TULLAMORE proved to be a rewarding weekend venue for local athletes as the City of Derry Spartans women’s squad clinched promotion to the 2013 National League Premier Division after a hard earned runners-up finish in Sunday’s Division One Final.
And 24 hours earlier there were National Masters’ golds for Eoghan Furey and Cathal McLaughlin and a double success for Danea Herron.
The overnight to Tullamore was worth the effort for the female Spartans who, despite missing three key squad members, did enough to grab the runners-up spot behind a strong St. Abban’s team and thus booked their place in next year’s women’s Premier Division.
The Midlands club finished on 110 points for the day as the Derry women rallied late to post 103 points and surge clear of Wexford County who had been ahead of the ‘red vests’ for most of the day-long meeting. Wexford finished on 99 points and missed out on promotion as the Spartans finished with a real flourish by winning a nail-biting 400 m relay to seal their promotion with aplomb.
So it was mission accomplished for the locals who had targeted promotion after making the Division One final last year and, conscious that they had a talented mix of youth and experience to draw on, set out their stall for a serious tilt at promotion this summer.
Excellent performances in the two qualifying rounds in Antrim and Dublin got them to the final at the head of the eight qualifiers and even minus the input of Claire Dougherty, Jenni O’ Brien and Maggie Donnelly, a real gritty team effort saw them do the job.
“We are so proud of the girls,” commented Bridgeen Byrne on behalf of the team management. “And were are absolutely delighted to win promotion. We have a terrific squad, a brilliant mix of youth and experience and they and the club coaches can all be proud of their contribution to this success at National level.”
Individual wins for Ciara Armstrong 100 m, Anna Barr 400 m, Marina Campbell 3000 m and Mary Devlin in the Long Jump, plus wins in the Sprint and 400 m relays, laid the foundation for the 100 plus points total.
Ciara also finished second in the 200m, Amy Jackson did the same in the 800m, Amy McDaid produced a 1500m personal best for third place and Mary Devlin grabbed more good points with third in the Triple Jump. Emma McCay scored well in both the 100m and 400m Hurdles, Naomi Morgan stepped up to cover the High Jump for Claire Dougherty and Caitlin Ketelaar and coach, Danea Herron, picked up points in the throws.
Megan Devine, Gemma Thompson,Tamara Boyle and Rebecca McLaughlin worked their socks off as part of the wining relay squads as the team stayed strong throughout a long, hard day to collectively claim the silver medals and deliver that much coveted Premier Division place.
Glory For “Masters”
A day earlier it was the ‘Masters’ athletes on show and Eoghan Furey’s M35 800 metres Gold and Cathal McLaughlin’s M45 800m Gold were the local track highlights with Danea Herron securing a great field events double with F50 Gold in Javelin and Long Jump.
The Spartans’ coach is also a talented Masters athlete with a brilliant National, European and World pedigree. Saturday’s latest success is a tribute to her ongoing dedication to both coaching and competition.
Fellow Spartan, Eoghan Furey, clocked a good 2m. 03.91secs. for the M35 gold over 800m and will travel today to Germany for the European Championships where he hopes to drop closer to the two minute mark and, perhaps, get into the mix for a podium finish.
Foyle Valley’s Cathal McLaughlin ran 2m. 07s to clinch the M45 800 metres title and demonstrate once again his track credentials while club mate Malcolm McCausland celebrated his recent 60th birthday in style by claiming bronze in the M60 1,500m. Philip Donaghy was unlucky in the M40 800 metres, finishing just out of the medals in fourth place with a 2m 09s run, the bronze going to Finn Valley’s Ciaran Carlin.
Back to the road and Gransha will be buzzing next Tuesday evening, August 28th, as the annual Dessie’s Run 10 kms. Road Race is expected to pull its usual big entry of club runners and others.
Strategically positioned just under two weeks ahead of the Waterside Half Marathon ‘Dessie’s’ is an ideal run out pre the Waterside Half Marathon and with T-Shirts, an extensive prize fund, a good course and excellent post race refreshments, it’s not to be missed.
The start time is 7.15 pm and entries will be taken from 6.00 p.m. at the U3A Foyle building in the Gransha Grounds. The entry fee is £8 or E10 and all intending participants are asked to arrive in good time to register and warm-up pre race.
The start is adjacent to the U3A facility and the usual three lap course will be used. The buzz at ‘Dessie’s’ is always good and the mix of club runners, joggers and fun runners, many preparing for the Waterside Half Marathon on Sunday September 9th, makes for a great night.