Teenager secures stylish national wins over 100 metres and 200 metres
Aday of mixed emotions for Sligo athletes at the aviva Irish Schools Track & Field Championships in Tullamore, County Offaly, on Saturday last.
A tally of six all-Ireland medals does not tell the full story of peak and trough. The peak was a stunning double for Sligo Grammar School student Zak Irwin over 100 metres and 200 metres in the Intermediate Boys. Irwin’s performance was closely followed by a fine silver medal showing from an Ursuline College student, Orlaith delahunt, in the Junior Girls 1200 metres Walk.
There was a big personal best and a bronze for Summerhill College student Cian McBride in the Intermediate Boys 800 metres, a Senior Girls Long Jump bronze for Emily Burns and a surprise bronze for Calry’s Sorcha Fallon in the Intermediate Girls 1500 metres Steeplechase.
The low points were fourth place finishes for Kieran Elliott in the Senior Boys 200 metres and 400 metres and the same position for William Crowe in the Boys Intermediate 1500 metres. So near to a medal for these lads – and yet so far.
Zak Irwin is the real deal when it comes to sprinting. It is hard to believe that this lad is only 15 years old. On Saturday he smashed through the 11-seconds barrier as he powered to 100 metres victory in 10.92 seconds. Seven days ago the great Usain Bolt won a 100 metres event in 10.08 seconds. Zak was less than a second off that time. If this statistic does not
put the Sligo Grammar School athlete’s winning time into perspective then nothing will.
Just over an hour later he completed the double when coasting to victory in the 200 metres final.
Orlaith delahunt looked majestic as she strode to a silver medal in the 1200 metres Walk and, in the process, took a stunning 18 seconds off her personal best time. This race walker is a real talent and a Ballintogher treasure.
Speaking of talent, Cian McBride looked another athlete of real class when he smashed the two-minutes barrier in the Intermediate Boys 800 metres. He broke it in style, clocking 1 minute 57 seconds.
dromore West is fast providing athletes of quality and Emily Burn’s long jumping is catching the eye – her near neighbour, Emmett dunleavy, will be proud of her.
The Intermediate Girls 1500 metres Steeplechase is a new event in the Irish Schools agenda and Sorcha Fallon can be proud to be a medallist in the inaugural race.
Sometimes you learn more about yourself in defeat than in victory. T h i s will be the case with Grange’s Kieran Elliott. He was distraught with his two fourth place finishes in the Senior Boys 200 metres and 400 metres races.
But Kieran will bounce back quickly and he won’t always be unlucky enough to be drawn in lane one.
Of course, medals are not everything and other Sligo athletes such as Stacey Kerr, James McGeogh and Clara Herron
produced fine performances on another exciting Irish Schools Championships.
F i n a l l y, good luck to the Sligo county team who compete next weekend in the first round of the aaI National League.