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Reports - May 2009

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27 May 2009

Last Saturday two young athletes from St Peter’s AC travelled to Greystones for the Leinster Combined Events’ Championships. Both performed extremely well, with Mark Rogers winning gold and smashing the championship best performance and Niamh Fussey finishing just outside the medals on her pentathlon debut.

Mark had an excellent series of performances in the Under 14 Boys’ pentathlon. He won the 800m, High Jump (1.59m) and Shot Putt (10.23m), and finished 2nd in his remaining two events – the 75m Hurdles and Long Jump (4.91m). His distance in the Long Jump was a personal best performance, and his final points total broke the old championship best performance by about 200 points.

Niamh was also very pleased with her day’s work at the County Wicklow venue. Competing in the Under 15 Girls’ pentathlon, she cleared a personal best 1.31m in the High Jump, and also won the 800m. Her 4.11m leap in the Long Jump and 6m plus throw in the Shot Putt contributed valuable points. Unfortunately she stumbled crossing the final barrier in her 80m Hurdles race, which probably cost her a medal.

Earlier last week Tom McGrane finished 3rd in the Senior Men’s Hammer at the Dublin Graded Meet in Santry with a personal best throw of 17.26m.

Several athletes from the Dromiskin-based club are due to compete in some high-profile competitions this bank holiday weekend. On Saturday Hilary Kerr, Emily Rogers and Frances Rogers will compete in the finals of the Irish Schools’ Championships in Tullamore. Based on the results of the four provincial championships, Emily is the top-ranked girl in the Junior (Under 15) High Jump. Her clubmates are also expected to figure in the battle for medals, as Hilary is ranked 3rd in the Senior Long Jump and Frances is ranked 4th in the Senior Shot Putt.

On Sunday Olivia McDonald will throw the Javelin in Group B of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in the Slovakian town of Dubnica nad Váhom. There she will guest for the County Donegal club Tír Chonaill AC, the current Irish National League women’s title holders, in their bid for European glory. This is a great opportunity for Olivia to compete against javelin throwers from leading athletics clubs across the continent. Her opposition in Slovakia will come from the local club Spartak Dubnica, the British champions City of Manchester, as well as the champion clubs of Germany, France, the Netherlands, Serbia and Denmark.

The following day the members of the St Peter’s AC team, which won the Louth Masters’ Cross Country title last January, are hoping to take to the streets of Dublin for the Women’s Mini-Marathon. Maria Duffy, probably the club’s most experienced athlete, is also expected to join them for the 10km race, which has now established itself as one of the world’s biggest mass-participation sporting events.

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20 May 2009

Last Sunday a new athletics track in Athlone was officially opened by Éamonn Coghlan. Olivia McDonald of St Peter’s AC was there to take on the country’s other leading female javelin throwers in the AAI Games. She confirmed her ranking as Ireland’s number 2 in this event, as she threw 40.50m for 2nd place behind Dublin athlete Anita White. Olivia’s performance was just 20cm short of her lifetime best, and, given that it was achieved in very wet conditions, bodes well for the remainder of this season.

Meanwhile on Wednesday and Saturday last week five athletes from the Dromiskin-based club represented their secondary schools in the finals of the Leinster Schools’ Championships at Santry Stadium in Dublin. Three of them finished in the medals and now advance to the Irish Schools’ Championships on Saturday week in Tullamore.

Emily Rogers (Greenhills College, Drogheda) took the Junior (Under 15) High Jump title with an excellent leap of 1.59m. Hilary Kerr (Dún Lughaidh, Dundalk) jumped a lifetime best of 5.33m to take silver in the Senior Long Jump, and also finished 7th in the 200m on the track. Frances Rogers (Greenhills College, Drogheda) hauled herself up the rankings into 2nd place with a great putt of 10.27m in the final round of the Senior Shot Putt, but was a little below her best in the Discus, where she finished 5th with a throw of 20.99m.

The best performance by a St Peter’s AC athlete in a track event at the Leinster Schools’ came in the Junior 75m Hurdles, where Niamh Fussey (Scoil Uí Mhuirí, Dunleer) just missed out on a medal as she crossed the line in 4th place. Grace Rogers (Greenhills College, Drogheda) was below her best due to injury, but still managed a 4.77m leap for 7th in the Intermediate (Under 17) Long Jump, and then anchored her school quartet to 5th place in the 4x100m relay.

St Peter’s AC athletes will also be busy over the coming days. This Friday evening sees the staging of the Blackrock AC Beach Races. At the weekend the Leinster Junior and Combined Events’ Championships will be held in Greystones. Then on Tuesday evening the second meet in the Lagan Valley AC series takes place at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast.

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13 May 2009

Last Wednesday a small group of athletes from St Peter’s AC swapped the blue colours of the Dromiskin club for their school colours. The occasion was the second day of the North Leinster Schools’ Championships at Santry in Dublin. The very impressive medal haul amounted to six gold, one silver and one bronze medal.

