Aviva Irish Schools success in Tullamore

Saturday, 03 June 2014


Over one thousand secondary school athletes, contested one hundred and ten events spread over four age groups, U15/U16/U17/U19 in Tullamore on Saturday last. All had qualified via provincial championships two weeks ago. The occasion was the Aviva Irish Schools Track and Field Finals.
Local South Donegal Schools athletes contested with much success throughout the day. Donegal Town’s Abbey Vocational School led the charge with a number of superb individual and relay performances.

Close friends Kate McGowan and Kelly McGrory, in the demanding Senior Girls 400m Hurdles, were involved in a great battle that found Kate winning in 62.32secs and Kelly third in 62.97secs. The finishing times/positions are only part of the story. McGowan drawn in Lane 3 attached the opening 200m/5 barriers and came into the home straight/final 100m a clear leader. McGrory, in Lane 7 ran the opening 200m more conservatively and entered the home straight in 4th position. McGowan’s lead was gradually closed down over the final three flights of hurdles as Kelly came from 4th to 2nd approaching the 8th Hurdle. Then her right leg sent the barrier flying and attacking momentum was hampered. In the run for the line McGowan dug very deep and won in a new PB time of 62.32secs with Leanna Prout, Presentation, Ballingarry, 62.94secs, holding off McGrory, 62.97secs for the runners up spot. McGowan’s time, had it been recorded two weeks ago, would have qualified her for the European Youth Olympics in Baku.

Kate McGowan wins 400mH


Kate McGowan in action


Senior Girls 400m Hurdles Medal Winners

at the Irish Schools in Tullamore

including Kate McGowan, AVS centre 1st

and Kelly McGrory right 3rd


Kelly McGrory

Pole Vaulting was introduced by David Doherty, to the athletics menu in Tir Chonaill AC five years ago. On Saturday Katie Hoad, from Fosses/Abbey VS won silver 2.35m in the Senior Girls while Colaiste na Carraige’s Naomh Byrne was 4th in the U17 age group.

Katie Hoad


Senior Girls Pole Vault Medal Winners

including Katie Hoad, Abbey Vocational on left


The final events of the day, the 4 x 100m relays, are always closely fought and exciting. The Abbey Senior Girls squad of Emma Brady, Kate McGowan, Ruth Gillespie, Kelly McGrory and Niamh McGrory, hold Irish U15 and U17 Schools Records and added to their collection of medal winning performances with a 3rd place finish time of 49.42secs behind an outstanding Loreto Kilkenny side 47.61secs [Record] and St Vincents, Dundalk, 49.31secs.

Abbey Vocational Senior Girls 4 x 100m

Bronze Medal Winning Team at Irish Schools


The Abbey Vocational performances concluded with U17 Girls Chloe Masterson in the recording a PB of 28.75m/Hammer, Emily McGill, 11mins 21.96secs/3k, PB, Jessica Quinn, 12mins 47secs/2k walk, PB and Senior Girl Ciara Crawford, 20mins 27. 47secs/3k Walk PB.


St. Catherine’s Killybegs U15 athlete Dylan Kearns, was impressive in winning his first Irish Schools medal, a silver with a best of 41.10m while school colleague Daniel Gallagher in the demanding U17 1500m S/C finished 6th/4mins43.06secs and at the end of the day filled 8th place in the 1500m/4mins 21.72secs.

Daniel Gallagher 8th 1500m

4mins 21.72secs


Scoil Colmcille, Ballyshannon, had good performances from Clara Herron, U17 Shot/10.15m/5th and Eva McMullan, 41.96secs/300m/6th.

Magh Eine College, Bundoran, sprinter Christopher O’Donnell, had a double medal performance finishing 2nd in the U17/200m 22.40sec and 3rd 100m 11.33secs. Both were into minus wind readings.
Congrats to all athletes and to the various schools for supporting the athletics programme and giving all the opportunity of experiencing competition at such an advanced level.