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Reports - November 2008

26 November » 19 November » 12 November » 5 November »

26 November 2008

Last Sunday Dromiskin-based St Peter's AC had two athletes in action in the Irish Juvenile Cross Country Championships for the even age groups. The venue for the first national cross country event of this winter season was Tramore Racecourse in County Waterford. The hilly course, allied with the rain, the strong north-westerly wind, and the single digit temperatures, made conditions very difficult for the young athletes.

Lauren Finnegan ran in the Under 12 Girls' 1000m race, in which she ran well to finish in 91st place. She was the 5th athlete to finish on the Louth team which came home in 8th place in the inter-county contest.

Ailbhe McGuinness was in action in the Under 16 Girls' 2000m race. She was 92nd across the line in a high quality field. The Louth team was ranked 10th with Ailbhe being the 4th athlete from the county to finish.

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19 November 2008

The athletes of Dromiskin’s St Peter’s AC have featured much more prominently in the current cross country season than was the case in 2007. This pattern continued last Sunday in the annual Dunleer AC open event, which this year moved from the mid-Louth town itself to the fine facilities at the St Fechin’s GAA grounds in Beaulieu.

Seven-year-old Gabriel Bell set the tone for the St Peter’s AC contingent on a very pleasant day for cross country running. The young Darver athlete stormed home to an excellent 8th place finish in the Under 9 Boys’ race.

In the Under 13 Boys’ race Mark Rogers, the very promising athlete from Togher, had a most impressive win. Despite falling coming down the bank close to the finish, he got back into his running quickly, and pulled away from the opposition once more. At the finish he was about 20 metres clear of the second-place athlete, who had come up from County Wicklow for the race.

Also running in Mark’s race were his clubmates Liam Fussey and Joseph Mullen, who both had good runs. Liam’s older sister, Niamh Fussey, who has been racing regularly this cross country season, had another fine run as she came home in 13th place in the Under 15 Girls’ race.

Next weekend Lauren Finnegan and Ailbhe McGuinness will make the long journey to Tramore for the Irish Juvenile Cross Country Championships. The national championships for the even age groups will be contested at the County Waterford venue on Sunday. Both athletes will be members of the Louth teams which qualified through their performances in the recent Leinster Championships. Lauren is part of the Under 12 Girls’ team which won the inter-county title in the provincial event, while Ailbhe is one of the leading runners on the county’s Under 16 Girls’ team which won bronze in the Leinster contest.

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12 November 2008

Last Sunday St Peter’s AC had seven athletes in action in the Leinster Cross Country Championships which were held at Abbeyleix. The Dromiskin-based club’s three county champions all performed excellently in very muddy conditions, and they were ably backed by the other runners who made the long journey to the County Laois venue on a wintry November day.

Mark Rogers, recently honoured as Louth Athlete of the Year in both Cross Country and Track and Field, finished an excellent 7th in the Under 13 Boys’ race over a 1200m course. Nikayla Hamill has been making great progress in recent months, and she led the Under 11 Girls’ team home in 12th place in their 800m race. Ailbhe McGuinness produced yet another superb performance to come home in 13th place in the Under 17 Girls’ event over 2000m.

Nikayla was partnered in her race by a full St Peter’s AC team. The other team members – Caoibheadh McGowan, Orlaith McMahon and Heather Rogers – all ran very well. Niamh Fussey, competing in the Under 15 Girls’ 1500m race, also had a fine run in Abbeyleix.

Next Sunday the cross country action continues closer to home, with the Dunleer AC open races being held at Beaulieu, near Termonfeckin.

The St Peter’s AC training sessions continue to be held at the St Joseph’s GFC facilities in Dromiskin on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. However, between now and Christmas, the younger athletes will only train on Thursdays, while the older athletes will continue to train on both evenings.

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5 November 2008

Last Thursday night Bellingham Castle hosted the annual awards ceremony for athletics in County Louth. A number of the Athlete of the Year awards went to St Peter’s AC athletes. Olivia McDonald won the Junior Women’s award for the second year in succession, while Frances Rogers was honoured with the track and field award for girls in the Under 14 to 19 age groups. Mark Rogers, younger cousin of Frances, was a double award winner on the night, as he was deemed the Athlete of the Year in both track and field and cross country among boys in the Under 8 to 13 age groups.

These three athletes, along with several others from the Dromiskin-based club, featured prominently in national championship competitions during 2008. Olivia won three gold medals in Irish championships in the Javelin – at Schools’, Junior and Under 19 level - and also took silver in the National Senior Championships. Frances was the silver medallist in the Irish Under 18 Indoor Shot Putt, as well as a three-time bronze medallist in other Shot and Discus championships at national level. The very versatile Mark won High Jump gold in the Irish Indoor Championships at Under 13 level and also took two national bronze medals in the High Jump and Shot.

In addition Olivia McDonald was presented with the Deirdre McGrath Mackey Perpetual Trophy at the Castlebellingham function. This trophy is awarded to the Athlete of the Meet at the Louth Junior, Senior and Masters’ Track and Field Championships each year.

Club athlete of the year presentations were also made to two of St Peter’s younger athletes on Thursday night. These well-deserved awards went to Jack O’Brien and Lauren Finnegan for their competitive achievements and commitment to training during 2008.

The awards night was very well supported by athletes, coaches and parents from St Peter’s AC and the other clubs in the county. It was also a very enjoyable night with young and old coming together to celebrate achievement, socialise with each other, and look forward to more success in 2009.

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