Following on from the Leinster Indoor Championship, where Conall Hayes took the Leinster U16 title in both the 1500m and 800m, he competed in the All-Ireland Indoor Athletics Championship held in the brand new facility in Athlone IT last weekend. On Saturday, Conall competed in the 1500m final, up against strong competition from the Ulster and Munster.
Over the course of the race, Conall was always in contention, holding third position up to the fifth lap, but then he shifted gear and took the lead. With a battle raging behind him in the final stages of the race Willfield Harriers athlete, Amando Bamisile, made a move on the outside from forth position to overtake Conall in the home straight. Conall held his nerve and kicked again and closed him down in the last 5 meters of the track to take the win on the dip in the closest imaginable finish. It was a fantastic performance and Conall's first All-Ireland title. He was delighted with his race and it was a spectacular performance He was cheered home by his family, his coach and the club’s many supporters
Earlier on the day Le Cheile's Jack Quinn U12 ran in the 2nd heat of the 60m and earned a place in the final, which was held late on the day. Jack put in a super performance in the final but unfortunately just lost out in a photo finish for third place, but he still had a smile after they announced the medallists. Jack was awarded the same time as third place but unfortunately the other young athlete just got the medal on the dip. Jack Quinn won Silver in the U12 60m at the Leinster Championships.
Fina Hayes was also competing in the U14 1000m walk. After Fina's great walk to 3rd place in the Leinster Championships, she was nervous and excited to be competing in the All Irelands. Fina took to the line and some of her fellow competitors raced off but Fina and another couple of athletes were more conservative with their energy in the opening 5 laps, but at the race was winding up Fina picked off four athletes to finish in a very creditable 5th position. This was also Fina's first time to qualify for an All Ireland Championship.
The final Le Cheile competitor of Saturday was Darragh Nolan, who competed in the U17 1500m race. This was a tough event with 22 athletes listed on the start line and this event is getting faster and faster with the winner Cian McBridge finish in a time of 4.09, Daragh finished in 14th position.
Day 2 of the All Ireland's saw Conall Hayes, Sean Flanagan and Thomas Connolly competing for Le Chéile. Conall although tired after his win the previous day took to the start line for the U16 800m, Conall was up against his old rival and current champion Mustaff Nasir from Tallaght AC and another county athlete, John Fitzsimons from Kildare AC. They were all in the same heat and with the first two to qualify from heat 1 & 2 and the two faster runners-up, it was going to be tough for Conall. All three qualified for the final which was held at 6.30 pm. Conall had rested for a number of hours after his heat and took to the line, it was a fast start with all 6 finalists going out hard, Conall was in fourth position with one lap to go and a huge number of his supporters cheering him on, he dug deep and accelerated into medal contention with Matthew Murnane and himself battling it out for that 3rd place finish, it was in the last 40m of the race that Conall showed sheer guts and determination and surged ahead to claim 3rd place in a new PB of 2.05;09. It was another fantastic performance for this young, talented athlete. Sean Flanagan U17 competed in the 800m heats again in a big field of competitors, unfortunately despite a late surge from Sean he didn't make it to the final but he finished 7th overall and improved on his time. Thomas Connolly had taken the bronze in the U16 long competition at Leinster to gain his place in his first indoor All-Ireland Championships. Thomas didn't have the greatest of starts to his completion when he was held back from taking his place due to a mix up at registration. When he took his place in the line up with his fellow competitors he was hopefully of making the final, he had 3 jumps with a best jump of 4.79 well below his PB of 5.11, so on this occasion he didn't make the final cut, Thomas finished 12th over all in Ireland. So a great day for the Le Cheile Athletes and in particular Conall Hayes who has an Indoor Title to be proud of and a 3rd place finish in the 800m. Many thanks for all the support that these young athletes receive from their families and their coaches