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Reports - July 2009

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29 July 2009

Last Saturday Mark Rogers of St Peter’s AC won his seventh national track and field medal of 2009 when he was narrowly beaten into second place in the Under 14 Pentathlon in Tullamore. Despite having trouble with a back injury and hence being below his best in some of the five events, he added almost 200 points to his previous best pentathlon score and missed out on the gold by just 27 points.

Mark ran 13.1 in the 75m Hurdles, jumped 4.38m in the Long Jump and threw 10.51m with the 2.72kg Shot to accumulate an impressive points total after the first three events. In the High Jump his back injury flared up once more and he had to be content with a height of 1.51m. Nevertheless his strength carried him through in the final event, the 800m, where he crossed the line in first place in a time of 2:26.6.

These efforts earned Mark a total of 2881 points, well ahead of his previous best of 2691 points, which he achieved when also winning silver in the Irish Indoor Championships earlier this year. The winner on Saturday, Garbhan McKenna of Glaslough Harriers in County Monaghan, registered 2908 points, which left him just marginally ahead of the young Togher athlete.

Well done to all the St Peter’s AC athletes who competed in the 3rd and final round of the Louth Juvenile League in Bush last Thursday evening. There were several excellent performances and the athletes all contributed valuable points to the club’s total.

Several of the older athletes from the Dromiskin-based club should be in action at the Louth Junior, Senior and Masters’ Championships at the Bush track this evening (Wednesday). Two of these athletes will also be in action in the country’s premier domestic athletics competition this weekend, when Olivia McDonald and Frances Rogers will represent St Peter’s AC in the Irish Senior Championships in Dublin’s Santry Stadium. Olivia will compete in her main event, the Javelin, on Saturday and will return to Dublin the next day where she will join Frances in contesting the Shot Putt.

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22 July 2009

St Peter’s AC enjoyed yet more success at the weekend, as one of the club’s athletes helped Ireland to 2nd place in the Schools’ International match on Saturday, while another won a national silver medal at the Irish Juvenile Championships on Sunday.

The annual Schools’ International dates back to 1961. In the initial years it involved teams from England, Scotland and Wales, with Northern Ireland first competing in 1963. Then in 1968 a team representing the entire island of Ireland replaced the Northern Ireland team. This match is contested at Under 17 level only, and two St Peter’s AC athletes have represented Ireland in this event in previous years – javelin throwers Peter McDonald in 2003 and his sister Olivia McDonald in 2006.

For this year’s match, hosted by Ireland at the Antrim Forum, Emily Rogers was selected to represent Ireland in the High Jump. Emily, a student at Greenhills College in Drogheda, will still be underage for this international next year, but her outstanding recent form gave the selectors no option but to include her this year.

On the day Emily was not far off her best, as she jumped 1.61m for 8th place. Like most events last Saturday the Girls’ High Jump was won by an English athlete. In this case the victor was Hannah Frith from Bedfordshire who cleared 1.70m. Two Welsh girls, Sian Swanson from Powys and Ffion Bodilly from Cardiff, both of whom cleared 1.67m, took the silver and bronze medals respectively.

When the points were totalled at the end of the day, England once again came out on top. However Emily’s efforts helped the Irish team meet its pre-competition target of finishing in 2nd place, ahead of Celtic rivals Scotland and Wales.

The following day three athletes from the Dromiskin-based club travelled to Tullamore for the final day of the Irish Juvenile Championships. Hilary Kerr equalled her personal best with a great leap of 5.39m in the Under 19 Long Jump. This performance earned her the silver medal, to add to the silver which she won in the 100m on the first day of these championships last Saturday week.

Brianán Conway finished 8th in the Under 17 Javelin with a throw of 20.51m, which was a little below her personal best. Ian McDonald was just 2cm off his best ever jump, as he leapt 5.72m to claim 9th place in the Under 18 Long Jump.

