The Ulster Schools Finals took place at the Antrim Forum last weekend with secondary students from the nine counties of Ulster taking part. As always, the competition was intense with quality performances on show throughout the two days. Lifford AC was well represented with a number of athletes representing their respective secondary schools across Letterkenny, Raphoe and Strabane taking part.
Tom Mullen of Holy Cross College, Strabane got the Saturday morning proceedings off to a fine start by taking gold in the Junior Boys Shot Put with a fine throw of 12.33m. Later in the day Mullen added a silver medal when taking second place in the 200m in a time of 24.69 seconds.
Alan McGinley of Royal & Prior, Raphoe ran his fastest ever 800m when taking second place in the Intermediate Boys 800m in a time of 2 mins 01.52 seconds behind Jack Harbinson of Belfast High School. On this form it is surely only a matter of time before McGinley gets under the 2 minute barrier for the distance.
Brandon Connolly, also of Royal & Prior, Raphoe entered the home straight of the Intermediate Boys 400m Hurdles well adrift in 4th position but a storming finish saw him cross the line in 3rd place in a time of 64.93 seconds. Connolly added a second bronze medal later in the day in the 100m Hurdles in 15.88 seconds.
Stephen McCallion of Strabane Academy had a big leap of 5.59m to take home an excellent bronze medal while there was a bronze medal also for Shannon Craig of Royal and Prior, Raphoe thanks to a vertical leap of 1.60m in the Intermediate Girls High Jump.
Brendan O’Donnell of St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny was involved in a great tussle with Stephen McCorry of Belfast Royal Academy in the Intermediate Boys Hammer with O’Donnell eventually clinching gold thanks to a new personal best throw of 60.53m.
Olivia Cuskelly, Loreto College, Letterkenny threw 27.35m in the Junior Girls Hammer to take 4th place while there was a 4th place finish also for Karen Gallagher, Royal & Prior, Raphoe in the Senior Girls 800m.
Conor Breslin, Deele College, Raphoe had a consistent series of throws in the Intermediate Boys Hammer with his second round throw of 31.56m giving the Ballindrait lad 5th place. Shane O’Donnell, St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny, meanwhile, took 7th place in a very competitive Junior Boys Hammer with his throw of 22.93m.
Kathleen Craig, Royal & Prior, Raphoe got out to 3.89m for 6th place in the Senior Girls Long Jump while Charlie McElwaine of Holy Cross College, Strabane ran 2 mins 16.19 seconds to take a fine 5th place in the Junior Boys 800m.
The prize for the medalists is a place at the All Ireland Schools Finals in Tullamore on 30 May. With 6 athletes qualifying in 8 events, this will be Lifford ACs biggest representation at the national finals in a number of years.