Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sligo AC National Indoors: Juvenile Update

A number of Sligo AC juvenile athletes made the trip to Belfast as guests in the Northern Ireland Championships. With the impressive Odyssey arena the venue, this was a real special introduction to big competition to Sligo's up and coming stars. On the Saturday morning of competition Graham Kerr set the ball rolling by winning his 60m heat in impressive style, followed immediately by his big sister Stacey, she too was victorious in winning her 60m heat in fine style and a new personal best of 8.35 seconds. While Graham and Stacey prepared for their finals Caelainn McGonigle strode to victory in her 800m time trial but as she was racing against the clock her time was good enough for 4th place overall.
After Caelainn came Dylan Carty in the boys U-16 walk where he was a very impressive winner lapping all but one to win in fine style. Onto the finals of the 60m for girls where Stacey drawn in lane 5 got off to a slow start but quickly made up ground to finish in a very tight 4th place behind National record holder for 60m u13 and Celtic Games champion Grace Lawlor. Stacey can look forward to the Connaught indoors which take place in Nenagh on the 5th of March. After a long delay they eventually got the boys u13 under way which saw Graham Kerr power out of the blocks in his usual fashion to claim a very close 4th place finish.
Onto Sundays competition where we had a sole representitive in Zak Irwin and he didn't disappoint. First he set onto the track in the 200m, where for the first time ever he tasted defeat, this event was a huge learning curve for him as he later showed in the 60m. In heat 1 he strolled to an easy win in a very fast time of 7.48 seconds, later on that day he bettered that time to the final by some way in a time of 7.42 seconds. This really is classy running and he too can look forward to both a fine indoor and outdoor season ahead.
On the topic of juvenile athletes we had 5 competing in Senior competition. Tommy Casey and Ania Bednorz both really do need a special mention as first Tommy on Saturday night obliterated his personal best for 3,000m to qualify for the final. His time of 8min 27seconds is truly top class running and puts him right up there with the best juniors in the Country, he went on the next day to back this performance up with a time of 8min 32 seconds in the final, this shows the stregnth and character that it takes to be a world class runner which Tommy will be some day. And with Ania only 15 years of age competing for her first time in senior competition and still only in her first year of competition, she finsihed a very credible 5th place in the final of the senior womans triple jump on Sunday afternoon. Ciaran White (long jump), Rianne McHugh(800m) and Kevin McGlynn (60m) can all be proud of their performances and look forward to building on them through the indoor season and onto outdoor season. The future looks bright in Sligo athletics with so many young athletes competing at this level of competition. Well done to all Sligo athletes who took part in this excellent competition over the weekend and best of luck in their competitions ahead.

Sligo AC National Indoors Update: Running Shoes

North Sligo golden girl Mary Cullen again stole the headlines after running a stunning performance at last weekend’s Woodie’s D.I.Y. Athletics Ireland Indoor Championships at the Odyssey arena in Belfast . In what was a great weekend for Sligo Athletics Club, Cullen won gold in the 1500m with a blistering last 300 metres to relegate the hot pre-race favourite Ciara Magean to third place. Considering that Mary had ran 3,000m in Birmingham just 24 hours earlier in a season’s best time of 8 minutes 53 seconds, puts into perspective her great performance. While Cullen was the only Sligo podium place, other Sligo athletes left there mark on what was a very exciting Championships. Popular Sligo A.C. athlete and coach Dermot McDermott reached his first ever championship final when he ran a personal best time of 1 minute 54.3 seconds. He went on to finish 6th in a high class final, recording exactly the same time. The Men’s 3,000m attracted such a huge field that it required the running of heats on Saturday evening.
To see two Sligo A.C. finalists on Sunday afternoon was gratifying. In reaching the final, Tommy Casey ran a lifetime best of 8 minutes 27 seconds. Alberto Sanchez also recorded a personal best when he reached the final in 8 minutes 28 seconds. In the final, Sanchez finished 9th with Casey in 10th place. Another Sligo A.C. athlete who left Belfast on Sunday evening happy was triple jumper Annia Bednow who finished 4th in the triple jump. While the Sligo senior athletes did the county proud in the senior championships, a bunch of promising juveniles proved that the production line of athletes is top quality with some great performances in the warm up races before the main event. Wins for Dylan Carty in the 1,000mwalk and Zak Irwin in the 60m sprint insured celebrations in the Sligo A.C. camp. A third place for Graham Kerr and great sprinting by his sister Stacey were also impressive. Cailim McGonagle ran a personal best in the 800m while Rianne McHugh, despite her age, did not look out of place in the senior 800m. While Mary Cullen upset the odds in the 1,500m, Leitrim race walker Laura Reynolds also caused a big surprise with victory in the 3,000m walk. The west is really awake in athletics.
Next weekend in Santry, Dublin , the final senior cross country takes place with the staging of the national inter clubs championships. Sligo A.C. will have a team in the senior men’s race where David Kelly will lead the team. Anna Reddin will lead a junior Sligo A.C. team who will be taking part in these championships for the first time in many years. Good luck to all then.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Connacht Development Squad: Sligo Athlete List.

