Lifford Strabane AC's Finn O'Neill smashes Irish U18 decathlon record

LIFFORD Strabane AC’s Finn O’Neill travelled to Bedford for the English U18 Decathlon Championships.

Having recently attained the qualification standard for the upcoming European Youth Athletics Championships in Jerusalem, Israel, O’Neill set his sights on cementing his place on the Irish team with another qualification standard.

Competing against the best that England had to offer, the young Limavady student did not disappoint and over the gruelling two day competition, O’Neill set five personal bests and three season’s bests to amass a total of 6,838 points for the ten event marathon and in the process smash the Irish U18 Decathlon record and take the English U18 title.

The stand-out performances for O’Neill included a 1.77m high jump, a 43.80m discus, a 45.82m javelin, a 14.26m shot put, a 14.55 seconds 110m hurdles and a 51.43 seconds 400m.

The Lifford Strabane AC athlete is now surely a certainty to make the plane to Jerusalem in July.

Meanwhile, at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast on Saturday, a number of Lifford Strabane AC athletes competed in the Belfast International Meet which coincided with the 50th anniversary of Mary Peters winning Olympic gold in the women’s pentathlon in Munich.

Gareth Crawford took an excellent second place in the men’s javelin with a season’s best of 66.35m while Brendan O’Donnell made a welcome return to form when taking third place in the men’s hammer with a throw of 58.82m behind Osian Jones of Wales

Adrienne Gallen was out of sorts somewhat in the women’s hammer but her throw of 48.16m was still good enough to take third place behind Welsh athlete, Amber Simpson.

In the same event, Cora Burns had a personal best of 36.64m to take fifth spot with clubmate, Una O’Donnell, one place further back in sixth.

Lifford Strabane AC’s Caoimhe Gallen made the long trek to Carlow to the Leinster Championships in pursuit of a qualification standard in the hammer for the upcoming European Youth Olympics.

She fell just short, however, of the 55.40m standard with her effort of 53.77m.

Gallen will now possibly have one last opportunity to achieve the standard this weekend ahead of the cut-off date for standards on June 6.

On the roads, Lifford Strabane AC’s Cormac Carlin set a big new personal best when running 16 mins 49 seconds to take 20th spot in the Buncrana 5k.

Carlin continues to make good progress this year under the tutelage of coach, Michael McKinney.

Endurance runner, Ed McGroarty, has been selected as captain of the Irish team for the upcoming European 24 Hour Championships.

"This is a huge honour for McGroarty, his family and all in Lifford Strabane AC," a club spokesperson said.

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