Lifford-Strabane AC made up predominantly of 15 and 16-year-olds performed heroically in the confines of the magnificent Indoor Athletics Arena in Athlone to finish a brilliant third place in Round 2 of the National Indoor League..
Gareth Crawford had a brilliant new personal best of 12.94 metres to take second in the triple jump while Alan McGinley ran strongly in the 400m to post a time of 53.01 seconds when finishing in third position.
Combined Events specialist Tom Mullen meanwhile ran a new best of 23.49 seconds to gain valuable points for the team in the 200m while Brendan O’Donnell reached new personal best heights in the high jump when clearing 1.75m for fifth place, only losing out on countback for third. Niall Elliott ran powerfully in the final lap of the 1500m to hold on to sixth place in a time of 4 minutes 30.82 seconds.
With a points total of 45 points, only Dublin based Clonliffe Harriers on 50 points and Galway City Harriers on 46 points bettered the Lifford-Strabane total.
The Lifford-Strabane Senior Women’s team had given themselves a mountain to climb after Round 1 of the competition, lying in 10th position. With the top eight teams qualifying for the national final, Shannon Craig led the Women’s team superbly by winning the high jump early in the day with a new season’s best of 1.63 metres and followed this up shortly afterwards by taking fifth in the 400m in a personal best time of 62.65 seconds.
Kathleen Craig with a jump of 8.05 metres in the triple jump and a time of 32.11 seconds in the 200m gained valuable points while Leoni Mullen in her first race indoors, did likewise when running 5:16.40 in the 1500m.
Despite making up huge ground on the front runners, the women’s points total of 29 put them ninth place overall in Round 2 and unfortunately, just agonisingly outside the top eight.
In the National Junior Championships in Athlone on Sunday. Shannon Craig won an excellent silver medal in the high jump, with a jump of 1.55m, narrowly missing out on 1.60m.
Alan McGinley also had an impressive run to finish 6th in the Junior 800m, breaking the 2 minute to come home in a new personal best time of 1.59.05.
At the Donegal Athletics Board Awards night on Saturday, a number of young Lifford Strabane athletes were acknowledged for their outstanding athletic achievements during 2015. In the Under 15 category, Olivia Cuskelly and Aaron McGrath received awards, while in the Over 15 category, Shannon Craig and Brendan O’Donnell were the award winners nominated by the club. O’Donnell also received a Special Achievement award along with Sommer Lecky, Aaron McGlynn and Arlene Crossan for their participation at the European Youth Olympics in Tblisi during the year.