Success across the board for Finn Valley athletes

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Success across the board for Finn Valley athletes thumbnailSommer Lecky set a new Irish youth high jump record at the Emirates Stadium in Glasgow, recording a height of 1.78m.

FINN Valley Athletic Club had a weekend to remember as its members enjoyed tremendous success across the board in a number of competitions.

Castlederg teenager, Sommer Lecky, was in super form in her opening competition of the year at the Emirates Stadium in Glasgow where she cleared 1.78m to set a new Irish youth high jump record.

Regarded as one of the best in Europe in her age group, 2017 is set to be a big year for Sommer and her coach, Niall Wilkinson, as she aims to confirm herself as best jumper not only nationally but is also targeting success at the youth Commonwealth Games in Bahamas.

Similarly, another Finn Valley youth, James Kelly, is also chasing a spot on that team, which is all the more important to James as Ireland are not sending athletes to World Youth Championships. James, along with a host of Finn Valley athletes, was in Athlone where he won the U20 national shot title with a distance of 15.08m.

His older brother, John, was also in great form in the U23 championship, winning with a shot of 16.78m. John needs 17.30m to gain qualification for the European U23 championships.

Another good news story was Janine Boyle who achieved 5.55m in the long jump, leading round on round to strike gold, as well as fourth place in the 60m sprint. Shot putter, Bridget McDyre, from Annagry, has travelled consistently to link with her coach at Valley, Tom Thompson, over the last 12 months.

She got out a personal best of 10.79m and a bronze. Arlene Crossan, competing late in the day at Athlone, ran in the U20 400m and crossed the line in second with 57.27. Arlene can improve on that into low 56 as she chases county record indoors .

In the 400m and 60m, Shane Irwin and Danny Brown both reached their respective finals, while Caolan O'Callaghan earned a gold in the triple jump. Fodla McFadden's silver medal-winning triple jump and Shannon Craig's silver 1.65m high jump were other notable performances.


Ulster cross-country success

Elsewhere, the Finn Valley men's intermediate cross-country squad made the short journey to Gransha, Derry, on Saturday to contest for the Ulster title. It was difficult to ascertain pre-race what their chances were, though certainly they had come close to winning the coveted War Memorial title two years earlier in Lurgan, going down by one point to Newcastle after a tough battle.

Back again mainly with a fresh new squad, the scene was set and they were off battling in the early stages with Derry Track Club, City Of Derry and then Acorns AC from Magherafelt and Cookstown. The response from the Valley lads was tremendous as they drove through led by Ramelton man Mark McPaul. There were thrilling performances by James Mc Fadden, Downings, Shane Gallagher of Crossroads, Shane McNulty from Ballybofey, Aghyaran's John Mc Enhill and Convoy man Seamus O'Donnell, as well as Brian McCrea and Barry Gallagher.

In the end, with 17 points to spare from runners-up Acorns and City Of Derry in third spot, the atmosphere was added to by an enthusiastic travelling Valley support acknowledging team coach Mark Connolly, who had scored for a winning Finn team in the late 1970's, and his assistant Pat Hegarty. It was the eighth time Finn Valley had won the title in their illustrious history from 1974.

Attention turns to a busy two days in Magherafelt this weekend in the Indoor National Championships, where 94 youth members have qualified to compete, and also the the inaugural Glenmore 10 mile race at Finn Valley, starting at 11am on Sunday.

Entries on the day accepted registration open Saturday and early Sunday.


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