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Reports - August 2009


26 August » 19 August » 12 August » 5 August »

26 August 2009

Last weekend the National Finals of the Community Games were held in Athlone for the first time, as they moved to the Midlands from their traditional home of Mosney. Two athletes from Dromiskin-based St Peterís AC were in action in the athletics events, both representing their home area of Togher. Several other members of the club missed out on the opportunity to compete in the Community Games this year, as there was no qualifying event held in the Fane area.

Emily Rogers was once again in great from in Athlone, as she jumped an excellent 1.60m in very wet conditions to win the Under 16 High Jump. This victory completes Emilyís collection of Irish titles for 2009, for earlier in the year she won both the AAI Indoor and Outdoor national championships, as well as the Irish Schoolsí title.

Lauren Finegan had a good series of throws in the Under 14 Shot Putt, but finished outside the medals on the day. However she will still be eligible for this age group next year, and she continues to show great promise for the future.

Several young athletes from St Peterís AC are continuing to train hard, as they prepare for their trip to the Pitreavie AC Young Athletesí Trophy Meet in Dunfermline next month. A squad of 13 athletes will contest several events in the Under 13, 15 and 17 age groups in this prestigious end-of-season competition on Sunday 13th September. It is expected that they will face opposition from across a wide area of Scotland.

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19 August 2009

Last Sunday week Olivia McDonald of Dromiskin club St Peterís AC won her fourth national javelin title of 2009. She finished her season with victory in the Scottish Junior (Under 20) Championships in Grangemouth where she had a best throw of 36.40m in very windy conditions. The silver and bronze medals went to Scottish athletes Paula Murray of Arbroath & District AC and Eleanor Workman of Banchory Stonehaven AC respectively. Thus Olivia added her first ever Scottish title to the trio of Irish titles Ė in the Senior, Junior and Universities' Championships Ė which she had already won this year.

The following Sunday Tom McGrane was in action in the Irish Mastersí Championships in Tullamore. He claimed bronze in the Over 45 Hammer with a personal best throw of 17.89m to finish behind Cliff Jennings of Galway City Harriers and Sťamus Fitzpatrick of North Laois AC. This was Tomís first medal in an individual event in an Irish Championships since he won bronze in the Senior 400m as a 22-year-old back in 1985. He also competed in the Shot Putt in Tullamore where he finished 5th with a best on the day of 8.41m.

Meanwhile the clubís younger athletes turned in some very impressive performances at both Sunday weekís Boyne AC Sports in Drogheda and last Sundayís Ardee & District AC Sports.

In Drogheda Nikayla Hamill led the way with victory in the Under 12 100m, backed up by bronzes in the 300m and Long Jump. Orlaith McMahon finished just behind Nikayla to take silver in the 100m and then went on to win the Long Jump. The clubís two Under 14 boys also took gold, with Caoilte Hickey winning the 100m and Mark Rogers the 600m. Brother and sister Gabriel Bell and Elizabeth Bell took three silvers between them. Gabrielís came in the Under 9 80m and 200m, while Elizabethís came in the Under 13 100m. Megan Finnegan was a double medallist at Under 14 level, as she finished 2nd in the Long Jump and 3rd in the 100m. Aaron Byrne and Jade McGowan also performed well in their events in the Boyne AC meet.

Nikayla Hamill was once again in great form in Ardee as she won the Under 12 800m and took 3rd place in the 100m in blustery and showery conditions. Also in top form at the mid-Louth venue was Ian McDonald who sped to victory in the Under 19 100m. Gabriel Bell once again was a double silver medallist in the Under 9 80m and 200m. Lauren Finegan and Orlaith McMahon both won medals in an age group older than that in which they normally compete, with Lauren finishing 2nd in the Under 14 Shot Putt and Orlaith finishing 3rd in the Under 13 Long Jump.

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12 August 2009

On Tuesday evening last week two athletes from St Peterís AC made the trip to Bangor for the North Down AC Youth Meet. As the competition only included events for the odd-numbered age groups, both Emily Rogers and Martin McGrane competed in an older age group than normal. However that proved no problem for the talented young pair, as they had impressive wins in their respective events.

