Friday, July 16, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club: Running Shoes

A podium finish for Sligo AC athlete Emmett Dunleavy at the Woodies DIY AAI National championships was the highlight for Sligo athletic fans at Santry Stadium at the weekend. A very credible fifth place in the final of a very competitive 800mts by North Sligo AC athlete Tommy Carroll was also noteworthy. Throw in the fact that Rachel Flynn collected the bronze medal in the ladies 5000mts walk wearing the colours of Tuam AC and Paddy Brennan made the final of the 1500mts in the Letterkenny colours all adds up to a good weekend for Sligo athletes. The men’s steeplechase was one of the races of the day and had its fair share of drama. With 400mts remaining Emmett Dunleavy had worked his way through the field to be in 3rd place. He was still some 70mts behind Paul Rupprect of Leevale AC and eventual race winner Rory Chesser of Ennis track club. However Dunleavy unleashed a tremendous sprint down the back straight and was gaining on the leaders with every stride. However disaster struck as he cleared the second last barrier with just 100mts remaining. He tripped and fell into the water. His chance of gold or silver had gone and the chasing pack were closing in fast. This West Sligo athlete is made of stern stuff however. He picked himself up and held on to claim a well deserved and hard earned bronze medal. Tommy Carroll’s 5th place finish in the 800mts was the highest place by a Sligo athlete since Roddy Gaynor claimed the title in the late seventies. A fast first lap of 53secs took the sting out of his usual finishing kick but in a season where he has improved so much he can be very happy with his run. Another Sligo athlete Ciaran Collins just failed to make a high-class 400mts final but he can be happy with his time of 50.02sesc. It was certainly a wonderful championships and a 30 strong team will be heading for Barcelona in the next ten days. Great times indeed for Irish athletics.
Next weekend we have the second round of the AAI National league. Athlone IT track is the venue and Sligo travel with another strong squad. It is now all about making the final in four weeks time in Tullamore and this Sligo squad with its blend of youth and experience should be well capable of achieving that target. The team is strengthened by the return of Emmett Dunleavy and Tommy Carroll and those two lads should be able to garner maximum points in their middle distance events. A bus will travel on Sunday morning and supporters are most welcome. They can contact Dermot McDermott on 0863593482.

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