herald

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Future's bright for Tbilisi team

Kevin McGrath of Bohermeen will run for Ireland at the European Youth Championships.
Kevin McGrath of Bohermeen will run for Ireland at the European Youth Championships.

While a massive 52-strong Irish teams is in Amsterdam for the European Track and Field over the next few days, the next generation is waiting in the wings.

Next week, the European Youth Championships start in Tbilisi, Georgia, followed by the World Junior Championships starting on July 19 at Bydgoszcz in Poland.

A team of 17 boys and 14 girls travels to Tbilisi, where competition begins on July 14 and continues for four days.

Of the girls, most have qualified in the technical events. Kate O'Connor of St Gerard's and Cushinstown's Shannon Sheehy go in the heptathlon, Niamh Fogarty of North Westmeath in the discus, Finn Valley's Summer Lecky in the high jump, Molly Scott of St LOT in the 100m hurdles, and Arlene Crossan of Finn Valley in the 400m hurdles. Interestingly, Emma O'Brien of Slí Cualann is the only middle distance athlete selected, although her younger sister, Amy, is picked for the steeplechase, an event that combines endurance and technique.

By contrast, six of the boys will run in the middle distances, among them schools stars Kevin McGrath of Bohermeen and Rory Lodge of St LOT, who both run the 800m.

Picked

Daniel Ryan of Moycarkey takes on the decathlon, while Alex Clarkin of Donore is picked for the 110m hurdles and Darragh Gaffney of North Westmeath in the discus.

Among those nailing down his place on the team at last Saturday's Glo Health Junior and Under 23 Championships in Tullamore was Ryan Carthy-Walsh who won the junior high jump with a leap of 2.05m.

Then there are the sprinters with the current policy of developing Irish relay squads paying rich dividends when it comes to standards.

Of the four sprinters selected for Tbilisi, five will also join Irish relay squads at the World Juniors.

They are Ciara Neville of Limerick club Emerald, Finn Valley's Janine Boyle, David McDonald of Menapians and Gina Akpe-Moses, who lived in Co Louth with her family and is currently based in England.

Then there's Molly Scott of St LOT who beat Ciara Neville to win the junior 100m last weekend. As well as competing in her specialist 100m hurdles at the European Youths , she is selected for the 4 x 100m at the World Juniors.

Having a slightly less busy time of it is Sharlene Mawdsley of Newport who currently tops the Irish 200m rankings and turns 18 next month.

She will compete in the 200m and the 4 x 100m at the World Juniors - and many will be surprised that she wasn't picked for the European Seniors. Her time will come!

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