The first Irish track & field fixtures are coming over the horizon. The competitive year starts off with indoor competition. Which is a bit of a standing joke here as the only indoor facility in the Republic is at Nenagh in North Tipperary. And I understand that so draughty and unwelcoming is that place that people go outside to get warm!

Indeed the Irish national championships take place next weekend outside the jurisdiction, in Belfast.

Of more immediate interest to us at Crusaders are the Dublin Indoors in a few weeks time. Of course this event takes place outdoors – it could only happen in Ireland. The most successful go on to Nenagh for the AAI Indoors three weeks later.

So we are starting to think about which of our athletes might contest which events. We already have a good idea of who can run and jump. This week we started thinking about shot putt, the only ‘indoor’ throw. Everybody on Tuesday evening had a little go with Alix Hughes being the stand-out performer. We have two older throwers – Sarah Fleming (16) and Brian Gray (14) who, with the dire overall standard of throwing in this country, should be competitive at national age-group level this summer.

I am fully expecting some other young throwers to come creeping back shortly ahead of the schools competitions. Despite my nagging, none have appeared for the winter training. They will therefore not achieve all that they are capable of in 2009. However I must accept that not all young athletes wish to devote themselves entirely to their sport. And training as a thrower can be a cold, lonely business.

On Thursday the elements forced us inside but Moira delivered a useful hurdle flexibility session. And with Moya and Marian now on the coaching strength we are now able to split the Saturday crowd by age, and perhaps we can sub-split by event later.

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