RAHENY Shamrock, Clonliffe Harriers and Donore Harriers were all among the medals at the national Under-23 and Junior championships last weekend in Tullamore.
For Raheny, Mark Smyth and Niamh Fogarty got into the groove for the European Under-23 championships both taking national gold medals.
Smyth posted 10.74 to take 100 metre gold some three hundredths of a second clear of Tallaght’s Joseph Ojemumi. Smyth had won his heat in 10.86 seconds.
Fogarty took under-23 discus gold with a best of 51.02 metres, well clear of Fingallians Ann-Marie Torsney whose best was 34.26 metres.
While Michael Farrelly took silver in the 100 metres posting 11 seconds just five hundredths of a second behind Fingallians Reality Osuoha.
Kim O’Hare took silver in the under-23 triple jump with a best of 11.63 metres just 12 centimetres off gold medallist Waterford’s Grace Furlong who jumped 11.75 metres.
Lucy Barret took bronze in the Under-23 1500 metres posting four minutes 52.65, Carla Sweeney of Rathfarnham won out in 4:31.90 with Lauren Tinkler of Clebridge second in 4:51.24.
From Clonliffe, Keith Marks won the Under-23 long jump gold (6.92) while there was gold also for Alannah Cooley in an 800 personal best of 2.20.15. Sean Carrigg won the Under-23 3000m steeplechase in 9.59.53.
For Donore, Jack Raftery and Louis O’Loughlin both played their winning hand in final showdowns.
In the 400 metres junior men’s final, Raftery was languishing back in seventh place at the 200m mark and his chances of a medal seemed remote. Round the top bend, the affable Donore Harriers athlete drove forward in pursuit of the leaders.
Entering the home straight, he played his ace and used his superior strength to put himself back in contention, slicing his way through the field and hit the front with just five metres remaining. A final forward lunge to the line secured the gold medal and a new personal best time of 48.40.
O’Loughlin (1.54.00) had earlier won the most dramatic race of the day when he edged out Mark Milner (1.54.01) of Tullamore Harriers and Daragh McIlhenny (1.54.02) of Bantry AC in a tense, tactical race.
The three pre-race favourites had broken clear of their pursuers at 300 metres and reached the bell in a mod-erate 60 seconds. The race did not reach high-tension until the 600 metres mark when Milner made his move, gaining three metres on O’Loughlin and McIlhenny as they rounded the top bend.
McIlhenny, who recently set new Irish junior records for the 5,000m and the 3,000m, began chasing down Milner in the sprint to the line in what seemed like an ultimate duel between the two. O’Loughlin was two strides back and looked out of contention.
But he wanted to be the king and, holding the inside line, he sprinted to a remarkable win, with just two-hundredths of a second separating the three athletes.