YOUNGSTERS representing County Derry experienced considerable success at the HSC Community Games National Finals held over two recent weekends at the AIT in Athlone.
Competing in Judo, Gymnastics and Athletics the local athlets returned home with a medals haul and considering the fact that in excess of 3,000 competitors participated in the National Finals, the County Derry Community Games Committee left the Midlands’ venue very proud of the achievements.
The first weekend saw the Judo players and gymnasts take centre stage with Joshua Rutherford claiming the National Title in the 25 kgs. competition after exhibiting a magnificent display having qualified for the final.
Courtney Lyttle narrowly missed the gold medal with a Yuko from the Cork player snatching the National Title from her grasp.
Matthew McCrossan and Emily Carberry displayed great skill in their two bouts and should be well pleased with their bronze medals.
Tom McLaughlin claimed a silver medal in the Boys under-12 gymnastic competition but will feel that he had put on a performance that merited the gold medal. His orchestration of the routine was flawless and that was very much appreciated by the watching attendance. No doubt the much sought after gold medal will be his for the taking next year.
Athletics was the main menu for the second weekend and the County Derry travelling contingent were treated to a spectacular race from young Aoife Laverty when she took the gold medal in the under-14 800m, the first ever female gold track medal for County Derry at the National Finals.
Running with a maturity well above her years, Aoife took the lead with 300m to go and left an Irish champion unable to respond to her superior finishing speed, Aoife is definitely one to watch in the future.
Amy Jackson took to the track immediately after Aoife and again treated the Derry spectators to an exciting run in the under-16 1500m just losing out in a three-way battle on the home straight to finish in third spot.
She then ran the anchor leg in the under-16 relay final bringing the County Derry team home in 5th place to round off what was an excellent day of high quality competition for all the local athletes concerned.