Wednesday July 10 saw the second running of an open track and field competition by Moyne Athletic Club and in much the same vein as last year’s “70th Anniversary Games” the 2019 edition launched as the “Summer Games” proved to be a tremendous success and was a hit with athletes and spectators alike.
Club athletes, Tipperary athletes and athletes from Dublin, Kildare, Down, Kerry, Cork, London, Limerick, Galway and Clare made it a truly remarkable night of athletics. Whilst the records for the two main events, ladies 800mts and mens mile were not broken, there was three other meet records set while some individual athletes set new pb’s for their own events. What more could be expected from a “meet” that is still in its infancy, though by the reaction of the athletes themselves, this is one event that is getting the “thumbs up” and don’t be surprised to see several more seasoned track and field athletes participating next year.
With over 60 athletes participating, from juvenile to master, there was some great competition on show for the spectators who really got behind the athletes and drove them on, particularly down the home straight. From the moment the games began to the last race everything went according to plan so hats off to everyone involved.
Our two feature races, the Ladies 800mts and Men’s Mile, and though neither produced a sub 2.05 800mts and sub 4-minute mile, we were treated to two tremendous efforts from all the athletes involved. In the Ladies 800mts Annette Quaid, Leevale, Iseult O’Donnell, Raheny Shamrocks, Sarah Lanigan, Dooneen and local athletes Louise Fogarty and Lorraine Healy faced the starter. As soon as the gun went the athletes powered around the first bend and it soon became a three-horse race over that first lap with Annette, Iseult and Sarah pushing the pace along with Louise and Lorraine battling hard to stay in touch.
Heading out on the final lap Iseult had the upper-hand on the inside lane with Annette on her shoulder and they continued to battle hard down the back straight. Iseult proved to be the stronger athlete on the night and a great effort over the final 150mts saw her cross the line in a time of 2.13.23. Annette finished strongly for second in 2.15.85 with Sarah third in 2.18.99. Lorraine won the battle of the local athletes as she crossed the line fourth in 2.28.87 with Louise fifth in 2.31.37. We also had five entrants in the Men’s Mile in Rory Chesser, Ennis Track, Kevin Kelly, St. Cocoa’s, Joe Warner, Dublin Track Club, Kevin O’Brien, East Cork and Shane Healy, Metro St. Brigids with Donal Devane, Ennis Track and local athlete Jack Hickey commandeered to do a spot of pace making for the first 600mts of the race. The two boys duly did their part and it was then left to the senior athletes themselves to make the effort needed to succeed in their mission. Up front Rory and Kevin (Kelly) pushed the pace along and soon drew clear of the remaining field and this was to remain the status quo for the remaining three laps. Both athletes pushed each other along and it was still neck and neck entering the final 300mts, but Kevin got “the wind in his sails” and moved clear coming down the home straight and with tremendous support from the spectators crossed the line in 4.09.39. Just 2 second behind was Rory who finished in 4.11.71. Joe ran most of the race under his own steam to finish third in 4.20.37 but whilst most eyes were on the front two Shane made up huge ground over the final two laps to finish just hundreds of a second behind in 4.20.95 while Kevin (O’Brien) finished 5th in 4.30.95. A special mention must be made of Shane Healy who ran a superb race. Shane is a M50 athlete and ran his second fastest mile ever on the night which was just 1 second shy of the M50 world record held by Brad Barton. What an effort by Shane. On this form he will surely break that record soon.
Earlier in the evening, spectators were also treated to some great races particularly the Men’s 400mts where Robert Bennett, Nenagh Olympic (son of Ossie Bennett, Johnstown), ran a new meet record of 48.69 secs such was the competitive nature of the event where Evan Crotty, Emerald finished second in 49.36 and Robert Maher, Galway City Harriers, third in 49.75. Robert was completing the double having won the 200mts earlier in 22.18 from Lorcan O’Connor, Emerald in 23.03 and Patrick Lynch, Newport in 23.69. Eimear Lynch from Newport also set a new meet record in the Ladies 400mts with a time of 60.06 having also earlier won the 200mts in 26.89. Margaret Mary Grace, Nenagh Olympic was her racing companion in both events and had times of 60.78 and 27.24 to her name on the night. In the Master Ladies 400mts Evelyn Maher, Templemore got the better of international athlete and world record holder Geraldine Finnegan of North East Runners with time of 65.10 and 67.46 respectively while local athlete Ber Spillane came through for third in a new pb for her of 68.71. Competition certainly helps when trying to achieve pb’s. In a very competitive Masters’ Men 400mts Ger Cremin, An Riocht topped the poll with a great time of 53.27 followed by Adrian McGinley, Templemore in 55.46 and Simon Everard, London Heatside and a former club athlete third in 57.50.
