Tir Chonaill Women Crowned AAI National Track and Field Premier League Champions

Sunday 27 July 2008


Tír Chonaill Women’s Athletics Team wrote another successful chapter into the history of Donegal athletics when following a titanic struggle in Tullamore on Sunday they became National Premier League Champions. In an eight teams final, defeating Dundrum South Dublin and  Cork’s, Leevale by one and half and seven points margins they claimed the right to represent Ireland in the 'European Clubs Championship' in May 2009.


Never before was such effort and team spirit so evident at an athletics meeting, as this small band of women fought for every point, and with such consistency, culminating in a sweet victory. Everyone, from team manager Jackie Harvey, through team captain Marie Rooney to each athlete, coach and supporter who travelled, were stars on the day and gave their all to ensure a successful end to another track season for the club.


This victory was achieved following a nineteen events competition where team spirit, group support and numerous top class and personal best performances were recorded.


Tír Chonaill AAI National Track and Field Premier League Champions



Geraldine Stewart Shot Putt, Javelin,100m Hurdles

Geraldine Stewart was the first Tír Chonaill athlete in action. She recorded the first of four impressive nine point’s club victories with a best of 12.42metres in the Shot Putt. She did not have time to bask in victory satisfaction as she rushed to the other end of the arena to contest the javelin. The multi-talented Donegal lass, in a competition where the lead changed hands on four occasions recorded an excellent PB throw of 32.50metres in round four to take the lead. Rachael Roche from Bandon responded in the final round with a best of 32.67metres and nine became seven points for Tír Chonaill. The first track event, the 100metres hurdles had the versatile Geraldine Stewart back in action to complete her quota of three individual events. She recorded an excellent time of 16.88secs for third place and six points.


Geraldine Stewart 100m Hurdles


Geraldine Stewart Javlin




Catherine Harvey High Jump, Pole Vault

Catherine Harvey, a former schools star, has made a great comeback to the sport this season. As the javelin competition was nearing completion, the High Jump found five athletes, including the Mountcharles girl bowing out, all had cleared the same height. The field referee examined the score sheet and Catherine recorded a joint 3rd placing and five and a half points, taking two attempts at 1.45metres cost Catherine a joint first place finish and eight points. Following a short break Catherine, introduced to the Pole Vault within the last three weeks when Bundoran’s Elizabeth McIntyre was forced to cry off because of a recurring injury, cleared 2metres for a most welcome fourth place finish and five additional points.

Catherine Harvey Pole Vault

Catherine Harvey Pole Vault




Marie Rooney 1500m Walk

Team Captain and inspirational leader of the team, Marie Rooney was next in action on the track and led by example. In the sweltering mid-afternoon heat, the Balyshannon woman recorded a P.B. of 9 mins 56.51 secs for a great 2nd placing and seven more points.


Marie Rooney 1500m Walk




Michelle Harvey 1500m

Michelle Harvey, departed for a year in the southern hemisphere following the 2007 League Final. She returned home from her exploits on Friday morning and the Tír Chonaill pundits wondered if she could repeat the Melbourne and Sydney track  performances of last winter when she entered the top ten rankings in Australia for the 1,500m. Jet lag and mid week visits to the War museum and underground war tunnels in Saigon, Vietnam were not what the coaching manuals recommend as preparation for an important track event. At the halfway stage in the 400m hurdles, Michelle, was in fifth position. As the race came into the home straight she had worked her way back to third and dug very deep over the final two hurdles to cross the finish line in 2nd place and another seven points. Tír Chonaill had made a very good start and as the first scores were announced to the crowd, had grabbed the lead from early pace setters Borrisokane, Bandon and D.S.D.




Mary McLoone Triple Jump

Mary McLoone took time out from the 'triple jump' to shout on Michelle Harvey in the home straight. Returning to her exploits, the National Champion dually won the event with a best of 12.03metres.




Ethna McLoone Hammer

In the Hammer circle, Mary McLoone's sister Ethna was gaining valuable points. She finished 6th and three more points were added to the team total.




