Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club News: Running Shoes

Two an a half weeks in the sunshine in Johannesburg at 1800 metre altitude as once again given me an insight of how hard our elite athletes train. The good weather, the good food we are eating, the unique culture of this beautiful country and the privilege of look after such committed athletes is something i treasure. However there is a downside to everything, and the downside to this trip for me is that that i miss the Sligo weekender award night which will take place in the Clarion hotel Sligo on Friday night next. This occasion is always one of the greatest sporting celebrations of the year in Sligo all the top sporting personalities from the different sport will be honoured with the special guest being the legendary John Giles. With no disrespect to any of the sport stars being honoured on Friday night the two athletic personalities will stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of achievement. Emmett Dunleavey is the male athlete being honoured while Mary Cullen wins the female athletics award. 2009 was a tremendous year for the young man from Sligo. While Emmett is not a full time athlete, he trains like one. He leaves the comfort of his bed at 6a.m before work in Bank of Ireland Dublin. His main training is completed when he returns home in the evening. On returning to Dromore west at the weekends he can be seen running on the roads running between Easkey and Drumard. Winning a medal at a National Senior championship is any athletes dream and Emmet achieved this with a stunning run in the aai 3000metre steeplechase and was only a couple of metres of winning Gold. He went on to help the Sligo team win bronze medals in the A.A.I Inter counties cross country championships in kilbeggan in November. What more can i say about Mary Cullen that has not be said already. Mary had a brilliant 2009 and who will ever forget that wonderful medal winning performance in Turin in the European Indoor Championships. Her performance at the A.A.I.cross country championships in Kilbeggan had to be seen to be believed. She not only won the race she annihilated the high quality field. Giving Mary an award at this Gala Function seems only a token gesture to the greatest sportswoman sligo has ever produced. However i have no doubt that the good people of Drumcliffe will soon erect a statue in her honour in Oxfield park. Here's wishing everyone a very enjoyable night on Friday in the Clarion Hotel.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sligo AC host McDonalds Little Athletics Challenge

On Monday evening last Sligo Athletics Club hosted a most enjoyable McDonalds Little Athletics Challenge in the spacious indoor facility at the local I.T. The club caters for over seventy young athletes weekly and Monday nights triathlon challenge focused on the development of agility, balance and co-ordination with all participating in the standing long jump, 20 secs speed bounce and 2 x 15 secs balance beam test. All will receive one of six McDonalds Agility Challenge Certificates – depending on points totals scored. Many thanks to all the Sligo AC coaches and parents led by Ann McHugh and Terry Hayes who assisted on the night and who weekly provide a fun filled athletics programme for the children involved.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sligo AC Cross Country action in Boyle, Co. Roscommon.

A huge weekend of athletics took place in Boyle, Co.Roscommon on Sunday last as Intermediate, Masters and various Juvenile Cross Country Races took place over the undulating course in Forestpark. Sligo Athletic Club was well represented at all levels and had its fair share of success also. In the U15 Girls race Sligo AC's Nicola McGoldrick came home 3rd overall and helped the Sligo AC team to Gold. Clare Conlon was 9th with Orla Mulvihill coming home in 16th place and Ciara Connolly 26th. A combination of strong running by these athletes added with the other Sligo clubs who participated in this event lead to the Sligo County team taking gold also.In the U11 Boys the following athletes had strong performances; Leo Doherty, Sean Kennedy, Ryan Smith & Jack Walsh. In the U13 Boys we had two athletes who also ran as part of the County team: Lee Roper who finished 30th and Mark Connolly who came in 39th. The large turn out of both male and female athletes in the Intermediate and Masters categories was pleasing to all involved in Sligo athletic club. A special mention goes to Sligo AC Veteran Vincent Flannery (pictured) who returned to his high standard of competitive action over the weekend. Its hoped that another Fit4Life League in the near future will keep most of these athletes in good shape as the Road Race season soon begins in earnest. These races include the Dominic O'Hara 9 mile in Calry on Saturday 6th March, the annual 1ok Road Race in Tubbercurry on St. Patricks day and the Carney 10k Road Race on Easter Monday, 5th April.
Athletes pictured below: Sligo AC's Aishling Cawley and Terry Hayes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club News Update

Sligo Athletic Club Members had an early start on Sunday as they assembled at 7.30am for the bus to Nenagh to compete in the Western Region Track and Field Championships, which were also a qualifier for the National Finals at the end of March.
The walking races kicked off proceedings and yielded a silver medal for Dylan Carty in the boys under 15 event. This race went to the wire with Dylan just ousted from gold in the last 100ms but he enjoyed further success as he won his 800ms running race and did well in the Shot Putt.
On the sprint track Adam Lynch finished third in his heat of the 60 metres , the same place as Ryan Philips in his heat and both of these athletes are now looking forward to combining on the relay team in the middle of March when the club will launch a serious attack on medals and qualifying for National finals.Similarly Ciara Connolly showed good form over 60 metre as well as finishing strongly over 800 metres and will form part of a strong relay entry at the end of March
While these athletes were doing well, the Kerr brother and sister combination of Graham at under 13 and Stacey at under 14 were qualifying with ease for the finals in their event, the 60ms sprint. Later Graham went on to claim gold in the final , with some ease, while Stacey finished joint third and took her first Provincial medal.Graham also did well in the Long Jump as did Ryan Philips. David Heath ran well in the under 18 60ms and went on to finish the day in the 400ms. Jason Mc Goldrick also ran strongly in the under 17 60ms amd 200ms.
Nicola Mc Goldrick won her under 16 200ms heat and was a mere second off a medal, despite a nagging thigh injury. Rianne Mc Hugh was next to lift a medal with Silver in the under 19 girls 400ms, being just edged out of gold in the last 10 metres. With the emphasis switching to middle distance there were further medals and strong performances from Mark Connolly and Lee Roper in the under 13 600ms, both finishing well up in their heats.
Claire Conlon ran a good tactical race over 800 ms to be fourth in her under 15 race but better was to come as Caoelinn Mc Gonigle in the under 13 600ms and Anna Reddin in the under 19 800ms lifted gold with times which suggest they can do well at National level, a comment which also applies to James Mc Geough who lifted bronze in a fiercly competitive 800ms, a distance that would not play to his strengths but which will stand to him later in the year.
Shane Kilcawley showed good form to finish in the top eight in his 800 ms event, a position also occupied by Gavin Foye in his 800ms as he relished his first taste of lactic acid. Two of the busier Athletes were Orla Mulvihill who built on her recent good Cross Country form by doing well over 1500ms , shot putt and long jump while Colm Burke finished fourth in his long jump and 200ms heat. Maeve and Aoife Keaney competed in their first Indoor Championships over 800 ms and will appreciate the experience as they can now look forward to the indoor relays and gaining more exposure to top grade competition. The day finished on a high note as Dermott Mc Dermott showed his protégés how to win with a pillar to post win in the Senior 800ms.
Attention next weekend switches to Cross Country in Boyle where the under 11 to under 19 b competitions take place as well as reruns at under 13 boys and under 15 girls a competition.
The National Masters also take place with mens and womens teams. Lucy Brennan, Roseanne Mitchell, Ger O Grady, Sonya o Connell, Cathy mc Carthy ,Martina Sherlock, Catherine Bradley and Jill Connor fly the ladies flag while Mel Casserly, Martin mc Geough, Karl Boyce, Trevor Hunter, David Kearins, Steve Finnegan,Rory Connor,Paul Deering, Terry Mc Gowan , Damien mc Sharry and Terry Hayes represent the mens team. Seamus Somers, Alan Kearins and Damien Kennedy compete in the Intermediate race.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sligo AC athletes impress at National Indoors!

