AAI Track & Field U9-U11 Championships

An All Ireland final for the young girls of Newcastle AC.
By PJ McCrickard

After the fantastic efforts of two weeks ago in Co Cavan the under 10 girls from Newcastle AC travelled to Co Cork for the AAI juvenile U11 team All Ireland track and field Championship Finals. This year the finals where held in the superb facilities of the Cork Institute of  Technology in the city of Cork. The 4 strong girls team that travelled to Cork was made up of Kate McCauley, Eve Kennelly, Hannah Carson and Amy McCrickard.

In order to ensure the 4 girls where well prepared for the finals, they all travelled down on Friday afternoon to stay over in a city centre hotel, all that was except for Kate McCauley, who had to attend a prize giving night for her Lecale swimming club, where she picked up several prizes showing the wonderful array of talents this young girl has. Not wanting to let her team mates down Kate and her Mum had to make the long journey to Cork after attending the prize giving event. Following a hassle free drive, they arrived safe and well in the hotel in the early hours of the morning, feeling fresh and raring to go. Rumours have it that their journey may have been hampered had Kate’s mum put the wrong fuel in the car when stopping at a motorway service station. We however don’t believe such stories and we are sure this didn’t happen, as all appeared well when the team met for breakfast on Saturday morning. It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and this of course is never more true than on a day like this. So there was no cooked food for these young girls only cereals and toast to give these athletes the energy they would need for the events which lay ahead. Eating the wrong food for athletes could have the same effect as putting petrol in a diesel car and I have been recently told this is not a good idea and if rumours are to be believed the car won’t go very well? So no chances were taken and with the proper food on board the team set of for the track.

The competition started at 10am and first up was Kate “the great” McCauley. Kate had qualified along with the flying Hannah Carson for the 60m sprint and Kate did a great job to finish 7th in a wonderful time of just over 10 seconds. Hannah was up next and like Kate before her, was a credit to the club and carried our colours to great effect finishing in 8th place in another fantastic time. These two girls did themselves and the club proud and surely only time stands between them and winning medals.

It was the last event of a fiercely competitive day when the 4 girls took to the track for the 4 x 100m relay. They had finished 3rd at the Ulster finals to qualify for this event and like 2 weeks ago they ran their hearts out and did us all so proud. The girls had a long wait to get to the start line but it was the youngest of the 4, Amy McCrickard who at only 7 years old, got the team off to a flying start. There were 3 false starts from other competitors which could have disrupted the young athletes, but Amy held her nerve. She ran a great first leg around the bend before passing the baton seamlessly to Hannah Carson. The second leg is run down the back straight and Hannah ran this leg fantastically well to reach the waiting Kate McCauley and after another effortless baton change, Kate was off and running on the 3rd leg. She ran a great leg and was making up ground the whole way around the final bend. Kate then passed the baton to Eve “the pocket rocket” Kenneally for the last leg. Eve has so much speed in her young legs and gave it her all when powering down the home straight but unfortunately for these young girls it wasn’t to be their day and unlike the Ulster finals they missed out on a place on the podium.

Take nothing away from the this young teams efforts, as just reaching an All Ireland final at such a young age is an unbelievable achievement and one that the club, coaches and their parents will never forget. They really did do everyone so very proud. This, we are sure is not the last time these girls will be competing at such a high level.