Local athletes were prominent at two major track & field meetings over the weekend with Jason Smyth posting an impressive sprint ‘double’ at Friday night’s Clonliffe 125 showcase in Dublin where Connor Bradley also caught the eye in a fast 3,000 metres.
And Mark McGarvey’s 110m Hurdles gold topped a haul of eight National Juvenile championship medals in Tullamore by a talented bunch of young City of Derry Spartans.
Sprinter, Smyth humbled classy 100m and 200m fields at Santry Stadium on Friday night when he clocked 10.39s and a 200m PB of 20.94s for a terrific winning double at the Dublin venue.
In the shorter sprint he finished comfortably ahead of Jamacian, Kemar Bailey-Cole who ran 10.45s with Chris Russell of the Ferrybank club in Waterford clocking 10.63s for third.
The 200m was a trifle closer, the flying Spartan needing a new PB of 20.94s to hold off the 20.97s from Rolondo Palacious of Honduras with Russell once again in third spot, on 21.11s.
A good evening’s work for the Eglinton man who moves on to another European meet this weekend as his season clicks up a gear.
In a real quality 3,000m, Connor Bradley ran magnificently for a fifth place finish, posting a great new PB of 8m 10.26s.
The field was stacked with most of the top home grown middle distance men and the Spartan, who would have preferred a start in the Morton Mile, stuck with the up front pace practically all the way to emphasise his quality and finish ahead of the likes of DSD man, Joe Sweeney, the Inter Counties cross country winner at Gransha last November and top NI performers, Eddie McGinley and Andrew Agnew.
Race winner was Michael Mulhare of North Laois on 8m 02.08s just in front of Raheny’s Dave Rooney with 8m 02.59s and DSD runner Brendan O’Neill was a close up third on 8m 03.63s.
In the 800m races Pajo Hamilton got a season’s PB of 1m 55.26s while Cathal Logue continued his improvement with a 2m 03.03s effort in a later two lapper.
Meanwhile Tullamore hosted the first leg of the National Juvenile championships over the weekend and eight medals came Foyleside courtesy of the rising talent in the City of Derry club.
Mark McGarvey showed his class again over the Hurdles, convincingly claiming the U18 110m hurdles gold with a super 14.78s winning time.
This was very close to the 14.71s age group record for the event and Mark went on to take 100m flat bronze in 11.49s, narrowly missing out on silver. Nevertheless a good weekend for the St Joseph’s student.
Anna Barr also brought home a brace of medals in the U18 age group. Her 10m 85cm leap gave her Triple Jump silver and in a desperately tight finish she took 300m bronze with a PB of 40.37s.
Another big showing from the Spartan as her season continues to develop positively. Newcomer Naomi Morgan in her first ever National appearance got out to 5m 13cm to claim the U16 Long Jump silver and she looks good for the future.
And 800m star, Shane McGowan was involved in an ultra competitive U16 two lapper and in a dramatic finish his 2m 05.39s clocking gave him the bronze medal. The race was won in 2m 04.56s and fifth was timed at 2m 06.22s so it really was a battle to the line.
Two other hurdlers grabbed well deserved medals, silver for Ruaidhri O’Neill in the U16 250m hurdles and bronze for Ciara Armstrong over the same distance in the U16 Girls championship.
These were terrific efforts, Ruaidhri clocking 34.18s and Ciara on 38.04s, both races were very close affairs and the local medals the products of excellent runs.
There were a number of athletes who missed out on medals with fourth places for Jack McCloskey in the U16 100m; Ryan McParland in the U17 100m; Emma McCay in the U17 300m hurdles; Fiona Mallett in the U17 2,000m steeplechase and Olympian’s Bronagh Doherty in the U16 Hammer.
Others in action were Martin McGeady; Andrew Bolsater; Tamara Boyle and Amy Jackson for the Spartans and the Olympian trio of Sarah Hannah Ward,Connor Edwards and Oliva Webb. The second leg of the championships will be back in Tullamore on Saturday 23rd July and once again locals will be challenging for the honours.