ATHLETICS: From Rio to Buncrana - a great weekend for local athletics

Jason Smyth's T100m victory in the Paralympic Final in Rio was the highlight of the weekend.
Jason Smyth's T100m victory in the Paralympic Final in Rio was the highlight of the weekend.

While it was on the cusp of the weekend, Jason Smyth’s impressive 10.64s to retain his Paralympic 100m T13 title in Rio last Friday deserves to headline the weekend action from local athletes.

The Eglinton Flyer’s performance was, as usual, exemplary and he delivered the goods in emphatic fashion as the top three finishers all went sub 11 seconds.

City of Derry Spartan Declan Reed.

City of Derry Spartan Declan Reed.

Jason, however, is in a class of his own and despite an injury-wracked few years he showed once again his superiority and added Paralympic gold medal number five to his double hauls over 100m/200m from Beijing and London.

The 29 year-old has already indicated he intends to be on the start line again in 2020 in Tokyo with yet another gold his clear target - who is to say he cannot do it?

Elsewhere there was road race action in Buncrana on Sunday where the Donegal 5K road championships were staged in less than ideal windy conditions.

Declan Reed won in 15m 18s and showed he is back in business after a period out with injury, going away on the hill before the 4K mark to comfortably see off the challenge of Letterkenny’s Ciaran Doherty on 15m 28s and Mark Hoy of Finn Valley who struggled on the hill and faded to 15m 59s for the final podium spot.

Letterkenny AC athletes dominated the Women’s race, Finnoula Diver posting 18m 18s for the win ahead of clubmate Noleen Scanlon on 19m 29s and 24/7 Tri Club’s Natasha Kelly claiming 19m 59s for third.

Training partners, Pauric McKinney and Emmett McGinty had a race-long duel with the National M50 star just edging the Spartan on the line with 16m 14s to 16m 15s as they finished fifth and sixth in the 100 plus finishing list.

Zach McGowan was 25th in 18m 15s but, while he is still 19 years-old, the Junior U20 award went to the previously unheralded Olympian YAC’s Sean McGinley who posted a good 18m 36s and took the title as the rules dictate anyone who reaches 20 in the calendar year is ineligible. An impressive run from young Sean!

At the other end of the age spectrum Peter Lilburn was the top M60 with a decent 18m 37s clocking taking out a regular opponent Foyle Valley’s Martin Dunleavy and also his M55 clubmate Joe McCarthy who posted 18m 52s for 35th place overall.

Letterkenny took the four to score men’s team race ahead of Finn Valley, City of Derry Spartans and Inishowen AC with their female squad seeing off the challenge of Inishowen and Convoy AC.