By Paul Griffin, Tralee Harrier PRO
TRALEE Harriers Athletic Club held their annual Christmas Social and Awards night in Manor West Hotel on Friday to celebrate their members success on the track and field.
The night was well attended as Mayor Terry O’Brien was the Guest of Honour and he assisted in giving out the awards to the athletes both young and not so young.
The evening was MC’d by John O’Carroll, who also provided a visual power point of all the athletes and coaches throughout the year.
Mayor Terry O’Brien gave a rousing speech congratulating the clubs commitment to athletics in the Tralee area and praised the board of Tralee Harriers on their continuing efforts in improving their training grounds and working hard to bring Tralee a facility that can be used by the wider community.
The evening kicked off with the participation awards where athletes who committed to training and working hard were honoured with a Gold medal for their efforts, following a delicious meal and speeches the main awards took place.
Athletes who won a medal at the following events were given a trophy for their efforts, The Kerry Indoor Development Games for U9 – U12, County Kerry Track and Field Championships U9-U19, Seniors and Masters, Munster Indoor and Track and Field Championships U9- U23 and Seniors, The National Indoor and Track and Field Championships U12 –U23 and Masters.
Special Merit Awards went to two outstanding athletes both of whom have continued to achieve outstanding performance in their fledging athletic career.
Conor Commane was honoured for gaining not alone 5 Gold and a Silver National medals but also setting Championship Best Performances at County, Munster and setting a new national record in the U14 boys Long Jump, Rachel Bowler was also given a Merit award for her achievements this year, she is fast becoming the Queen of the underage Long and Triple jumps, taking the national Indoor Triple Jump and Track and Field Long Jump U18.
She was invited to take part in the prestigious Cork City Sports and as a result of her achievements in the sand pits Rachel was asked to compete for Ireland at the Celtic Games where she took bronze in the U18 Long Jump.
Aoibheann O’Brien took the Clubs Juvenile athlete of the year. This year was one of Aoibheann’s strongest, taking 3 Golds at Munsters, the National Junior Indoor Triple Jump Gold, the National U19 and Junior Long Jump titles too.
Along with Rachel she accepted a invite to take part in the Cork City Sports, Aoibheann’s commitment to training and development is second to none and she has inspired the majority or athletes in the club and other Kerry clubs to strive for all they can achieve.
Clare Fitzgerald took the Senior Athletes award again this year. Clare once again set her sights on national titles and for the 5th yr in a row took the Indoor Shot Put title, and 6th yr in the Track and Field.
She, for the 7th year, snatched by some margin the Discus title, holding a Personal Best of 55.06m. Clare was chosen to represent Ireland at the European throws in Romania. She is studying in the UK and keeps her training up while balancing her studies, competing for Windsor Harrow Slough AC she took first place in the Discus in all three rounds of the Premier League and has been chosen by England to compete at the triangular match with Scotland and Wales.
The evening finished with a disco and floods of raffle and spot prizes. The club wished to thank all the business premises in Tralee and further afield as well as the “Friends of Tralee Harriers” for all of their generous donations towards the raffles and spot prizes.
Tralee Harriers would like to commend Caroline O’Carroll and Margaret O‘Brien for the tireless work they put into the organisation of the event, another great success this year.
Tralee Harriers Athletic club would like to wish all of the clubs athletes, parents, coaches, volunteers, supporters, and the wider Tralee community all the best this coming festive season and wish you all continued success in 2017. Scroll down for photos…