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Reports - June 2009

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24 June 2009

Last weekend several athletes from St Peter’s AC were in action in the Leinster Juvenile Championships for the Under 14 to 19 age groups. These were held in Tullamore and resulted in the Dromiskin-based club’s athletes winning 7 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze medals. Eight of the club’s athletes advanced to compete in next month’s Irish Championships by finishing in the top four in their events.

Hilary Kerr is in her last season as a juvenile athlete, and she certainly signed off with a flourish, winning gold in the Under 19 100m, 200m and Long Jump. Her leap of 5.37m in the Long Jump was just 2cm short of her recently established personal best.

Mark Rogers was a double gold medallist at Under 14 level, setting a new championship best of 1.60m in the High Jump and a personal best of 5.02m in the Long Jump. He also took silver in the 800m.

The other gold medallists from St Peter’s AC were Frances Rogers and Emily Rogers. Frances won the Under 19 Shot Putt and also finished 3rd in the Discus, while Emily Rogers was just 2cm off her best in clearing 1.60m to win the Under 16 High Jump.

Grace Rogers won silver as part of the Louth Under 17 4x100m team, and also took individual bronze in both the Under 17 High Jump and Long Jump. Ian McDonald was the club’s other relay medallist, winning bronze as a member of the county’s Under 19 4x100m team. He was also 4th in the Under 18 Long Jump. Despite just missing out on a medal in the latter, he was amply rewarded with qualification for the Irish Championships and a new personal best of 5.74m.

Brianán Conway is yet another St Peter’s athlete who is maintaining the club’s fine tradition in the Javelin, and she impressed once again with bronze in this event at Under 17 level.

Other athletes from the Dromiskin club who competed in Tullamore included Megan Finnegan, who threw a personal best in the Under 14 Shot Putt, Niamh Fussey, who was very busy as she tackled the Under 15 200m, 60m Hurdles and Long Jump, Caoilte Hickey, who finished 4th in The Under 14 Shot Putt and was also a finalist in the 200m, and Ellen McGuinness who was in action in the Under 15 Shot Putt and Javelin.

Last Saturday evening the Dublin Open Junior, Senior and Masters’ Championships were held in Santry. Tom McGrane flew the flag for St Peter’s with a double victory in the Over 45 throwing events. He added a massive 52cm to his previous personal best in the Shot Putt to win with 8.82m, and also took gold in the Hammer with a throw of 16.70m.

The previous evening the Mullen clan were out in force at the Alec Fennell Memorial Cross Country races, which are organised by Dundalk club North East Runners. Daniel Mullen won the 550m race for younger children, in which his young sister Rachel Mullen also ran. Joseph Mullen was the 2nd boy home in the 1100m race for older children, with his younger brother Michael Mullen not far behind.

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17 June 2009

Last Saturday Olivia McDonald of St Peter’s AC finished 2nd in the Javelin at the Ulster Senior Championships in Antrim. She threw 38.92m as she added the Ulster silver medal to the Leinster silver medal she had won at her own province’s senior championships the previous weekend.

Olivia’s excellent form has been rewarded by her selection for the Irish senior team to compete in the 2nd League of the European Team Championships, which was previously known as the Europa Cup, and is being held this weekend in the Slovakian city of Banská Bystrica. There Ireland will be striving for promotion to next year’s 1st League, as the best athletes from this country do battle against their counterparts from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia. Olivia is the only County Louth athlete on the Irish team for what is the most important senior international competition in which a Republic of Ireland athlete can compete outside the Olympic Games, World Championships and European Championships.

The Dromiskin club also has a host of younger athletes striving to follow the shining pathway laid down by Olivia. Several of them made the short journey to Navan last Saturday for the Leinster Championships for age groups up to Under 13. There the Under 12s and 13s competed as individuals, while the Under 9s to 11s competed in pairs.

In the Under 9 Long Jump Gabriel Bell and Cian O’Brien combined for victory, with Gabriel’s 3.37m jump being the best in the competition. The same pair also qualified for the national finals with 3rd place in Ball Throw. The Under 11 pair of Alex Hanneffy and Lorcan Murphy was also 3rd in their Ball Throw event, and in addition competed in the Long Jump.

In the older age groups Lauren Finnegan was in great form, taking silver in the Under 13 Javelin with 21.38m and 4th in the Shot with 7.57m. Despite just missing a medal in the latter, she was not too disappointed, as the top four advance to the national finals.

Nikayla Hamill finished 5th in the Under 12 600m final, and also ran a leg of the 4x100m relay for the Louth Under 13 team. Two more athletes made the top eight in Leinster: Martin McGrane who was 6th in the Under 12 Shot (7.46m) and Liam Fussey who was 8th in the Under 13 Javelin (16.33m).

