From TOP European action in Turkey, through some classy middle distance competition in Dublin, to a fast Lifford 5K road race and in Antrim the NI/Ulster Juvenile Championships, local athletes were busy over the weekend.
Jason Smyth was in Izmir in Turkey with the Irish senior squad for the vital European League One match and despite expressing disappointment with his fourth place 100m performance, the Eglinton man still scored significant points in the individual 100m and the Sprint Relay, contributing well to Ireland’s tenth place finish and retention of a place in the division for 2013.
Donegal athletes, Darren McBrearty and Mary McLoone were also in the Irish team and contributed to the collective effort.
Connor Bradley who posted a new 800m PB of 1m 51.69s, Pajo Hamilton, JP Williamson and Aaron Doherty were in Dublin’s Irishtown Stadiun on Saturday night for an Irish Milers Club meeting and, alongside a sizeable Donegal contingent, produced good runs in quality fields.
Shane McGowan’s U16 800m gold medal at Antrim gave him a new PB of 2m 01s as nine Provincial titles were won and Letterkenny pair, Patrick Brennan and Ciaran Doherty took the Lifford 5K honours on Friday night with the former winning a close race in a swift 14m 34s.
A busy and productive weekend then and if Jason Smyth’s 10.44s 100m clocking failed to satisfy the Eglinton star in Turkey, his fourth place finish - out of 12 - produced valuable points for the Irish team’s successful retention of their European League One status.
He went on to run a good leg in the Sprint Relay, the Irish quartets 39.61s clocking placing them an excellent third.
“I have been travelling too much recently” he said, referring to his trips to the Bahamas and New York in the past few weeks.
“I wasn’t happy with my run at all but I will go back with my coach, Stephen Maguire, and re-focus for the rest of the summer” he concluded.
Meanwhile in Dublin on Saturday night four City of Derry runners got in the thick of the Irish Milers Club meeting action with Connor Bradley getting a new PB in the 800m “A” race.
A closely contested two lapper was won in 1m 50.14s by Tallaght’s Anthony Leighilo and the Spartan was sixth with 1m 51.69s just behind Finn Valley’s Noel Collins, 1m 51.18s and the in-form Letterkenny man Dan Mooney who ran 1m 50.63s for fourth.
In the “C” race Pajo Hamilton was pipped on the line with a season’s best of 1m 55.76s as he showed his Provincial silver medal in Antrim a week earlier was no flash in the pan.
JP Williamson went in the 1,500m and found the pace a trifle hot. The Oakgrove teenager ran 4m 12s. for the second week running, finding himself isolated for much of the distance and Aaron Doherty produced a 15m 20s 5,000m run, a week after doubling up over the distance in Antrim and Sligo.
Fast 5K In Lifford
Friday night’s Lifford 5K provided a head-to-head between Patrick Brennan and Ciaran Doherty of Letterkenny AC with Brennan winning by just four seconds at the line.
His 14m 343s was another impressive performance and the top two were well ahead of third placer Pauric McKinney’s 15m 19s.
The Spartans’ Paddy Mhor Doherty did well for fourth on 15m 28s, former South Donegal star, David Wilson now in the M40 grade was next with 15m 42s and another Spartan, Gary Slevin got back on track with 15m 56s for sixth.
Inishowen AC’s Helena Crossan ran 18m 11s for the women’s race honours with Marina Campbell keeping the red vests to the fore with a new PB of 18m 35s in the runners-up spot.
A good performance from the Spartan who is clearly relishing her new track training regime. Inishowen’s consistent Teresa Doherty ran 19m 06s to pip Foyle Valley’s Rosie O’Brien for third but both were given the same time.
City of Derry male Masters, Peter Lilburn and Christy McMonagle did well for 18m 13s and 20m 01s clockings as 165 finishers were recorded in this popular event.
The immensely talented Shane McGowan headed the local rush of gold medallists at the weekend NI/Ulster Juvenile championships in Antrim, his spanking new 800m PB in the U16 age group perfectly complementing his recent Irish Schools victory in Tullamore.
He sped to victory improving the 2m 03.12s Tullamore clocking to a cracking 2m 01s on Saturday and then claimed 1,500m silver on Sunday to cap a great weekend.
The other local gold medal winners included Claire Dougherty who doubled in High and Triple Jump; Jack McCloskey 200m; Andrew Bolster 300m Hurdles; Roisin Laverty Long Jump; Fiona Mallett 2K Steeplechase; Lisa Bradley 2K Walk; Michael Surman Javelin; Mark McGeady Triple Jump and Ruaidhri O’Neill 250m Hurdles.
Waterside Half Marathon
Good news on the road running front with a formal Waterside Half Marathon launch expected early next week. The popular Waterside event will celebrate its 30th staging on Sunday, September 11th next and with NI championship status already confirmed, the admittedly late formal launch will focus attention on what has been a staple of road running locally and nationally for the past three decades. Check the Derry City Council website for updates.