Leevale Athletic Club show their all-round class and dominance with victory for their men and women

This year both Leevale teams dominated the opening two rounds of the indoor league, and pulled out all the stops when the competition was held in Dublin on Saturday to once again complete the double for the second time a feat no other club has achieved.
Leevale Athletic Club show their all-round class and dominance with victory for their men and women

Michelle Finn of Leevale AC, Cork, on her way to winning the women's 3000m during the AAI National Indoor Games & Indoor League Final at the National Indoor Arena, Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

WHEN the national track and field league was first held in 1974, Leevale became the first club to win the men’s league, and went on to win it again in each of the following two years.

The national indoor league only started in 2014 and, once again, Leevale’s men’s team won the first title. 

And, not to be undone, the club’s women won their league for a superb double.

This year both Leevale teams dominated the opening two rounds of the indoor league, and pulled out all the stops when the competition was held in Dublin on Saturday to once again complete the double for the second time a feat no other club has achieved.

The double came as a result of a series of top class performances by each and every member of the teams.

Still a junior, Reece Ademola was one of the many stars to shine. 

He won the long jump with a best of 7.23m, relegating none other than Adam McMullen of Crusaders, who has a best of 7.99m, to second place.

Ademola also added maximum points when he won the high jump with a clearance of 2.05m, while Hannah Murphy won her high jump contest with 1.55m.

Conor Callanan, who has been breaking junior records this season, won the pole vault with a clearance of 4.40m.

Lizzie Lee of Leevale AC, Cork, right, competing in the over 40 women's 4000m, alongside teammate Sinead O'Connor of Leevale AC, Cork, competing in the over 35 women's 4000m at The Irish Life Health National Intermediate, Master, Juvenile B & Relays Cross Country Championships in Castlelyons, Cork. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Lizzie Lee of Leevale AC, Cork, right, competing in the over 40 women's 4000m, alongside teammate Sinead O'Connor of Leevale AC, Cork, competing in the over 35 women's 4000m at The Irish Life Health National Intermediate, Master, Juvenile B & Relays Cross Country Championships in Castlelyons, Cork. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Olympian Louise Shanahan moved up a distance and had little difficulty winning the 1,500m in 4:24.25, while fellow Olympian Michelle Finn completely dominated the 3,000m to win in 9:05.30.

Another big win came in the 800m when Annette Quaid easily outsprinted her rivals to win in 2:18.48, and also finished second in the 400m in 58.72.

Scott Gibson, who missed a couple of years out of the sport, continued his excellent form to win the 400m comfortably in 49.04.

The 200m saw Colin Doyle dominate to win in 21.52, while Conor Morey was second in the 60m in 6.83. Earlier this season, Morey clocked 6.71 to move to joint fourth in the Irish All-Time list.

One of the closest finishes of the day came in the 60m when Lucy-May Sleeman won in a time of 7.59, the same time as second. She also finished second in the 200m in 25.04.

The AAI Games also featured on the same programme and Phil Healy of Bandon once again produced an outstanding performance to win the 400m in a new PB of 51.74, a time that edges her closer to Karen Shinkins Irish record of 51.58.

European U23 cross country silver medallist Daire McElhinney of Bantry and UCD travelled to Metz in France for a top class 3,0000m where he finished 8th in a time of 7:45.91, a huge improvement on his previous best of 7:50.80 a year ago. 

The time also improves his own Irish U23 record for the distance.

Evan Byrne of Togher has been re-writing all his best times in recent weeks. He is in his second year at Butler University in Indianapolis and has been having a busy time recently.

On Friday he won the 5,000m at the GVSU meet in Allendale, Michigan in a time of 13:59.55, a huge improvement on the 14:13.68 from 2019.

A week earlier he was fourth in the 3,000m at Notre Dame in a new PB of 8:05.95, and a week before that he clocked 4:10.84 for the mile.

Olympic gold medallist Paul O'Donovan of Leevale AC, Cork, competing in the intermediate men's 8000m at The Irish Life Health National Intermediate, Master, Juvenile B & Relays Cross Country Championships in Castlelyons, Cork. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Olympic gold medallist Paul O'Donovan of Leevale AC, Cork, competing in the intermediate men's 8000m at The Irish Life Health National Intermediate, Master, Juvenile B & Relays Cross Country Championships in Castlelyons, Cork. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Charlie O’Donovan of Leevale and Villanova ran his third sub-4 for the mile of the season in Nashville on Saturday, clocking 3:58.17 for tenth place.

In Boston, Liam Harris of Togher was 12th in his heat of the 3,000m in 8:12.91, while Fearghal Curtin of Youghal was 13th in his heat of the 5,000m in 13:54.17.

Fionn Harrington of Bandon is in his first year at Central Arkansas and clocked 4:22.38 for the mile, while clubmate Laura Nicholson of Temple University was in Boston where she clocked 9:55.39 for seventh place in her heat of the 3,000m. 

A week earlier she clocked 4:56.09 for the mile in New York.

Stephanie Cotter of West Muskerry and Northern Arizona was 11th in her heat of the mile in 4:59.42 in Seattle.

There was a gold medal for Maeve Fleming of Leevale at the England Athletics championships in Sheffield over the weekend. 

Competing in the high jump, she cleared 1.67m to finish 3cm clear of her rivals.

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