More Juvenile Success (Day 3)

Published in Club News on 23rd July 2018

Day 3 Medals

The curtain fell on a long juvenile campaign this weekend with the third day of the National Juvenile Track and Field in Tullamore.  Athenry AC had just three competitors this weekend and all came away with massive smiles and even bigger PB's

Calum Healy:

Calum has had a fair run of misfortune over the past few years, and after pulling up very heavily as he crossed the line in the Connacht Championship  250m Hurdles race it looked yet again as if fate had dealt him a cruel blow, but Calum showed true strength of character and body to bounce back.  The amount of work this young man has put into training recently is unreal and his hunger for a medal was growing daily.  In the Connachts, Calum crossed the line in 37.20s and in the qualifying heats of the National final he clocked 36.44, taking almost a second off his PB.  Lining up next to eventual winner Harry Nevin on the start line, Calum rocketed down the finish straight to take the silver medal in a time of 35.30, taking another second off his PB.  What this meant to Calum was evident after the race and you can rest assured that the medal will have pride of place for time to come.  Calum has one final outing this year in the Community Games hurdles and we wish him luck.


Sarah Gilhooley

Sarah, like Calum has had a few mixed years, but this year has started to make some real progress and start to move back to the front of the races where she deservedly belongs.  Last week Sarah took Gold in the steeplechase which was testament to her hard work, and although there was no medal this weekend her performance in the 1500m was an equal testament to her dedication and perseverance in the sport.  For the first time Sarah dropped below the 5 min barrier for 1500m, clocking 4:59.53 and a 7 second PB. Sarah has plenty more to give and the prospect of two solid years at senior level in schools competition make Sarah a name to be watched.


Liam Shaw:

Four months ago, Liam had never thrown a discus, but his stature and over 7 foot 'wingspan' (his finger tip to finger tip measurement with arms outstretched) give him the physical attributes to do well in this discipline.  Going into the National finals, Liam was ranked third on provincial qualification mark.  In his first throw he set a mark of 39.12m, a PB by over 7m and a mark in excess of that which has won 16 out of the last 18 years discus competitions.  Liam extended that lead to 39.29m in the third round and then carried that lead into the 4th round, where the in-form Karlis Kaugars (Dunleer AC) put a disc out to 42.15m.  Liam responded to take a disc out past the 45m mark (third longest throw in over 20 years of U14 competition) only to see the red flag raised for a minor foot infringement on the front of the circle (rules is rules).  The final round saw no further progression from either Karlis or Liam and another National medal for Liam to bring his seasons total to 1x Gold, 2x Silver and 1x Bronze (a good haul by any measure).  With the Community Games 4x100m and Shot Put finals still to go, there is still more opportunity to increase this years tally.


Athenry AC are really proud to see our athletes on the podium in National competitions, for the few athletes we have enter these competitions, the return is very high.  However medals are not the only thing we value in the Juvenile section, we would like to acknowledge and applaud the commitment of every single one of our juveniles during this year and we very much look forward to seeing you after the summer when we head into a very busy schools combined event and cross country season, may the exploits of our merry band of high achievers give you inspiration in your own athletics pursuits


Iain Shaw, Athenry AC (Juvenile section)

Success at National Juvenile Championships (Day 1 and 2)

Published in Club News on 16th July 2018


Athenry AC took a small team to Day 1 and 2 of the National Juvenile Championships and came away with a couple of medals.  On the track, Calum Healy (U15), Liam Shaw (U14) and Aoibhe Deely (U17) went over the short hurdles with both Calum and Aoibhe progressing to the final.  Aoibhe put in a superb qualifying performance winning her heat and obviously putting some doubts into her opponents.  Calum qualified as a fastest loser in what was a very high calibre heat.  Both of these young hurdlers finished a very respectable 5th in their finals and shows definite progression in their hurdling careers.  Cian McNelis was our sole track representative on Day 1 that wasn't jumping over any sort of barrier and in a straight final for the U13 600m he came home 5th in a very tight race.  As Cians race was progressing, our sole field representative, Liam Shaw was out plying his trade in the shot put circle.  Unfortunately Liam was not able to reproduce his indoor placing from earlier this year, and threw a 40cm PB of 14.15m to come away with the silver.  This throw puts Liam into a very elite group of only 8 athletes who have thrown over 14 metres at this age group

Performance of the day for the club however came late on when Sarah Gilhooley, who has only recently made the move to Steeplechase put in a stellar performance to take the gold medal in the girls U18 event, beating her nearest rival by nearly 7 seconds.  Sarah certainly has been putting in the hard miles and has had to make regular trips to Athlone IT to use the steeplechase facilities there, and it certainly shows in the progression she has made.  Sarah now has an agonising wait to see if the National selection committee will select her for the Celtic Games to represent Ireland in the event.

Rounding off this weekends exploits was Aine O'Farrell who took on the U19 3000m event.  In what was a scrappy looking race, with the entire field spread out after just a few laps, Aine finished in 4th place behind some quality athletes such as Bandons Laura Nicholson who has represented Ireland both on track and in Cross Country.  Preparation for Aine coming into the race was not ideal being on holiday in France the day before and having to have a very long drive, a ferry crossing and then another drive across the country just to get to the track !! Aine now moves onto the national senior 5000m championships in 2 weeks time.

Ryan McNelis selected for Irish Celtic Games Squad

Published in Club News on 28th July 2017

Athletics Ireland today released the names of the athletes representing Ireland for the upcoming Celtic Games to be held in Santry on August 5th (  Athenry ACs own Ryan McNelis (on left of picture) will be representing Ireland in the 400m Hurdles as part of the Irish Development squad.  Ryan's selection is just reward for the hard work that he has put in over the past 6 months which culminated in a fantastic silver medal at the recent Irish Life Health National Juvenile T&F Championships where he smashed his PB by nearly 3 seconds to set a fantastic time of 56.81s.  This really has been a breakthrough year for Ryan in his first real competitive season over the 400m Hurdles, and the juvenile medal goes along with the national junior silver medal he also received earlier this summer.  We all wish Ryan the best of luck at the Celtics and look forward to seeing further progression from him over the next 12 months.

