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Reports - March 2010

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31 March 2010

Last Saturday and Sunday Nenagh was the venue for the first weekend of this year’s Irish Juvenile Indoor Track & Field Championships. Among the athletes competing from all over Ireland were Mark Rogers and Niamh Fussey of St Peter’s AC, both of whom were in action on Sunday. The long journey from Louth to Tipperary and back was particularly fruitful for Mark as he added another national silver to his ever-growing medal collection.

The day started for the Dromiskin-based club’s pair with Niamh lining up for her heat of the Under 16 60m Hurdles. The Leinster bronze medallist was making her debut at All-Ireland level and, despite a good effort, found the competition tough and did not advance to the final.

Mark did succeed in advancing to the final from his heat of the Under 15 60m Hurdles. He then had a great run in the final, recording a personal best time of 9.71 seconds to claim 4th place. Sam Healy of Belgooly AC clocked 9.64 to just pip Mark for the bronze medal. Garbhan McKenna of Glaslough Harriers took the title in a very impressive 8.98, while Paddy Devereux of Bree AC was 2nd in 9.53.

Later in the afternoon there was a great battle between Mark and the hurdles bronze medallist Healy in the High Jump. This time, however, they were fighting for gold rather than bronze. They continued to jump ever higher after Diarmuid Prendergast of Craughwell AC was confirmed as the bronze medallist with a best height of 1.50m. Both boys eventually cleared 1.71m, but neither could go any higher on the day. Unfortunately for Mark, Healy was declared the winner as he had had fewer failures during the competition.

The first outdoor competition of the 2010 season will be staged in Bush on Friday week (9th April). As the action gets under way at 6:30 p.m. sharp, all the club’s juvenile athletes (i.e. those in the Under 9 to Under 19 age groups inclusive) should be at the track by 6 p.m.

St Peter’s AC is having its annual Flag Day in Dundalk on Thursday 22nd April. All parents are asked to help by collecting sometime on the day between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. and should contact Geraldine Fussey (086-3675155 or 042-9382354) who is co-ordinating the collectors.

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24 March 2010

The Athletic Association of Ireland honours the leading juvenile athletes in the country annually. Last Saturday night high jumper Emily Rogers of St Peter's AC in Dromiskin was presented with the award for being the leading athlete in County Louth during 2009. She was accompanied to the ceremony in the Arklow Bay Hotel by her parents, Brendan Rogers and Catherine Rogers, and by St Peter’s AC coaches Kathleen McConnell and Angela McDonald.

The fifteen-year-old Togher girl, who is currently a Junior Cert student in Greenhills College, Drogheda, recorded a series of excellent performances during the past year. In February she represented Ireland for the first time in the Celtic Schools’ Indoor International in Cardiff, where she jumped 1.58m to finish in 2nd place against opposition from Scotland and Wales. The following month she went 3cm higher when winning the Irish indoor title in Nenagh.

In May Emily improved to 1.62m to take the Irish Schools’ title in Tullamore, and then in June she really hit top form, setting a lifetime best of 1.66m when winning the Schools’ Interprovincial, also in Tullamore. The following month she was in the Midlands town once again to claim the Irish title with a leap 1.58m, and then jumped 3cm higher than that the following weekend when finishing 8th in the green vest of Ireland in the Anglo-Celtic Schools’ International in Antrim. For good measure Emily added the National Community Games title to her portfolio in August, as she scaled 1.60m for victory in Athlone.

This is Emily’s first time to win this coveted award, but it is the sixth year in succession, and the seventh time in the ten years since the formation of the AAI, that it has gone to a member of the Dromiskin-based club. Peter McDonald was honoured for his performances in both 2002 and 2004, while Hilary Kerr was also a double winner as a result of her great seasons in 2005 and 2007. The 2006 award went to Kevin McManus, with Olivia McDonald being the recipient last year.

On Sunday morning in Ravensdale Maria Duffy once again won the Women’s 40-49 category in the second of the duathlon series hosted by the Setanta Triathlon Club. Maria was especially pleased with her overall time of 1:09:27, which was almost 4 minutes faster than her winning time in the first of the four-race series last month. She improved significantly across all segments – both the initial and final 3.2km runs, the 19km cycle sandwiched between the runs, and the transition times between each segment.

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17 March 2010

Several young athletes from St Peter’s AC travelled to Gormanston College last Sunday. They were there to compete in the indoor athletics meet for juveniles organised by Drogheda club Boyne AC. Although not a standard indoor athletics arena, the very large sports hall in the County Meath school is suitable for several track and field events.

The athletes from the Dromiskin-based club produced some impressive performances. Finishing in the medals in their individual events were Nikayla Hamill (1st Under 13 600m and 3rd Under 14 60m), Gabriel Bell (2nd Under 10 60m and 2nd Under 11 200m), Niamh Fussey (2nd Under 17 600m and 3rd Under 16 60m) and Ava Brennan (2nd Under 10 60m).

There were some very exciting relay competitions where the St Peter’s Under 13 Girls’ team of Nikayla Hamill, Heather Rogers, Róisín Curley and Caoibheadh McGowan had an excellent run to win the gold medal. The Under 11 Girls’ team of Marie Clare Rogers, Lauren Byrne, Erin McGowan and Ava Brennan just missed out on the medals.

