Jason Smyth became the first ever Derry Track Club athlete to win a national Senior title track title when he won the 100m at the GloHealth National Senior Track & Field Championships in Dublin (June 25/26).
After cruising through the heats, Jason was pushed all the way to line by Ballymena & Antrim’s Jonathan Greening. Jason’s time was 10.71 seconds into a strong 1.9 m/s headwind. That was enough to ensure his selection for the European Championships in Amsterdam (July 6-10) as part of Ireland’s 4 x 100m relay squad.
The Eglinton man was quickly back in action again when he ran at the Cork City Sports on Tuesday night (June 28). Smyth finished fourth in 10.52 seconds behind England’s Kieran Daly who clocked 10.41, both times aided by a 3.3 m/s wind.
Conán McCaughey was our other representative at the National Seniors. The Fermanagh man ran a canny race to break 15 minutes for the first time with a fine 14:55.89 timing.
IRISH SENIOR CHAMPS
1 SMYTH Jason Derry Track Club 10.71
2 BROWNING Jonathan B&A 10.75
3 SIBANDA Christopher Clonliffe Harriers A.C. 10.93
4 KAVANAGH Mark DSD 10.98
5 ADAMS Dean B&A 11.03
6 OGBENE Kaodichinma Leevale A.C. 11.08
7 BYRNE Callan Kilkenny City Harriers A.C. 11.11
8 ELLIOTT Kieran North Sligo A.C. 11.11
9 MULDOWNEY Eoin Castlecomer A.C. 11.16
10 Ennis, Nick Crusaders A.C. 11.40
1 DUFFY Conor Glaslough Harriers A.C. 14:32.85
2 BRADLEY Conor City of Derry AC 14:33.35
3 SHEAHAN Colm Leevale A.C. 14:33.67
4 MORAN Thomas Dunshaughlin A.C. 14:34.02
5 MAHER Brian Kilkenny City Harriers A.C. 14:36.40
6 KEOGH Eric Donore Harriers 14:37.28
7 HANLON Aaron Clonliffe Harriers A.C. 14:37.84
8 HAYES Thomas Kilkenny City Harriers A.C. 14:42.46
9 DUNLEAVY Emmett Sligo A.C. 14:45.60
10 HYNES Ray Donore Harriers 14:50.76
11 MADDEN Christopher City of Lisburn AC 14:51.74
12 CORBALLY Robert DSD 14:53.78 13 MCCAUGHEY Conan Derry Track Club 14:55.89
One gold, one silver and a bronze medal was the haul by Derry Track Club athletes from the Northern Ireland & Ulster Senior Track and Field Championships (incorporating U18-U20 age groups).
Two days earlier Derry Track Club won both the senior men’s and senior women’s team races at the Carmen Runners 4 x 1 Mile Road Relay Championships in Carrickmore, Co. Tyrone. J-P Williamson ran the fastest leg of the evening clocking 4:40 for the hilly circuit in the centre of the village.
Meanwhile 25 miles north DTC athletes were in action at the Acorns AC Night of 3000m races with Marty Cox winning the top race in Magherafelt and Chris Millar being denied a victory in the B race by a curious decision.
Back to the NI champs and J-P Williamson made a cautious start to his debut in the 3000m Steeplechase. allowing Adam Kirk-Smith to gallop away for a comfortable win in 9:12.48. When J-P cut loose he soon made the silver medal his own and improved immensely over the barriers as the race progressed.
“The runner-up spot in 10:10.64 does not in any way reflect John-Paul’s potential in this event,” said coach Mal McCausland. “He only did one session of technique before today but I think that it’s something we’ll have to look at more in the future especially as there is a place up for grabs in the international match in August.”
Conán McCaughey ran his usual determined race in the 5000m but on this occasion he ran smart. Instead of adopting his usual front-running tactics, the Enniskillen man sat in the bunch and was rewarded with a provincial bronze medal – his first on the track at this level. His time of 15:16.15 could have been as much as 30 seconds faster in better conditions.
Matt Doherty rounded the day off on a high for DTC supporters with a gold medal in the U20 1500m run in conjunction with the Senior race in which he was seventh in a personal best 4:07.67. That could have been under four minutes but for a poor final 300m in which he was overhauled by clubmate Marty Cox who went on to record a personal best 4:03.24.
