Southern Star Ltd. logo

Caoimhe and Max bring schools’ gold home to West Cork

June 16th, 2023 2:00 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Caoimhe and Max bring schools’ gold home to West Cork Image
Skibbereen Community School's Caoimhe Flannery on her way to winning the All-Ireland schools' intermediate girls' 1500m steeplechase title.(Photo: Coolbawn Cross)

Share this article

CASTLEHAVEN teenager Caoimhe Flannery was one of the standout local performers at the Irish Schools Track and Field Championships held in Tullamore recently.

The 16-year-old Skibbereen Community School student was a hugely impressive winner of the intermediate (U17) girls’ 1500m steeplechase.

The pre-race favourite heading into the final, having broken the South Munster and Munster schools’ records in the preceding weeks, Caoimhe took command of the race from the start. With each lap the Skibbereen AC athlete stretched her lead, negotiating the barriers and waterjump with ease. Her winning time of 5:11.75 was just two seconds outside the national record, while she had ten seconds to spare on her closest rival, Grace Byrne for Mullingar.

This is Caoimhe’s first schools or club title, having finished third in the schools’ intermediate steeplechase last year. She is also the first Skibbereen Community School student to win an Irish athletics schools’ title.

Caoimhe is also a niece of Cork football boss John Cleary, and she made sure she was in Páirc Uí Chaoimh the following day for the Rebels’ clash with Kerry; Caoimhe’s first cousin Rory Maguire also started in the Cork defence. While the result didn’t go Cork’s way on this occasion, the Clearys were still able to celebrate Caoimhe’s breakthrough win.


Bandon Grammar School’s Max Clover also brought gold back to West Cork when he won the junior boys’ triple jump thanks to his fifth and final effort of 11.46, to finish six centimetres ahead of Alex Jaworski of Midleton CBS. Max also finished second in the junior boys’ discus thanks to his best effort of 37.35m. Ruby Cummins of Coláiste na Toirbhirte also won two medals – she finished second in both the junior girls’ long jump and the 75m hurdles. 

There were two West Cork athletes on the podium after the intermediate girls’ javelin, as Skibbereen Community School’s Katie Kingston won silver with her best throw of 40.23, while Aoife Callan of St Brogan’s College, Bandon earned bronze with 37.42.

Sean Lawton of Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí, so impressive en route to the All-Ireland final, brought home bronze after finishing third in the senior boys’ 5000m, his finishing time was 15:12.74. Ella Collins of Coláiste na Toirbhirte also won bronze after her third place in the senior girls’ steeplechase; her time was 5:20.07.

A number of Skibbereen AC athletes were also representing their school. Elaine O'Sullivan finished fourth in the junior girls javelin, while Lorraine Coakley (eligible for the junior category again next year) finished ninth in the same competition. Diana Coakley finished eighth in the intermediate hammer with a personal best of 34.58m.

Share this article