CORK schools were dominant at the Munster Senior Schools competition held at the University of Limerick recently. A staggering 760 athletes attended, eager to compete after such a long enforced lay-off.
The girls from Regina Mundi were first to reach the podium with Amy Lynch 1:11.79 and Carrie Harrington 1:15.65 claiming 1st and 2nd respectively at the 12-14 100m backstroke. The girls were joined by Emma Glennon and Sarah Tarbatt to claim victory in both the medley and freestyle relays. The school’s senior team, Grace Lynch, Helen McCarthy, Ellie Newton and Alex Harington combined to claim victory in the 16-19 freestyle relay.
Carla Tella Saura swam her way into the history annals at Cork Educate Together when she secured the school’s first swimming medal with her third place finish 1:20.67 at 100m breaststroke. She narrowly missed out on a second bronze when placed 4th at 200m IM.
The boys from CBC were in phenomenal form on an individual and team basis. The 12-14 team, Pierce & Phelim Hanley, Conal Gillard and Darren O’Connell were comfortable winners in both the medley 2:12.83 and freestyle 1:58.35 relays. Phelim added gold at 100m butterfly 1:07.17 and silver at 100m backstroke 1:08.62, while Pierce took silver at 100m breaststroke 1:18.21 and bronze at 200m IM 2:35.70.
The senior team of Richard McSweeney, James Ryan, Conor Foley and Ronan Crowley combined to lift gold in the medley 1:52.30 and freestyle 1:40.76 relays. Foley won silver at 100m freestyle 55.32 and McSweeney bronze at 100m breaststroke 1:08.98. Charlie Cassidy had an impressive 58.28 to win gold at 100m freestyle and a second impressive swim to close out the competition, posting 2:12.41 for victory at 200m IM.
The Intermediate team, Sean Bugler, Vincent Leahy, Eanna Garvey and Darragh Cole were silver medallists 2:08.45 at the medley relay. They lost out to the team from Midleton College, Ewan Coleman, Ricky Fane, Dylan Gunn and Noah Switzer who collectively posted an impressive 1:54.26 to claim gold. That Midleton quartet had an equally impressive 1:49.56 to claim gold at the freestyle relay also.
The St. Angela’s intermediate team, Laoise Deasy, Katie Cunningham, Izzy McGrath and Molly Lyons combined to post a sub 2-minute time, 1:59.97, for victory at the 14-16 freestyle relay. A change of personnel on the medley team with Matilda Lyons replacing Molly ensured victory at the medley relay also.
Cork students provided some very closely contested individual finals, the highlight being the boys 15-16 100m backstroke with the top three all sub 1:03 seconds. Victory went to Ben Merrigan, Glanmire Community College, 1:02.49 with Noah Switzer in second 1:02.79 and Sean Bugler third 1:02.85.
The ladies equally impressed at the 15-16 backstroke with Lauren Farr, Coláiste na Toirbhirte, Bandon, first on 1:05.58, Izzy McGrath second 1:07.36 and Laoise Deasy completing the podium 1:09.63. Farr claimed a second gold at 100m freestyle 1:00.53. McGrath won gold at 100m butterfly 1:06.94 It was an all Cork affair again in the girls 12-14 200m IM with victory for Antonia Sech, St. Aloysius, Carrigtwohill, 2:33.85, Lexi Dunne, Scoil na Nóg, Glanmire, 2:35.03 and Shauna Murphy, Coláiste an Phiarsaig, Glanmire 2:37.87 completing the podium. Sech also secured silver at 100m butterfly, 1:13.13.
Ben Merrigan, Glanmire Community College was impressive, with eight seconds to spare 2:22.27 to claim victory in the 15-16 200m IM ahead of the Midleton College duo Ricky Fane 2:30.36 and Ewan Coleman 2:32.07. Younger brother Luke Merrigan placed 2nd at 12-14 200m IM 2:33.30 and 3rd at 100m backstroke 1:09.77.
Heather Fane, St. Angela’s placed second at 17-19 100m backstroke 1:06.71 behind Paralympian Rósín Ní Rian 1:05.90 but reversed those placings in the 100m butterfly final posting 1:07.30 ahead of Ní Rian on 1:07.96. Ciara Gardiner, Glanmire Community College completed the podium with 1:09.48.
Isabel Kidney, St. Aloysius Carrigtwohill claimed double gold in 15-16 100m breaststroke 1:14.10 and 200m IM 2:25.66. She was followed home in each event by Michelle O’Shea, Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Glanmire posting 1:18.85 and 2:32.27. O’Shea’s older sister Hannah won gold at 100m freestyle 58.86 and at 200m IM 2:23.66.
The Irish Senior Schools Relays and Schools Interpros will take place on Sunday 20th March at the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin.