Records set and Commonwealth Games standards hit on a busy weekend!


Local athletes enjoy a busy and successful weekend:

Leon Reid (Birchfield Harriers / James Hillier) and Kate O’Connor (St Gerard’s AC / Michael O’Connor) have taken the total number of local athletes who have reached the Commonwealth Games 2018 consideration standard to twelve.

On a busy weekend of athletics action, Leon and Kate excelled.  Leon made a very strong case to represent Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games for the second time after smashing his 200m personal best and with it, the Northern Ireland 200m record and Gold Coast consideration standard.

Competing at the British Athletics Senior Track & Field Championships, which included the Great Britain & NI World Championships Trials in Birmingham (Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd July 2017), Leon bettered the required standard twice, with a 20.59 (1.1) personal best in the heats – he then improved this further and broke Paul Brizzel’s 20:54 record with a 20.38 (0.8) in the final.  The new NI record time is also within the IAAF World Championships standard for London 2017.

At the European Athletics Combined Events Team Championships in Monzon, Spain, 16 year old Kate O’Connor continued to reap the rewards of her efforts in training with support team Michael O’Connor, Laura Kerr (Javelin & Shot Putt), Tom Reynolds (Hurdles), Adam McMullen (Long Jump & 200m) and (Dessie Gough – High Jump), as she smashed her own Northern Ireland Heptathlon record (5360 points) with an outstanding 5632 points.

This included impressive efforts and personal bests in the High Jump (1.75m), Javelin (45.00m) and Shot Putt (11.94m).  After Day 1 of competition, Kate sat in 5th place, already 97 points up on her NI record, but on Day 2, the rising star propelled herself into the podium places, eventually claiming 3rd place.  As well as bettering her own NI record and reaching the Gold Coast standard, Kate’s performance qualifies her for the European Junior and Under 23 Championships.

Leon and Kate now join Mollie Courtney (Cheltenham AC / David Warner), Ben Reynolds (North Down AC / Tom Reynolds), Ciara Mageean (UCD AC / Jerry Kiernan), Adam Kirk-Smith (Woodford Green Essex / Tomaz Plibersek), Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley AC / Niall Wilkinson), Dempsey McGuigan (Finn Valley AC / John Smith), Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders / Andrew Hobdell), Emma Mitchell (QUB AC / Eamonn Christine), Adam McMullan (Crusaders AC / Alan Kennedy) and Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC / David Reid) on the list of athletes hoping to make the final Gold Coast 2018 squad.

Amy Foster (David Reid) achieved a second Gold Coast 100m consideration standard at the La Chaux-de-Fonds Track & Field Meeting in Switzerland.  Competing in her favourite 100m event, the City of Lisburn AC star recorded 11.42 (1.9) for 1st place – this was a mere 0.02 outside Amy’s 100m NI record of 11.40.

At the same event, Adam McMullen (Alan Kennedy) leaped to 7.75m in the Long Jump – this was backed up by efforts of 7.74m and 7.71m, which ensured a 3rd place finish for the Crusaders AC man.  Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC / Nick Dakin) recorded 52.03 in the 400m hurdles.

Like the aforementioned Leon Reid, Northern Ireland ladies Mollie Courtney (Cheltenham AC / David Warner) and Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC / Jerzy Maciukiewicz) performed well at the British Athletics Senior Track & Field Championships in England (Saturday 1st July 2017).

Mollie narrowly missed a second CWG standard when she won her 100m hurdles heat in 13.49 (1.8).  The NI & Ulster Senior Champion then clocked 13:58 in the final, finishing just outside the podium places.  Megan qualified for the final following a 13.67 (-0.4) finish in the heats – in the final, Megan ran 13.71 (-1.4).

Sarah McKeever sets AAI National Under 23 record in Tullamore

A number of local athletes also picked up gold medals at the Irish Life National Junior & Under 23 Track & Field Championships in Tullamore (Ireland) this weekend (Saturday 1st July 2017).

Northern Ireland’s Sarah McKeever (DSD AC / Laurie Needham) set a new AAI National Under 23 ladies record in the Pole Vault with a best of 3.95m (1st place). Fellow NI athlete Ellie McCartney (City of Lisburn AC) won the Junior title with a personal best of 3.75m (1st place); this further improved Ellie’s own Under 18 NI record.

Also at the event, Finn Valley AC’s James and John Kelly collected gold in the Shot Putt.  Junior athlete James was in the 6kg Shot Putt competition and won with a 15.05m (1st place) throw, while John launched his 7.25kg Shot to 16:69m (1st place) for victory.  Also in the field, City of Lisburn AC’s Junior star Ben Fisher jumped to 7.24m (1st place) in the Long Jump.  Lifford Strabane AC’s Brendan O’Donnell won the Junior 6kg Hammer with a 59.62m (1st place) effort, while Fin Valley AC’s Ian Brennan won the  Under 23 Triple Jump, finishing on 13.08m (1st place).  Shane Martin (Ballymena & Antrim AC) topped the Junior Pole Vault rankings after clearing 4.30m (1st place).

On the track, City of Lisburn AC’s Christian Robinson was in action in the Under 23 100m, recording 10.96 in the heats and 11.02 (1st place) in the final.  His club mate Ciaran Barnes won the Junior 400m hurdles in 55.82 (1st place).  In the Junior 200m, North Down AC’s Aaron Sexton excelled with a 22.39 (1st place) finish.  Shane Irwin (Finn Valley AC) was in good form in the 400m, taking the Junior title in 51.38 (1st place).  There was NI & Ulster victories in the Junior and Under 23 400m hurdles, with Finn Valley AC’s Arlene Crossan winning the Junior category in 1:01.08 (1st place) and Tir Chonaill AC’s Kate McGowan winning the Under 23 race in 1:04.22 (1st place).  Glaslough Harriers’ Emma O’Hanlon won the Junior 3,000m Steeplechase in 13:22.24 (1st place) and Finn Valley AC’s Jessica Roberts was victorious in the 1500m, with a 5:09.99 finish for 1st place.

Local Masters athletes impress at AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships

On a busy weekend in Tullamore, Masters athletes from Northern Ireland impressed with gold medal winning performances at the Irish Life AAI National Masters Track & Field Championships (Sunday 2nd July 2017).

Cathal McLaughlin (Derry Track Club), Denise Toner (Clones AC) and David Clarke (North Belfast Harriers) excelled with double gold in their respective age category 800m and 1500m events.  Vet50 athlete Cathal clocked 2:11.85 for 1st place in the 800m and 4:30.46 for 1st place in the 1500m.  Denise replicated this in her Vet35 category, winning the 800m in 2:15.90 (1st place) and the 1500m in 4:45.40 (1st place).  Vet55 athlete David won the 800m in 2:21.68 (1st place) and the 1500m in 4:45.90 (1st place).

Derry Track Club’s Martin Cox looked back to his best following a recent injury when he surged to victory over 1500m, winning the Vet35 gold in 4:11.62 (1st place).  Finn Valley AC’s Kieran Carlin put in a strong performance in the Vet45 800m, winning in 2:09.80 (1st place).  Beechmount Harriers’ Catherine Diver ran 2:23.64 for 1st place in the Vet40 800m, while City of Lisburn AC’s Joy McAleer ran 1:19.40 (1st place) to win the Vet55 400m title.  In the Vet45 category, Finn Valley AC’s Isobel Breslin sealed top spot in the 80m hurdles in 15.94 (1st place) and St Anne’s AC athlete Shane Smith won the 200m in 25.84 (1st place).  Vet75 athlete Patrick Forbes win his 100m competition in 14.87 (1st place) and Brian O’Domhnaill (Finn Valley AC) topped the Vet35 5k Walk podium with a 25:06.01 (1st place) finish. – fellow Finn Valley AC athlete Sinead O’Connell (Vet45) won the 3k Walk in 15:37.69 (1st place).

There were also a number of impressive performances at the NI Youth Development League Final at Mary Peters Track (Saturday 1st July 2017).  Full results will be added to our website as soon as they are available.