The Ulster Senior and Juvenile Track and Field Championships took place at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast last weekend.
On Saturday it was the turn of the seniors and u18-20s to enter the cauldron of competition. Mark Doherty from St. Johnston put the shot out to a seasons best distance of 10.59m to claim a well-deserved Ulster senior silver medal A great performance from Mark and just reward for all the hard training put in over the past number of months.
Brendan O’Donnell, guesting in the Senior Men’s Hammer competition was somewhat down on his seasons best of 60.53m set three weeks ago but still had the satisfaction of having the furthest throw of the competition with 56.93m (5kg) despite a number of no throws.
Meanwhile Kathleen Craig took Lifford AC’s first gold medal of the Ulster Juvenile Track and Field Championships with a hop, step and jump of 8.53m to win the u19 Girls Triple Jump. This followed a jump of 3.95m earlier in the day in the u19 Girls Long Jump which gave the dedicated Raphoe athlete a deserved silver medal.
Sunday was the turn of the Lifford AC u14 and u15 athletes to enter the fray at the same venue. They were joined by the club’s u16 and u17 800m runners with all athletes having the ultimate goal of gaining qualification for the All Ireland Juvenile Track and Field Championships to be held in Tullamore in July.
There was great success for coach, Michael McKinney’s middle distance crop of athletes. Alan McGinley took gold after a great solo run in the u17 Boys 800m in a new personal best time of 2mins 00:84 seconds while in the same race, Niall Elliott had a good run to finish 6th in an unofficial pb of 2 mins 15:14 seconds.
Niall Quinn fought a great battle with Cormac O’Rourke of Lagan Valley AC in the u15 Boys 800m with the Lifford lad just edged out of the gold medal position settling for second place but had the satisfaction of knocking 4 seconds off his previous pb finishing in 2 mins 09:93 seconds.
In the u16 Boys 800m, Conor McGinley set a new pb of 2 mins 09:34 seconds when finishing in an impressive 4th place while club mate, Charlie McElwaine ran a new pb for 6th place in 2 mins 11:58 seconds.
Olivia Cuskelly struck gold in the u14 Girls 2000m Walk in 15 mins 07:77 seconds and completed a good days work by taking a bronze medal in the u14 Girls Hammer.
Shane O’Donnell took silver in the u15 Boys Hammer with a throw of 24.21m. O’Donnell was also in action in the Boys u15 Shot Putt and had a new pb throw of 8.08m for 5th place.
There were good performances for a trio of Lifford athletes competing in their first Ulster Championships. Maura Sweeney jumped 1.25m for 7th place in the u14 Girls High Jump, going ever so close to a new personal best height of 1.30m on her third attempt. In the same event, Maria McGarrigle set a new pb of 1.10m while sprinting to a new pb of 12.39 seconds when finishing 4th in her heat of the u14 Girls 80m. The Strabane girl completed a busy day by jumping a new pb of 3.65m in the 14 Girls Long Jump. David Donnell will also be pleased with his first Ulster Championships knocking 14 seconds off his previous best for 800m when running 2 mins 41:45 seconds in the u14 Boys event while also having a fine throw of 22.08m to take 7th place in the u14 Boys Javelin.
All in all a good days work from the Lifford AC athletes in action with numerous personal best performances to add to the medal tally of 3 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze medal.