THE strains of local teacher Sinead McNally’s great hit song Moody Blues was the anthem which kicked off the Annual Beach Races staged by Blackrock AC on the Village strand last Friday evening 18th May. The evening was the usual fun affair with music, a large excited crowd, tots’ races, and tremendous endeavour from the youngsters as they splashed around the watery 300m circuit, barefoot or in light plimsolls.
The night began with the under-16 Girls 900m which saw Blackrock taking third and fourth places with Eimear Curtin and Erica Murphy. The Boys equivalent was won in fine style by Gary Campbell from Dunleer.
We then moved to the under-8s where the Boys 300m race saw the first Gold for Blackrock when Thomas McNamara charged home a great winner from Daniel Cartwright and Senan Gough, with Senan McCarthy and David Coyle fifth and sixth. A cool five out of the first six. Liam McNamara, Sam Steenvorden and Leo Mac Ruairi also ran well. And for the Girls. Blackrock’s Alex Bewley took a fine Silver with her clubmate Ciara O’Brien just behind.
The indefatigable Neasa Reilly had to work hard to beat a very brave Grace Fitzpatrick (Dunleer AC) in the under-10 Girls 600m. Aoife O’Brien was a wonderful fourth with Niamh Cassidy, Eimear Fee, Leah McArdle, Aibhlis Todd, Caoilfhionn McCarthy and Meabh Fee all battling on relentlessly behind.
The under-10 Boys was the most exciting race of the evening. Relative newcomer to the club Elijah Faapito showed what a powerhouse he is as he made the running around the two laps for 599 of the 600 metres. As he entered the home straight, Elijah was tackled by previous Beach Race winner Cillian Duffy, and these two gallant warriors gave no quarter as they went hammer and tongs towards the finishing line. In front of a very excited crowd, the judges gave it to Cillian - by a nose.
The excellent Kelly Breen had to survive a fright in the under-12 Girls 600m when her pal Penny Morris came from another parish to bear down on her up the finishing stretch. But Kelly kept going to claim the Gold. Ava Kiernan was fourth with young Sara Morgan in sixth, ahead of Sorcha Cassidy, Niamh Cunningham, Una O’Neill Kinney, Beibhinn NicRuairi and Bi Carroll.
Dunleer’s Conor Matthews was an excellent winner of the under-12 Boys race, with Blackrock’s Padraig Grennan running a cracker for Bronze. Declan Curtin and Cathal Purcell were fifth and sixth, with Mark Durkin, Donnacha Hughes, Patrick Brady, Conor Traynor and James McNamara bravely staying on in this tough race.
Final races of the evening were at under-14. Katie Todd in fifth and Grace Brosnan in sixth led home the Blackrock contingent of Girls around the three laps of the 900m ahead of Niamh Lynch.
In the Boys equivalent David Murphy ran another superb Beach Race when taking Silver behind Glenmore’s James O’Reilly with Oran Duffy, Oisin Hughes and Shane Lait, fourth, fifth and sixth ahead of Ronan Green and Paul Howard.
In other athletics events, Blackrock’s Annabelle Morris was busy winning provincial titles last week. She won the Leinster Girls under-16 Pentathlon staged in Greystones last Sunday May 20th.
On the previous Wednesday 16th, Annabelle, running for St Vincents, won the Leinster Schools Intermediate Girls 300m Hurdles in Santry quite brilliantly, and looks forward to a pot at another Irish title on Saturday June 2nd, four days before she starts her Junior Certificate.