Santry was the venue last weekend, 20th June, where the cream of Irish athletes assembled for the National Junior and Under 23 Championships, with many of these athletes already qualified for the European Championships. It was brilliant to see three talented athletes from the Club performing so well on the National stage, it augurs well for the future.
Saturday saw Evan Fitzgerald compete in his first National Track Championships when he competed in the under 23 5000m. Twelve athletes went to the line and right from the gun the pace was strong and soon the athletes were all in single file. At this stage, the leading group of two were just ahead of the chasing pack led by Evan. Evan kept the strong pace going and with 5 laps to go Evan was in a group of three battling for the bronze medal. Then as the race entered the final mile, the chasing pack began to reel in the leaders. So much so that it was all to run for both the silver and bronze medals over the final 800m with a number of athletes, including Evan, in contention. At this stage Evan was well positioned and he made his move, gradually reeling in the athletes ahead of him. He put in a massive effort over the final 800m (2 mins 14 secs) and on the final lap he produced a brilliant 64 sec lap to finish 3rd in a brilliant time of 14 mins 55.48 secs, a superb performance and a massive Personal best, his previous best was 15 mins 0.35 secs set earlier this year. It is worth noting that Evan is eligible for this event again in 2022.
On Sunday we had Siobhan Whelan competing in the Junior women’s 1500m. Here we witnessed a class act. Right from the start Siobhan moved up the inside lane and after 100m was in control of the race. She gave a masterclass of a tactical front running performance. She ensured that the pace was strong enough that soon saw the field dwindle down to a small group at the front. She maintained that pace and she was able to inject pace whenever it was needed to ensure that she was in command. Then on the final lap she increased the pace ensuring that she was ready for any challengers. The challenges came down the back straight and around the final bend, but she withstood all of them to come home a very worthy Champion in 4 mins 34.79 secs, a superb and mature performance by this talented athlete.
In the under 23 women 1500m race the Club was represented by Ciara O Neill. Ciara was making her debut in these Championships. Right from the start the pace was strong and Ciara was well positioned and at 600m was leading the chasing pack of 5 athletes in 3rd place. The pace was increased over the next lap and at the bell Ciara was lying 7th, just off the chasing pack battling for the bronze medal. Ciara kept it going all the way down the back straight against a strong wind and put in a brilliant effort over the final 200m to move in 5th place and closing on the 4th spot when crossing the line in 4 mins 48.62 secs. This was a brilliant performance by Ciara and she should take great confidence from this performance.