AAI National Juvenile Track and Field Success for our Juveniles in Antrim


It was an historic weekend at the Antrim Forum when young athletes from the four corners of Ireland massed for Part 1 of the National Track and Field Championships. It was the first time that the championships were held in Northern Ireland and what a welcome everyone got from the local organisers and the first time that a Donegal athlete won a National title in the Pole Vault.


Christopher Doherty, a 14 year old from Killymard, near Donegal Town, was introduced to the event 12 months ago at a casual training session in the Abbey Voc School Gymnasium and on Sunday morning last in blustery conditions cleared 2.80metres – a PB –to win the Under 15 National Title from Kerry’s Jonathon Foley and Waterford’s Lawrence Houlihan. It’s a great personal achievement for Christopher and for the clubs support structure that coaches such a diverse range of athletics disciplines. Christopher’s dad David, a Ballina native, joined the St John Bosco club five years ago, up skilled himself in the complexities of Pole Vault at coaching days/weeks in Ireland and Birmingham, introduced a group of young athletes to the event and on Sunday morning while spectating in the stand at the Antrim Forum must have experienced a sense of pride and achievement as Christopher held his nerve and became a National Champion.


Christopher Doherty clears 2.80metres to win the Under 15 Boys

Pole Vault at Antrim on Sunday last


The two day event, according to Athletics Ireland Officials had a record attendance, and was not favoured by summer like conditions. On Saturday morning when the short hurdle events were held athletes had to contend with a driving cold rain. Emma Brady in the heats of the Girls Under 13 60m Hurdles ran the race of her life to finish 2nd and qualify for the after noon final. In the final she hurdled very well, and was contesting for a top three place up until the 2nd last hurdle when she lost her rhythm. In a blanket finish she filled 5th position in a time of 10.6secs.


Emma Brady (No 202) -2nd from left, in action in the Girls U 13 Hurdles Final

in Antrim on Saturday last


Louise Harvey, in under 16 -80 m Hurdles, also finished 2nd in her heat to qualify for the final. In the final, Joanna Mills, Ballymena and Antrim, the new sensation of Irish girls athletics, was an impressive winner. This multi talented fifteen years old has long jumped 5.75m and ran 300m flat in 39 seconds this season. The battle for silver was between Cloe Fahy, Nenagh, and the Tír Chonaill athlete - with the Tipperary girl getting the nod by 0.1 secs. On Sunday afternoon in the 250metres hurdles final - qualification was via morning heats - Mills ran 35.01 secs for a new Championship record with Fahy, 36.14secs and the Tír Chonaill girls a close 3rd in 36.37secs.


Action from the Under-16 80m Hurdles Final

Joanna Mills [3rd from right] leads


Athletes await the result of the Girls 250m Hurdles


L-R: Brian Downing (Chairman Athletics Northern Ireland)

with the medal winners in the U 16 Girls 250m H

Louise Harvey (Tír Chonaill, 3rd), Joanna Mills (Ballymena & Antrim, 1st)

and Cloe Fahy (Nenagh, 2nd)


Jarlath Ruane, in the under 19 Boys 110 m hurdles final, surprised even himself with an outstanding performance and a very good finishing time of 16.2 secs. He led aggressively from the blocks until the tenth and final barrier. He clipped the 3’3’’ crossbar with his trailing knee and slightly stumbled. In the dash for the finish line it was impossible for the judges to decide if Conor McCrossan, Lucan, or the Donegal Town man was the winner. The electronic timing was examined and the Lucan man was given the verdict – approx 3 centimetres separated the athletes when the photo finish was magnified. This was a superb run by Ruane and a PB time of nearly a second. On Sunday, the multi talented Jarlath, pushed the 6.25k shot to 11.75metres for a 4th finish.


Jarlath Raune No 501 battles for supremacy during the Boys 110m Hurdles Final

in a wet Antrim Forum on Saturday last


Jarlath Ruane - nearest camera leads at the last hurdle

in Saturday's All Ireland in Antrim


Good performances

Other good performances from our club athletes came from Karen Tracey in the Girls U13 High Jump. In a closely fought competition won in 1.40metres, six athletes tied on 1.35metres for the minor placings with the medals being decided on count back/faults – Karen was one of the six and was placed an excellent 5th when the mathematics were finished. Aoife O’Connor with a 5.06metres best was 5th in the Girls U17 Long Jump and just outside final qualification in the 100metres with a time of 13.37secs. Kitty O’Kennedy qualified for the final of the Girls U17 300metres final where she ran a PB of 48.89secs.


Karen Tracey, who High Jumped 1.35metres

at the All Irelands in Antrim on Sunday Last


Overall a very enjoyable and successful weekend. The season will culminate for our juveniles with representation in the National Relays Community Games


Christopher Doherty, winner of the Boys Under 15 Pole Vault

with Kitty OKennedy [right] a finalist in the Under 17 300m H

and Louise Harvey double medal winner in the U 16 80m/250m

hurdles events