Our third representative in the race Conor Doherty also broke new ground with a 4:13.06 timing, taking over a second from his previous personal best after bravely cutting out the early pace.
Lily Toorish (5:07.34) and Ben Mellon (5:01.15) both set personal bests in their respective U15 races. Amy McDaid looked to be getting back to her best with a battling 5:03.39 in the Senior Women’s race despite racing on Friday night and working long hours in her new job.
Shane McGowan made the final of the men’s 800m clocking 2:00.37 in a slow tactical final while Brandon Connolly (2:07.62) was the victim of some strange seeding in the 800m heats. Aaron Carlyle made an encouraging start to the season with a 53.06 clocking in the heats in 400m.
Cathal McLaughlin led off for the men in Carrickmore and came through in third place in 4:47 at the end of the first stint. J-P Williamson blew the race apart on the second leg before Matt Doherty contributed another 4:47 split.
Shane McGowan (5:07) did not exert himself on the final circuit and very obviously was milking the glory leg to the maximum. Nevertheless he came home 59 seconds ahead of runner-up Omagh Harriers who just held off Sperrin Harriers in a tight finish.
DTC ladies were equally dominant in the women’s race finishing 12th overall of the 45 teams that completed the event. Amy McDaid led off with a great 5:42 split before Deirdre Haigney (6:25), Lily Toorish (5:53) and Marina Campbell (6:05) completed the job.
Thanks to Michael Kerr, Michael Curran and Carmen Harriers for an excellent evening’s craic in an excellent sporting atmosphere.
Marty Cox was equally destructive over in Magherafelt putting ten seconds between himself and the opposition in the top 3000m race. Marty’s 9:04.50 was his second fastest of the season. Conor Doherty continued to impress with a 9:16.96 in third. David Gormley completed our representation in the A race with a credible 9:40.07 mark.
The photo finish judge was probably the only person in the stadium who did not think Chris Millar won the B race. Both the “winner” and Chris were given the same time, a personal best, of 10:13.07.
That was just one of many personal bests on the night with Brandon Connolly (10:25.30), Sean McIntyre (10:26.00), Kevin Connolly (10:46.83) and David Mellon (12:35.39) all re-writing their own personal record books.
Thanks to Gary McGee for an excellent night’s pacemaking and management along with David Mellon. Gratitude to Francis Purvis and our friends at Acorns AC for their usual high standard of organisation and hospitality.
Conor McIlveen may come home without a medal from the IPC European Championships but showed he is capable of making a big impact in Paralympic competition in future.
Last Saturday (June 12) The Derry IT specialist showed all the nerves of a debutant when he took sixth in the T38 1500m in 4:45.89. He started cautiously and consequently was never in the mix for a medal as France’s Louis Radius strode to a comfortable victory in 4:20.01.
However, there was no sign of nerves today when he lined up for the 800m. Drawn in lane 8, Big Dog went off aggressively and was in fourth spot as that man Radius led through the bell in 62 seconds.
He looked as though he was going to slip back to fifth on the backstraight as Spain’s Raiss Fakhroeddine started a charge behind him which saw him momentarily up to fourth spot on the final bend.
McIlveen responded by digging in and even upped the pace on the last 100 metres but fell just a second short of the elusive bronze medal despite running a personal best 2:13.79.
“Conor was disappointed after his 1500m but we talked about it and took the positives from it,” said coach Mal McCausland. “You can’t underestimate the effect of running at this level for the first time and this is part of the learning experience.”
“He certainly was a different athlete in the 800m, which might prove to be his best event going forward. It was certainly good to see the Big Dog out there battling with the best. Really he is still a novice and I can see big improvement in the next 12 months”
Derry Track Club athletes caught the eye at the NI Running Night of Miles at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast.
Matt Doherty showed a welcome return to form with the fourth
fastest time of the night. The 19-year-old had made an indifferent start to the reason but roared back to his very best with fighting fourth in 4:29.50.
Conor Doherty (4:34.96) and Shane McGowan (4:39.76) also impressed with battling performances while Brandon Connolly (5:03.79) in the same race will have benefitted from the experience.
DTC athletes took two victories. Sean McIntyre out-sprinted team mate Conor McIlveen in the race 6A. Robert Bigger showed some astute tactical awareness to win race 6B while Ben Mellon and Lily Toorish were second and third in heat 5A.