Golden haul for Donegal athletes

Tom Comack

Reporter:

Tom Comack

Danny MOONEY from Letterkenny AC and Mary McLoone of Tir Chonaill AC brought home gold for Donegal on Sunday with fantastic performances at the National Indoor Track and Field Championship at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

Danny MOONEY from Letterkenny AC and Mary McLoone of Tir Chonaill AC brought home gold for Donegal on Sunday with fantastic performances at the National Indoor Track and Field Championship at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

Liverpool based student Mooney claimed a first national championship when he came home ahead of the field in the 1500m final, while McLoone was also on the podium in the gold medal place in the triple jump.

The Tir Chonaill woman retained her triple-jump championship, winning a seventh national title, while she also claimed a silver in the long jump.

Mooney produced a brilliant run in the 1500m final to win gold in a time of 3:52:53, almost two seconds ahead of the field and just ahead of his club colleague, Ruairi Finnegan, who finished strongly on the last lap.

“I knew there was a number of kickers in the field so I decided to go from a long way out,” said Mooney at the finish line.

McLoone, despite suffering from the ‘flu, put together a very good series of jumps in the triple-jump final. Her jump of 12.47 metres was 27cm ahead of silver medalist Sarah Buggy, St Abban’s.

“It was good to retain the title - that is my seventh national overall. I was very happy with my triple jump but I was a little disappointed with my long jump. I feel I should have done much better in the long jump,” she said.

“Overall I was happy with the weekend. While my jump of 12.47 metres was a little short of my personal best of 12.80, it was still a good jump and I’m pleased with it.” The Letterkenny AC one-two in the 1500m was a brilliant achievment for the club and comes on the back of the club’s one-two in the form of Mark English and Darren McBrearty at 800m last season.

“I’m really thrilled for Danny. It’s a massive achievement for him on a personal level having lived in the shadow of some of the bigger names over the last few years. It’s his first national title and we are all really delighted for him.

“He’s had a very good season and was the form athlete going into the championship. He did not put a foot wrong all weekend and won the final in style,” said LAC coach Teresa McDaid.

“It was a brilliant championship for the club with Danny winning and Ruairi Finnegan coming second. Ruairi’s achievement is something special, especially as he is only 17 and to think he was able to compete and win a silver medal against senior athletes.

“It is fantastic for the club and when you consider we won gold and silver last year with Mark (English) and Darren (McBrearty), it is fantastic to have a one two at 1500 this year.”

Overall it was a very good weekend for Donegal athletics. Karl Griffin, Tir Chonaill AC, was a silver medal winner at 800 metres. Karl came home second in a time of 1:55:37 to become the youngest ever silver medalist at the distance.

Teresa McGloin from Finn Valley and Geraldine Stewart of Tir Chonaill were also among the medals with McGloin claiming a silver medal in the 3000m and Stewart doing likewise in the shot putt.