Connacht Development Squad, Sunday February 20th, Dangan, Galway, 12 noon.
Please note, athletes will not be notified individually of selection to the squad as per vote at congress. Notification will go through club or school only. Could clubs and schools please notify athletes of their selection to Connacht Development Squad and their invitation to attend the above squad days.
Sligo AC Athletes (boys)
Connell Boal,Colm Bourke, David Lynch, Dylan Carty, Jack Roberts, James McGeough, Killian O'Connor, Shane Kilcawley, Tommy Casey
Sligo AC Athletes (girls)
Anna Reddin, Claire Conlon, Ennia Bedzoz, Rianne McHugh, Sara McGeough, Stacey Kerr
North Sligo Athletes (boys)
Ben Roberts, Cian McBride,Feidhlim McGowan, Kevin McGlynn, Leigh Currid, Lorcan Roddy,William Crowe
North Sligo Athletes (girls)
Rachel Oates, Sarah Oates, Sinead Keogh, Sorcha Fallon, Tory McGlynn
Sign in at 12 noon (upstairs meeting room in Dangan pavilion)
Followed by presentation and workshop on hydration from Ruth Kilcawley, dietitian.
Coaching session from 1pm. Wrap up at 2.30pm.

Sligo AC News: Running Shoes

Cream always rises to the top. North Sligo athlete Mary Cullen once again proved that saying true in stunning fashion on Tuesday night last in France. Running her first race back after months of injury she finished a brilliant 3rd place behind Ethiopian athlete Mekdes Bekele at the indoor venue in Lieven. Mary’s time for the 3000mts was 8.56.89 and nearly four seconds inside the qualifying time for the European indoor championships in Paris in early March. Mary won a bronze medal in the European indoors two years ago and with a couple of more races in her legs she will be competitive again and she will have a great chance of a medal. One race that Mary will be taking in is the Athletics Ireland indoor championships in the magnificent Odyssey arena in Belfast next weekend! This will be her first time to compete in those championships and whether she opts to compete in the 3000mts or the 1500mts she will be a firm favourite to win the gold medal.
Other Sligo athletes who will be travelling to Belfast are Tommy Casey who will be hoping to run a personal best time in the 3000mts, Dermot McDermott who will be hugely disappointed if he doesn’t make the final of the 800mts, Annia Bednoz in the long and the triple jump and Alberto Sanchez who like Tommy Casey will be hoping for a personal best in the 3000mts. The Sligo athletes will be part of what is expected to be one of the best indoor meetings ever staged in Ireland.
Well done to all the Sligo athletes who qualified for the All Ireland schools finals in Dublin in a few weeks time. They qualified by virtue of good performances at the Connaught finals in Galway last Tuesday and it looks like we will have some All Ireland medals coming West from the cross country finals in Alsa Dublin.
One medal that has come to Sligo is a bronze medal won by Sligo IT athlete Alberto Sanchez who collected the bronze at the All Ireland Varsities championships indoors held in Nenagh last week. Alberto was very impressive clocking 8mins27secs for the 3000mts distance. Across the water in the British varsities cross country championships Tommy Carroll of St Mary’s college London ran the cross country race of his life to finish in forth place. Tommy has not had much look this season in cross country but he certainly came good in this high class race and once again proved what a high class athlete he is.
Road running athletes are reminded once again of the Bundoran 10 mile road race which will take place on Saturday March 5th starting at 11am with walkers starting at 10am. Any athlete who is planning a marathon in the Spring, Summer or Autumn are encouraged to be on the starting line. Ten kilometres, ten miles, and a half marathon are a must for prospective marathon runners so this is an ideal opportunity. The race which is sponsored by Cara Pharmacy is well organised and well marshalled with times given at every mile. Entries can be made at
Finally this week congratulations to Sligo AC athlete Dylan Carty who collected his Athletics Ireland star award for 2010 in Athlone on Saturday night last.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sligo AC News: Club Meeting

