In the history book of Finn Valley AC, Beyond The Line, there are prominent places for Kay Byrne and Sinead McConnell.
This week in Torun, Poland, they outlined just why as they penned new chapters in their own careers, winning superb gold and bronze medals at the World Masters Indoor Athletics Championships.
Different events and different tales, yet the traits of hard work and determination are intertwined: Values that have made our club stand out across its proud history.
Since a nine-year old Kay McGowan won an underage race at Edenmore in the 1970s, she has been one of the most competitive and decorated athletes in our history.
Toeing the line in the W60 8km cross country race, held in conjunction with the indoor championships, Byrne noted how she had missed a bit of preparation work due to an injury.
Excuses, though, don’t count in her world and she crossed the line in an excellent 36:46, securing gold in some style.
A permanent fixture on our dominant cross country teams of the 1990s and 2000s, Kay remains an inspirational figure for any aspiring athlete wondering just why this woman stays both competitive and successful.
Kay finished fifth in Sunday’s 3000m final, but returned the following day to add the latest nugget to the collection.
Sinead McGranaghan’s race walking career began by accident rather than design in the 1980s, Patsy McGonagle famously telling her to ‘do something’ at an athletics meet. The race walk was left to do and the Castlefin woman, who had also been a talented cross country runner, was entering a new world.
After drifting out of the sport for over 25 years, the now Sinead McConnell has returned as a seriously competitive master athlete.
On Tuesday, Sinead reached deep into the reservoir to win bronze in the W50 3k walk, going a fine 15:48.33 – the second fastest indoor time of her career.
On Friday, Sinead goes in the 10k walk and will hope to guide Ireland to team medals.
Finn Valley AC’s Catriona Devine, Garvin Boyce and Noreen Bonner are also set to begin their respective events in Poland in the coming days. Best wishes to all as they take to the international stage.
There was a Finn Valley 1-2-3 in the women’s race at the ATU 5k on Tuesday night in Letterkenny.
Teresa Doherty led the way in 16:47 from Natasha Kelly (17:22) and Stacey Leonard (18:15).
On Sunday, Eimear McCarroll continued her excellent form of late. The young Finn Valley AC woman won the 5k held as part of the Omagh Half Marathon.
Eimear came home in 18:00 to win the female 5k and finish ninth overall.
In the men’s half marathon, Finn Valley AC’s John McElhill was 22nd in 1:14:33.
Club athletes Ryan Porter (1:29:36), Barry Chambers (1:33:33) and Joanne McNabb (1:37:17) were also in action.
Finn Valley AC under-12s grabbed bronze in the under-12 4x200m relay on the opening day of the National Juvenile Indoor Championships.
Jasmine Barrett-Doherty, Caoimhe McElhinney, Abbi Lyons and Rhia Toner clocked 2:02.39 for third, finishing behind Ferrybank (1:59.73) and Dundalk St Gerard’s (2:01.22).
The Finn Valley Under14 girls of Kayla Bruce, Aoibhinn McElhinney, Katie McGlinchey and Niamh McGlinchey were sixth in their 4x200m final, going 1:58.36.
Finn Valley AC will again be well represented this weekend at the Juvenile Indoor Championships which continue across Saturday and Sunday at TUS, Athlone. Best wishes to all our athletes and coaches who are heading to the Midlands.
Brendan Boyce returned to action on Saturday, finishing an excellent 16th in a 20km race walk. Brendan came home in 1:24:46 at the Dudinska 50, a World Athletics Race Walking Tour Gold level meeting in Dudince.
The 52nd annual Primary Schools Athletics Challenge finals will take place at Finn Valley AC on May 17, 2023.
A programme of events has been set out and will be circulated to schools over the coming days.
The local area sports take place on May 3 and 4.
These Championships have been integral in Finn Valley AC’s engagement with schools and the community since the early 70s.
Many of our finest athletes have been sourced from initial competition at the Schools Athletics.
Entries are now CLOSED for the Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge. The race, which takes place in scenic Ballyliffin, has reached its full capacity and further entries cannot be taken. A donation from this event, which has become one of the most popular in the local race calendar, will be given to St Columbcille Village in Clonmany.