The other St Peter’s athletes who competed on Sunday included Liam Fussey, Josh Hamill, Pádraic McGinn, Ciara McNally and Caoifhinn O’Brannigan. All of these did themselves and their club proud with some fine performances against formidable opposition.

All of this augurs well for the fast-approaching outdoor track and field season. The first event locally is now just over three weeks away, as there will be a non-championship competition for County Louth juvenile athletes at the Bush track on Friday 9th April.

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10 March 2010

Niamh Fussey first came along to St Peter’s Athletic Club as a seven-year-old and has remained a dedicated member of the Dromiskin-based club ever since. Everyone at the club was delighted when she made a big breakthrough recently to win her first ever medal in Leinster championship competition. This medal, a bronze, came in the Under 16 60m Hurdles final at the Leinster Indoor Championships in Nenagh, where Niamh clocked a personal best time of 10.4 seconds.

The hurdles is Niamh’s favourite event and she naturally rates her Nenagh performance as her proudest moment and greatest achievement in the sport to date. It comes as no surprise to learn that her athletics hero is the great Derval O’Rourke. However, unlike the famous Corkwoman, Niamh is not exclusively a hurdler, as she has also represented her club in the 800m, High Jump, Long Jump, Pentathlon and Cross Country.

Niamh has shone brightly in Louth championship competition over the past three years, winning the High Jump title in 2007, the 75m Hurdles in 2008, and an impressive 80m Hurdles – 250m Hurdles double in 2009. For good measure she also won the county Community Games 80m Hurdles in 2008.

In the past two years Niamh has recorded heart-breaking 4th place finishes in Leinster championship finals on no less than five occasions. In 2008 she finished 4th in both the 75m Hurdles and, along with her teammates Ellen McGuinness, Caoimhe McMahon and Emily Rogers, the 4x100m relay. She was once again 4th across the line in both the 60m Hurdles in the Leinster Indoors and the 75m Hurdles in the Leinster Schools last year. Finally, in addition to winning hurdles bronze in Nenagh recently, she also finished 4th in the Long Jump that same weekend.

Having been so close to the medals on so many occasions, Niamh was especially thrilled with her achievement in Nenagh, and now looks forward to doing well in the Irish Indoor Championships, which are just a few weeks away. She has being doing some technical sessions at the track in Bush with St Peter’s AC coach Maria Duffy, and is also very grateful for all the help she has received from Angela McDonald, Kathleen McConnell and the other coaches in the club.

Niamh received her primary education in St Peter’s NS, Dromiskin, and is now studying for this year’s Junior Cert at Scoil Uí Mhuirí in Dunleer. She has represented her secondary school in basketball and Gaelic football as well as in athletics. She also enjoys the sport of golf and is an active member of Ardee Golf Club.

Niamh comes from a family steeped in sport. Her mother Geraldine Fussey (née Kirwan), now Assistant Secretary of St Peter’s AC, was a fine young javelin thrower some years ago with the now-defunct Clogherhead AC. Her father Chris Fussey is a keen golfer, while her younger brother Liam Fussey is also a promising young athlete with St Peter’s AC.

Niamh’s current personal best performances are:

60m Hurdles - 10.4 - Leinster Indoor Championships - Nenagh - 2010
75m Hurdles - 13.12 - Pitreavie Trophy - Dunfermline - 2009
80m Hurdles - 14.85 - Leinster Championships - Tullamore - 2009
800m - 2:49.83 - Leinster Pentathlon Championships - Greystones - 2009
High Jump - 1.31 - Leinster Pentathlon Championships - Greystones - 2009
Long Jump - 4.42 - Pitreavie Trophy - Dunfermline – 2009

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3 March 2010

Last weekend eight young athletes from Dromiskin-based St Peter’s AC travelled to Nenagh for the Leinster Juvenile Indoor Championships. They were rewarded with five medals – two gold, one silver and two bronze – and a series of fine performances.

All-rounder Mark Rogers leapt 1.65m for victory in the Under 15 High Jump, and also dipped under 10 seconds in the 60m Hurdles, clocking 9.9 for the silver medal. In addition he recorded 2:18.3 for 4th place in the 800m.

Emily Rogers, Mark’s older sister, is a high jump specialist rather than an all-rounder, and she duly delivered in Nenagh. Her clearance of 1.55m was easily good enough to take the Leinster Under 17 title.

Niamh Fussey clinched bronze in the Under 16 60m Hurdles in a time of 10.4, and just missed a medal by one centimetre in the Long Jump, as she leapt 4.27m to finish in 4th place.

St Peter’s AC other medallist in these provincial championships was Darren Tuite, who came home in 2:26.8 to take bronze in the Under 19 800m event. In the same age group Ian McDonald finished 5th in a competitive 60m final.

Also performing well in Nenagh were Pádraic McGinn in the Under 14 Boys’ Shot Putt and Orlaith McMahon and Heather Rogers in the Under 13 Girls’ events.

Earlier last week Mark Rogers finished in 9th place in Minor (Under 14) race over 1500m at the Leinster Schools’ Cross Country Championships. This event was held in the grounds of Dublin City University on Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately his team, St Joseph’s CBS of Drogheda, did not arrive at the venue as early as Mark would have liked, and hence he was restricted to a shorter warm-up than normal, which he felt may have hampered his performance.

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