A HECTIC recent period saw local athletes see action at a wide variety of venues with significant performances recorded by Jason Smyth, Tori Pena, Emmett McGinty, Pius McIntyre, Catherine Whoriskey, Chris McGuinness, Amy McDaid, Allan Bogle, Miriam Bridge and Anne Paul.
Sunday’s big local Sprint Triathlon added to the local success with Aileen Morrison-Reed and Maeve Maher-McWilliams finishing one, two in the women’s rankings with Daniel Quigley posting a top 10 finish.
Sprinter Smyth and pole vaulter Pena both arrived from their American bases to contribute magnificently to the Irish team’s terrific performance in Dublin at the European Athletics first league match over the weekend, finishing a strong seventh out of 12 national teams, the best ever Irish team performance at this level of track & field athletics.
The ‘Eglinton Express’ grabbed an excellent third place finish in the men’s 100 metres when clocking 10.78 secs. into a very strong headwind, and the Finn Valley vaulter, Pena, cleared 4 m. 30 cms for a very important combined total of 21 points towards the Irish team’s overall final tally.
Emmett McGinty enhanced his reputation with a 15 m. 31 secs. victory at last Wednesday’s Dunree 5K, while at the Mary Peters track on the same night, Amy McDaid posted a 1500m personal best of 4m 55.23s at the Super 5 meeting.
On a busy night the Lisburn 10K also provided a P.B. for Keith Shields, his 31 m. 49 secs. clocking behind Annadale’s Paddy Hamilton’s 31 m. 03 secs., a great effort. Anne Paul warmed up for last Sunday’s hugely entertaining City of Culture triathlon with a 39 m. 35 s. Lisburn finish bringing her home third female finisher.
Wednesday night’s local Hillhead ‘4 miler’ produced a new course record for winner Pius McIntyre, his 21m 33s getting him home ahead of Allan Bogle’s 21m 53s. Catherine Whoriskey returned to competitive action with a winning 25m 17s with her clubmate Miriam Bridge posting 26m 46s in the runners up spot.
Sunday’s big Sprint Triathlon action put the icing on the cake, albeit in very damp conditions as Aileen Morrison-Reid finished in the top 10 overall to take the women’s title, ahead of another local star in the making, Maeve Maher McWilliams, who finished less than than four minutes behind her Olympian team mate.
Another Irish Olympian triathlete, Gavin Noble from Enniskillen, was a clear overall winner with North-West clubman, Daniel Quigley, making the top eight and grabbing the bragging rights as the the first local finisher. Alvaro San Miguel and Jarlath Fearon were the next local club finishers, 12th and 20th overall with Fearon runner-up in his 50+ age group.