The Billy Morton Stadium in Santry, Dublin, played host to the 2014 Tailteann Games Interprovincial on Saturday last on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far.
The event doubled up as a trial for selection for the Irish Schools team which takes on the might of the English, Scottish and Welsh schools teams in the SIAB Schools International in Cardiff on 19 July next.
Wearing the white singlet and red hand of Ulster, Lifford AC and St. Eunan’s College athlete, Brendan O’Donnell was the star performer in the Boys Hammer event, taking victory against the best young hammer throwers in the country in what surely ranks as his greatest performance yet. Giving away almost two years in age to his rivals, O’Donnell was not to be overawed by the occasion. Despite fouling his first four throws, O’Donnell held his nerve and showed maturity beyond his years to launch a final round throw of 56.17m which was more than enough to give the second year St. Eunan’s College student a famous victory ahead of Andre Christie of Colaiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Cork (54.96m) and Eoin Sweeney of Belvedere College, Dublin (51.91m). The distance, which was almost 5m ahead of O’Donnells previous best with the 5kg weight is the furthest recorded throw in Ireland this year by any athlete u17. The enormity of the throw is made all the more remarkable by the fact that the Lifford AC youngster is still only 14 years of age.
The victory almost certainly guarantees O’Donnell a first Irish vest and selection for the Irish Schools team which travels to Cardiff on 19 July and which will be announced this week.
Also in action on Saturday were some of Lifford AC’s youngest athletes who were in action at the All Ireland Childrens Games in Tullamore. Five young athletes made the journey south to compete in the Team competition having qualified through Ulster a few short weeks ago. Martin Mbuli and Joshua McGlinchey in their first year in the sport finished an admirable 9th Team overall in the 60m sprint at Under 9 and followed this up with another fine 8th placed finish in the Long Jump. Young Mbuli’s performance in the sprint placed him fastest overall at this age group in the country. In the boys Under 10 Long Jump, Oran Gallagher and Patrick Sweeney also put in fine performances, this being their second year to qualify and take part in the Long Jump at the All Ireland Childrens Games, Patrick posting a personal best jump of 3.34m. Oran Gallagher then partnered Harvey Mullen later in the day in the 500m and yet again had fantastic runs for young athletes. Both athletes ran 1.44 for the 500m and can be thoroughly satisfied with their performances.
While there were no medals on Saturday, the fact that all five young athletes qualified for the national finals and went out to give their very best is what will stand to them as they progress in the years ahead. This will be the last of the competitions for these ages, having nearly 10 months of training and competition under their belts since last September. Another week or two of fun and games at the club and then a well earned break with Cross Country fast approaching in September. Well done to all these young athletes and to their parents/family who made the long journey south today to support them. They’ve done you and the club proud.
McGlynn produces top class performance for Ireland
Lifford AC’s Anne Marie McGlynn was one of the star performers on the Irish team which competed at the European Team Championships in Tallin, Estonia on Saturday last. McGlynn travelled with an Irish team which included the best talent available in the country at the moment which included names such as Fionnuala Britton, Mark English and Paul Robinson.
The Tullamore native, now living in Strabane represented Ireland in her junior years and having taken some time out of competitive athletics, has made a remarkable return to top class form with the Lifford club in recent years. Last November, McGlynn represented Ireland at the European Cross Country and is now proving herself to be one of Ireland’s best middle distance athletes at cross country, on the road and on the track.
On Saturday, McGlynn had what was probably her best ever run as an athlete finishing fourth in the 3,000m against a top class international field. On the last lap, McGlynn gave it absolutely everything to come from 6th position to finish fourth place overall to finish in 9.21.19 and gain nine valuable points for the Irish team. At the end of the race, McGlynn’s legs had been drained of every ounce of energy, which is a sign of a top quality performers attitude and determination, where everything is left on the track.