Ulster Schools Track and Field Finals

Friday 21st/ Saturday 22 May 2010


Donegal School Athletes recorded a number of outstanding performances when the 'Ulster Schools Track and Field Finals' were held at the Antrim Forum on last Friday evening and Saturday. Over 1,000 youngsters from five provincial qualifying regional finals, an overall crowd [estimated at over five thousand], glorious sunshine and the incentive of qualification for the 'All Ireland Schools Finals' in Tullamore on Sat June 6th added to the supportive mix to make the 2010 event one of the best to date.


Abbey Vocational School Athletes in a variety of disciplines excelled. The Girls Junior Under 15 relay squad of Kate McGowan, Emma Brady, Niamh McGrory and Kelly McGrory fought their way through a competitive semi final - where they finished 2nd - to a final winning place in an excellent 52.4 secs time ahead of Strathearn, 52.5secs and Ballyclare High School 52.5secs.

AVS Win 4x100m Junior Girls Final

change over Niamh McGrory to Kelly McGrory


Kelly McGrory (red vest) ankors AVS to victory

in the Junior Girls 4x100m Relay Final


AVS U15 Relay Winners with Maeve Kyle (Double Olympian)

& Coach Michelle Harvey


On Friday Evening Pole Vaulters Christopher Doherty, 2nd U17, Clare Brady 3rd U17 Girls and Hannah Campbell, Killybegs Vocational 2nd U15 Girls all put in very good performances to qualify for the All Irelands. In the equally difficult and technical race walking discipline Ciara Crawford filled 2nd place in the U15, 1200m category.

Junior Girls Walk Winners Girls

Ciara Crawford AVS & Melony Penrose (Holy Cross Stabane)

with Ulster Schools President Robert Stevenson



Saturday’s programme started at 10:00am and climaxed with the relay finals at 5:30pm. The Donegal Town School had athletes participate every hour. At 10:00am, Louise Harvey, in the demanding Senior Girls 400m Hurdles, finished 2nd 65.76secs behind last years European Youth Olympic Silver Medal Winner Christine McMahon, Belfast Royal Academy, 64.25secs. Later in the day, Louise, claimed a second silver position when she ran 15.76secs in the 100m Hurdles. Emma Brady was also in action in the U15 Triple Jump at 10:00am. She will be very happy with a 3rd place finish and 9.25m best.


At this early stage in the day news filtered through that the schools PE Teacher Michelle Harvey, was involved in a competition with a flock of birds near the Castledawson Roundabout. The birds won and the result was a smashed windscreen. Thankfully no one was injured and athletes Kelly McGrory and Adam Gallagher both a little shaken and competing at 11:00 am arrived safely. Kelly finished 3rd in the U15 100m Semi Final and Adam in his first major competition cleared an impressive 1.60m for 4th in the U15 High Jump. Later in the day Kelly recorded a 5th place finish in the final of the 100m, cleared 1.40m for 6th in the High Jump and anchored the relay team to victory in a nail biting and exciting final.

Adam Gallagher AVS stays in the shade

Junior Boys High Jump


As we moved into the afternoon the semi finals of the short hurdle races were contested. Emma Brady and Kate McGowan were most impressive in winning their respective 75m races and entered the final as the two fastest qualifying athletes.


In the final the finishing positions were Emma 5th and Kate 7th - its back to the drawing board again. Two hours later both girls did respond as vital parts of the schools winning relay team and Kate in a closely fought Long Jump competition got up for third with a very good 4.79m best.

Finish of Girls U15 Hurdles Emma Brady AVS in Red Vest


Kate McGowan AVS in the Long Jump


The middle distance finals kept the large spectating crowd on their toes. Karl Griffin ran his best race to date in finishing 2nd in the U17 800m behind European Youth Olympian Adam Ingram from Hazelwood Integrated College. In a tactical race involving a sprint finish the Belfast lad was marginally too strong for Griffin - times Ingram 1.59.08, Griffin 1.59.57. Mark McGuinness, a training partner and club mate of Karl Griffin was involved in an equally close finish. The St Catherine’s Vocational School Killybegs athlete went to the front with 600m remaining and was closely stalked by three athletes. Entering the final bend Mark increased the pace and made a bid for victory. Tom Magee, Glengormley High School, refused to yield and in a sprint for the line gained the upper hand,  result 1st Magee  4mins 21.2secs, 2nd McGuinness 4mins 22 secs. The Abbey’s final two athletes to compet,e Lisa Green and Rose McCauley, both new to the sport filled 4th and 5th places in the Senior Girls 1500m.


Inter Boys 800m at the bell


Adam Ingram & Karl Griffin (13)

at the finish of U17 800m


Mark McGuinness Killybegs Vocational leads Junior 1500m


Raphoe’s Royal and Prior’s John Kelly was impressive in winning the U15 Boys Shot 13.86m and Discus 37.59m. At Indoor level this year the St Johnston lad won Irish, Scottish and British Shot titles.

John Kelly Royal & Prior wins U15 Shot


Emer Boyce, Loreto Milford, U17 Girls, also had double winning medal performances when recording 9.26m Shot Putt 1st and 32.92m Javelin 2nd.


St Eunan’s Ruairi Finnigan U17 1500m recorded an impressive 4mins 00.6secs for 2nd behind Adam Ingram 3mins 57.34 [new record] School mates D. Carr Senior Boys 3k Walk 18mins 10.81 secs and P. Lynch U15 Boys 1200m Walk 7mins49.62secs also recorded victories.


Other good Donegal performances came from Carrick Vocational Schools Barry Quigg, 1.75m 3rd Senior Boys and Sarah Donovan U17 Shot 8.59m and 4th; Deele College, Raphoe’s Laura Gibson 3rd U15 Shot Putt 9.55m; Carndonagh Community Schools Sean Harkin, 2nd U17 Steeplechase 5mins 00.59secs Gweedore CS student Sean O’Gallachoir  2nd U15 Triple Jump 10.96m.


The following athletes from Fermanagh schools - many train at Tír Chonaill’s new facility in Donegal Town - qualified for the All Irelands. Gerard Maguire from Beeleek and Erne Integrated College, Enniskillen won the Senior Boys 100m and 200m titles. Mark Hoy led a group of St Michael's, Enniskillen to winning places. Mark recorded a double victory in the Senior Boys 400m 51.4sec and 800m 1min 58.6secs. Ciaran Dolan, 6.82m was impressive in winning the Senior  Long Jump. Conal Mahon, 12.67m was 2nd in the U17 Triple Jump while Fionn Corrigan, U17  3k 9mins 21.94 filled 3rd position. Finally Jason White from Devenish College was second in the U17 100m 11.71secs and 3rd in the Triple Jump 12.43m

Gerard Maguire No13 wins Senior Boys100m


Ciaran Dolan St Michael's Enniskillen wins Senior Boys Long Jump


Jamie Herron (Thornhill College Derry) High Jump Winner

with parents Jim and Danea [Harvey] former AVS student

& Intenatational Athlete


Natasha McArdle (No8) Loreto Letterkenny

finishes 3rd in the U15 Girls 800m


AVS Athletes, Parents, Supporters and Teachers