Hilary Kerr (St Louis, Dundalk) equalled her two-year-old personal best in winning the Senior Long Jump title with a leap of 5.28m, and also took gold in the 200m on the track. Frances Rogers (Greenhills, Drogheda) also had a double in the Senior events – taking the Discus title with a personal best 22.91m throw and putting 9.72m for victory in the Shot. Her younger sister Grace Rogers, also representing Greenhills, jumped 4.64m to win the Intermediate Long Jump, and also cleared 1.40m for silver in the High Jump. Grace finished a busy day by anchoring her school quartet to a comfortable victory in the 4x100m.

These excellent performances ensure that Hilary, Frances and Grace have all qualified for this week’s Leinster Schools’ Championships, which will once again be held at Santry. Also competing in the provincial finals will be Niamh Fussey and Emily Rogers, who qualified on the first day of the North Leinster Championships the previous Wednesday. Emily added another bronze medal to her North Leinster collection last Wednesday as part of the Greenhills College Junior 4x100m team.

Meanwhile, on the May Bank Holiday Monday, young Daniel Mullen followed up his fine performances in the Under 10 events at the Louth Juvenile Championships with another good run in the North East Runners 5km handicap road race in Dundalk.

Next Sunday Olivia McDonald, recently crowned Irish Universities champion in the Javelin, will have her second outing of the season in the AAI Games in Athlone. Olivia is building up to her first major competition of 2009, which is Group B of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in the Slovakian town of Dubnica nad Váhom on Sunday 31st May. There she will represent the County Donegal club Tír Chonaill AC, the current Irish National League women’s title holders. But fans of St Peter’s AC need not fear that Olivia has transferred to a rival club! Each club in the European Cup is permitted to augment their team with two guest athletes. Following Olivia’s outstanding season last year and her continued dedication to the sport, she has been honoured by being asked to guest for the Irish champions in their bid for European glory.

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6 May 2009

Over the past week the athletes of Dromiskin-based St Peter's AC were in action in the first significant championship competitions of the 2009 outdoor track and field season. They enjoyed some great successes in both the Louth Juvenile Championships and the North Leinster Schools' Championships. What was perhaps even more impressive was the great spirit shown by all the club's athletes who competed in both these championships, regardless of their finishing positions. The Louth Championships got underway last Friday evening, and continued over the following two days at the track Bush - now firmly established as the home of athletics in County Louth. Earlier last week the North Leinster Schools' Championships were held at Santry Stadium in Dublin - the long established home of Irish athletics.

Several championship best performances were set by St Peter's athletes in the Louth Championships. Mark Rogers was once again outstanding in the Under 14 age group, as he established new marks in the High Jump (1.52m) and the Shot Putt (11.50m). His sister Emily Rogers cleared 1.59m in the Under 16 High Jump, which was the best ever height by a girl in these championships in any age group. Also setting new county High Jump bests were their cousins Frances Rogers, who equalled the Under 19 mark of 1.30m, and her sister Grace Rogers, who cleared 1.46m to take the Under 17 title. Frances also rewrote the record books with her 10.11m winning putt in the Under 19 Shot.

The Rogers clan were not the only stars for the Dromiskin club however. Hilary Kerr recorded a great 5.23m championship best in the Under 19 Long Jump, and also starred on the track, as she claimed a hat-trick of sprint titles (100m, 200m and 400m). Ian McDonald leapt 5.73m, which beat the previous best mark in the Under 18 Long Jump, but he had to be content with a silver medal. Martin McGrane added over a foot to the previous record with his winning putt of 7.57m in the Under 12 Shot. He then travelled straight from Bush to the Dundonald Ice Bowl in Belfast, where he starred in defence for the Dundalk Bulls Under 12 ice hockey team in their 4-0 shutout victory over the Belfast Giants. The youngest St Peter’s AC record breaker was Gabriel Bell, who leapt a very impressive 3.20m in the Under 9 Long Jump.

Other St Peter’s athletes who won county titles included Alex Hanneffy, Brianán Conway, Lauren Finnegan, Niamh Fussey, Nikayla Hamill, Caoibheadh McGowan, Erin McGowan, Orlaith McMahon and Heather Rogers. Among the other athletes from the club who competed at Bush were Elizabeth Bell, Aaron Byrne, Aisling Byrne, Cian Duffy, Megan Finnegan, Liam Fussey, Pádraic McGinn, Jade McGowan, Ellen McGuinness, Daniel Mullen, Michael Mullen, Lorcan Murphy, Cian O’Brien, Jack O’Brien, Conor Watters and Megan Watters. All of these performed well, with several of them winning medals.

At the North Leinster Schools’ Championships in Santry last Wednesday both Emily Rogers (Greenhills College, Drogheda) and Niamh Fussey (Scoil Uí Mhuirí, Dunleer) qualified for the Leinster finals. Emily won the Junior High Jump and Niamh took silver in the Junior 75m Hurdles. More athletes from St Peter’s AC will represent their secondary schools when these championships continue today (Wednesday) at the same venue.

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