Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Top Juvenile Club - Top 25

The full list of Top 25 hurdle clubs from this years Glohealth All-Irelands

1 Carrick-on-Suir
3 Leevale
4 Claremorris
6 Greystones and District
7 Dooneen
8 Moycarkey Coolcroo
10  Liscarroll
11= Cushinstown
11= City of Lisburn
11= Ratoath
11= Enniscorthy
15= Lifford
15= Finn Valley
15= Menapians
18= Crookstown Millview
18= Annalee
18= Naas
21 North Down
22= City of Derry Spartans
22= Emerald
22= Nenagh Olympic
22= Ennis Track
22= Athenry
22= Shercock
22= Lake District

Dunmore Beast Delivers In The Far East

Now the dust has settled, it is a good time to reflect on Thomas Barr's great run in Korea. Some observations:

1. He learns from his mistakes. It is always a bad sign when athletes offer up excuses for a bad performance and usually external factors. After Barr's disappointment in Zurich last year he offered up no 'blame someone or something else' excuses. He went silently back to the drawing board. 

2. He is more race toughened. In Zurich he was probably under cooked. This season he already had two Diamond League races under his belt as well as a selection of less high profile races that had him primed for Korea to ensure a Zurich wouldn't re-occur.

3. His kick off the last. He is lethal off the last and it's likely nobody in the world can match him right now. In a race if he is within shooting distance off the last he is in with a serious chance.

4. His training group are flying. Five other members of his training group have qualified for major age group championships this season. One of those is not Paul Byrne but Byrne's move from Dublin to Limerick last winter has served to give Barr a serious training partner over hurdles. The last time he had a training partner so close was his breakthrough season when Timmy Crowe was in the setup.

5. He is great craic. He seems to be really enjoying himself and because of that he is probably the most popular Irish athlete of the social media age. He proves you don't have to be a boring spongebob squarepants to be a world beater.

6. He is healthy. A pretty much uninterrupted winter of training means he is probably in the shape of his life.

7. His coaches. Hayley and Drew Harrison are on the second generation of great Irish athletes after their successful group of the late nineties, early noughties. They have many Olympians, been involved in many records. They are now the top speed coaches in the country.

8. The family genes. His sister Jessie has been a very positive influence on his career. If she can get healthy she can follow her little brother. After all she is the only Olympian in the house.

9. The chickens. Martina's chickens are rumoured to be the secret of his success, such is the nutritional value of the eggs. Egg production has stalled by all accounts as the Korean success has gone to their heads.

10. In school Thomas Barr never broke 56 seconds. He is now a world class animal. You gotta believe.

Long Hurdles Domination Sees Carrick-on-Suir As Top Dogs

Four wins over the long hurdles on the final day of competition at the Glohealth All-Ireland Championships in Tullamore saw Carrick-on-Suir crowned the Top Juvenile Hurdle Club in Ireland for the 3rd year in a row.

A haul of 5 golds, 1 silver and 2 bronze in the hurdle events saw them take a commanding win from DSD in 2nd with Leevale in 3rd. Claremorris were top from the west in 4th while Greystones and District had a super championships in 6th. Also great to see Liscarroll break into the top 10 after several years of moving up the table.

1 - Carrick-on-Suir
2 - DSD
3 - Leevale
4 - Claremorris
5 - GCH
6 - Greystones and District
7 - Dooneen
8 - Moycarkey Coolcroo
9 - SLOT
10 - Liscarroll

Full list to follow as well as the All-Time rankings (from 2006) updated.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Leevale Lead Carrick At Halfway Mark

After the first round of the GloHealth All-Ireland Championships last weekend, Leevale lead defending champions Carrick-on-Suir in the race to be top Juvenile hurdle club in the country.

It was the short hurdle races last week with the long hurdles completing the championships tomorrow. 

Carrick-on-Suir are going for three in a row but trail the Cork club by two points. Great to continue to see new hurdle clubs in the top ten.

1. Leevale 20pts
2. Carrick-on-Suir 18pts
3. SLOT 15pts
4. Cushinstown 13pts
4. DSD 13pts
4. GCH 13pts
4. Claremorris 13pts
8. Liscarroll 12pts
9. Moycarkey 11pts
9. Ratoath 11pts

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lavin Starts To Hit Form

No matter how great an athlete has been they will always have a slump or dip in form or a phase where times aren't dropping. Sarah Lavin wasn't setting the world on fire earlier this season but she has no doubt re-grouped and is now back in the zone where she belongs with a couple of sub 13.50 runs in Mannheim today (13.49/13.45). You also get the sense that now that she is in her groove those times will keep on dropping over the coming weeks. 