The Junior Ladies and Men raced over 200mts and again two good races were on show. Local athlete Katie Bergin stormed home to claim the win in the ladies’ event in 27.07 followed by Lynn Vermeer of Carrick-on-Suir in 28.07 who just about held off the challenge from local athlete Aisling Dwyer who finished third on 28.57. Jack Pender, Carrick-on-Suir took the Men’s event ahead of local athletes Jack Hickey and Sean Burke. Times of 23.11, 24.14 and 25.30 were recorded by the boys.
The largest field of the night took part in the Senior Men’s “B” Mile where 10 competitors toed the line. The field was very much together over the first half of the race with a couple of athletes breaking clear to push the pace along over the final stages where Donal Devane, Ennis Track piled on the pressure to come home a clear winner in 4.36.10. Kevin Coleman, Thurles Crokes got the better of Eamonn Morrissey, Dundrum to finish second in 4.39.07 with Eamonn on 4.40.58 for third.
In the ladies Long Jump Rachel O’Shea, Carrick-on-Suir jumped out to 4.73mts from local girl Leona Maher who finished second in 7.60mts for a new pb while Geraldine Finnegan leapt out to 4.30mts for third and a new pb for her. While the Weight for Distance was regarded as a men’s event, we had ladies entering for the first time when Genevieve Rowland, Templemore threw 5.56mts from club mate Catherine O’Dwyer who threw 5.14 with Naomi Morrissey of the host club throwing 4.67mts. John O’Dwyer, Templemore threw 7.43mts to set a new meet record for the event with local man Ned O’Dwyer second in 5.28mts and Diarmuid O’Meara, U/A third in 4.57mts.
At the start of the programme it was the turn of the juveniles to entertain the spectators and in the first event the Girls U/14 600mts Caoimhe Flannery, Skibbereen raced to victory in a time of 1.53.37 from Millie Kelly, Dundrum in 1.55.41 and Sophie Coughlan, Moycarkey-Coolcroo 1.59.29. Two local athletes Aaron Moore and Adam Phelan took part in the Boys event with Aaron in first in 1.53.09 and Adam second in 1.58.89. To generate some atmosphere for the main races this year, it was decided to add relay events to the programme but whilst the anticipated support didn’t materialise for other races the Senior Ladies event produced the expected support from the crowd with the Moyne team of Jessie Newman, Katie Bergin, Rachel Butler and Aisling Dwyer powering home to set a new club record of 53.04 for the 4 x 100mts event. The Carrick-on-Suir team of Rachel O’Shea, Lynn Vermeer, Georgia Walsh and Caoimhe Power came through for second in 55.24 just hundreds of a second ahead of the second Moyne team of Louise Hickey, Ber Spillane, Aoife O’Dwyer and Leona Maher who were timed at 55.46. In the Men’s event the Moyne team of Jack Hickey, Dylan McLoughlin, Nathan Bowe and Sean Burke got the better of a combination team finishing in 49secs even to 50.45 for the combo team. The Juvenile relays saw Moyne get the better of Dundrum in the Girls event finishing on times of 1.06.85 and 1.08.59 with the Moyne boys finishing on 1.09.56.
A huge dept of gratitude must go to all those involved in organising the 2019 Summer Games. Behind the scenes, tremendous work went on to ensure the success of the event. It doesn’t just happen overnight, work commenced last October and has been continuing since then. Our thanks to all the athletes and their families for their support and lovely comments on the event and to all those who came and supported on the night. We were blessed with the weather and this helped to bring the people out. A word of thanks also to all the officials, timekeeper, starter, pa etc. for all your help and support which is very much appreciated by the club and a final special thanks to all our sponsors for their generous contribution to the event. Your support allows the club to run this competition and bring top class athletics to a small rural community. The athletes certainly enjoyed the occasion and were full of praise for the event so again a sincere thank you for your support.