Leevale are National League Champions!
What a day for the club as both the men’s and women’s teams participated in the Premier National League Finals last Sunday in Tullamore. The competition sees 8 teams compete over 21 events with the best 17 events to score based on a scoring system of 9,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.
Both teams travelled with high hopes and in the finish the men managed to pip Clonliffe to secure the title for the first time since 2014 and stop Clonliffe from winning 8 in a row, while the women had to settle for 2nd to a very strong DSD team – but they are young and will have even better days over the coming years.
The day got off to a flying start. First up in the field for the women was Maeve Fleming in the high jump, with a jump of 1.65m. Maeve finished first and secured the first 9 points of the day, all the hard work with Denis and the high jump group paying big dividends.
On to the track and the sprint hurdles – the years of coaching under John Naughton proved fruitful with James earning maximum points for the men in the 110m and Okwu finishing 3rd to two seasoned seniors for 6 points.
Men’s field events next saw Paidraig O’Callaghan in the hammer, Josh Fitzgerald in the pole vault and Reece Ademola in the long jump. Padraig had a great throw of 41.33m to finish 2nd, Josh showed his consistency with 4.20m for the win and Reece needed just the one jump of 7.59m for his win.
Back to the track and the 1500m walk for women – Grainne O’Sullivan stepped up for the team and finished a very creditable 4th for a valuable 5 points.
Back to the field and the women’s hammer – Kate Naughton stepped up for the team and threw 28.01m in her last throw to secure 3rd and another valuable 6 points.
It was now mid-day and after 5 events the women were in 4th, 26 points behind DSD on 34, Clonliffe on 31 and Raheny on 27 – while the men were lying 2nd on 34 points to Clonliffe on 35.
Attention moved back to the track and the long hurdles with another 2 of our juniors going head to head with the seniors. First up Ella Scott for the women; a gutsy performance saw her pipped for 2nd with a time of 1:05.96 and another 6 points, while Sean Carmody managed to hold off Ratoath for a 2nd place finish in 58.42 for 7 points for the men.
The field events continued with Gabby Bowen managing a new PB of 5.47m for the win in the long jump, while in the outfield Michael Healy finished 2nd to national senior champion Eoin Sheridan in the discus with a throw of 47.41m.
Next up was men’s team captain Ryan Duggan in the shot. A fine putt of 13.58m saw Ryan finish 2nd for another 7 points.
Relays were next up – first the women with a very young squad of Okwu Backari, Sophie Mulcahy, Emily Wall & Fatima Amusa. The baton work with Alan Mahony really paid dividends, the girls running a new club record of 47.60 to take maximum points. The men’s team of Conor Morey, Colin Doyle, Scott Gibson and James Ezeonu again showed some signs of the baton work that was done (but there is more to come) while setting a new National Club record of 40.50 for the win.
Back in the field Una Brice did what Una Brice does best and won the pole vault before attention turned to Reece to show what he could do at the high jump: a new PB of 2.10m and maximum points.
Half way through the programme at this stage with 10 events completed for the women and 11 for the men. At this stage the men had taken a lead over Clonliffe with 73 points to 65 while the women had climbed up to 2nd with DSD on 61, Leevale on 61 and Clonliffe on 55.
The 1500m events were next up on the track – a great run from Carol Finn (who had travelled back up to Tullamore after her win at the Masters the previous day) to finish 4th with 4:48.49 for another 5 points. Ben Smith was up next for the men and another good run saw him finish 3rd with a time of 4:06.91.
On to the 400m races and the women’s club captain (and World Masters champion) Annette Quaid was first up – a run of 59.09 was good enough for a 5th place finish and 4 points. Scott Gibson volunteered to step up to the 400m for his first run over the distance this year and ran a very creditable 50.53 from lane 8 to finish 3rd.
In the outfield Kate Naughton was back for her preferred discipline of discus and a 3rd place finish with a throw of 27.81m.
Back on the track and another of our masters athletes, Michelle Kenny, toed the line for the 3000m. A great run saw Michelle finish 2nd with a time of 10:17.44, while in the field for the men we had Alex Neff doing the triple jump (not his preferred event) and Michael Healy in the weight for distance. Alex was unlucky to finish 8th with a jump of 10.60m and Michael dominated the WfD with a massive throw of 8.91m for the win.
Attention turned to the steeplechases (where we did not have representatives) and then we went on to the 200m. Fatima Amusa was first up and was pipped for 2nd to finish 3rd in a time of 25.23m. Colin Doyle was next up for the men (running with Marcus Lawlor outside him) and ran a great race for a new PB of 21.03 and maximum points.
Back again in the field for the women and Katie Kingston stepping up to the senior ranks for the javelin – a great throw of 35.65m saw her finish 3rd.
Annette Quaid was back on the track for the women’s 800m and finished 2nd in a great race and a time of 2:16.44. We did not have a competitor in the men’s 800m.
At that interesting time of the day now with 17 events completed for both men and women. The men had slipped to 2nd with 105 to Clonliffe’s 108 while the women remained in 2nd with 100 to DSD’s 110 but Clonliffe on 96 and Raheny on 87 were starting to close.
Ben Smith was back on the track for the 5k – another solid performance in a time of 16:03.97 for 4th and 5 points, while in the field for the women it was the weight for distance where we had no competitor.
After 18 events – men 2nd on 110 Clonliffe, 1st on 115; women 2nd on 100, DSD on 110 & Clonliffe on 96.
100m races were next up – Conor Morey ran a storming race to win in 10.76 while Fatima was up again for the women and finished 4th in 12.31
After 19 events – Men 1st on 119 Clonliffe 2nd on 118; Women 2nd on 105, DSD on 120 & Clonliffe on 102
Final field events and Gabby was back for the triple jump for the women, a 4th place finish with a jump of 10.10m while for the men it was Andrew Scanlon with the javelin, a big PB of 50.71m was good enough for 2nd and another 7 points.
After 20 events – men 1st on 126 Clonliffe 2nd on 123; women 2nd on 110, DSD on 124 & Clonliffe on 103
So we arrived at the final events of the day, the 4x400m relays. The women were first up with Ella Scott leading them out passing on to Sophie Mulcahy, Emily Wall & then lead home by Annette Quaid – a 4th place finish was enough for 5 points, while the men’s team of Colin Doyle, James Ezeonu, Scott Gibson and Sean Carr finished 2nd to a good Ratoath team for 7 points.
The calculators were out and when all was said and done the men were declared winners with 131 points to Clonliffe’s 123 and Ratoath pipped Nenagh for 3rd with 100.
DSD were declared winners of the women’s on 125 but Leevale with 110 managed to hold off Clonliffe (108) for silver.
A great day for the club and all involved – thanks to all the athletes, coaches, parents and supporters for making it a day for us all to remember.