THE Leinster Juvenile Relay Championships took place last weekend in wonderful sunshine at the Shoreline Sports Centre, Greystones in the beautiful garden of Ireland, Co Wicklow.
Representing Dundalk St Gerard’s AC in the girls U14 4x100m were Nimi Apesin, Kate O’Connor, Caitlin Mulholland and Patience Jumbogula.
With their race listed as an approximate 3.15pm start on the programme the team arrived in what they thought was plenty of time at 2pm, only to find out that they only had a few minutes before their heat was to commence.
Without any warm up they made their way onto the track hoping for the best. With a large field of entries, three heats were held with the 1st in each and the three fastest losers to qualify for the final.
Unsurprisingly the girls were caught a bit cold and lost ground on the changeovers finishing 3rd behind the very strong St Laurence O’Toole and Dunleer AC in what proved to be the fastest heat with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place teams making it to the final.
In the final the girls were a bit more prepared but had the daunting task of facing the might of Kilkenny City Harriers, SLOT along with Greystones and fellow Louth clubs Dunleer and Blackrock.
However these young ladies are nothing if not resolute and despite having been drawn in lane two which the long striding Nimi wasn’t really suited to, she, Kate and Caitlin ran brilliantly and were in 4th place coming into the home straight about 5m off the 3rd placed Dunleer squad.
Taking the baton for the final leg Patience powered up the home straight making up ground with every stride and flashed accross the line alongside Dunleer behind winners SLOT and KCH with Blackrock in 5th.
After several agonising minutes a dead heat for 3rd was announced which brought large roars of excitement and joy from the athletes and supporters of both St Gerard’s and Dunleer and the other Louth clubs.
After gathering their breath and settling the nerves, it was on to the Glenview Hotel for a well deserved bite to eat before making the journey home along the motorway.
The club is very proud if these young athletes who showed great character and spirit and no little potential given some of them are very inexperienced.