Friday July 19 will always be a special day in the life of Clonmel athlete Phoebe Murphy.
On that glorious afternoon she was part of the Irish girlsâ€™ team in the 4 by 100m that won Gold medals at the European Youth Olympics Festival in Utrecht, Holland in a time of 46.55 secs.
At the same event Clonmelâ€™s Sean Tobin narrowly missed out on a bronze medal when finishing fourth in his event.
Phoebe ran the first leg. She was quick out of the blocks and into her stride very fast. She maintained that tempo and in the crucial hand over of the baton, where many a race was lost, she was inch perfect with the baton and the team was in the medals at this early stage.
The other three members of the team, Niamh McNicol, Laura Ann Costello and Roseanna McGuickan, powered their way round to a fantastic achievement and a brilliant result. This talented team also set a new Irish Youth Girls record when winning their semi final in 46.22 secs, breaking the old mark of 46.36 secs set in 2009.
Earlier in the week she had to run 3 races in 2 days against top class opposition. This didnâ€™t deter Phoebe who always gives it her best whenever she competes. On Monday she was the first Irish athlete to compete on the Track. In her heat, she was drawn in lane 4 and she ran a brilliant race when finishing 2nd in 12.24 secs just behind the eventual Gold Medalist, Paraskevi Andreou of Cyprus, to qualify automatically for the semi final.
Then on Tuesday morning she went in the second semi final with the fastest loser in the 1st semi final clocking 12.17 secs. Here Phoebe was drawn in lane 3 and ran a brilliant race when finishing a very close 4th in 12.24 secs.
In the final Phoebe was ranked 8th on times so she faced a very tough assignment. She was drawn in lane 1 and she again put in a brilliant effort when finishing 8th in 12.40 secs. This was a tremendous achievement by Phoebe who has shown great determination and focus to achieve this brilliant result, 8th in a European final where she was running against athletes who were a year older than her. Before she left for Utrecht she got the best possible boost when winning the All Ireland Girls under 16 100m final in Tullamore in 12.32 secs, her seasonal best was 12.09 secs achieved earlier in the year in Santry.
Meanwhile another Clonmel athlete Sean Tobin ran a super race at the European event to set a new PB of 3 mins 45.73 secs when finishing like a train in 4th place, narrowly missing out on a Bronze medal by less than half a second.
Sean used his experience at last yearâ€™s World Juniorâ€™s well to keep in contention throughout and ran a tactically-sound race.
Sean got off to a great start and was well positioned throughout as the race as the athletes approached the bell.
Then in a hectic last lap Sean kept in touch, coming off the final bend in 6th place he gave it everything to finish a close 4th, less than half a second off the Bronze medal, a brilliant performance and a fantastic achievement. Such was the pace of the race that the 5th and 6th finishers also recorded PBs.
While Sean will be disappointed to have come so close to a medal he will be eager to improve on his now very impressive PB again this season.
Sean qualified for the final when winning his semi final on Friday in 3 mins 50.31 secs.
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