LIFFORD-STRABANE AC announced its arrival on the national senior athletics stage in emphatic style yesterday, Saturday by qualifying for the National Senior Indoor League final next weekend.
The border club, made up predominantly of 15 and 16-year-olds performed heroically in the confines of the magnificent Indoor Athletics Arena in Athlone to finish a brilliant third place in Round 2 of the National Indoor League.
Yesterday’s success is evidence of the continued rise of the club nationally and provides further justification for the club’s policy of nurturing young locally based athletes through the juvenile ranks.
Gareth Crawford had a brilliant new personal best of 12.94 metres to take second in the triple jump while Alan McGinley ran strongly in the 400m to post a time of 53.01 seconds when finishing in third position.
Combined Events specialist Tom Mullen (pictured above), meanwhile ran a new best of 23.49 seconds to gain valuable points for the team in the 200m while Brendan O’Donnell reached new personal best heights in the high jump when clearing 1.75m for fifth place, only losing out on count back for third.
Niall Elliott ran powerfully in the final lap of the 1500m to hold on to sixth place in a time of 4 minutes 30.82 seconds.
With a points total of 45 points, only Dublin based Clonliffe Harriers on 50 points and Galway City Harriers on 46 points bettered the Lifford-Strabane total.
The Lifford-Strabane Senior Women’s team had given themselves a mountain to climb after Round 1 of the competition, lying in 10th position.
With the top eight teams qualifying for the national final, Shannon Craig led the Women’s team superbly by winning the high jump early in the day with a new season’s best of 1.63 metres and following this up shortly afterwards by taking fifth in the 400m in a personal best time of 62.65 seconds.
The Lifford-Strabane AC representation at Athlone Institute of Technology yesterday
Kathleen Craig with a jump of 8.05 metres in the triple jump and a time of 32.11 seconds in the 200m gained valuable points while Leoni Mullen in her first race indoors, did likewise when running 5:16.40 in the 1500m.
Despite making up huge ground on the front runners, the women’s points total of 29 put them ninth place overall in Round 2 and unfortunately, just agonisingly outside the top eight.
The red and white vests were also to the fore in several events where athletes from the club competed as guests, thereby gaining valuable experience for future competition. Tom Mullen’s 52.70 seconds in the 400m was particularly impressive while Stephen McCallion will be happy with his 11.68 metres in the triple jump.
Conor Gallagher, meanwhile, was well in contention in the early stages of the Open 1500m before fading slightly over the final lap, posting a time of 4:38.77 seconds.
All in all, a great performance from the Lifford-Strabane young cubs who with the young age profile will ensure that the border club will be competing at the top level of senior athletics for many years to come.Tags: