The All-Ireland schools track and field finals take place in Tuallamore this Saturday with a host of name’s looking to emulate the greats of Irish Athletics writes Paul O’Neill.
Through the years the schools finals has been synonymous with great Irish name including Sonia O’Sullivan, Eamon Coughlan, John Tracey, Jason Smyth and Derval O Rourke.
The class of 2019 dream of adding their names to the aforementioned list, on what promises to be an exciting nine hours of competition at the famous Tullamore Harriers stadium.
Double European U18 1500 & 3000m Champion for 2018 Sarah Healy lines-up as favourite in the Senior Girls 3000m, her last Irish Schools Finals.
New Irish Junior 5000m record holder Darragh McElhinney, drops down in distance, fresh from becoming the first Irish Junior to break 14 minutes, stopping the clock at 13:54.10 in Oordegem last Saturday night.
The Colaiste Pobail, Bantry athlete toe’s the line in the Senior Boys 1500m event.
Rhasidat Adeleke will be doubling up in the 100 and 200m sprints, the Presentation Terenure athlete who is still in the Intermediate grade (U17), has already represented Ireland at Senior level.
Adeleke having competed at the European indoor’s and only three weeks ago was part of the 4x100m relay team the took part in the World Relays in Yokohama, Japan narrowly missing out on Olympic qualification.
Another member of that squad was Patience Jumbo-Guala who will contest the Senior Girls 100m on Saturday.
Rugby star Aaron Sexton of Bangor Grammar competes in the Senior Boys 100 & 200m. This dual sports athlete who also applies his trade on the wing in the Ulster Rugby academy will with favourable conditions go close to Marcus Lawlor’s 100m Championship record of 10.59 seconds.
In the field events, Irish Senior Heptathlon Champion Kate O’Connor goes in the Senior Girls High Jump and Javelin and the record in the latter could come under threat based on her current form.
The excitement will build in the Intermediate Girls 800m where three off the qualifiers, Aimee Hyde, Victoria Lightbody and Ava O’Connor have posted sub 2:12 this year with the Newport athlete Hyde quickest having posted a 2:07.74 in an IMC in Greystones.
In the Senior Boys 800m Louis O’Loughlin of Moyle Park will face off against Longford’s Cian McPhillips with hometown favourite James Dunne also in the mix.
Action gets underway with the first of the 122 events programme off at 9:30am.