On an action packed sporting weekend when two more athletes from Donegal, Brendan Boyce, 50k walk and Catriona Jennings, Marathon, were ratified by Athletics Ireland for the London Olympics, Donegal post primary school athletes had a number of outstanding individual and team performances at the Aviva Ulster schools finals at the Antrim Forum.
The Friday afternoon/Saturday event attracted nearly 1,000 athletes, all who had qualified via five regional finals, plus 4,000 teachers/supporters.
On Friday evening Christopher Doherty, Carrick Voc School started the Donegal winning avalanche when he cleared 3.20m to win the Senior Boys Pole Vault. St Catherine’s, Killybegs student Mark McGuiness, and a Tir Chonaill club colleague of Christopher’s in Donegal Town, ran a new 3k PB of 9mins 19.25secs when finished 3rd in a closely fought race.
Abbey Vocational’s Ciara Crawford with a winning 3k walk time of 13mins 28.62secs, set the tone for the school’s U17s who on Saturday accumulated a number of top three finishes, and won the prestigious Ulster Intermediate Schools Cup.
Royal and Prior, Raphoe’s John Kelly, early on Saturday morning smashed the U17 5k Shot record with an excellent best of 15.92m. Later in the day he heaved the 700gram javelin to a 48.08m victory. School and Finn Valley club mate Shaun Woods, added the Senior Boys 400m title in an excellent PB time of 50.88secs. Abbey Vocational School’s Karl Griffin, added to his schools list of victories when he front ran the Senior Boys 800m, for an excellent victory/time of 1min 52.72secs. He had the challenge of Paddy Monaghan, Newry for the opening 600m before pulling away in the home straight.
Kelly McGrory, in the first track event - 300m Hurdles - on Saturday morning, ran an outstanding time of 46.43secs for victory. This race found Kelly being challenged over the final two barriers by Jennie O’Brien, from Derry, a recent competitor in the UK schools games in the Olympic Stadium in London.
Jordan Hilton, Portora, Enniskillen, was also a successful competitor last week in the UK schools games.The Enniskillen lad, who is coached/trained in the Tir Chonaill club at Donegal Town, was impressive in Antrim when winning the U17 100m - 11.48secs.
Kate McGowan, Abbey Voc, and school and club mate Kelly McGrory, won thier respective semi finals of the 80m Hurdles and had a great battle in the final to record a 1,2 McGowan 11.77sec/McGrory - 12.04secs.
Scoil Colmcille, Ballyshannon’s, Eva McMullan, one of the county’s most improved athletes, ran 12.99secs for 2nd in the Junior 100m and 26.6secs for 3rd in the 200m.
School and club colleague Sarah Timoney, who recently medaled at the National Indoor championships, was impressive in winning the Junior Girls 1,200m walk 6mins 50.01secs.
Jade Leeper, Garmscoil, Ballinamore, was a double medal winner, finishing 2nd in both the Junior Shot-9.01m and Discus 29.91m.
The outstanding overall team performance of the championships came from Abbey Vocational Intermediate Girls team when they amassed 65pts for a points victory over Ballyclare High School.
In addition to the performances highlighted above, the following Donegal athletes finished in a top eight position
Ruth Gillespie, AVS, 5th 75m Hurdles 12.92secs; Emer Walsh, Loreto Letterkenny, 6th 200m 27.6secs; Arlene Crossan, Loreto, L/K 3rd Long Jump 4.86m and 6th 800m 2mins 29.87secs; Jessica Quinn, AVS 3rd walk, Shannon Cannon, AVS, 6th Walk; Niamh Gavigan, Scoil na Carraige, 8th Long Jump; Tara Carr, Loreto L/K 3rd High Jump 1.55m; Molly Donovan, Scoil na Carraige, 2nd Shot Putt 9m; Anna Sweeney, Rosses CS,4ht Shot Putt 8.62m; Chloe Masterson, AVS, 3rd Hammer, 21.74m; Nicole Boyle, Rosses CS 4th Triple Jump 9.44m. 4 x 100m Relay 5th Loreto Letterkenny, 53.61secs and 7th AVS 55.76sec
Mark Boyle, AVS 3rd 800m 2mins 8.65secs; Oisin Toal, Colaiste Ailigh, Letterkenny, 7th 2mins 14.82secs; Jack McBride St Columbas, Stranorlar, 8th 2mins 15.18secs; Stephan McCrossan, Royal and Prior, 6th 1,500m 4mins 41.11secs; Caolan Callaghan, AVS. 3rd Long Jump 5.36m; Ian Brennan, St Columbas, 5th 5.32m; Fergus Cox, Scoil Mhuire Buncrana, 6th Javelin 35.07m; Thomas McGowan, AVS, 7th Hammer 23.46m;4 x 100m Relay AVS 7th 50.51secs
Natasha McArdle, Royal and Prior, 4th 300m 45secs and 5th in 1,500m 5mins 15.53secs; Caitlin Travers, AVS, 3K 7th 12mins 33.16secs; Kate McGowan, AVS 3rd Long Jump 4.93m; Caoimhe McMenamin, St Columbas, 3rd Triple Jump, 9.77m and 5th Long Jump 4.56m; Emma Brady, AVS, 2nd Triple Jump, 10.11m; Blathan Patton, St Columbas, 6th High Jump 1.50m; Hannah Campbell, St Catherines Killybegs, 2nd Pole Vault, 2.60m; Katie Hoad, AVS, 3rd Pole Vault 2.10m and 8th Hammer; Lisa Gibson, Deele College, Raphoe, 4th Shot Putt 8.10m; 4 x 100m Relay AVS 1st -51.1secs team Niamh McGrory/Kelly McGrory/Emma Brady and Kate McGowan
Christopher O’Loughlan, AVS, 6th 400m Hurldes 68.22secs; Oisin Gallen, St Columbas, 6th 1,500m 4mins 27.49secs; Alan Porter, Royal and Prior, 6th Long Jump, 5.58m
Claire Brady, AVS, 2nd Pole Vault, 2.35m; Roisin Boyce, Mulroy College, Milford, 2nd Shot Putt, 8.35m; Emer Boyce, Milford College, 3rd Javelin 32.50m;
Ciaran Cornyn, AVS 7th 400m 57.88secs; 4 x 100m AVS 4th 49.59secs.