ATHLETICS | St Peter’s AC’s jumpers on top form at Louth Championships
The Louth Championships, the highlight of the local track and field season, took place over three days last weekend.
Day One | Lourdes Stadium
The busy programme kicked off on a dry but cold night at the Lourdes Stadium in Drogheda on Thursday night.
The track programme was all hurdles on day one and St Peter’s had no fewer than eight competitors in action.
The U12 girls put in a real gallant effort with Katie Mulligan and Lucy Brennan performing really well. Lucy then won the club’s first gold medal of the championships when she won the U12 high jump.
St Peter’s had three girls taking part in the U13 hurdles with all three making it to the final. Niamh Brady and Julie McLoughlin both made it to the podium, finishing second and third respectively with Lucy Smyth finishing in fourth.
Niamh, just like Lucy Brennan, dusted herself down after the hurdles and won gold in the U13 high jump. Again, she had familiar company on the podium as Judith Bell joined her in the third position.
The boys U13 event also saw two St Peter’s members on the podium with Ronan Deery finishing in second, just pipping his hurdles training partner, Sean Allen into third.
Ava Brennan completed the club’s hurdles representation when she won gold in the U17 final. Ava followed this up with a silver in the U17 long jump.
The club’s best juvenile jumper, Gabriel Bell, won both the U17 high jump and long jump with relative ease, breaking the championship best for long jump in the process.
Day Two | The Bush
Day two took place at the Bush Track on Saturday which began with the sprints.
The O’Reilly sisters, Emily and Hannah, were again to the fore with Hannah finishing second in the final. She also finished third in the 300m race and was joined by her twin sister Emily on the podium in second place.
The girls U10 athletes also performed admirably and showed great promise. Orla McLoughlin was unfortunate not to medal individually, especially in her long jump, and both Catherine Carey and Mia Finnegan showed great signs of improvement. The three girls combined with Hannah and Emily to win a deserved bronze medal in the U10 relay.
Dearbhla Allen has made massive improvements in the last year and made the top eight in the long jump to finish in fifth overall. She then recorded a sixth-place finish in the 600m while Abbey Fanning made her championship debut and did very well in her first taste of track action.
Harry O’Reilly put his recent injury woes behind him to run very bravely in the U11 600m to take a well-earned silver medal.
Ronan Deery and Dean Murtagh continued their medal streak from day one when they joined each other on the podium in the U13 shot put with Ronan winning gold and Dean silver.
Mark Litchfield had a very impressive run in the 80m sprint to finish third but his best run was in his favourite event when he deservedly won the U13 600m race to win gold.
Mark then joined Cian Loy, Dean Murtagh and Ronan Deery to win silver in the U13 4x100m relay. The U13 girls — Judith Bell, Ellie Smyth, Lucy Smyth and Niamh Brady — also won silver in their relay.
The U14 club star is undoubtedly Rory McLaughlin. Competing in just two events on Saturday, Rory finished on top of the podium in both, winning gold medals in the 100m sprint followed by victory in the 800m.
Day Three | The Bush
The final day of the championships took place on Sunday where the U13 long jump got proceedings under way.
The club again had athletes on the podium with Judith Bell finishing in second place, Niamh Brady in third and Mark Litchfield third in the boys.
The U12 boys were unlucky not to medal in the long jump with Jack McLaughlin finishing in fourth, closely followed by Padraic Tinnelly in fifth and Conor Litchfield in sixth.
The girls, however, filled two spots on the podium in the U12 age group, just like the U13, with Ellie Smyth in second and Lucy Brennan in third.
Rory McLaughlin finished off his championship with a silver in the U14 long jump. This was his fourth individual medal, having secured his third gold with victory in the 200m race on the track earlier in the day. Gabriel Bell also collected his third gold of the championship in the U17 200m race.
The championships closed with the relays for even ages where the club had both boys and girls teams competing at U12 level.
Dearbhla Allen was a late addition to the girl’s team which showed how important it is to have subs in relay teams. She ran the first leg, showing that moving up an age group didn’t phase her, and along with Ellie Smyth, Isabel Fitzpatrick and Lucy Brennan won bronze.
The boy’s U12 event concluded the club’s participation and again the boy’s team of Padraic Tinnelly, Conor Litchfield, Harry O’Reilly and Jack McLaughlin ran very bravely to win bronze.
The club’s focus is now on the Leinster Championships which take place in June.