St Peter’s AC performed very well in the first two rounds of the Louth Juvenile League. The final round will be held tomorrow (Thursday) evening in Bush, starting at 6:30 p.m. All involved in the club greatly appreciate the support of parents in bringing the athletes along to these competitions, and are confident that there will be a great turnout once again tomorrow.

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15 July 2009

Last weekend five athletes from St Peter’s AC travelled to Tullamore for the first two days of the Irish Juvenile Championships. They produced a series of excellent performances, with all five of them returning home to County Louth with one or more national championship medals.

Emily Rogers maintained her 100% record in national championship competition, clearing 1.58m for victory in the Under 16 High Jump. This was below her recent personal best of 1.66m, but her focus right now is on peaking for this Saturday’s Anglo-Celtic Schools’ International match in Antrim.

Young Lauren Finegan demonstrated that she is more than capable of carrying on the Dromiskin-based club’s fine tradition in the Javelin. Her 24.03m throw won silver in the Under 13 event, and was just an agonising 7cm short of the winner. Lauren also finished 11th in the Shot Putt with a best of 6.70m.

On Saturday afternoon Frances Rogers threw 10.44m, her best so far this summer, to win silver in the Under 19 Shot Putt. Earlier in the day she had finished 7th in the Discus with a 20.82m throw.

Hilary Kerr normally competes in the 100m, 200m and Long Jump and has previously won national medals in the longer sprint and the Long Jump. However on Saturday she climbed onto the podium to claim a national 100m medal for the first time. Her 13.03 performance was her best this year, and saw her finish 2nd in the Under 19 final. Hilary will be back in Tullamore this Sunday to contest her other two events.

Mark Rogers injured his back in warming up for the Under 14 Long Jump on Saturday, and could then only manage 4.56m for 10th place. Despite not being fully recovered he returned to the County Offaly venue on Sunday. There he leapt 1.55m to claim bronze in the High Jump, and also battled bravely for another bronze in the 800m, in which he ran a new personal best time of 2:18.68.

Last Thursday there was a very good turnout of St Peter’s AC athletes at the 2nd round of the Louth Juvenile League in Bush. There were several excellent performances and the athletes all contributed valuable points to the club’s total. Those who competed included Gabriel Bell, Ava Brennan, Joseph Brennan, Brianán Conway, Niamh Devlin, Megan Finnegan, Liam Fussey, Ian McDonald, Pádraic McGinn, Jade McGowan, Martin McGrane, Ellen McGuinness, Orlaith McMahon, Éamonn McManus, Daniel Mullen, Michael Mullen, Emily Rogers, Frances Rogers, Grace Rogers, Heather Rogers, Mark Rogers, Adam Stewart and Conor Watters.

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8 July 2009

Last weekend several athletes from Dromiskin-based St Peter’s AC were in action both locally and in Scotland. On Friday night six youngsters from the club ran around the streets of Seatown in the annual Dundealgan AC road races. On Saturday afternoon, Olivia McDonald, who is now also a member of Edinburgh AC, made her debut for the Scottish club in the British League, while two other St Peter’s athletes competed in the Garda Open Sports in Shercock.

Olivia was competing outside Ireland for the third time in just five weeks, when she took on the best of Britain’s female javelin throwers in the British League Division 1 match in the central Scottish town of Grangemouth. There were 16 athletes in the competition, two from each of the top 8 clubs in Great Britain. Following a hectic schedule of competitions in recent weeks, Olivia was a little below her best, but still managed to claim 3rd place with a throw of 37.40m. The points she gained helped Edinburgh AC to 2nd place in the match, a big improvement on the club’s 6th place last time out.

The Dundealgan AC Road Races attracted a good turnout of juvenile athletes from clubs in County Louth and the Newry area. The first six individual athletes in each race were presented with medals. Two years ago Nikayla Hamill from St Peter’s AC finished 3rd in this event, while last year she improved to finish 2nd. This year she went even better, as she won the Under 12 800m race in a most commanding fashion. This was also the first victory by an athlete from the Dromiskin club in the Dundealgan event in recent years.