Also in Mannheim, Matthew Behan and Garbhan McKenna competed in preparation for the upcoming European Junior championships. It was a good taster of what was to come in Sweden. Behan made the B final where he finished 4th in 14.38 after a 14.00 in the heat, only 0.01 off his own Irish Junior Record. McKenna clocked 14.49 in his heat and has shown good consistency with this his  fourth sub 14.50 of the season. After Daniel Ryan's Irish Youth Record earlier this month, evidence that high hurdling is in rude health is further demonstrated with news that Ben Fisher got confirmation that he has been selected for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa later in the summer. The high hurdler is one of only three Northern Ireland athletes selected and is part of the Tom Reynolds training group which also includes Ben Reynolds and Garbhan McKenna.

In Belgium, Christine McMahon won the Nivelle EAP meet in 58.10, a season's best. Gerard O' Donnell was within 0.09 of his PB with 14.19 while Ben Kiely (53.16) and Nessa Millet (61.21) were still chasing Euro U23 standards.

Kate McGowan was only 0.12 off a Euro Juniors B standard at the Munster championships with 61.37, a PB of over half a second. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Barr Tastes Defeat As Reynolds Steps Up

European Team Championships
Just in case we were starting to think Thomas Barr was becoming (in a European context) invincible, the European Team Championships was a timely reminder that it is a competitive sport we are in and nothing can be taken for granted. Not that Barr would and also some context in that the winner of the race was the European silver medallist from Zurich and behind Barr in third was the champion from Zurich.

Ben Reynolds ran a season's best of 13.73 for second in Greece, behind local favourite Douvalidis and ahead of Svodoba, continuing his strong and improving early season form. Sarah Lavin had struggled somewhat over the hurdles this season but the line of class is permanent, form is temporary is very true in her case as she ran 13.58, a season's best and a Euro U23 standard for 6th. Christine McMahon also had an SB for 7th in the 400m hurdles with 59.00.

English U20/U23
In Bedford, at the English U20/U23 (incl some U18 races) championships there were no standout performances but some solid runs by the Irish and a bronze for Brandon Arrey.

Ben Fisher 110H 5th 14.38 PB

Brandon Arrey 400H 3rd 53.98
Garbhan McKenna 110H DNS Final (heat 14.44)

Nessa Millet 400H 5th 60.90
Ben Kiely 400H 4th 53.07 (heat 52.64)
Andrew Creamer 110H 9th 14.93 PB

Tailteann Games
Molly Scott erased another Olive Burke record (after claiming the Irish Schools one earlier in the month) when winning the Girls 80m Hurdles in 11.14. Niamh Malone had a big breakthrough run with an EYOF qualifier in the Girls 300m hurdles in 43.43. Jack Rudden Kelly claimed the Boys 100m hurdles in 13.85 while Cathal Locke (56.71) took the 400m hurdles.

Elsewhere, Paul Byrne continued his very consistent sequence of runs with another 51 seconder with a 3rd place finish and 51.33 in Valence in France.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Barr and Reynolds Double In Belgium

Another week and another Thomas Barr performance of note. This time the Oordegem IFAM meet and a 'workmanlike' 49.50 saw him win, a measure of where he has come to considering 12 months ago we would have been jumping up and down.

Ben Reynolds made it an Irish men's double when taking the win in the 110H in a pretty good field. His time of 13.79 was setup by a blistering start and he wasn't to be caught. 

Jason Harvey and Paul Byrne were happy with their season bests of 51.16 and 51.52 while Nessa Millet was content too with her 60.65. Brandon Arrey ran 54.32. Gerard O' Donnell had a scrappy run for 14.41, still adapting to his new approach to hurdle 1, while Andrew Creamer went #4 in the Irish Rankings with a PB of 15.25. Megan Marrs was a little off her best in 14.36 while carnage in the Junior 110H, with incorrect spacing an an earlier race, didn't help Garbhan McKenna who nevertheless clocked a 14.69 into a -1.9. 

Ben Kiely had another win for his French club, SNP Vernon, in 52.92 in the French league while Paul Byrne ran 52.45 in the middle leg of his Belgian tour in Lokeren last night.