The following appeared in the print edition of the Evening Echo, Thursday 19 April 2012.
By John Walshe

The huge undertaking of spreading their annual track and field meeting over two days proved to be a resounding success for the Leevale club with a large turnout of juvenile athletes yesterday adding to what was an exciting day of senior and junior action on Saturday.

Some fine early season sprinting plus a number of exciting finishes were the highlights of Saturday’s programme at the CIT.

The big upset of the day came in the women’s 1500m where European Junior silver-medallist Ciara Mageean had to settle for second behind Orla Drumm of UCC. This was a disappointing field with just Drumm and Mageean facing the starter as Leevale man Chris Harrington acted as their pacemaker.

Drumm, the Irish indoor title holder at 1500m, was clearly in better shape as she comfortably sat on 20-year-old Mageean’s shoulder through a fast opening lap of 63 seconds before kicking with 150 metres to go. She won in a time of 4:18.4 with a clearly disappointed Mageean having to settle for 4:21.61, well outside her fastest of 4:07.45.

While her husband Robert Heffernan was claiming fourth position in the men’s 20km walk in Portugal, Marian Andrews got her summer campaign off to a good start with a double in the 200m and 400m.

“That blew away the cobwebs, we’ve just returned from 10 days warm weather training and I’m now hoping to get a race in Spain next month so I’ll see how that goes,” said the Togher athlete.

Dean Cronin from Blarney-Inniscarra set a very fast pace in the 800m when going through the first lap in 52 seconds, but in the windy conditions understandably slowed the second time around but was still happy with his time of 1:52.52.

The conditions, along with a slow opening lap, ruled out any fast time in the men’s mile which Mark Hanrahan of the promoting club won in 4:11.45, well clear of John Travers who recorded 4:19.35. “It was very slow early on, but I felt comfortable enough. I was a but unsure of how Travers would do so I’m happy to win,” said Hanrahan.

David Hynes (Menapians) had a fine sprint double and finishing second in both races was Marcus Lawler from Carlow, son of former Irish champion Patricia Almond. He set a new Irish Youth’s record of 21.56 for the 200 metres while his 10.75 in the 100 metres was just two hundreds of a second outside the Irish best.

The most exciting race of the day came in the men’s 400m hurdles where Thomas Barr, Tim Crowe and Paul Byrne were neck-and-neck down the home straight before Barr of Ferrybank won by a hundred of a second from Crowe.

In the field events, host club Leevale were victorious in both long jumps through David Quilligan and Jessica Sheehan while the evergreen Pat Moore – who won the first of his six national javelin titles back in 1972 – took that event with a throw of 40.52.

Article courtesy of John Walshe