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Reports - March 2008

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26 March 2008

On the morning of St Patrickís Day North East Runners hosted another in their series of handicap 5km road races in Dundalk. The runners started at timed intervals according to their ability, with the slower runners setting out on the course before the faster runners. This ensured an unpredictable and exciting finish to the race, as all the runners converged on the finish line in close proximity to each other.

Tom McGrane of St Peterís AC in Dromiskin has been a regular competitor in this road race series recently and he had his best run to date last Monday week. He completed the 5km distance in under 24 minutes for the first time with an actual time of 23 minutes 31 seconds. Allied to his 6 minutes handicap, this gave him an overall time of 29 minutes 31 seconds, which meant that he was 8th across the finishing line and 13th fastest overall.

The regular club training sessions resume after the short Easter break tomorrow (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m. in St Josephís GFC grounds in Dromiskin, and will continue on Tuesday and Thursday nights thereafter.

The Annual General Meeting of St Peterís AC is scheduled to be held at 8:00 p.m. on Monday 7th April in the St Josephís GFC clubrooms.

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19 March 2008

The winners of the Waterford Crystal Athletics Ireland Star Awards for 2007 were announced recently. These awards go to the best juvenile athletes in each county in Ireland. Hilary Kerr of St Peterís AC in Dromiskin will be presented with the award for the best County Louth athlete at a dinner in the Arklow Bay Hotel on Saturday 29th March.

Hilary also took this award in 2005, while her St Peterís clubmate Kevin McManus was the winner in 2006. The Readypenny girlís achievements in national championship competition in 2007 make her a most worthy recipient of this award once more.

At last springís Irish Juvenile Indoor Championships in Nenagh Hilary took silver in the Under 17 Long Jump with a leap of 4.98m behind Nicola Power of Waterfordís Ferrybank AC. At the same meeting she also showed impressive speed out of the blocks when taking 5th place in the 60m with a time of 8.07 seconds.

During the outdoor season last summer Hilary was even more impressive. At the Irish Juvenile Championships in Tullamore she leapt a great personal best of 5.28m in the final round of the Under 17 Long Jump to overtake her Waterford rival Nicola Power and win the national title. She also had another personal best at these championships with a legal 12.96 seconds clocking in the 100m, which was good enough for 6th place.

She won a further national medal in 2007 as a member of the St Peterís AC Under 20 4x100m relay team which finished 3rd in the Irish Junior Championships.

Hilary has continued to show excellent form during this springís indoor season. She has already competed in both the Scottish and Leinster Juvenile Indoor Championships, and will have another outing in next monthís Irish Juvenile Indoor Championships.

She has been close to her best in the Long Jump with a performance of 5.23m in the Leinster Championships and has set new personal bests for the 60m (8.02 seconds in the Scottish Championships) and 200m (26.98 seconds in the Leinster Championships).

Hilary, who is currently a Transition Year student in St Louis, Dundalk, is just one of a number of exciting young prospects at the Dromiskin-based club, which is currently enjoying possibly the most successful period in its history.

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12 March 2008

Last Sunday four athletes from St Peterís AC made the long trip to Nenagh for the final day of the 2008 Leinster Indoor Championships. All the athletes from the Dromiskin-based club won provincial medals at the County Tipperary venue, as they returned to the Wee County with two gold and two bronze medals.

Hilary Kerr followed up her excellent performances at last monthís Scottish Championships with another personal best in the sprints. This time she stopped the clock at 27.14 seconds when taking the Under 18 Girlsí 200m title.

Frances Rogers also struck gold on Sunday, as she stepped up a couple of age groups to win the Junior Womenís Shot Putt. Her throw of 9.83 metres was easily her best distance of 2008.

Francesí younger sister, Grace Rogers, made her 2008 indoor debut in Nenagh. Grace has been hampered by injury in recent months, and did well to jump 1.40 metres for 3rd place in the Under 16 Girlsí High Jump.

Also winning a bronze medal in Nenagh was Tom McGrane with a 7.66 metres throw in the Over 45 Menís Shot Putt. Earlier in the day Tom had finished 4th in the 400m with a time of 61.42 seconds. Both these performances bettered his previous bests since returning to competitive athletics last year.

Eight different St Peterís AC athletes have now won a total of six gold, one silver and five bronze medals in provincial indoor championships in 2008. These medals have come in various age groups, ranging from Under 13 to Over 45.

Next month the indoor season concludes with the staging of the Irish Juvenile Championships over two weekends in Nenagh. All the athletes, parents and coaches at this progressive but friendly club will be hoping for more good performances there, and in the outdoor track and field season which will begin shortly afterwards.

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5 March 2008

Last Saturday Olivia McDonald from Dromiskinís St Peterís AC travelled to Tullamore for a National Throws Squad training day. There the young javelin thrower, who has been a medallist at the National Senior Track and Field Championships for the past two years, met up with other leading athletes and coaches from throughout Ireland.

These national squad sessions are a valued component of Oliviaís training programme as she prepares for the competitive season next summer. Javelin throwers do not have the opportunity to compete during the winter, as, due to space constraints, their event cannot be included in the indoor track and field programme.

This year, as St Peterís AC mark the 50th anniversary of their triumph in the Louth Senior Cross Country Championships, it is interesting to recall that athletes have always sought guidance from whatever source in an effort to improve their performances. Back in the 1950s there were no national squad sessions for the clubís cross country runners. Nevertheless they read about how other athletes trained and applied the ideas thus acquired to their own training. For example, having read about the training regime of Emil Zátopek, the great Czech athlete of the 1940s and 50s, the Dromiskin men switched their training runs from the roads to the fields, a move which was greatly instrumental in enabling their success in 1958.

On the first weekend in February St Peterís AC won three gold, one silver and three bronze medals at the first instalment of the Leinster Indoor Championships in Nenagh. Next Sunday the remaining events of these championships will be held at the County Tipperary venue. The St Peterís AC athletes who have pre-entered include Hilary Kerr (Under 18 200m), Kevin McManus (Under 18 High Jump), John McDonnell (Over 45 Shot Putt) and Tom McGrane (Over 45 400m and Shot Putt).

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