BY EAMON HARVEY: The function room in Donegal Towns Central Hotel was packed on Sunday evening when Tir Chonaill AC celebrated the numerous 2011 club achievements. Prior to making presentations, club Chairman Paul O’Gara, highlighted a number of achievements and thanked various individuals and groups that worked tirelessly throughout the year ensuring that the club was successful on a number of fronts. He congratulated and thanked all the athletes- juvenile, seniors and masters – who weekly train and compete successfully all over Ireland and farther afield.Tir Chonaill club members won a unprecedented number of National titles during 2011.He thanked the coaches, the administrators and the the generous and supportive club sponsors. He had a special; word of thanks for Cara Pharmacy, the clubs main sponsor
Senior Female Mary McLoone, Male Paul Ward
Overall Female Kate McGowan, Male Karl Griffin
Sprints Female Kelly McGrory, Male Christopher O’Loughlin
Jumps Female Hannah Campbell, Male Christopher Doherty
Throws Female Chloe Masterson, Male Thomas McGowan
Middle Distance Female Sarah Timoney, Male Daniel Gallagher
Coaches Award Female Ciara Crawford, Male Mark Boyle
Coach of the Year Eamon Harvey
Club person of the Year Anne McGowan
Awards were also presented to the nine girls who were part of winning and National record U15 and 16 relay teams, All Ireland and Ulster medal winners
January is viewed by many sportspeople as a quiet period. Tir Chonaill AC members seemed to have forgotten this sentence as the opening four weeks of the new year were very busy.
Thirty eight club members departed on New Years eve for an eight day warm weather training stint in Monte Gordo, Western Algarve. The experience of training in an International facility, of mingling with International athletes was inspiring. Catriona McKiernan’s visit to the group -where she trained and was involved in a most informative Q&A session was one of the many highlights.
Mary McLoone had hardly returned home when she was straight into competition. She had early Indoor long jump victories in Belfast, Nenagh and last weekend in London. In winning the Athletics Ireland Games in Nenagh with a superb 6.13m best she has laid down a marker of greater things to come. Mary is now a full time athlete and we wish her every success in Olympic year 2012
Karl Griffin, started his Indoor season with a breathtaking victory in the Irish Junior U20 c/ships in Nenagh -time 50.43secs while Mark McGuiness at the same c/ships battled his way to a bronze medal winning performance in the 1,500m -time 4mins 14.2secs
The 2011 county awards, hosted in the Finn Valley Centre, found the following club athletes being recognised. County Senior Female -Mary McLoone, County Junior Female Louise Harvey, County Junior Male, Christopher Doherty, Club Awards Karl Griffin and Kate McGowan.
A busy time ahead
The next four weeks will be a very busy and exciting time for club athletes. Ulster schools district cross country in Dungannon will find a large contingent of club athletes representing the 2nd level schools in our area. The Odyssey Arena Belfast on 10/11th February will have a large number of our juveniles compete in Ulster c/ships and a number of Seniors in the Irish c/ships. Numerous senior and master club athletes continue to compete with distinction in local road races. The club will host a 5k series during April.
The Cara Bundoran 10 mile challenge on Sat 10th March promises to be the best supported and organised event on the 2012 Irish road racing calendar. Tir Choanill athletes and officials will be supporting this event in huge numbers. To date, the organisers report an exceptionally high entry. Late entries are still being accepted http://carabundoranrun.com/
Numerous local Primary Schools have entered and will participate in the county Sportshall imitative being supported and promoted by Donegal Sports Partnership/Donegal Co Board.