Mary McLoone shines in Belfast

26 January 2008


Tír Conaill’s Mary Mc Loone was the outstanding local athlete when the Irish Indoor Championships were held in the impressive Odyssey Arena Belfast last weekend (26 Jan 2008). The Doochary, primary school teacher, dominated the Triple Jump competition with a fourth round best of 12.25metres -- 45 centimetres better than nearest rival Aoife Hoey of Crusaders. Mary who was introduced to athletics via the 'Juvenile Sportshall Competition' at the St John Bosco Club ten years ago, recently, at the Athletics Ireland Games in Nenagh, pushed her PB to 12.49metres. Mary’s new year form is excellent and she will continue her season next weekend in Cardiff at the Celtic International.


Womens Long Jump Medal Winners

L-R: Adrienne Smyth (Athletics Northern Ireland Presidant), Mary McLoone (Tír Conail AC), Kelly Proper (Ferrybank, Waterford) and Mary Devlin (Abbey AC Belfast) & Michael Heery (Athletics Ireland Preseidant)


International Athlete Mary McLoone with Tír Conaill/St JohnBosco

supporters following her victory in the Irish Indoor Championships last weekend

L-R: Richard McCarthy, Kate McCarthy, Mary McLoone,

Louise Harvey & Jackie Harvey


Senior Competion


The Belfast venue attracted the cream of Irish Athletics and an International entry from eleven countries that included numerous Olympic Medal Winners, a large and appreciative audience, extensive TV coverage and numerous World class performances to match the occasion.


Cork man, Robt. Heffernan, 6th in the recent World Championships in Osaka, smashed the Irish 5k race walking record with a time of 18 mins. 51.46secs –how many athletes can run that fast for the distance? Waterford’s Kelly Proper extended the Irish Long Jump record to 6.28metres where once again Mary McLoone was in the frame with a 5.81metres best for a bronze medal – she also had a 6 metres plus break in the third round.


Possibly the most exciting performance of the two days came from a Kilkeel, Co Down, schoolgirl. Fifteen year old Ciara Mageean, representing Lisburn AC, ran an outstanding time of 4mins 24.07 secs, to win the 1,500m and in the process defeated a number of seasoned International athletes.


Milford’s Brendan Boyce, 4th 5k Walk 22mins 02.44 secs, and former International Athlete  Ciara Kearns, now competing in the colours of Killybegs finished 7th in the Long Jump with a best of 5.54metres were Donegal performances of note.


Junior Competion


The Ulster/Northern Ireland Juvenile Championships Part 1, held in conjunction with the senior event was a happy hunting ground for a number of Donegal club athletes. It’s obvious from the high standard of performances in a variety of disciplines that the coaches and young athletes throughout the county are putting in a lot of work behind the scenes.


The Sl. Liag Club in the South West continue to develop talent in a number of technical disciplines. Daire O’Donnell, recently voted 'Donegal Juvenile Male Athlete of the year for 2007', cleared 1.78m to win the under 15 High Jump –a performance the large crowd certainly appreciated -- and later Long Jumped 5.64m for a 4th place finish in the Long Jump. In the Under 14 age group Ryan Byrne, 1.60m and Barry Quigg filled 1st and 3rd places in the High Jump while Quigg earlier also won the 60m Hurdles. Sarah Donovan, 8.62metres, 3rd U14 Shot, Pauric Carr, 7.9secs 60m/25.8secs 200m and the very competitive Jane O’Donnell, 800m were others to catch the eye.


Killybegs had two outstanding performers in Aislinn Cunningham and David Hegarty. The former, a recent recipient of 'Donegal Juvenile Female Athlete of the year',  won the U14 60metres in a photo finish –time 8.54 secs and was 4th in both the High Jump -1.35m and Long Jump 4.46m. David Hegarty finished 2nd in the U17 60m Hurdles -9.4 secs and was 4th in the Shot putt 10.64m.


St John Bosco athletes also had a rewarding two days. Aoife O’Connor was impressive in winning the U17Long Jump - 5.13metres and in a close 60m finish filled 2nd place in a time of 8.11 secs. Louise Harvey, smashed into the final hurdle but recovered to finish 2nd in a PB time of 9.51 secs. Others from the club to impress included Christopher Doherty, U15 800m, Rose McCauley, U16 800m, Kitty O’Kennedy, U17200m, Amie Brogan and Molly O’Gara U16 60m


Bernie OCallaghan (Ulster Athletic Council) with U17 Long Jump Medal Winners

Aoife OConnor (St John Bosco [centre] winner)


Girls U16 Hurdle Medal Winners

L-R: Louise Harvey (St John Bosco), Joanne Mills (Ballymena/ Antrim)

and Hazel Ross (Scotland)


Finn Valley’s multi talented Jodie Stewart won the U17 Shot – 9.65m and was 4th in both the Long Jump-4.64m and 200m 28.8secs. Mark Bonner, following a most competitive qualification heat went on to win the U 14 800m final 2mins 25.9secs while race walker Madeline Penrose won the U15 1k event. Aileen Brennan cleared 1.35m for bronze in the U17 High Jump.


Letterkenny AC, have dominated Donegal Juvenile Athletics for the last few years. Last weekend, Letterkenny AC club athletes continued in that vein with an extensive number of outstanding performances. Lisa Shields had a fine U17 60m -8.01 secs/200m 26.7secs winning double; Caolan Ward, 5.74m 2nd U17 Long Jump-good to see him back competing again; Mark English 2mins 7.9secs and John Foley 2mins 9.2secs were 2nd and 3rd in the U15 800m; Roisin Ni Currain won the U13 60m in a very good time of 8.55secs; Ruairi Finnigan 3rd U14 800m and Rose Boyle 3rd U13 Long Jump - 4.07m.



Sean Kelly (CEO Irish Institute of Sport) with U15 800m Medal Winners,

John Foley (Letterkenny AC), Alan Ingram (Lagan Valley)

& Mark English (Letterkenny AC)


Milford pair Ryan Doherty 3rd U15   and Corey Strain 2nd U14 in race walking disciplines brought the Donegal clubs success story to a close.