There will be 8 County Galway athletes representing Ireland at the Celtic Games - Aoife Sheehy (GCH) – 400mH & 4x400m, Lydia Doyle (GCH) – 100mH & 4x100m, Laura Nally (GCH) – 4x400m, Chloe Casey (Craughwell) – Discus, Jerry Keary (Craughwell) – High Jump, Laura Cunningham (Craughwell) – Triple Jump, Ryan McNelis (Athenry) – 400mH and Daniel Callanan-Forde (Loughrea) – Triple Jump.  Coupled with the recent inclusion of Cillin Greene and Alanna Lally at the U20 and U23 European Championships respectively there really is a resurgence in County Galway athletes making a mark on the National athletics scene. Long may this continue.

Medals for Ryan and Patryk at National Juniors

Published in Club News on 2nd July 2017

Saturday saw two representatives from Athenry AC compete at the National Junior / U23 championships.  Ryan McNelis and Patryk Woleniuk had both targetted these championships as their main summer goal and both came away with medals and PBs.  Ryan, who is a youth athlete, was entered for both the 400mH and the 110mH, both of which were at heights greater that Ryans usual heights.  In the 400mH Ryan clocked a new PB over the 3 foot barriers of 59.54 and took silver in the process.  Patryk, in his first EVER run over the 400mH took bronze.  In the 110mH the boys came in 6th and 7th in the final but both crossed the lines with smiles on their faces (OK, may have been a grimace in Patryk's case).  Patryk rounded off the day with a run down the straight in what is an ultra-competitive 100m at junior level.  Unfortunately a stumble after coming out of the blocks - which is usually one of his strong points - left Patryk fighting a very steep uphill battle and unfortunately he did not progress past the semi-finals.  The boys have both put in a solid block of training for the past 4 months, and the medals were just rewards for their dedication and the 7am Saturday sessions in Dangan.

Athenry AC athletes representing County Galway in National League

Published in Club News on 26th June 2017

At this weekends National Track and Field league, three of Athenry ACs young stars were on show representing County Galway.  This is the first year for a number of years that a mens county team was entered, and they were competing in Divison 1 in Athlone.  Galway Women had a great year last year and so they find themselves in the Premier League (again cometing in Athlone).

For the men, Patryk Woleniuk (100m and 4x100m) and Ryan McNelis (400mH and 4x400m) carried on their seasons good form to score valuable points for the county.  Ryan had an exceptional run over the longer hurdle distance, clocking 60s and finishing a close second.  This was all the sweeter for Ryan who had to jump over the 3 foot height compared to his usual height of 2 foot 9.  Ryan is still a Youth athlete and has an exciting future ahead as a junior athlete.  Ryan is on a 3 year plan to grab a European Junior standard at 400mH.  Ryan finished the day running the third leg of the 4x400m, taking the baton in last place but coming through the field to clock a 54s 400m split at changeover.  Patryk, who is a junior sprint hurdler coached by Dermot McNamara, decided not to contest the 110mH as they were at the full senior height for the league and instead opted for the sprint and the 4x100m.  Patryk has been working hard on his raw speed and this was put to good use on Sunday and he clocked a PB in the 100m.  It won't be long before Patryk is running sub-12 for the 100.  Patryk was a recent recipient of a County Galway Athletics Bursary to help further his athletic development.  Both Ryan and Patryk are in action this weekend at the National Junior Championships where both will be chasing down medals, Ryan in the 400mH and 110mH and Patryk in the 110mH and 100m.

The sole female representative from Athenry AC in the womens County Team was Aine O'Farrell.  Aine has had a great season making huge strides both in XC and on the track.  Her selected event for the league was the 3000m and she put in a great performance to finish 3rd woman in the Premier League, against some seasoned 3000m runners, clocking an 8 second PB in the process.  Aine ran a great race, latching on to the lead group from an early stage and holding on as long as possible, and when she knew that the third place was not in doubt she eased off slightly to ensure the points - no point in heroics when there are larger issues at stake !!  Her PB follows on from her fantastic performance to win the U18 1500m at last weekends Connacht Championships, clocking another large PB improvement.  Aine has set some very ambitious, but achieveable goals for this autumns cross country season and she is most certainly a name to keep an eye on.

So Day 1 of the league ended with the Mens County Team in 6th place, just 1 point behind 5th and well positioned to get themselves into the final later in the year.  The Womens team had a truly amazing set of results to top the table after Day 1 taking the scalps of some very established county teams.  Day 2 is on 30th July in Templemore.

Full results from Day 1 can be found at

Thank You to Justin Lane of Tuam AC for the photograph

Iain Shaw appointed National Technical Official for 2017-2020

Published in Club News on 27th May 2017

At the recent Athletics Ireland AGM, the names of the new panel of National Technical Officials were announced for the period 2017 - 2020.  Amongst those new NTOs were two from County Galway, GCH's Eamonn O'Donnell and Athenry AC's own Iain Shaw.  Both Eamonn and Iain now hold the IAAF level 1 certificate of the Technical Officials Education and Certification System (TOECS) -  This award allows Iain to officiate at National events, and also International events held on Irish soil.  Iain already holds national certification as a photofinish operator and has operated electronic timing at many county/regional/national and international events over the past 4 years.

If anyone would like to get involved in training as a T&F official, or would like to get involved in photofinish/electronic timing then please send an email to [email protected]