Lifford AC’s youngest athletes were in action last weekend at the All-Ireland Children’s Games held in Stranorlar. The team event for Under 9 to 11 year olds saw six Lifford teams competing which will hopefully be the start of an athletics journey that sees them compete on the national stage for many years to come.
While all these young athletes were stars in their own right for making it here and performing brilliantly, two young athletes shone brightest on the day, Carrigans girl Alisha Cuskelly and Raphoe’s Shania McMonagle, whose father Gerard was a former athlete not many years ago. In the 60m sprint, the only sprint of the day to be rounded to tenths of a second, both girls were in blistering form that saw them take bronze medals in a dead heat with Finn Valley, the first Lifford AC club medals at these Team Championships since their inception many years ago. Both girls missed out on another medal by the narrowest of margins in the 300m when they lost out by 0.67 of a second to Carlow’s St Lawrence O’Toole finishing in an excellent fourth position. The club’s other track team of the day were Oran Gallagher and Diarmaid O’Donnell in the boys Under 9 300m. Both lads ran great races and finished in a respectable 10th place overall. Young Gallagher also teamed up in the long jump with St. Johnston lad Patrick Sweeney, with both boys jumping well but just outside the medals. In the Girls Under 10 long jump, Aine Marie McBride and Adrienne Gallen also posted some excellent jumps but again, outside the medals. Finally, our Under 11 boys team of Lennon Lafferty and Ben Connolly jumped over 3m in the long jump to finish a respectable 6th place overall.
Conor McKinney was in action at the Tailteann Games in Tullamore last weekend. Representing Ulster at the annual interprovincial competition, the Deele College student cleared 1.70m in the High Jump to take a highly commendable 5th place against the best the country has to offer at this level. Having cleared all heights at the first time of asking, McKinney was most unlucky not to go clear at his first attempt at 1.75m. With two international vests up for grabs for the forthcoming Schools International involving Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, McKinney, while disappointed not to get near the 1.80m mark recently achieved in Belfast, can still be well pleased to have been in the mix late on in the competition.
Later in the day, McKinney was in action for Ulster again, this time in the Triple Jump. With a jump of 12.33m in the recent Ulster Juvenile Championships, McKinney had to be satisfied with a jump of 11.65m and 7th position on this occasion. Indeed had McKinney jumped to his best, a top 3 podium position was certainly within his grasp.
His attention turns to the All Ireland Juvenile Track and Field Champiopnships in Tullamore this weekend where Lifford AC have their biggest contingent in over 25 years competing at these championships – 22 athletes in total. Hope are high that a number of All Ireland medals will make their way back to the border town.
Two club athletes were in action at the Mary Peters Invitational International Meeting in Belfast last Tuesday . In the Under 15 Boys race, Alan McGinley ran a strong race early on, but faded over the last 300m to finish in 6th. It was another busy week for senior athlete Ann-Marie McGlynn. First up for Ann-Marie was the 800m held at the Mary Peters International where Ann Marie recorded 2.08.88, only a second outside her pb from over 8 years ago. Ann-Marie then travelled to Watford on Sunday to compete in the 1500m race. After a crowed start at the race Ann-Marie returned home with another Seasonal Best of 4:27:28, over 2 seconds quicker than her previous seasonal best.
On the road this week Lifford had two runners in the Glenswilly 5k. Martin Devenney had his first outing since the Derry marathon where he clocked a steady 18.01, closely followed by Gary Gallagher in 18.26 which is a pb for Gary who has been working hard for this over the past few months. On Thursday night, James Crossan, Dudie Gallen and Stephen Burns travelled to Limavady for the 10 mile race. James Crossan was first home in an impressive time of 62:08. Next home was Dudie in 68:28 and then Stephen in 73:49 so a great run from all the lads. Tullyvinny FC held a 5k on Sunday in Raphoe, where Darragh Crossan and Alan Mc Ginley were 2nd and 3rd respectively, again well done lads.