Gabriel Bell was another who impressed in Dundalk, with a very gutsy run for 3rd place in the Under 10 600m race, while Joseph Mullen had a very steady run to claim 4th place in the Under 14 1000m. His brother Daniel Mullen just missed out on a medal, as he came home 7th in the Under 10 event. Jack O’Brien and Michael Mullen, another brother of Joseph’s, were in action in the Under 12 800m, where both ran well, finishing 10th and 13th respectively.

Father and son Tom McGrane and Martin McGrane were the only two athletes from the club to travel to the Cavan / Monaghan Garda Open Sports at the new Tartan track in Shercock. Tom was first in action, throwing a personal best of 8.86m to take 3rd place from 7 competitors in the Senior Shot Putt. Later in the afternoon Martin went one better than his dad, throwing 7.15m for 2nd place in the Under 12 Shot Putt.

Just as Olivia McDonald was County Louth’s only representative on the Irish Senior team in the recent European Team Championships, another St Peter’s AC athlete will be the county’s only representative on the Irish team for the forthcoming Schools’ International against England, Scotland and Wales. This is high jumper Emily Rogers, who has just completed 2nd year in Greenhills College in Drogheda. This year it is Ireland’s turn to host this match, which will take place on Saturday week in Antrim.

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1 July 2009

The weekend before last the Irish senior athletics team, led by Paul Hession and Derval O’Rourke, travelled to the Slovakian city of Banská Bystrica where they competed in the 2nd League of the European Team Championships. Just one athlete from County Louth was numbered among the elite of the country’s athletes. This was javelin thrower Olivia McDonald from Dromiskin-based St Peter’s AC.

In what was very much a team competition, the young DkIT student had the honour of being part of the Irish team which finished 2nd behind Lithuania. Ireland will therefore join the Baltic country in next year’s 1st League, and all the members of the team were presented with a silver medal in recognition of this achievement. Trailing in Ireland’s wake were Latvia, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Cyprus. The last two of these are now consigned to the 3rd League for 2010.

Olivia herself was restricted to just two throws in the javelin, as this competition was subject to some controversial rule changes in an effort to make it more attractive to a mass market TV audience. This forced her to take a very safe throw on her first attempt, in order to ensure that she scored some points for the team, and then try to maximise her distance with her second throw. In these circumstances she did well to throw 36.85m and finish in 8th place.

This Sunday Olivia was back in action on home soil, winning the Irish Under 20 title in Tullamore with a new championship best performance of 39.39m. Hilary Kerr also medalled at these championships, with her best of 5.05m being good enough for silver in the Long Jump.

The day before another St Peter’s AC athlete was in great form at the same County Offaly venue. This was 14-year-old Emily Rogers, who was representing Leinster in the Under 17 Schools’ Interprovincial match, which also serves as a trial for the Schools’ International team. Competing against girls up to two years older than herself, Emily added 4cm to her previous personal best in the High Jump to win with a tremendous leap of 1.66m.

Also on Saturday, Gabriel Bell and Kian O’Brien represented the Dromiskin club at the Irish Championships for the Under 9 to Under 11 age groups, in which the athletes compete in pairs. These championships were held in Templemore, County Tipperary and the two youngsters performed very well in both the Under 9 Long Jump and Ball Throw.

Last Thursday evening several of the club’s athletes were in action in the 1st round of the Louth Juvenile League in Drogheda. These included Elizabeth Bell, Gabriel Bell, Anna Campbell, Brianán Conway, Lauren Finnegan, Megan Finnegan, Liam Fussey, Caoilte Hickey, Finn Halpenny, Nikayla Hamill, Alex Hanneffy, Ian McDonald, Pádraic McGinn, Erin McGowan, Jade McGowan, Ellen McGuinness, Orlaith McMahon, Lorcan Murphy, Jack O’Brien, Emily Rogers, Frances Rogers, Grace Rogers, Heather Rogers and Mark Rogers.

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