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Reports - February 2011

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23 February 2011

Last weekend the Odyssey Arena in Belfast was the venue for the 2011 Irish Senior and Ulster Juvenile Indoor Championships. Four athletes from St Peter's AC were in action in the magnificent arena and they all produced performances to be proud of.

Emily Rogers made history by becoming the first ever athlete from the Dromiskin-based club to win a National Senior medal in indoor competition. The talented young athlete, who is still only 16 years old, took bronze in the Irish Senior Women's High Jump on Saturday night. Her best clearance of 1.60m was the same as that of the silver medallist, Caoimhe Basquille from Slí Cualann AC in County Wicklow, while victory went to Cathriona Farrell from Craughwell AC in County Galway, who scaled 1.70m.

A little earlier on Saturday evening Hilary Kerr had showed that she is returning to her best form, as she jumped 5.31m for 8th place in a very competitive Irish Senior Women's Long Jump championship. This is Hilary's best distance since she set her personal best of 5.39m in 2009. One of Ireland's leading athletes, Kelly Proper from Ferrybank AC in County Waterford, leapt 6.22m to claim victory in this event, and she went on to win the 200m title on Sunday.

In the Ulster Juvenile Championships Mark Rogers exactly replicated his medal-winning feats in this same competition last year. The young Togher athlete got his weekend off to a good start with a bronze medal performance in the Under 16 60m Hurdles on Saturday afternoon. His time of 9.45 seconds easily bettered his previous PB of 9.61 seconds.

Mark returned to the Odyssey on Sunday morning to set another PB. This came in the 800m, in which he clocked 2:11.93 to better his previous mark of 2:12.62 and earn the silver medal. His third event, the High Jump, came straight after the 800m, but he was far too good for the rest of the field, with his best height of 1.70m easily good enough to seal the gold medal.

Martin McGrane had set a PB of 8.68m when taking silver in the Under 14 Shot Putt at the Leinster Indoor Championships in Nenagh the previous Sunday. Last Saturday afternoon in Belfast he went one better, as he improved to 9.06m to win the Ulster gold medal. He had a comfortable margin of 68cm to spare over the silver medallist, John Gibbons from Sliabh Liag AC in County Donegal.

This was possibly the last occasion for indoor athletics to be staged in the Odyssey Arena, as it is expected that the Irish Senior Championships will move to the new indoor track being constructed in Athlone, while the Ulster Juvenile Championships are likely to be staged at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt. If that indeed proves to be the case, the four young athletes from St Peter's AC will certainly retain fond memories of the final track and field competition in the Odyssey.

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16 February 2011

Last weekend a small team of four athletes from Dromiskin-based St Peter's AC travelled to Nenagh for the Leinster Juvenile Indoor Championships. What they lacked in quantity they more than made up for in quality, as they all won medals or set personal best performances.

Emily Rogers struck gold in the Under 18 High Jump on Sunday with a 1.63m clearance, just 3cm short of her PB. The previous night she had been honoured at a ceremony in Athlone, where she was presented with the Athletic Association of Ireland award as the best juvenile athlete in County Louth during 2010.

Emily had also won this AAI award last year, which has now gone to a St Peter's athlete for the last seven years in succession. The other young athletes from the club responsible for this winning streak are Peter McDonald (2004), Hilary Kerr (2005 and 2007), Kevin McManus (2006) and Olivia McDonald (2008), while Peter had also received this award in 2002.

Mark Rogers, Emily's brother, who is continuing to recover from bruising to his back following a recent fall, was also in good form in Sunday. He scaled 1.75m to take silver in the Under 16 High Jump and, immediately afterwards, ran a fine tactical race for bronze in the 800m.

Mark was also due to compete in the Shot Putt, but was unable to do so as this event ran concurrently with the High Jump. He did seek to join the Shot competition while it was in progress, but the officials insisted on a strict application of the rules. Some would argue that a more flexible approach on their behalf might have been appropriate in this case, as the absence of a timetable of events caused some difficulties for athletes competing in more than one event.

Also on Sunday, Martin McGrane made a big breakthrough in the Under 14 Shot Putt, as he added over 1 metre to his PB with the 2.72kg implement to finish 2nd with a best of 8.68m. Martin has been representing St Peter's in Leinster events each year since 2007, and this was his first time to come away with a Leinster medal.

Another athlete to set a PB in the Shot Putt was the ever-improving Pádraic McGinn, who threw 7.23m with the 3.25kg implement in the Under 15 event on Saturday.