Having slipped back a little during July after hitting top form at the end of June, Emily bounced back to within 1cm of her personal best to win the Under 17 High Jump. She was pushed in the early stages of the competition by the host clubís Kerrie Craig, as both went clear up to and including 1.55m. However Emily went on to clear 1.60m and then 1.65m, while Kerrie failed on her three attempts at 1.60m. The bronze medal went to Helen Ritchie of Newtownards club Regent House, who jumped 1.35m.

Martin was throwing the 3.25kg shot for the first time, which is significantly heavier than the 2kg implement he normally throws. Following a tentative throw in the opening round, he powered the shot out to 6.04m in the second round, which effectively ended the contest. With the pressure off, he was content to throw just under 6 metres in the third and final round. North Down pair Lex Walker and Frazer Atkinson took the silver and bronze medals with bests of 5.50m and 5.46m respectively.

Last Friday evening Michael Mullen and Daniel Mullen were the only athletes from the Dromiskin-based club to run in the Glenmore AC Road Races in Carlingford. As had been the case for their clubmates in Bangor, the young brothers had to compete in an older age group than normal. Michael tackled the Under 13 race and Daniel was in action in the Under 11 race. Both ran well on the night despite finishing outside the medals.

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5 August 2009

Last weekend was possibly the greatest ever occasion in the history of St Peterís AC, as Olivia McDonald and Frances Rogers returned from the Irish Senior Track and Field Championships in Dublinís Santry Stadium with three gold and one silver medal between them. Never before had an athlete from the Dromiskin-based club won a national senior title. That all changed on Saturday when Olivia struck gold in the Javelin. Then Frances won individual silver in the Shot Putt on Sunday, and combined with Olivia to take the team gold medal in this event.

Olivia went into the javelin competition on Saturday backed by her excellent record in this event at these championships. In 2006, at just 16 years of age, she won bronze. She returned in 2007 to take bronze once more, and then went one better last year when she added a silver medal to her collection. This year she threw 38.11m to claim the ultimate prize, thus adding the Irish Senior title to the Junior and Universities titles which she won earlier this year.

Frances, by contrast, was making her debut in the Irish Senior Championships. However she was not at all overawed by the occasion and produced a best putt of 10.15m, which resulted in her winning the silver medal. Olivia also joined her clubmate in Sundayís Shot Putt competition, where she finished in 6th place with a best of 7.79m. The combined distance of the two St Peterís AC athletes (17.94m) resulted in them being awarded the team gold medals.

The merit of the achievements of Olivia and Frances last weekend can perhaps be better appreciated when it is realised that they were the only County Louth athletes to win individual senior medals in what is undoubtedly Irelandís premier domestic athletics competition.

Last Wednesday evening Olivia McDonald warmed up for her tilt at national glory with a 37.02m throw for a very convincing win in the Senior Womenís Javelin at the Louth Junior, Senior and Mastersí Championships in Bush. Brendan Rogers also won a county javelin title, throwing 23.29m for victory in the Over 45 Menís event. He then backed up this gold with no less than four silver medals, which came in the 100m (13.4s), 200m (28.7s), Long Jump (4.77m) and Shot Putt (6.93m).

Brendanís conqueror in the Over 45 sprints and Long Jump was Mickey Linden of Dunleer AC, the double All-Ireland Gaelic Football winner with Down in 1991 and 1994. In the Over 45 Shot Putt however, Brendan took silver behind his St Peterís AC clubmate Tom McGrane, who won with a putt of 8.99m. This was a lifetime best for Tom, and was further than the winning distances achieved by the younger men in the Over 40, Over 35 and Senior categories.

Meanwhile Kathleen McConnell, long-time coach and treasurer with St Peterís AC, was honoured by the Athletic Association of Ireland when, for the second year in succession, she was appointed as coach to the Irish Under 16 and Under 18 teams for the annual Celtic Games international. Kathleen oversaw a very successful trip to Carmarthen in Wales, as the Irish team emerged victorious at the end of Saturdayís competition, with Scotland in 2nd place and the Welsh hosts back in 3rd.

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