BY JOHN WALSHE
A YOUNG Carrigaline athlete, Sam Healy, who only celebrated his 18th birthday last year, has been honoured with the Cork City Sports Athletic Person of the Month Award for the third time in his career.
The Leevale athlete received the award for the month of January after setting a new Irish junior record of 7.89 for the 60m hurdles at the GloHealth Junior/U23 Track and Field Championships in Athlone.
Earlier in the month at the Munster Championships in Nenagh, Healy had equalled the previous record of eight seconds flat held by Trevor McGlynn since 1997, so he was understandably delighted to reduce it by over a second in Athlone.
‘I feel I’m getting faster and faster all the time. At the Irish juniors I felt the race wasn’t that good as I hit the last hurdle so it knocked me off my speed a bit,’ Healy said.
Having previously won the Cork City Sports Award twice for the combined multi-events, the Leaving Cert pupil at Carrigaline Community School is now concentrating on just the hurdles and long jump.
‘This year now will determine whether I’m a hurdler or a long jumper,’ stated Healy, who stands 6’ 3” in height and weights 82.5 kilos. Indeed, since his award, Sam has produced two more outstanding performances in the long jump.
He finished a magnificent second in the Irish senior championships when setting a new junior record of 7.53m and then, last weekend, also took the silver at the England Athletics U20 championships at Sheffield with another fine leap of 7.51m.
Last year, he had a wind-assisted leap of 7.51 at Bedford so this year’s European Junior outdoor qualifying mark of 7.40m is well within his capabilities.
‘I would hope to qualify in both the long jump and hurdles, I got the hurdles standard last year but must run it again this year,’ he said.
Healy is coached by two former top-class performers in their respective events, Seamus Power in the hurdles and Stephen Fleming for the long jump, both of whom attended the function in his honour.
Tony O’Connell, Chairman of the Cork City Sports, congratulated the monthly winner, saying he hoped the award would be further encouragement for him in his athletics career and looked forward to seeing him compete at the City Sports on July 7th.
In attendance at the ceremony were Sam’s parents, Ger and Paula, sister Molly, uncle Ian O’Reilly, along with his grandparents Pat and Marie O’Reilly and Una Healy.
The Cork City Sports Athletic Person of the Month Award is jointly sponsored by the Evening Echo, Cork 96FM and C103 and The River Lee Hotel.