Ni Mhurchu Wins 3rd Consecutive Shot Title at Irish Schools

The Nestle All Ireland schools track and field championships were held in the magnificent Tullamore Harriers stadium today, drawing athletes from all four corners of the country.  Weather conditions proved to be bearable, although more suitable to the middle distance events.  Competition at the schools event is always razor keen, with wins extremely hard to come by.  Last year Derval O’Rourke had an impressive double in the senior 100m and hurdles.  This year Sharon Kelly of Mount Mercy came agonisingly close to following in her footsteps.  In spite of knocking a hurdle close to the finish she had sufficient in reserve to keep going and win the 100m hurdles event impressively.  In the 200m she had to settle for second place, just 0.37 of a second behind winner Joanne Cuddihy from Kilkenny.  This was a superb performance considering that Cuddihy has long been touted as one of the leading athletes in the country.  All in all a great performance from Kelly whose confidence should grow considerably as a result.  There was a big win double in the 400m hurdles for Cork athletes, prompting the belief that hurdles is now the most popular event for Cork athletes.  Sinead Falvey from St. Als Carrigtwohill was impressive in winning the senior girls race by a big margin, with Niamh Cremin from Ursuline just edged out of second place in a very tight finish. James McCarthy from Midleton CBS put in a battling performance in the intermediate boys race to record a big win.  Over the past few years he has competed over a wide variety of distances, ranging from sprint relays to steeplechase and cross country.  Obviously very talented, it’s possible he will now concentrate his energies on the hurdles. The inter girls 300m hurdles saw Nicole O’Regan from Christ King run a great race, but had to settle for second in a photo finish, with Niamh Walsh of St. Mary’s Midleton the same distance back in third.  O’Regan also placed third in the 300m flat.  And Bryan McCarthy from Youghal CBS was a close third in the senior hurdles.  Deirdre Ni Mhurchu of Colaiste an Phiarsaigh (bottom right) recorded her third win in three years in the intermediate shot, winning the event with half a metre to spare, after leading the event throughout.  She was also second in the discus just  about a metre behind the winner.  Her brother Brian was again under 50 seconds in the senior 400m, taking second to add to the family silver.  Aisling Maunsell (top right) of Colaiste Choilm Ballincollig put in a gutsy performance to take silver in the senior 400m.  Colaiste an Spiorad Naomh had three athletes in action at the meet.  Darren O’Donovan felt handicapped with a lane eight draw in the senior 200m, settling for a good second, and also took bronze in the 100m.  And at intermediate level John O’Sullivan was just pipped in a close finish to the intermediate 100m, while Conor Sheehy won silver in the inter triple jump.  Fionnuala Lombard of Mount Mercy won the silver medal in the senior shot, and also won bronze in the discus.  Robert Wade of North Mon changed his tactics in the senior 5,000m, electing to take up the running from a long way out.  However, Sean Connolly from Belvedere sat on his shoulder and looked good as he sprinted the final lap to win.  James Grufferty from Bruce College battled hard on the last lap to get up for the bronze.  Shane Lehane of Hamilton high in Bandon ran a great race in the inter 3,000m.  Engaged throughout in a head-to-head for the silver medal, he was just pipped on the line and had to settle for third.  There was a blanket finish to the inter boys 800m, with James Ledingham from St. Augustines just failing to catch the winner, and Tadgh O’Callaghan from Colaiste Chriost Ri a fraction back in third. Other notable performances included Orlaith McSweeney of St Als Carrigtwohill third in the inter 200m; Donna Hosford of St. Vincents second in the junior long jump; Susanne O’Donovan of St Angelas third in the junior 80m hurdles; Ann Marie Cronin of Colaiste Choilm second in the junior hammer, with Ann McCarthy of Pres Mitchelstown third.  And to round off a great day’s competition St. Als Carrigtwohill put in a great performance to win the senior relay. (Results).