Temperatures soared at the magnificent Tullamore Harriers stadium on Saturday for the Kit Kat All Ireland schools track and field championships. And the athletes responded with performances that left everyone wishing that Ireland could deliver such terrific weather on a more regular basis. Leevale athletes were in excellent form and delivered some worthy performances.
After a nail biting duel with Kalyn Sheehan from Waterford in the Kit Kat Munster schools championships Harriet Cross, representing Bandon GS, was in determined mood on Saturday. In Munster she was slow out of the blocks in the intermediate 300m, but on this occasion she was away fastest of all and had established a good lead entering the home straight. All that remained was for her to keep running, and that she did, crossing the line well clear of her rivals for a superb victory.
She also competed in the long jump. In Munster she won with 1cm to spare over clubmate Imelda Morrison from Colaiste Eoin Youghal. this time round the tables were reversed as Imelda finished second, with Harriet 1cm behind in third. There should be some more great competition between this pair as the season progresses.
Another super long jump performance came from David Quilligan from Patrician Mallow. Competing at intermediate level he found himself in second place going into the final round. After watching his rivals compete, that second place became third before he got on the runway. With all the pressure on him he pulled a big one out of the hat that left him in the lead at just the right time and a well deserved win.
Pawel Hazler from Bishopstown CS won his first All Ireland schools medals with two fine silver medal performances in the senior shot and discus. A lot more can be expected from Pawel who is in Ireland less than a year.
Another athlete to win an All Ireland medal for the first time was Louise McArdle who won silver in the senior 100m who wasn’t that far behind winner Amy Foster. Water on the track after the steeplechase caused her to slip during the 200m, destroying any chance of a medal there.
Derek Duff from Hewitt College picked up two silver medals in the senior 100m and 200m behind Jason Smyth.
Maura Fitzgerald from St. Al’s Carrigtwohill continued in the footsteps of her sister Kathleen who won medals at all levels of schools shot putting. Competing in the intermediate shot she finished a good second.
Another silver medal was won by Claire O’Shea from Scoil Mhuire Kanturk in the intermediate 100m, and she was also a close fourth in the 200m.
Well done to everyone who competed in a marvellous schools competition.