The AAI National Indoor Competition was held in the Odyssey Arena in Belfast last weekend and a selection of Sligo's top athletes undertook the journey to participate in various distances. Tommy Casey and Dermot McDermott ran the heats of the 800 metres on Saturday and both finished 3rd in their respective races. Casey ran 1:57 with McDermott clocking 1:58. Neither qualified for the final but it was a big 4 second PB for Casey which was of obvious great delight to him. Mc Dermott recorded one of his fastest time’s aswell and as the early part of his race was pretty tactical and slow (1:30 @ 600m),he ran extremely well to go sub 2:00 off that pace. Entrants into the 3000 metres for Sligo AC were Martin Conroy and Emmett Dunleavy. Conroy finished third in the same event last year and created a new club record for the event in the process. However on this occasion it was Dunleavy who would be triumphant taking the Bronze medal in 8.18 whilst Conroy finished 10th in 8.31. Well Done to all athletes who took part & good luck in any future races that are taking place in the near future.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club News: Running Shoes

The availability of the magnificent odyssey arena in Belfast for the past few years has given the athletics Ireland indoor championships a huge boost. It’s hard to believe that the Celtic Tiger has come and gone and we have no indoor athletics arena in this country. Great credit is due to Nenagh athletic club for the indoor arena that they erected some years ago. However it does not come up to the standard required for our top athletes to compete in never mind international visitors. So it was left to Athletics Northern Ireland to come to our rescue and stage the national championships in the odyssey. Next Saturday and Sunday this venue will hold this years event again. Our top athletes such as Paul Hession, Dervil O’Rourke and David Gillick will contest some of the sprint events. Robert Heffernan will bring a bit of class to the race walking while our middle distance events will be loaded with talent from home and abroad. It is those same middle distance events that our Sligo athletes will contest. This time last year in the Odyssey Martin Conroy captured the bronze medal in the 3000mts in a high class field. He is back again on Saturday evening to try and regain that bronze or possibly improve on it. In the same race is Emmett Dunleavy who is returning to his summer form of 09 where he won silver in the steeplechase. Emmett Dunleavy finalised his preparations by finishing second in the Leinster indoor championship 1500mts on Sunday last. Those lads should be mixing it with the leaders in this race and it could prove to be one of the races of the weekend. Dermot McDermott will count the weekend a big success if he can make the final of the 800mts. Tommy Casey will have his first race in the Odyssey and indeed his first taste of senior competition when he also runs the 800mts although he also has an entry in the 1500mts. Sligo Athletic Club top juveniles Dylan Carty, Anna Reddin, Caolinn McGonigle and James McGeogh will also travel to the Belfast venue to take part in some high class juvenile races which will be held before the senior competition on both days.
The road to the schools all Ireland cross country final started in Sligo race course on Wednesday last with the staging of the north Connaught championships. Some impressive performances from teams and individuals augers well for a strong Sligo representation in the finals in late march in Cork. Individual winners were Sarah McGeogh Sligo Grammar School in the minor girls, Cian McBride Summerhill in the Minor Boys, Saoirse Fallon Ursuline College Junior girls and Anna Reddin Sligo Grammar School Senior Girls. Some strong looking teams also go forward to the Connaught finals. Sligo Grammar have a very strong looking minor boys team that includes Dylan Carty and William Crowe. Summerhill College have a strong intermediate boy’s team led by David Verdon. And Sligo Grammar School Senior Boys team led by Tommy Casey looks particularly strong. Good luck to them all in the Connaught final.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club: AGM update

The AGM of Sligo Athletic Club was held on Monday 1st February in the Southern Hotel. The attendence level was disappointing & its hoped that a lot more members will be present for the quarterly meeting in April of this year. After registration of members the AGM officially began. The first order of business was the election of the Board. Results are as follows; Chairman - Ray Flynn. Vice Chairman - Michael O’Connell. Secretary - Terry Hayes. Asst Secretary - Mary Foye. Treasurer - Michael O’Hart. Registrar - Anne McHugh. Welfare Officer - Michael Gilroy. Web Management - Ultan McNasser. A report on Club Finances was next up with Michael O'hart giving a detailed breakdown of the current balance. A Club Road Race was discussed with a possible date of late April/early June to co-incide with/replace the existing Womens Mini Marathon. The organising of a Sligo Road Race league was also mooted involving existing races that had proper permits and organisational structures attached. A debate on the closure of the Race Track at Sligo IT for the period May '10 until September '10 was also discussed with the suggestion that club members should try and re-initate a track committee that had been established orginally when the track was first constructed. By doing so it would allow the primary users of the track, Sligo AC, a forum in which to air its suggestions, grievances etc. The next meeting is on Monday 19th April & it is essential that all members attend in order to contruct proper organisation within the club.