A DOUBLE header of quality Track & Field action in Belfast and Antrim, plus road races in Milford and Letterkenny kept local athletes busy over the weekend and there were several significant performances to report.
Eight local teenagers were in the Ulster squad for Saturday’s Celtic Games in Antrim. In a good quality match with Scotland, Wales and an Athletics Ireland select at U16 and U18 level, the provincial team finished behind winners Scotland, Wales and the Irish select.
There were no local individual wins but they all acquitted themselves well given they are right at the end of a long hard summer season.
Anna Barr did notch two third places in the U18 Triple Jump and the 300 metres as well as running, alongside Ciara Armstrong in the Ulster four by 300m Relay squad.
Ciara also covered the 300m Hurdles, finishing fourth; Claire Dougherty dropped to fourth on count-back in the U18 High Jump with a 1m 60cm clearance; and there were also fourth place finishes for Shane McGowan in the U16 800m, Amy Jackson in the U18 1,500m, Andrew Bolster in the 400m Hurdles U18 and also at U18, Mark McGarvey in the 100m.
Andrew Bolster (right)was on the four by 400m Ulster Relay squad which grabbed third in an exciting tussle with their Athletics Ireland counterparts and Ryan McParland who ran 11.64s in the Invitational 100m, and Mark McGarvey contributed well to the fourth placed U18 sprint relay quartet.
Belfast’s Mary Peters track hosted an Irish Milers Club/ANI meet on Friday night and in the A standard 800m, won in 1m 51.75s by Letterkenny’s Danny Mooney, Connor Bradley chased him home in 1m 52.23s with Pajo Hamilton fifth on 1m 54.56s.
In the C grade two lapper both JP Williamson and Cathal Logue produced new Pbs of 2m 01.36s and 2m 01.59s respectively and Hannah McGowan had her best run of the season with a 2m 26.42s clocking in the women’s 800m.
On the road there was a welcome and winning return to competitive action on Thursday night last for Richard Johnston who posted 34m 08s when taking the honours at the Burren 10K.
Letterkenny’s Chris Johnston won Friday evening’s Milford 5K in 16m 07s ahead of Finn Valley’s Dermot Brennan with 16m 19s and Foyle Valley man, Keith Shields was third on 16m 25s, an excellent effort.
Patrick Brennan won Sunday morning’s Danny McDaid 15K in Letterkenny ahead of his host club teammate Ciaran Doherty. The winning time was an impressive 48m 59s, Doherty came home in 49m 11s and the top M40 Pauric McKinney with 50m 44s made it a Letterkenny clean sweep in the men’s race.
Noreen McGettigan ran a good 59m 11s for the women’s win with City of Derry athlete Marina Campbell having a good one for second in 61m 17s and another Letterkenny runner, Sheila Regan claiming third on 63m 11s.
In fifth spot was Jackie McGinley in 64m 46s to claim the F40 honours and her sister Paula McGilloway ran 73m 43s for the F45 category win.
Paddy Doherty did well for fifth in the men’s race on 51m 25s and his Spartans clubmate Paul McCafferty ran 53m16s for eight place and second M40. Pius McIntyre is going well and the Foyle Valley man was an impressive seventh on 52m 42s.
Following last night’s Jog in the Bog, the next road action is Friday night’s Ballyare 10K at 7.30 p.m and on Saturday it’s the Moville 10K which has a 3 p.m. start time.
These are followed by the big one in these parts, Dessie’s Run, out of the Gransha Grounds on Tuesday evening, August 30th at 7.15 pm. This is the annual City of Derry Spartans promotion, commemorating the former Sparta AC club captain Dessie McNulty and the popular 10K is set to attract around 200 participants.
Entries will be taken on the night from 6 p.m at race HQ in the U3A Foyle building in the Gransha Grounds but pre-entries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 pm on Monday, August 29th. Simply state your name, age on race day and t-shirt size and you can pick up your race pack on the night. There will be t-shirts for the first 200 entrants so get in early.
Waterside Half Marathon
It was good to see a promotional stand for next month’s Waterside Half Marathon in Foyleside last Friday, staffed by Derry City Council staff and volunteers from this year’s two nominated charities, Children in Crossfire and Foyle Search and Rescue.
Reports suggest the entries are flowing in very well to St Columb’s Park Leisure Centre and the September 11th events, it’s 30th staging, is now only four weeks away. Hope you are ready for it!