Jer O’Donoghue in Record Breaking Form

There was some excellent competition at the Munster junior and senior indoor track and field championships at Nenagh yesterday.  For the first time the championships were open to athletes for outside the province and the visitors added to the occasion.
After a successful outdoor season it was back to business for Jer O’Donoghue as he lined up in heat two of the 60m.  He easily qualified with his time of 6.85 a new PB for him.  Later he was even more impressive in the final which he won in 6.79, a time that betters the stadium record and puts him within striking distance of the Irish record of 6.73 held by Nenagh’s Gary Ryan.  Jer was followed home by Kevin Cogley of Menapians and Gordon Kennedy of Tullamore.  Leevale’s Darren O’Donovan also qualified for the final, back in action after a lengthy injury break.
In spite of his standing as one of the country’s top sprinters Jer receives no funding from the Irish Sports Council, an organisation that needs to drastically reappraise it’s athlete funding policies.
Ailis McSweeney had little difficulty completing a winning 60m/200m double finishing well clear in both races.
The junior and senior 1,500m races were held together with Ciaran O’Lionaird lining up for his first indoor race.  Liam Reale from Limerick set the pace and after a couple of laps there was just himself and Ciaran in contention. They ran together for most of the race before Liam upped the pace on the last lap and looked to have the race sewn up.  Ciaran had other ideas though and gave chase, a chase that brought him right back to the leader, but the finish line came too soon and he had to settle for second, 0.03 of a second behind.
John Shine was another having his first race indoors.  Running in the junior 800m he took the lead from the gun and successfully held off all challenges to win from Brian Markham from Ennis.

The junior sprints brought more success as Derek Duff overcame a strong field to win the 60m, and Greg O’Leary proved strongest of all as he won the 200m.
In the field events Kathleen Fitzgerald was overtaken in the last round and had to settle for second in the junior shot, while Niall Walsh was third in the long jump.  Amy Clarke was third in the junior 60m and Mera O’Connor third in the 60m hurdles.