Tallaght Girls Strike Gold in Athlone


The Tallaght girls U16 4X200m relay team struck gold at the National Juvenile Indoor Championships in Athlone last weekend. After qualifying with ease from their semi final earlier on Saturday morning there was quiet confidence that the title was for the taking. A few hours later Niamh Gibson set off on the first leg and held the lead when handing the baton to Aisling Mc Guinness, despite being passed by two other runners she fought back bravely to within two metres of the leaders before changing over to Lauryn Mc Dermott who quickly passed one of the opposition and half way through her leg she swiftly regained the lead before delivering the baton to the anchor runner Rhasidat Adeleke who quickly put daylight between herself and the pursuing runners  before crossing the line with a fantastic time of 1.45.25, which was over two seconds clear of silver medal winners Finn Valley. The squad included Katelyn O’ Neill Murphy and Sophia Kourrini who were prepared as always to step in case of any mishap
There was further success for the club with Rhasidat again producing the goods on Sunday when she stormed to victory in the 60m in a new National record time of 7.55 to add to the silver medal she won the previous day in the long jump with a good leap of 5.20m.

Jennifer Mc Adams was another who put in a fine performance in the U16 1500m final where for the first five and a half laps of the contest she kept close tabs on her rivals and with a little over two laps remaining Saoirse O’ Brien from Westport A.C. stepped up a gear but Jennifer was quick to react and kept on her rivals  heels, and with no other runner in shooting distance the pair fought a great battle over the final 300m with Jennifer having to settle for the silver medal with a good time of 4.51.35, less than half a second off the winner but over eight seconds clear of the bronze medallist.
Christopher Duffy was another to make the podium and he was more than pleased with his silver medal performance in the U18 400m where he recorded 51.20 while Saoirse Reihill cleared 1.40m to take bronze in the U19 high jump.

Eoghan Keaney just ran out of track when he came with a storming run over the last 150m of his U18 1500m final to finish a very good 4th with a new personal best time of 4.09.94 while both Daniel Soyemi and Michael Ogunsiakan finished 7th in their U18 and U19 60m finals with times of 7.40 and 7.50 respectively and Lauryn Mc Dermott finished 8th in her U16 60m final in 8.12.
Dean Conway qualified from the U19 1500m semi’s but unfortunately had to retire half way through his final with cramp and Fionn Carroll was another who unfortunately had to retire half way through his U19 400m heats with pulled  hamstring. Others who ran well but without making their 60m finals were Jack Kelly U13, Aidan Darcy U17  and Lati Adeleke U19.

There will be plenty to look forward to on the third and final day of these Championships at the same venue next Saturday when a number of young Tallaght athletes have a great chance of making the podium.
In the previous few weeks Tallaght athletes did well in a number of events with Laura Mc Donnell crossing the line in sixth overall and the first woman home in the Balbriggan Half Marathon on Sunday 12th March to take the women’s title with a time of 1.23.49 which was almost 14 minutes clear of her nearest rival and 1.25 quicker than the time recorded for her win in 2015.

Further afield on the same day in Ballycotton, Co Cork, Paddy Lyons was the first of the Tallaght contingent to cross the finish line of the 10 mile road race in 51st of the large field of 2969 finishers with a time of 57.45.  David O’ Brien (1.05.29) was next to finish for the club followed by Andy Lennon (1.08.04), Gerry Woods (1.08.05), Tara Woods (1.08.22), Sharon Tighe (1.10.55), Derek Quinn (1.10.45), Dave Meehan (1.12.50), Pauline Madden (1.14.39), Paul Murphy (1.15.24), Suzanne Carter (1.16.34), Joe Pepper (1.16.42), Kevin Donoghue (1.19.42), Claire O’ Brien (1.24.24), Liz Pepper (1.27.01), Deirdre Pitts (1.33.31), Sarah Kinsella (1.35.57), Regina Moody (1.36.45), Grainne Coogan (1.36.48), Carol Coleman (1.53.00) and Breda Woods (1.53.00).

The previous day at the All Ireland Schools Cross Country Championships in Mallusk Co Antrim, Jennifer Mc Adams representing HFCS Rathcoole finished a very good 13th in the Inter Girls race, and although she missed out by only one place for the Irish team selection for the Celtic International she will be more than happy with the knowledge that she is eligible by age to compete in the same category next year. In the meantime, along with a host of other young talented Tallaght athletes she will be staking her claim for the National U16 Indoor 1500m title in Athlone this weekend.