Sligo AC's next club meeting is on Thursday 24th February at 8.30pm in the Southern Hotel, Sligo. Club officials would appreciate if as many members as possible would attend in order to discuss relevant issues such as 8k race, club singlets etc. This is also a valuable forum where all members can express their opinions and offer suggestions to improve the club.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sligo AC News: Athletic Coaching Courses

Assistant Coaching Course in Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim.
The Assistant Coach course is to develop basic skills to the beginner coach to help assist a more senior coach in the delivery of coaching sessions to young athletes. It is an introduction to the coaching of four key events, running (Sprints and Endurance), Jumping (Long Jump) and Throwing (Shot Putt).Venue – Carrick on Shannon Community Centre, Co Leitrim. Dates – Thursdays 17th and 24th February 2011. Time – 6pm-10pm. Entry Requirements - The Assistant Coach Course is open to all [over 16 years]. Assessment/ Qualification - There is no exam / assessment. Coaches must attend and participate in all aspects of the course. Cost - €60 - Included in the price for this course is an AAI Assistant Coach Manual.
McDonalds Athletic Leader Course, Grange, Co Sligo.
The Athletic Leader course focuses on introducing the fundamentals of athletic movement to children. The aim of the Athletic Leader course is to provide teachers, parents, club volunteers with the skills and tools to manage and lead an Athletics Program in their school or club for children in the 5-10 year old age bracket. The course is centered on the delivery of practical information and lessons. The content focuses on organising athletics games and activities for young childrenVenue – Grange Community Centre, North Sligo. Dates – Thursdays 17th and 24th February 2011. Time – 6pm-10pm. Entry Requirements - Athletics Leader is open to all volunteers/club coaches/parents/teachers. Participants must be over 16years of age. Assessment/ Qualification - There is no exam/assessment. Participants gain an Athletics Leader qualification via attendance and participation. Cost - €60 – Included in the cost for this course is the new McDonalds Athletics Leader manual containing hundreds of child friendly agility, balance and co-ordination activities. Applications to: Eamon Harvey, Athletics Ireland, Regional Development Officer. Email Mob 087 2797548

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sligo AC News: Running Shoes