Emily, Mark and Martin have all now qualified for the Irish Juvenile Indoor Championships, which are split over two weekends ? the first in Magherafelt on the 19th and 20th of March, and the second in Nenagh in early April.

Next weekend Hilary Kerr and Emily Rogers are due to compete in the Irish Senior Indoor Championships ? in the Long Jump and High Jump respectively ? while Martin McGrane and Mark Rogers are both entered for the Ulster Juvenile Indoor Championships. Both these championships are being staged at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

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9 February 2011

Last Saturday Frances Rogers and Hilary Kerr from Dromiskin-based St Peter's AC were in action in the Irish Universities' Indoor Championships in Nenagh, while the following day Mark Rogers represented Ireland for the second time in the space of week at the Anglo-Celtic Schools' Combined Events' Indoor International in Glasgow.

Frances was representing Trinity College, Dublin in the Shot Putt in the County Tipperary arena, in which she threw 9.71m to take silver. This was a little below her best, but was quite a good performance, considering that it was her first competition since early last summer.

Hilary was likewise experiencing competitive action for the first time in several months. Representing the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, she leapt 5.17m for bronze in the Long Jump and, despite a lack of specific sprint training recently, also competed in the 60m, in which she finished 3rd in her heat and 5th in the final.

Mark was unfortunately somewhat below his best in the Under 16 Pentathlon in Glasgow's Kelvin Hall on Sunday. He had not fully recovered from hurting his back after a fall earlier last week and this hampered him on the day, particularly in some of the events. Competing against the best young multi-eventers from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, he finished in 12th place with a total of 2519 points.

Mark opened with a 9.61 seconds clocking in the 60m Hurdles, which earned him 617 points. Next up was the the Long Jump, in which he leapt 5.07m for 396 points. He then returned to the track where he was credited with 458 points for his 26.86 seconds performance in the 200m. Back in the field once more he did well to throw 10.43m with the 5kg Shot for 512 points. Mark finished off with a good run in the 800m, in which he clocked 2:14.14 for 536 points.

Next weekend several young athletes from St Peter's AC will be in action in Nenagh, which, despite its location in Munster, is the venue for the Leinster Juvenile Indoor Championships. They have all been working hard to build up their speed, stamina and strength during the winter months, so will be hoping for some good performances.

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2 February 2011

Last Sunday Mark Rogers from Dromiskin-based St Peter's AC made his Irish international debut in the Celtic Schools' Under 16 Indoor International at the National Indoor Athletics Centre at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC). This match is normally contested by teams from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but this year the Scots did not field a team. However a Welsh ?B? team did take part, alongside the national teams of Ireland and Wales.

14-year-old Mark, who hails from Togher and is a student in St Joseph's CBS, Drogheda, was up against two 15-year-old Welsh boys in the High Jump. David Omoregie from Pembrokeshire was representing Wales and Luke Ward from Deeside was representing the Welsh ?B? team. The three athletes were very evenly matched going into the competition, as both Mark and David had personal bests of 1.76m, while Luke had a PB of 1.75m.

The opening height in the competition was 1.70m and Mark was the first to jump. He got off to a great start by clearing the bar on his first attempt. David was next to go and he was likewise successful at this height. Luke was the final one of the trio into action and, not to be outdone, he also went clear at 1.70m first time round.

The bar was then raised to 1.75m. Unfortunately Mark knocked the bar on his first attempt at this height, while both Welsh boys cleared it without problems. However Mark ensured that he remained firmly in contention by sailing over on his second attempt.

The competition was progressing quickly as the bar was next upped to 1.80m, a height none of the three had ever cleared before. Mark set the event alight with a great first time clearance at this height. However David responded in kind by also going clear on his first attempt. For Luke, who had already equalled his PB of 1.75m, this height proved too much, as he failed to clear it on each of his three attempts.

Having each added 4cm to his PB, Mark and David then went on to attempt 1.83m. However, not surprisingly, neither managed to clear this height after three attempts apiece. Mark's earlier failure at 1.75m meant that victory went to David, with Mark 2nd and Luke in 3rd place. Although somewhat disappointed in the immediate aftermath to have so narrowly missed out on an international victory, Mark should be very proud to have performed so well on his debut for his country.

Next Sunday Mark will be back in the green of Ireland when he competes in the Pentathlon in the rescheduled Anglo-Celtic Schools' Combined Events' Indoor International in Glasgow. The previous day two other St Peter's AC athletes, Hilary Kerr and Frances Rogers, are expected to compete in the Irish Universities' Indoor Championships in Nenagh. Hilary will represent the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, while Frances, a cousin of Mark's, will be competing in the colours of Trinity College, Dublin.

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