Alanna on the double
Galway girl not alone in scooping two National golds
Record numbers are taking up athletics and after a record entry at the national seniors, it took four days in Tullamore to get through the national juvenile programme.
With hundreds entered in every event, not even false starts in the sprints delayed matters too much. It took supreme organisation to get through the GloHealth sponsored event. No sooner was one race over than the next started.
Among the stars of the weekend was Galway's Alanna Lally, who had just missed out on qualification for the World Juniors. She showed her class with clear victories in both the W19 800m and 400m.
Other double winners included Leevale's Louise Shanahan, who won the W18 800m and 1500m titles, and Padraig Moran of Mullingar Harriers, winner of the M19 1500m and 3000m.
One of the best races of the weekend proved to be the M18 1500m, where Cian McBride of North Sligo sprinted past Celtic's Pierre Murchan in the home straight for victory. Even closer was the W18 400m hurdles where Kelly-Ann Doyle just edged out her Carrick-on-Suir clubmate Leanne Prout to win in a new record time of 61.22 secs. Prout clocked 61.95 secs.
In the M18 400m, Scott Gibson of Bandon just held off the fast finishing Brian Masterson of DSD to win in 49.19 secs. Emerald's Jenna Bromell won the W18 400m in a record time of 56.45 secs, while Paul Murphy of Ferrybank was an impressive winner of the U19 400m in 48.67 secs.
Best sprint performance came in the W18 200m, where Roseanna McGuckian of City of Lisburn set a new record of 24.81 secs despite battling a -2.7 headwind. Sean O'Driscoll of Raheny Shamrock was the fastest of the boys, winning the M19 title in 22.42 secs. Donore's Sean Lawlor was just fractionally slower nailing down the M18 200m title in 22.46 secs.
Over 3000m, Mullingar Harriers made it a clean sweep in the M17 race, with Shane Hughes, Patrick Shaw and Cormac Dalton taking the medals.
With lighter weights introduced for all four throws, there were some eye-catching performances. In an unusual double, Michaela Walsh of Swinford won the W17 hammer with a personal best 60.83m and also won the javelin.
Big throw of the weekend came in the M18 hammer (5kg), where Adam King of Kerry club Inveragh threw a mighty 71.90m. Another huge effort came in the M19 shot (6kg) where John Kelly of Finn Valley won with 18.95m.
Setting a new W17 triple jump best of 11.79m was Newport's Maria Carey. In the boys' high jump, both David Cussen of Old Abbey and Gowran's Donagh Mahon cleared 2.05m to win the M19 and M18 titles respectively.