Saturday 21st April is a big occasion for 31 young Donegal athletes who travel at the weekend to Birmingham’s NEC arena, where the U.K Aviva Sportshall athletic finals will be held.
Beginning at 1.30pm there will be over four hours of competitive exciting and dynamic action involving the elite young athletes of Britain teams from Cheshire, Kent, Greater Manchester, Birmingham, Isle of Wight, Surrey, Scotland, Wales, Sussex and other hot beds of talent will lock horns with Donegal’s U13 girls, U/13 boys and U/15 girls from Donegal who have qualified for these finals as Ulster champions.
Donegal athletes have become regular finalists at Birmingham since the early 1990s and indeed our U15 girls are written into the winner’s history book with magnificent results in 1997 and 1998 returning home on both occasions with the Ron Pickering memorial trophy. Now another batch of Donegal athletes travel in expectations of at least individual and relay medals which at this level will certainly be treasured and certainly at team level will be looking for a top four finish.
The depth of talent within athletics in Donegal at these age groups says a lot for the work at club level by volunteer coaches and parents who give of their precious time helping to develop the youngsters at their clubs in various disciplines involved in Sportshall athletics. Two, Four and six lap races, shot putt, standing long jump and triple jump, speed bounce, high jump, vertical jump with various relays will certainly keep the large crowd in the magnificent stadium entertained during Saturday afternoon.
Putting together teams to engage in all these disciplines is no easy matter but in the Ulster finals and again at a get together during last week, it is quite obvious that the youngsters from Tir Conaill AC, Slieve Liag AC, Killybegs AC, Rosses AC, Lifford AC, Inishowen AC, Finn Valley AC and Letterkenny AC have bonded together and are indeed proud and worthy to represent Donegal at these prestigious finals.
U13 Girls: Rebecca McShane , Elish McShane, Debbie Kennedy (Slieve Liag) Tara Harley, Bridget McDyer, Ailbhe O`Donnell, Sarah Doherty (Rosses AC) Janine Boyle (Finn Valley AC) Arlene Crossan, Altan Murphy (Letterkenny AC) Mary Teresa Doherty (Inishowen AC) Shannon Craig (Lifford AC)
U13 Boys: Alan McGinley, Thomas Mullan, Conor Lynch (Lifford ) James Kelly (FV), Jack O`Donnell, Joey Donald (Rosses) Dylan Kearns (Killybegs) Lanty Molloy, Michael McGill (Slieve Liag) Patrick McColgan, Jordan Ryan (LAC) Fergus Cox (Inishowen)
U15 Girls: Kelly McGrory, Kate McGowan, Emma Brady (Tir Conaill) Eimear Walsh, Niamh Farrell (LAC) Nicole Boyle (Rosses) Caoimhe Byrne (Slieve Liag).
Neil Cullen coordinator of these teams wishes the athletes every success on behalf of the Donegal County board. He also wishes to thank the various schools and clubs who have provided sponsorship to enable sweatshirts for each team member, also defraying the coast of travel and accommodation.
Due to early ferry arrangements from Dublin. Travel arrangements for Friday 20th are as follows depart Ballybofey 2.45am, Letterkenny (Bonagee) 3.00am, Manor Roundabout 3.10am Lifford 3.20am and Dublin 8.00am.