Great Day for Leevale at Mazda National Track & Field League, First Leg

The first leg of the Mazda national track and field league was held in glorious conditions in Limerick today.  Cork’s leading club, Leevale had a most successful day in the Premier division, with full representation for the first time in a long number of years in both mens and womens teams.  For Leevale sprints coach John Sheehan (right) the results simply enhanced his position as probably the best sprints coach in Ireland.  Most of the team are under his guidance and everyone was more than willing to do whatever was asked of them throughout the day.  Leevale has always been prominent in the sprints, with Finbarr O’Brien setting the trend with a very successful squad back in the seventies/eighties.   John Sheehan joined as his assistant, and, since Finbarr ‘retired’ has been the number one man in Leevale.  Incidentally, John is also responsible for coaching a number of sprinters from other clubs.  Both mens and womens teams are very young, with a few ‘older’ more experienced athletes thrown in.  There are surely more than a few who will make a name for themselves in the next few years. Carmel Parnell has always been a tremendous supporter of Leevale teams, and yesterday she displayed great courage and club spirit in the 3,000m.  She set off at a respectable pace, but really got down to work in the last couple of laps to overtake the leaders and record a marvellous win.  The mens 4x400m team was certainly not expected to win, but surprised everyone with their performance.  Sean Casey set off on the first leg, handing the baton to Brian Murphy who brought Leevale into second place.  Then it was Darren O’Donovan, running his first ever 400m – he’s better known as a sprinter.  He set off like a train, with everyone expecting him to run out of steam by halfway.  He didn’t!  He kept going and clocked 50.5 for his first effort!!  Brian McCarthy anchored and he ran on very strongly to seal the victory for Leevale.  Jessica Zebo had a great win in the 100m hurdles, as did Ailis McSweeny in the 100m.  Sinead Falvey won the 400m hurdles, Tracey Gosnell won the long jump and took second in the triple jump, Fionnuala Lombard was second in the shot, Deirdre Ni Mhurchu did likewise in the discus, and the girls won the 4x100m and 4x400m.  A great day for all of them.  Donal McCarthy had a good win in the 100m, and was second in the 200m.  Paul Carroll held on to take second in the 800m, while Brian Keane looked like he was in pain taking second in the 5,000m.  The evergreen Damian Collins worked well to be second in the steeple, while the 4x100m team also had a good win.  These are just a handful of the Leevale performances, with many more great efforts by the other members of the team.  Well done to everyone for a great team effort.  It’s going to be another great day for the second leg on 16th July!
 John Sheehan 
Carmel Parnell