Clounagh boys add Irish glory to landmark season of silverware

Clounagh Junior High School pupils show off the Irish Junior prize won at Tullamore. From left are Harry Anderson, Ethan Williamson, Alberto Balde and Matthew Willis.INPT23-277
Clounagh Junior High School pupils show off the Irish Junior prize won at Tullamore. From left are Harry Anderson, Ethan Williamson, Alberto Balde and Matthew Willis.INPT23-277

Clounagh Junior High School’s dream season set fresh heights on Saturday with record-breaking results at the Irish finals.

Ethan Williamson, Alberto Balde, Matthew Willis and Harry Anderson made the trip to Tullamore in County Offaly aiming to build on the landmark inaugural Ulster Schools’ Championship gold.

Ultimately, Ulster glory proved the starting point rather than the high point as the Clounagh pupils - under the guidance of teachers Jim Carson and Brian Graham - increased the medal haul on the All-Ireland stage.

Williamson was top of the individual honours with double gold but the collective effort left Clounagh ranked first across Ireland in the field of 78 junior teams.

Four school records were established at the Tullamore meeting as Clounagh made history by returning to town as the first team of pupils from the area to claim the Irish team title.

Williamson added the Irish triple jump prize to Ulster gold by clearing his existing school record on 11.77 metres.

His second prize was secured across the 80-metres hurdles by setting another school record in his 11.63-second run.

The teenager now stands third across his age group within the United Kingdom rankings.

Balde just missed out on a podium position in the long jump despite a ‘personal best’ leap of 5.92 metres.

However, a two-centimetre gap prevented Balde from adding to the school’s medal collection.

Willis finished the 800-metres final with a ‘personal best’ time towards sixth and school record of 2 minutes 07.83 seconds.

The relay showpiece finished in 47.25 seconds for Clounagh as the strong entry list forced the town pupils outside the medal position into fourth.