Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sligo AC News Update: Running Shoes

A lot done, more to do. This was a famous, or is it now infamous, election slogan from one of our leading political parties some years ago. The same slogan could apply to our athletes as we look back on the cross country and indoor seasons that have just concluded. A cross country season that started with the primary schools county championships in Calry on a bright Saturday afternoon last October, ended in equally bright sunshine in a field in County Antrim on the last Saturday in March. On that day we took pride in watching two Sligo athletes, James McGeogh and William Crowe represent Ireland in an international match against Scotland , Wales and England . As these lads’ parents looked on and took pictures of them before during and after the races, I couldn’t help thinking how fortunate they were to be in a sport with an international outlet. The fact that they had avoided the clutches of the G.A.A. gave them the opportunity to compete internationally and I would imagine that this would be the first of many international opportunities for this duo. These two lads were only two of the many Sligo athletes who made a big impact on the cross country season. Tommy Casey picked his cross country races carefully and his fine performance in finishing 4th in the senior schools championships justified this. The glut of competition for juvenile athletes in the winter time is an ongoing concern and it is imperative that we in Athletics Ireland tackle this problem soon rather than later. The unluckiest Sligo athlete of the cross country season had to be Anna Reddin who led a couple of national championships but never got the result she deserved. Her time will come. The two most improved athletes of the season had to be Lea Doherty and Sharon Hodskins. Our senior cross country runners have had better seasons but a lot of this was down to injury and illness of our better runners. Mary Cullen was unlucky to get injured just as she looked set for a great season. Eimear O’Brien (pictured) kept the flag flying at national level with a bronze in the national novice. The indoor season started good with many medals at Connaught level and got better cumulating in two wonderful weekends at the national championships. Two gold medals for Zack Irwin in the 60 and 200 metres heralded his arrival on the national stage. Odran Gildea, William Crowe, Sinead Keogh, Lea Doherty and Kian McBride also got in on the medal winning act. Throw in Mary Cullen’s stunning performance in the national senior championships as well as her European qualification times achieved abroad and it will give some idea of the achievement of Sligo athletes this indoor season. Added to all that is an Irish under 15 relay indoor record set by the North Sligo boys. Of course, it’s not all about the medal winners and we had a host of personal best times recorded by athletes like Dermot McDermott and Tommy Casey as they reached finals of the national 800 metres and 3,000 metres . Alberto Sanchez also recorded a P.B. for 3,000 metres as he claimed a bronze medal in the university championships. Of course none of these achievements would be possible without the coaching input from the Sligo clubs.. A considerable number of new coaches have emerged in clubs in the past couple of years and this is now paying rich dividends for out sport here in Sligo . Yes, a lot has been done. More on the way.

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