Spartan teenagers on track in Santry

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TRACK AND Field grabbed the local athletics headlines over the weekend with a brace of British Masters Championship medals from W50 star Danea Herron and a total of ten Tailteann Games medals from the teenage Spartan squad in Dublin.

Six members of the Spartan Juvenile squad were representing the Ulster Schools in the annual Inter Provincial Championships in Santry and they returned to Foyleside with an excellent medal haul.

Add in some excellent road race action earlier in the week from Dunree and Aghyaran and it was a hectic five days for local athletes.

First though to Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium and City of Derry Spartans’ Danea Herron who contested the W50 Javelin and Triple Jump at Sunday’s competitive British Masters Championships.

The busy local coach has got herself into good competitive shape recently and did very well indeed with Javelin gold and Triple Jump silver at a very hot Alexander Stadium.

She threw a winning 25m 56cm for Javelin gold and got out to 8m 91cm to claim Triple Jump silver, a satisfactory return from these high quality championships.

Meanwhile, Dublin’s Santry Stadium hosted the annual Tailteann Games on Saturday and, wearing the Ulster Schools vests, six top City of Derry Spartans juveniles came home with a total of ten much-coveted Tailteann medals between them.

Mark McGarvey (pictured right) performed very well and grabbed three of that total in an inspired showing in three separate events. The St Joseph’s student finished runner-up in the 100m Hurdles with a 13.9s clocking; was second again in the Long Jump with a 6m 34cm leap - defeated only by 4cms - and then struck gold in the Sprint Relay where he was joined by clubmate Ryan McParland of St Columb’s.

Another St Columb’s student, Andrew Bolster took bronze in the 400m Hurdles and went on to claim gold as a member of the victorious 4x400m Ulster Relay squad.

He had an excellent 58.32s clocking in the Hurdles and will go into the rest of the season buoyed up by that performance.

Anna Barr of Thornhill was also in good form to claim double bronze in the 300m and the 4x300m Relay. The Ulster girls squad captain ran 42.14s for 300m third place and then ran a storming leg in the Relay as the Ulster quartet raced to bronze.

St.Cecelia’s Ciara Armstrong made up for a fourth place 300m Hurdles finish with a good run alongside Anna in the Relay squad and was delighted to bring home a bronze medal.

Claire Dougherty of Lumen Christi jumped 1m 55cm for fourth in the High Jump but then took Triple Jump bronze by getting out to 11m 09cm, finishing just ahead of Anna Barr’s 10m 82cm.

The winner here leapt to a new Tailteann record of 11m 37cm. Amy Jackson of Lumen was also in a record-breaking event, the 800m, and produced another sub 2m 20s effort for sixth place in a top quality field.

Amy was clocked at 2m 19s.75s, close to her Irish Schools clocking a few weeks ago and showed that her significant improvement this season looks set to continue.