There was some rewarding moments for local athletes at Sunday’s National Senior Track & Field Championships in Dublin’s Santry Stadium with Jason Smyth taking the Men’s 100m title, Connor Bradley claiming his second successive Men’s 5,000m silver and Naomi Morgan bronze in the Women’s 100m Hurdles.
Paralympian star Smyth, now running in Derry City Track Club colours, got home just in front of Ballymena & Antrim sprinter, Jonathon Browning, in a tight finish, his winning 10.71s clocking marginally clear of the Antrim man’s 10.75s.
In the heats, Browning had posted a faster qualifying time than the Eglinton man but when it mattered, the big time experience of the local man saw him home for the championship gold. Wet and windy conditions clearly affected times with Smyth understandably frustrated not to post a faster time.
After doing all the 5.000m spade work, City of Derry Spartan, Connor Bradley, was pipped on the run to the line by Glaslough Harrier Connor Duffy, whose 14m 32.85s gave him the tightest of victories, ahead of Bradley’s 14m 33.35s with the bronze medallist Leevale’s Colm Sheahan also right there on 14m 33.69s.
The local man has had a mixed season to date and while a National senior medal is not to be sneezed at, he would have preferred a different colour after narrowly losing last year to DSD’s Kevin Batt, also in a sprint finish, 14m 21.79s to Batt’s 14, 20.97s. Interestingly Duffy was 9th last year on 14m 43.65s! Bradley however may just have got his mojo back and with much yet to come in the season, he may well see Sunday as a fresh start!
Naomi Morgan has turned her attention to multi-events this season but was delighted to claim bronze in the Women’s 100m Hurdles final. She too was involved in a tight finish, the silver medallist Katie Taylor clocking 15.04s to the Spartan’s 15.15s, electronic timing sorting out the colour of the respective medals!
Several other locals were in action with Catherine Whoriskey impressing in the Women’s 5,000m, where she finished 5th behind the winning 16m 07.56s of Irish international Marathon and European Cross-Country star Deirdre Byrne of Sli Cualain who was a clear front running champion.
A week after retaining her Provincial 5000m title in Belfast in 17m 34s, the Spartan ran a steady race to finish strongly in an impressive 17m 06.79s. Sub 17m was an obvious target and given her strong final 600m or so when she broke away decisively from the group she ran most of the race with, the target was clearly attainable and no doubt will be delivered before the summer is out.
Staying with the 5,000m distance, DCTC’s Conan McCaughey clocked 14m 55.89s for 13th spot in the Men’s race and 17 year old Spartan Fintan Stewart posted a 3m 57.95s qualifying time in his 1,500m heat on Saturday before not surprisingly running out of gas in Sunday’s final won by the vastly experienced Dublin athlete John Travers.
Angeline McShane was one of the other local athletes in action and on her National T&F debut, she narrowly failed to get out of the Women’s 800m heats on Saturday. In the Men’s 10,000m where the top three all ran sub 30 minutes, Waterside Half Marathon champion Mick Clohisey taking bronze on 29m 50.42s, Dermot McElhinney did very well for an M45 with a massive new PB for the distance of 33m 29s. That got the Spartan 9th place and put a huge smile on his face!
Meanwhile Jackie McMonagle scored an F45 1500m and 3000m double at Saturday’s NI Masters T&F championships at the Mary Peters Track where several other local Masters, including F50 Danea Herron, M40’s Tim Shields and Michael Murphy and M75 Frank Stewart made their respective podiums.