletes taking part, several of them participating in multiple events over the two days. One such athlete was Rhianna McCarthy who placed 2nd in the women’s 200m heat 2 in a field of 6 and a time of 24.94 (the winning time was 24.77). Rhianna also ran in both series of the women’s 100m. In heat 3 of series 1 she ran 12.29 (the winning time was 12.03) to place 3rd out of 6. Then, in heat 1 of series 2, she placed 7th in 12.03 (the winner recording 11.39). Similarly, Matt Behan, Charlie Bastow and Conall Gallagher featured in several races.
Matt’s weekend was one of mixed fortunes. On the first day he placed 2nd in series 1 of the 110mH closely behind his older rival, Gerard O’Donnell. O’Donnell ran 14.24 and Matt, 14.29. In the second series, he placed 2nd again in a time 14.30, with O’Donnell improving to 14.10. In the same race, Valentinos Goularas placed 3rd in 15.10. However, on Sunday, Matt, unfortunately, pulled up halfway down the back straight of the men's 400mH with what looked like a pulled hamstring, whilst possibly leading the race at the time.
In the men’s 200m heat 5, Conall took 2nd place in 22.95 (the winning time being 22.53), with Charlie in 5th in a time of 23.06. On the Sunday, both ran again against each other in series 1 heat 4 of the men’s 100m. This time, Charlie placed 2nd in 11.46, behind the winner who recorded 11.11, with Conall finishing in 3rd place in almost a dead heat with his clubmate. The actual times were 11.46453 and 11.46458! Conall then ran in series 2 heat 3 of the same distance, placing 8th in 11.43 (the winner finishing in 11.06). Peter Murphy ran in heat 7 of the men’s 200m, taking 3rd place in 23.70 (behind the winning time of 23.10).
We enjoyed two significant wins over the weekend. On Saturday, Mary Horgan not only marginally improved on her 800m PB by running 2:08.08, but she did so with a win in an exciting sprint finish with Rathfarnham’s Carla Sweeney (2:08.18) and ahead of 10 other competitors. On Sunday, in the men’s long jump, Adam McMullen showed that he is almost back to top form and claiming some revenge over the reigning national champion from Bandon, Shane Howard. Adam won the event with his 3rd jump of 7.68m, ahead of Leevale’s Sam Healy (7.60m) and Howard’s 7.49m.
Fearghal O’Hare had a super outing in heat 1 of the men’s 800m, placing 7th in a tight race and in a field of 10 in a PB time of 1:53.12 (the winning time was 1:48.83), whilst Finn Boyle also had a good outing in heat 3, where he placed 2nd in 2:00.14 (the winner recording 1:59.43) in a field of the same size.
One of the last events of the weekend was the men’s 400m. In heat 2 with a field of 8, James Woods ran a highly respectable 51.33 for 7th place, behind the winning time of 49.16, whilst, in heat 4, Max Doyle placed 6th in a decent time of 53.70, behind the winner’s time of 51.26.
Lastly, Killian Barry took 4th and Morgan Brennan, 7th, in the men’s 7.26kg hammer. The winner threw 64.50m, whilst Killian threw 52.83m and Morgan, 34.11m. Results can be found here: http://results.athleticsireland.ie/results_23082020/menu.html
Next week, we hope to report on the first race of the season organised by IMRA which takes place on Little Sugar Loaf (a gentle re-introduction perhaps!) and a week later, some of our members have managed to register in the Kilcock 5k road race. Hopefully, there will be other events appearing too. In the meantime, many congratulations to all who have graced Tallaght and Morton stadiums this past week and we wish Matt a speedy recovery.