Jack O’Leary (Rhetoric) is one of the most talented athletes to have ever passed through Clongowes and last Saturday he ended his schools’ athletics career in some style in the All Ireland Track and Field Finals in Tullamore. Jack, the current Leinster champion was hoping to go one stage better and capture the prestigious Darcy Chillingworth Cup for Senior All Ireland 5000m champion.
Employing confident but risky tactics, Jack took control of the race from the gun and burnt off the opposition one by one until with three of the thirteen and a half laps to go, only three serious contenders remained – all three All Ireland title holders in different distances.
With 400m remaining, Jack made his next move leaving a two-horse race and his final injection of pace on the 200m marker opened a twenty metre gap on his nearest competitor, leaving Jack to enjoy the cheers and applause of the packed Tullamore stadium.
Elsewhere on the day, Charlie O’Neill (Rudiments) came 8th in the Junior Javelin, while Michael Spillane (Elements) came 5th in the Minor 800m. Jack, Charlie and Michael are a great credit to the enduring athletics tradition in Clongowes and to the diligence and commitment of their coach Mr Shane Heslin (pictured above with Jack in Tullamore).
Saturday’s successes capped off a great season for athletics in Clongowes – a season in which Jack had already captured the Senior 5000m Leinster schools’ title in Santry in May, giving him the impressive double of Leinster Cross Country and Leinster track titles. This was a fine addition to the medals also won in May by Michael and Charlie in the Minor 800m and Junior Javelin Leinster titles respectively. Congratulations also go to Juan Siljestrom (Syntax) on a wonderful second place finish in the Under 16 Shot.