Seven other athletes from St Peter’s AC also competed in Navan and all performed very well, with several recording personal bests. These were Elizabeth Bell, Aaron Byrne, Pádraic McGinn, Orlaith McMahon, Michael Mullen, Jack O’Brien and Heather Rogers.

The finals of the Louth Community Games were held on Sunday in Bush. As there was no qualifying athletics event in the Fane area this year, the majority of the club’s athletes were unable to compete in the Community Games. However those members living in the Togher area were out in force and performed very well.

Mark Rogers (10.51m) and Lauren Finnegan (5.86m) won the Under 14 Boys’ and Girls’ Shot respectively, throwing the heavier than normal 3.25kg implement. Emily Rogers also advanced to the National Community Games in the Under 16 High Jump. Just missing out on medals in 4th place were Megan Finnegan in the Under 14 100m and Heather Rogers in the Under 12 Ball Throw.

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10 June 2009

Three athletes from St Peter’s AC represented the Dromiskin-based club in the Leinster Senior and Masters’ Championships, which were staged last Sunday in Tullamore. They performed well, returning home from the Midlands venue with two silver medals and one fourth place to their credit.

Olivia McDonald was not far off her best in the Senior Women’s Javelin, throwing 40.12m for 2nd place behind Irish No. 1, Anita White from Dublin. Tom McGrane also struck silver in the Over 45 Men’s Hammer, where his best throw was measured at 16.95m. Tom later competed in the Shot, in which he registered a putt of 7.99m.

Ian McDonald, Olivia’s younger brother, normally competes at Under 18 level, but stepped up to take on the top Senior Men in the province last Sunday. He performed creditably, leaping 5.45m for 4th place in the Long Jump.

Earlier last week, on the June Bank Holiday Monday, over 40,000 women took to the streets of Dublin in sweltering heat for the annual Women’s Mini-Marathon over 10km. Among them were the three athletes from the Dromiskin club who won the Louth Masters’ Cross Country team title in very different conditions last January – Joan Lavin, Catherine Rogers and Kay Morris.

Joan was first of the St Peter’s AC contingent to finish, crossing the line in 419th place in a time of 52:58. This was a big improvement on her 56:09 performance in April’s Great Ireland Run, where the runners had experienced much more benign weather for a long distance race. Catherine also ran strongly to come home in 910th place in a time of 57:21. Kay was not far behind with a 65:40 clocking for 2127th place.

One of the club’s younger athletes also experienced success at national level recently. This was Nikayla Hamill who ran a 400m leg for the County Louth Under 12 Mixed Distance Relay team at the National Community Games Cross Country finals in Athlone. The team finished in 4th place and each member was presented with a medal.

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3 June 2009

Last Saturday three athletes from Dromiskin-based St Peter’s AC represented their secondary schools at the finals of the Irish Schools’ Championships in Tullamore. On a glorious summer’s day, ideal for track and field athletics, they all performed very well, registering one gold and one bronze medal, and a fourth place finish.

Togher girl Emily Rogers, who attends Greenhills College in Drogheda, led the way with a great victory in the Junior (Under 15) High Jump. She soared over a new personal best height of 1.62m. Her performance was particularly impressive, as it bettered that of all the girls in the Intermediate age group, and was only exceeded by the top two in the Senior event.

Hilary Kerr from Readypenny, a 5th year student in St Louis, Dundalk, also jumped further than ever before. Her 5.39m leap earned her a well deserved bronze medal in the Senior Long Jump. Hilary has put considerable emphasis on developing her sprinting speed in training over the past year, and this is clearly paying dividends in the Long Jump.

Frances Rogers, cousin of Emily and likewise a Togher resident and Greenhills College student, threw 10.25m for a meritorious 4th place in the Senior Shot Putt. Frances had a great indoor season a few months back when she threw her PB of 10.58m, and is not far off that form now. She will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with later in the summer after she has completed her Leaving Certificate exams.

On Sunday Olivia McDonald was in action in the Slovakian town of Dubnica nad Váhom. Competing as a guest for Donegal club Tír Chonaill in Group B of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, she finished 8th in the Javelin with a throw of 37.22m. Unfortunately Olivia had been quite sick in the week leading up to this prestigious competition, so, not surprisingly, she was somewhat below her best on the day. She was up against throwers from the leading clubs in Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Serbia and Slovakia.

Earlier last week Martin McGrane once again showed promise with a good victory in the Under 12 Shot Putt at the Lagan Valley AC Open Meet at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast. Throwing a heavier than normal shot for this age group, his winning putt of 5.48m was well clear of the opposition, who represented clubs from throughout Counties Antrim, Down and Armagh. His dad, Tom McGrane, made it a club and family double by winning the Senior Shot Putt at the same meet with an 8.24m throw, which was just 6cm short of his PB.

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