Last weekend in a field in county Antrim at the International cross country race Sligo AC head coach Terry Hayes pointed out a small fit looking man in his mid fifties to me. He asked me did I recognise him and I didn’t. He told me it was John McLoughlin from Belfast , a man who had won the Calry ten mile back in the late seventies. Terry reminded me that the prize he won was a television set that apparently never worked because apparently back in that era televisions bought on this side of the border didn’t work in the North and visa versa. This story brought back memories of many ten mile races staged at that time around the country. There is something magical about the ten mile distance. Most good club runners aspire to break the one hour barrier while the 50 minute barrier is a good land mark for any runner who has ambition to break into International competition as is the one hour mark for ladies. In the seventies and eighties ten mile races were the norm. these days 5 and 10k races have replaced the 10mile which perhaps is a reflection on how soft we have become. My own favourite 10 mile was the Ballyshannon 10. This was a really tough race around the hills of Ballyshannon and attracted huge crowds from both sides of the border. I remember being delighted to break the 55minute barrier in this race which ironically did not get me in the top 30. Athletics Ireland and Tirconnell AC will try to reverse the decline in the ten mile races when they stage what is hoped to be the first annual 10 mile race in Bundoran on March 5th. The race is open to runners and walkers with the walkers setting off at 10am and runners at 11am. The race was launched in Bundoran on Thursday night last by Athletics Ireland president Liam Hennessey and CEO John Foley. Sligo man Dermot McDermott will be the front man in the promotion of the event for Athletics Ireland. Knowing Dermot as I do he will leave no stone unturned and I would expect participation levels to return to the highs of the seventies and eighties. A wide range of prizes will be on offer for all categories and Cara Pharmacy the largest pharmacy chain in the North West will be sponsoring the event. A number of high profile athletes have indicated they will take part including Sligo AC international athlete David Kelly. In the last couple of years running has come second to his medical studies but David is back in full training now and has targeted this Bundoran race as his comeback race. The route will be a very scenic one and all Sligo athletes of all abilities are asked to take part. All proceeds from the run will go to juvenile athletic development in athletics Ireland . It looks like the good old days of 10 mile races are back. Roll on Bundoran on March 5th.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sligo AC News: AGM Minutes

Sligo Athletic Club AGM was held on Thursday, 27th January 2011 in the Best Western Sligo Southern Hotel at 8:30pm with an encouragingly increased attendance of members and parents. The Minutes of the 2010 AGM were read by outgoing Secretary Terry Hayes and were adopted by the meeting. Outgoing Chairman Ray Flynn welcomed all members to the meeting and gave a detailed report on the training and competitive activities over the year. Highlighting the achievements of 13 individual National medal winners from the club he concluded by congratulating Dylan Carty on winning the Athletics Ireland Juvenile Star Award for Sligo to be awarded in Athlone on February 12th, 2011. Treasurer Michael O’Hart circulated a detailed financial report and following discussion on queries raised regarding purchase of gear and travel expenses, was thanked for keeping the finances in such good order. Anne McHugh reported that there were 285 registered members in 2010. All members must renew membership in 2011 and be registered for competition entry. Having assisted with this in the past Anne said it would now be a function of the incoming Secretary. Officers for 2011 were elected as follows: Chairperson – Michael O’Connell. Secretary – Mary Foye. Treasurer - Michael O’Hart. Asst Chairperson – Enda Dineen. Asst Secretary – Paul Deering. Child & Welfare Officer – Michael Gilroy. Upcoming 2011 Fixtures: 6th February - National Intermediate, Masters & Juvenile B Cross Country, ALSAA Dublin. 19th & 20th February – National Senior Indoors, Belfast. 26th February – National Inter Club Cross Country, Santry, Dublin. It is planned to have teams/individuals in all these events.Schools, Connaught and National Juvenile fixtures circulated. Proposal for Streets of Sligo 5k on 15th May 2011 in conjunction with The Sligo Champion to mark the paper’s 175th Anniversary. Date of Club’s Annual 8k (probably August/September) to be decided at next Club Meeting. Annual end of year club social event to honour athlete’s achievements to be pursued further. Club coach Dermot McDermott is planning a 1 week training camp trip to Gran Canaria in June with approx. cost of €500 (all inclusive). Members can contact Dermot directly for further details. Proposal of road race series discussed and to be followed-up to decide on conditions e.g. prize structure but any race included must have an AAI Permit. Rory O’Connor and Michael O’Connell have sought samples on new club singlets/gear. Incoming Secretary Mary Foye extended congratulations on behalf of the club to Ray Flynn on his election as Chair of High Performance Committee at the Athletics Ireland Congress held in Sligo in April 2010 along with Michael O’Harte and Anne McHugh elected to National Competition and Juvenile Committees respectively.