Geraldine Stewart, Mary McLoone, Aoife O’Connor and Lisa Shields 4 x 100m

The 4 x 100metres relay quartet of Geraldine Stewart, Mary McLoone, and school girls Aoife          O’Connor and guest Lisa Shields were next in action. Coaching visits to Letterkenny's new track during the last two weeks helped as they recorded a good 50.2 secs. time for a fourth place finish.The announcer gave team totals and at this stage only three points separated Tír Chonaill and runners up D.S.D. It would seem that the overall title lay between the Dublin and Donegal clubs with Corks Leevale still in contention. Pre event favourites and defending champions Abbey, Belfast was not in the frame. The next three track events saw the battle intensify.




Mary McLoone 400m

Mary McLoone in a time of 57.57secs, ran a perfectly timed 400metres to win in the last ten metres and push pre race favourite Clare McGlynn, DSD, 58.08secs into 2nd place.


Mary McLoone wins 400m


Joanne English 1500m

Olympian, Marie McCambridge, DSD, added maximum points in the 1,500m but Joanne English, guesting for Tír Chonaill, had the race of her life to finish second in a PB time of 4mins 36.97secs.


Joanne English 1500m




Michelle Harvey 3000m

Michelle Harvey, in a tactical 3,000m, added a maximum nine points in a good time of 9mins 58.91secs. DSD were expected to dominate the middle distance events but were outscored by 25 -22 by the Tír Chonaill group as the announcer indicated that here was now 12 points between the sides.


Michelle Harvey wins 3000m

Michelle Harvey wins 3000m




Lisa Shields 200m

In the 200metres, Lisa Shields was drawn in lane 6 and ran an excellent 25.76 secs for 6th place. The D.S.D. athlete was in 5th as a point was clawed back.




Joanne English 800m

D.S.D.’s Marie Mc Cambridge was always going to win the 800m. Joanne English following a great battle got up for an excellent 2nd place on the line –time 2mins 18.35secs.


Joanne English




Joanne English 800m

Bridie Lynch Discus

The very welcome return to the Tír Chonaill Team of former Paralympics Gold medallist, Bridie Lynch was inspirational. She finished 5th in the discus, two places behind the DSD’s Mary Mahon.


1996 Paralympic Discus Gold Medalist - Bridie Lynch

Back for League Final, 5th in Discus




Lisa Shields 100m

With three events remaining – 100m/Long Jump and 4 x 400metres - team mentors were frantically calculating. Tír Chonaill held a slender lead but the calculations where, each team’s  four weakest events had to be subtracted, and the bonus points gained from the first two rounds of the league added in, ensured a nail biting finish. Lisa Shields ran a superb 100m PB of 12.58secs for 4th and in the process pushed Aoife Mc Neill, D.S.D. into 5th place.




Mary McLoone Long Jump

As the Long Jump progressed, Mary Mc Loone, lay in 2nd place and with Lisa Murphy, DSD, finding it difficult to get form. Mary eventually finished 3rd -5.63metres [she did have a final jump and break of 5.95metres] -with the DSD athlete in 8th place. It was now down to the 4 x 400metres.To win DSD needed to gain maximum points and the Donegal side to finish 4th or in the bottom half of the field.




Geraldine Stewart, Michelle Harvey, Joanne English and Mary Mc Loone 4 x 400m

Geraldine Stewart, Michelle Harvey, Joanne English and Mary Mc Loone finished 4th in the 4 x 400m with Leevale holding off D.S.D. for the premier finishing slot. The crowd basked in the evening sunshine for over an hour- while the officials checked and rechecked the scores. Eventually the result was announced in reverse order;

8th Athletics Wexford 51pts;

7th Lagan Valley, 65.5pts;

6th Abbey, 77.5pts;

5th Borrisokane, 80.5pts;

4th Bandon, 81.5pts;

3rd Leevale, 103pts;

2nd D.S.D. 109pts

1st Tir Chonaill 110.5pts




Eamon Harvey


Anxious wait for final results


Very Happy Tír Chonaill Ladies


Results for all Events.pdf

Team Results.pdf

AAI Link

Congratulations and well done to all.