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Reports - November 2009

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25 November 2009

St Peter’s AC had one athlete in action at last Sunday’s Irish Juvenile Cross Country Championships, which were staged at Kilbeggan Racecourse in County Westmeath. Nikayla Hamill was the standard bearer for the Dromiskin-based club, as she contested the Under 12 Girls’ championship over 1000m. At least Nikayla and the other girls in her race had the benefit of running in the first event of the day before the already heavy underfoot conditions deteriorated further. However the low temperatures, gale force winds and heavy showers made for quite difficult conditions throughout the day.

Nikayla, who was representing both her club and the Leinster provincial team, finished in 25th place. This was an excellent performance by this very promising up-and-coming athlete, especially considering that it was her first time to compete in an All-Ireland championship event.

The Kilbeggan event was Nikayla’s sixth cross country race since the beginning of October and she has really impressed throughout the season. She commenced on a winning note by taking the Louth Under 12 title in Ardee and then a week later won bronze against the older girls in the Louth Under 13 event in Bush.

On her next outing she won again, triumphing in the Under 12 race at the Boyne AC Floodlit Cross Country in Drogheda. In more recent weeks she has been travelling further afield to contest the Leinster Championships, finishing 8th in the Under 12 event in County Wexford and 22nd in the Under 13 race in Tullamore.

Meanwhile those athletes from the club who prefer track and field to cross country are by no means idle. A number of them attended the recent Leinster regional squad session at Santry Stadium in Dublin. Emily Rogers, who had a great season in 2009, is now also part of the Irish national squad for the High Jump, and met up with the rest of this squad for training last Sunday.

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18 November 2009

Last Sunday several athletes from St Peter’s AC competed in the Noel McGuill / Sandra Floyd Cross Country races in Darver. This annual event, organised by Dunleer AC, was staged at the Louth GAA training centre for the first time. It thus represented a unique opportunity for the athletes of the Dromiskin-based club to have a competitive outing so close to home. In addition the weather was kind as the sun shone throughout, which was a welcome bonus after the heavy rain during the preceding week.

Mark Rogers was the leading St Peter’s athlete on the day as he ran strongly to finish 2nd in the Under 15 race over 2km. On this occasion he was competing as part of his school team, St Joseph’s CBS in Drogheda. Gabriel Bell, who lives just around the corner from the GAA centre, also had a great run, coming home 4th at Under 9 level in a very tight finish at the end of his 600m race. Niamh Fussey was another athlete from the club to impress, with an 8th place finish in the Under 15 2km race.

Other athletes from St Peter’s AC who had good runs in Darver included Ava Brennan, Aaron Byrne, Cian Duffy, Maria Duffy, Oisín Duffy, Pádraig McGinn and Orlaith McMahon. Nikayla Hamill, probably the club’s outstanding cross country athlete this season, wasn’t in action in Darver. Nikayla, however, has greater things on her mind this week as next Sunday she will compete in the Under 12 race at the Irish Cross Country Championships at Kilbeggan Racecourse in County Westmeath.

The members of the St Peter's AC were very saddened to learn of the untimely death of Shay Kearns at the weekend. Shay was a brother of club coach Anne McGuinness. All at the club sympathise sincerely with Anne and the other family members on the occasion of their sad loss.

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11 November 2009

Last Sunday five young athletes from St Peter’s AC travelled to Tullamore in County Offaly. The midland venue is well known for staging track and field championships but this time the occasion was the second day of this year’s Leinster Cross Country Championships. The team from the Dromiskin-based club was contesting the Under 13 Girls’ race.

Young Nikayla Hamill led the blue singlets home once more with a great run to finish 22nd in a very large field. Two weeks ago she had finished 8th in the Leinster Under 12 championship in County Wexford, and this time she showed that she was by no means out of her depth running alongside older girls.

Following Nikayla home were Lauren Finegan (53rd), Heather Rogers (101st), Orlaith McMahon (110th) and Elizabeth Bell (124th). Heather and Orlaith are also Under 12 athletes who stepped up to take on the older girls this time out.

As a result of the girls’ fine efforts, the St Peter’s AC team finished 13th overall in the inter-club contest. Nikayla was also a scoring member of the Louth team which was ranked 5th in the inter-county classification. She was the 3rd athlete from the Wee County across the finish line, behind Annabelle Morris of Blackrock and Glenmore’s Kim Murphy.

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4 November 2009

Last Sunday Kevin Barry Mackin of St Peter’s AC made his marathon debut in the New York City Marathon. He ran steadily throughout the first half of the race, averaging just over nine minutes per mile and going through the midway point in a time of 2:03:29. His pace slipped somewhat in the second half of the race with the 19th mile proving to be his slowest of the race. However in the final stages of the race Kevin managed to pick up the pace once again, covering the last mile at almost the same pace as he had been running at the outset.

His finishing time for the classic 26 miles 385 yards distance was 4:36:53, and he also had the satisfaction of raising a considerable sum of money for the Irish Cancer Society through running the marathon in New York.

The members of the Dromiskin-based were delighted to learn recently that St Peter’s AC had been chosen to receive a 2009 Texaco Sportstars Bursary. The club is one of only 25 from across all sports throughout the island of Ireland to be awarded a bursary this year. Almost 600 clubs applied and the successful applicants were selected on behalf of Texaco by a panel of national sports journalists. St Peter’s AC was the only County Louth club chosen, and one of only two athletics clubs selected nationwide.

The bursary was presented at a reception in the Conrad Hotel in Dublin by John Treacy, who is currently CEO of the Irish Sports Council, and was one of the country’s greatest ever athletes, with back-to-back World Cross Country titles and Olympic Marathon silver to his name. Four St Peter’s AC coaches – Kathleen McConnell, Angela McDonald, Tom McGrane and Anne McGuinness – travelled to Dublin to accept the award on behalf of the club. It is planned to use the money to upgrade the club’s track and field training equipment.

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