The scene was Barnett’s Park, Belfast with soft soft going where it was going to take a certain attitude to come out the other end smiling and in this Ulster under 11 – 19 age group championships that attitude was evident.
And none more so as from Daniella Jansen, Killygordon bursting out in the 11 age group to alex McGeehin’s lead out in the 11 boys followed by Aaron Mc Glynn taking no prisoners 13 boys to a gutsy response from Leanne Kelly 15 girls and there was stories within each race.
Let’s consider the team /individual return of the day it was the 13 boys Aaron Mc Glynn from Comeen N S in the Glenfinn Gaeltacht as he put himself in a lead position held a lead position and in those last 200m when all the questions were being asked this young man had the answer simply get there and grab the gold nothing else in his head and he delivered same.
Behind him his training mates were lining up to battle to make the scoring team – Charles McDaid, Tooban, 5th; Luke Gavigan 14th, Samuel McCLintock 17th, Jamie Keegan and Calvin O Brien all Ballybofey top 20 or thereabouts.
Team result Finn Valley 48 pts to Shercock 117 pts.
Aoife Mc Grath from Castlederg had a right good go at taking the 11 girls race lost out by 2 seconds to a Shercock athlete but with Emer O Neill, Buncrana 3rd ; Daniella Jansen 6th and her neighbour Zoe Kelly 9th they had 60 pts to spare on Glaslough.
Joining these girls in nationals – Stranorlar’s Sinead Gallagher and Tooban’s Lauren Mc Daid.
Three of the scoring boys on the winning Valley team 11 boys hail from Tooban NS – they are Shane McMonagle, Adam Mc Crudden and Keith McColgan – a credit to the input of teacher Manus O’Donnell and joined by the aforementioned Alex McGeehin from Ballybofey they had 70 pts to spare over Shercock….a feat that brought a smile to coach DermotMc Granaghan. (Indeed many years ago he was leading teams in these age groups as an athlete out in front.)
The 13 girls did medal but they would agree they can do better Laura lee Penrose their best again from Castlederg.
It was then the turn of the 15 girls and only a gritty dogged performance was going to see them ahead.
They responded with just that winning on 73 pts to Lagan Valley 79 pts – – all the serious work which translated as gold coming in the last 1000m with Leanne Kelly,Tooban, Laura Kelly ,Convoy; Emer Kelly ,Castlederg, and Alisha Carlin from Crossroads daughter of former national long jump senior champion Shauna who even to this day can be seen churning out a tough personal training regime at Valley.
We witnessed a Donegal victory in the 15 boys with Letterkenny’s Peter Gibbons and the team result reads: Malachys 57, Letterkenny 57 and Finn Valley 90 with Oisin Gallen, Pauric Patton, Adam Lynch and Shane Thompson (all Ballybofey) on duty.
The final medal tally came in 19 boys bronze team behind Belfast clubs Lagan Valley and St Malachy’s – Mark Bonner, Ryan Porter, Justin Brown and Patrick Hynes McGlynn going to the line.
And so it ended 7 teams qualifying for nationals December in The Curragh, Kildare a day that parents, coaches, athletes can be proud of.
It’s a fact that you can prepare athletes for the challenge but its also a fact that when prepared they the athletes need to want to achieve. There was serious intent in the approach on this day in Belfast.
Filed to donegaldaily.com by Patsy McGonagle:
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