CLAIRE DOUGHERTY’S brilliant High Jump victory in the Celtic Schools event in Cardiff was the stand-out performance of the recent athletics action.
The Derry teenager cleared an impressive early season 1m 61cm, comfortably ahead of the runner-up’s 1m 55cm in the Welsh capital.
And considering she has little access to proper indoor training facilities, an essential winter months aid particularly in a highly technical event, this performance and the boost of a win augers well for the upcoming National Indoor Championships and beyond that the 2011 summer programme.
Elsewhere, the 27th staging of Dublin’s Raheny five mile road race last Sunday was a good one for Sammy McAnaney who tuned up nicely for this weekend’s National Masters Cross Country Championships, also in Dublin, with success in the M55 age category at the classy Raheny Shamrocks annual promotion.
Sammy posted an excellent 28m 52s for the distance to claim a morale-boosting age category victory and there were also top efforts and new personal bests for Emmet McGinty (26m 04s); Paddy Mhor Doherty (26m 36s) and Sean Laverty (27m 51s) as the local Spartans made their presence felt.
Friday last saw St. Columb’s Park successfully host the third and final race in the local Primary Schools Cross Country League with once again close to 200 young runners participating.
Both the girls and boys 1K races were keenly contested and enthusiastically supported by the teachers, parents and family members of the runners who tackled a brand new, challenging circuit in the Park.
The top two boys from the previous races swapped places this time as Mark McCloskey carried the Hollybush PS colours to a hard fought win ahead of Steelstown PS double winner Ben McCarron and another Hollybush pupil Caithir McMonagle finished third, making a significant jump from 12th spot last time out.
This trio are likely to qualify for the NI Finals at Mallusk in a few weeks time irrespective of how their respective schools fare in the team scoring.
St. Patrick’s, St Eithne’s, Steelstown and Broadbridge are contesting the three team qualifying places - final points tallies not yet to hand - and the top five individuals outside the qualifying teams, will also go through.
Ella Rose Sainsbury won the previous week at the Sports Complex and won again last Friday with a strong run, ahead of Susannah Murphy of St.Therese’s and Hollybush runner Caitlin Doherty who a week earlier had only finished back in 63rd place.
The leading teams appear to be St. Patrick’s, Broadbridge and St Therese but all the individual and team qualifiers will be identified once Friday’s results have been fully assessed.
The participating schools will be notified this week of the overall results and the NI Finals details for the qualifiers.
Masters Cross Country Championships
The Aer Lingus Sports Centre grounds in North Dublin will host the National Masters Cross Country championships this Sunday and City of Derry will have athletes in both the Men’s and Women’s races with some of them chasing age group individual honours.
Roisin Lynch won F60 silver last year and will be in contention again next Sunday as will both her M65 clubmates, Christy McMonagle and Gerry Lynch in their age group.
Sammy McAnaney too is an individual medal contender in the M55 category and the city club will have competitive squads in the Men’s Over-50 and Women’s Over-40 categories.
Shane McGowan will also be in action next Sunday, the teenager having been called up for the Celtic International competition being staged alongside the Masters events.