Just eleven days into the new year and Lifford AC athletes picked up where they left off in 2013 with another national medal to add to the club’s ever expanding collection.
The occasion was the National Indoor Combined Events Championships held at the National Indoor Arena at Athlone I.T. last Saturday where a team of six Lifford AC juveniles travelled to compete against the best all round athletes in the country. The early morning frost and icy road conditions did not deter this talented band of young athletes from giving several top class performances during what was a hugely enjoyable day’s athletics.
All athletes had to compete in 5 events – the High Jump, Long Jump, 60m Hurdles, Shot Putt and 800m with the performance in each event going towards an overall points total.
When the points were totted late on Saturday evening, there was joy in the Lifford AC camp with the club’s first national medal of 2014 coming courtesy of Alan McGinley in the u16 Boys event. A double national medallist in 2013 in the 250m Hurdles and Triple Jump, McGinley showed that he has yet more strings to his bow by achieving personal best performances in the Long Jump (5.00m), High Jump (1.55m) and Shot Putt (8.42m). Lying in 4th place after 4 events, McGinley needed to produce a top notch performance in the final event, the 800m, and he didn’t disappoint by sprinting home to take victory in an excellent time of 2mins 14secs, pipping Ultan O’Rourke of Monaghan Phoenix AC to the bronze medal by just 8 points.
Brendan O’Donnell may be better known for his Hammer Throw and Discus exploits but he too showed his all round ability by taking a hugely impressive 5th place behind McGinley in the u16 Boys with personal bests in all 5 events, the most noteworthy being a 1.55m High Jump and a 10.76m Shot Putt.
Tom Mullen came tantalisingly close to a medal in the u15 Boys event. Lying in bronze medal position after 4 events, Mullen suffered the heartbreak of running his best ever 800m - the final event of the competition (2mins 21secs) – yet losing out to Agomide Oke of St. Lawrence O’Toole AC in Carlow and Jack Fallon of Moycarkey Coolcroo AC in Tipperary to finish in 5th position. Mullen can be more than satisfied with his performace, however, having jumped to a new personal best height of 1.49m in the High Jump and getting the Shot out to a new personal best of 11.08m.
Conor McGinley finished in 15th position in the same competition as Mullen but showed signs of good progress with a 1.40m High Jump and 2mins 28secs in the 800m, both personal bests.
Shanon Craig, the talented young Raphoe girl was another of the Lifford AC athletes to impress in the u16 Girls event. After equalling her personal best of 4.10m in the Long Jump, Craig had a huge personal best leap of 1.50m in the High Jump to put her in 5th place overall with just the 800m to come. Despite running 2mins 37secs and beating one of her rivals for the bronze medal, Sinead O’Regan of Ferrybank AC in Waterford, by 26 seconds, it just wasn’t enough for Craig to move up the rankings, just missing out on 4th place overall by 15 points, the equivalent of just over one second.
Kathleen Craig was Lifford AC’s final athlete in action, competing in the Youths competition for u17 and u18 Girls. A bronze medallist at the equivalent outdoor event back in August, Craig had to settle for 7th position on this occasion. An impressive Shot Putt and a gutsy run in the 800m gave reason to be optimistic for the season ahead for the highly dedicated Raphoe girl.
With four top 5 finishes and a national bronze medal, Lifford AC is a club very much on the up and hopes are high that 2014 will surpass the already heady heights achieved in 2013.
Meanwhile, at the Letterkenny 5 Mile Road Race at the weekend, Bill Duncan of Lifford AC had an excellent run to finish in 8th position in a time of 29mins 38 seconds. This was good enough to place Duncan 4th in the Men’s V1 category. The race was won by Adrian McGowan from Derry club, Foyle Valley AC in a time of 26mins 49 seconds.
Big Numbers Register for Lifford AC Couch to 5k Programme
Over 90 enthusiastic walkers and joggers registered for the Lifford AC Couch to 5k programme on Tuesday last. Based on the highly successful Fit for Life programme, the programme is aimed at those beginners who want to get out exercising on a regular basis and who want to be part of the huge jogging craze sweeping the country at present. The programme is being rolled out over the next six weeks with the aim being that everyone involved will be in a position to jog a 5k by the middle of February. The longer term aim is to bring the group up to a level of fitness and confidence that will enable them to join the club’s thriving Fit for Life group on a regular basis.
Lifford AC Spring 5k Series
The first race of the Lifford AC Spring 5k Series, in conjunction with Dalys XL Supermarket, Lifford, takes place this Sunday in St. Johnston. In 2013 almost 300 participants took to the starting line at each race, a blend of serious runners, recreational runners, joggers and walkers.
The Series will see three races held in three different venues – St. Johnston/Carrigans, Raphoe and Lifford – towns from which the club draws much of its membership and support. All three events provide a unique opportunity for the local communities to come out and take part in a family friendly environment promoting health, fun, and providing no small measure of entertainment. Each race participant will receive points, which are accumulated towards the overall Series winners across a range of race categories.