A week on from the wind and rain of New York, local sprinter, Jason Smyth, will be in Turkey this weekend with the Irish squad for the European Team Championships.
The “Eglinton Flyer” will go in the 100 m. and in the sprint relay. Hopefully the weather will be kinder than last weekend when the unseasonal conditions ruled out fast sprinting at New York’s Diamond League meeting where even the in-form Tyson Gay failed to break 10 seconds for the short sprint.
This weekend’s action kicks-off, however, in Donegal with the Lifford 5K which should attract a big turnout for the 7.15 p.m. start tonight (Friday) and continues tomorrow in Antrim with the N. Ireland/Ulster Underage Track & Field Championships.
All the top local juveniles will be in action and another medal haul is anticipated from them.
Staying with track and field and juvenile talent, City of Derry Spartans have nine members selected on the Ulster Schools’ team for next weekend’s Tailteann Games Inter Provincial Championships.
This is a highly significant achievement for the local club with the icing on the cake the news that Thornhill College student, Anna Barr and St. Columb’s College pupil, Andrew Bolster, will captain the Ulster teams in Dublin next Saturday.
The selected athletes are - girls - Anna Barr (Thornhill), 300m, Triple Jump and 300m Relay; Ciara Armstrong (St. Cecilia’s), 300m Hurdles and 300m Relay; Claire Dougherty (Lumen Christi), High Jump and Triple Jump; Lisa Dobbins (Thornhill), Hammer; Amy Jackson (Lumen Christi), 800m; Roisin Laverty (Thornhill), Long Jump.
Boys - Andrew Bolster (St. Columb’s), 400m Hurdles and 400m Relay; Mark McGarvey (St. Joseph’s), 100m Hurdles, Long Jump and 100m Relay and Ryan McParland (St. Columb’s), 100m Relay.
A small crumb of comfort for the City of Derry’s senior men’s squad saw a revised points total from last Sunday’s Premier Division standings lift them off the bottom and they are now half a point ahead of back markers Meath Athletics whose total points were corrected downwards from 70 to 66.
It still leaves the Spartans in a relegation place behind Dublin club Crusaders on 68 but, perhaps, this will spur them on to a much improved performance in the second round match next month.
A mere three top three finishes in Sligo last Sunday simply has to be turned around next time if last year’s Premier Division bronze medallists are to survive the drop.
In Division One Olympian relied much on good performances from Ian Sheridan and John Coyle for their points tally and they will head into the second round seeking to secure a vital top eight finish to clinch a place in the mid-August League Final.
Maggie Donnelly won her speciality event the hammer with a fine 48m 04cm to post the female Spartans impressive women’s Division 1 performance and Anna Barr looked good in the 200m, second in 26.03s in windy conditions and in both relays.
Marina Campbell defied the conditions for a 3000m personal best of 10m 58.4s and Caitlin Ketelaar scored good points in the javelin and shot as the ‘red vests’ ended up nicely positioned in fourth place and confident of securing a top eight finish with an improved performance in the next round.