The new state of the art indoor arena at Athlone I.T. was the venue for the first weekend of the All Ireland Juvenile Indoor Championships on Saturday and Sunday.
Lifford AC had a number of athletes in action using the championships as a stepping stone to the upcoming outdoor track and field season ahead.
Tom Mullen, following his recent 4th position at the All Ireland Juvenile Indoor Combined Events Championships, had a busy weekend competing in no less than three events in the U14 Boys age group. In Saturday’s 60m sprint, Mullen gained qualification for the final coming through the heats in an automatic qualification spot. In the final itself Mullen ran a new personal best time of 8.01 seconds to come home in an excellent 5th position. Later in the day, the young Raphoe lad leapto a new personal best of 1.45m in the U14 Boys High Jump while on Sunday qualified for the final of the U14 Boys 60m Hurdles. H led to the first hurdle. However, a bad stumble on landing upset his rhythm and thus had to be content with 8th place outside his heat time of 10.17 seconds.
Conor McKinney won gold in these championships two years ago in the High Jump. On this occasion, the young Lifford lad leap to a new personal best of 1.75m for 6th position in the Boys U17 High Jump, narrowly missing out on his first attempt at 1.78m.
On the Sunday, in the 60m Hurdles Conor qualifeid and came home in 8th position in a time of 9.77 seconds, another new personal best performance.
In a very tactical U17 Girls 1500m final on Saturday, Killygordon girl Karen Gallagher ran a very astute race to come home in 7th position in a time of 5 mins 20.61 seconds. Indeed Gallagher could very well have got up for 5th with just half a second separating 5th, 6th and 7th.
Ulster Champion, Niall Quinn qualified for the final of the U13 Boys 60m in a time of 8.54 seconds. However, a false start in the final taught the Lifford youngster a harsh lesson on how cruel sport can sometimes be.
Conor Lynch jumped to 1.50m in a highly competitive Boys U15 High Jump – narrowly missing out on what would have been a new best of 1.55m.
Shannon Craig just missed out by one place on qualification for the final of the U15 Girls 60m Hurdles. Craig was most unlucky in the fact that the athlete in the lane next to her tossed Craig’s hurdle in the heat and as a result knocking the Raphoe girl completely off her stride.
Brandon Connolly ran a new PB of 10.10secs to just miss out on qualification for the U15 Boys 60m Hurdles by one place taking a massive 0.38secs off his previous best.
Nicole Cuskelly was the fifth Lifford AC athlete in action in the sprint hurdles. In her determination to avoid a false start, Cuskelly was slow out of the blocks in the U16 Girls 60m Hurdles coming home in a time of 10.72secs, well outside her best of 10.40secs set in the Ulsters.
Young Charlie McElwaine was the final Lifford AC athlete in action on the first weekend of the Championships, competing in the U14 Boys 800m. Charlie’s time of 2mins 52.33secs was well outside his best as he came home 6th in his heat.
Attention now turns to the Tír Conaill AC meeting in Donegal Town on Easter Monday and then the curtain is brought down on the indoor season for this year on 6 April with the final day of the National Juvenile Indoor Championships, again in Athlone.