Odyssey NI & Ulster Juvenile champs – Report

Sun 12 February 2012--admin

Congratulations to all the athletes of the City of Lisburn AC junior squad who performed magnificently over the weekend in the Odyssey Arena at the N. Ireland and Ulster Indoor championships. Across the four age-groups (Under 14/15/16/17) no less than 39 medals were brought home – a significant increase on the 18 won at these championships in 2011.

The medals and titles came thick and fast over the two days of action, giving the large and vocal Lisburn support plenty to cheer. A summary of the medallists will follow but the stand-out performers over the weekend included Roseanna McGuckian who was the only squad member to bring home three golds (including her relay gold) while Andrew Hutchison, Cameron Kelly and Alix Galbraith were the only athletes to win medals in each of their three individual events – with Andrew and Cameron adding a relay medal for good measure!

Interestingly, Cameron and Alix’s medals were won in the same combination of events ie hurdles, shot and high jump, a ringing endorsement of the club’s quest to promote a multi-event approach with these talented young athletes. Andrew’s came in hurdles / high jump / long jump.

Remember that all medal winners at these championships have qualified for the All-Ireland Indoor championships in Nenagh, which will be held over the last two weekends in March – more details to follow.

U14 Girls (4 medals)
The 60m hurdles saw Therese Hillman defend the 1999 age-group title she won in Magherafelt last year. After the heats it seemed as though Therese’s main opposition would come from team-mate Alix Galbraith who was a clear winner of heat two. However, Alix didn’t have her best start in the final, meaning she had to settle for bronze in 10.33s while Therese was the deserved winner in 10.26s and can call her herself the N. Ireland champion for another year! Therese also ran a PB of 9.02s when placing 6th in the 60m final.

Alix’s busy afternoon continued with a superb 10.04m shot PB which earned her a silver. This was an improvement of well over two metres from when she won bronze last year. Alix then added a further silver to her collection with a superb 1.41m High Jump PB in a gutsy display which only saw her denied the title only on countback. Rebekah Douglas was just half a second off the medals in the 800m but learnt a valuable lesson in pace judgment as with a steadier first lap would surely have taken silver.

The relay team of Therese, Alix, Rebekah and Emma Conlin were unfortunate to be drawn in the slower heat. They won this comfortably but had to watch three teams go quicker in heat two and therefore had to settle for 4th.

U14 Boys ( 4 medals)

Thomas Quinn had an extremely successful day – winning the high jump with an excellent 1.50m PB and then taking silver in the hurdles. Robbie Marrs showed he has recovered well from a recent enforced lay-off with a silver in the 60m in 8.33s with Louis McGuckian 4th. Matthew Neill was 9th in the 800m in 2:40. Josh Armstrong competed well at 60m, 800m and long jump with 6th place at LJ his highlight.

The relay team of Christopher Larmour, Josh, Thomas and Matthew Neill ran superbly to claim silver in the 4 x 200m race.

U15 Girls ( 3 medals)

Phoebe Tan is the NI and Ulster indoor high jump champion for this age-group after a superb 3rd time clearance at 1.46m to match her outdoor PB set in the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham last September. Phoebe also ran an 8.82m PB in the 60m and set an indoor PB of 4.22m when placing 7th in the long jump. Jessica McMaster was second in the long jump with an indoor PB of 4.69m and just missed out on a place in the final of the 60m despite a PB of 8.56s. Sarah Woods ran a 9.29s PB in the 60m heats.

Annie Alexander picked up a well deserved bronze in the shot with a great final round PB of 7.71m with Jodie Savage 4th with 7.51m and Sarah Woods 8th.

In the relay Sarah, Madison Bowyer, Sophie Higginson and Phoebe combined for 5th place overall.

U15 Boys ( 8 medals)

Matthew Dalton is to be congratulated on his two individual golds in this age-group. The first came in the shot for which he was favourite. He won comfortably with a massive PB of 11.99m. However he surprised everyone including himself by progressing to a PB of 1.51m for a fine win at the high jump. Cameron Kelly was another stand-out performer in this age-group at the championships, bringing home hurdles gold, shot silver in a 10.50m PB and high jump bronze. Ben Fisher was another to win an Under 15 indoor title, this time at 60m while also placing 2nd in the long jump.

Ryan Keenan went in the 60m where he ran an 8.50s PB. The relay team of Cameron, Ben, Robbie Marrs and Louis McGuckian ran well to earn bronze.

U16 Girls (8 medals)

Megan Marrs won the high jump with a fine 1.58m effort and was second in a very tight 60m hurdles final. Caitlin Rose improved her PB to 1.45 when winning high jump silver behind Megan and was also a close 4th in the hurdles. Roseanna McGuckian had a great weekend, taking home both sprint titles in her customary graceful style – the 200 in 26.55s and 60m in 8.19s. Katie Larmour was another Lisburn sprinter who gave a superb demonstration of smooth and relaxed sprinting as she eased into both sprint finals, earning a bronze in the 200m plus a silver in the long jump with an indoor PB of 4.49m.

The relay team got a brilliant start thanks to Katie Larmour with an unofficial split of inside 27 seconds for her first leg, with individual champion Roseanna stretching the lead. Jessica McMaster was flying on the third leg and when Megan had the baton safely in her hand (just!) the title was in the bag for the Lisburn ladies in a splendid 1:48.75s which would have won the age-group above.

U16 Boys ( 3 medals)

Sam Wallace has trained hard this winter and has emerged at these championships as a much improved athlete. He won a bronze in the 60m hurdles and made a breakthrough in the high jump with a jump of 1.50m for 7th. Ronan Jenkinson won his first indoor title, winning by the shot by a metre with a great 11.89m.

The relay team of Sam, Matthew Dalton, Ryan Keenan, and Ronan Jenkinson placed third after a good run and some slick hand-overs.

U17 Girls ( 4 medals)

In the high jump Anna McIlmoyle won with 1.58m to retain her age-group title, while over at the long jump it was a City of Lisburn 1-2 for 2012 junior club captain Aoibhin McManus and Jenny Skelly (4.58m indoor PB). There was drama at the 200m where Erin Quinn was looking a good bet to add to her her silver medal won in this age-group last year. However, she had the misfortune to suffer a DQ here after being judged to have caused a false start. Kathryn Case was 5th in the shot with 7.60m

The relay team of Aoibhin, Anna, Jessica Robinson and Erin were beaten only by a very strong Tir Chonail AC side, but should be happy with their silver.

U 17 Boys (5 medals)

Junior Boys’ club captain Andrew Hutchison had a fabulous weekend, bringing home three individual medals plus a relay gold. He jumped 1.78m for an indoor PB and high jump gold, placed 2nd in the long jump with an indoor PB of 5.79m and was 2nd in the hurdles. Stewart McEwan was another athlete who came into these championships in top form and was ready to do something special in the sprints on the Sunday. He qualified as 2nd fastest for the 200m final with a flying 23.89m PB, just a fraction outside his outdoor best. He also cruised safely into the 60m final, but in the process suffered a grade two hamstring tear which ended his meet and indeed his indoor season. Hopefully he has done enough to convince the UK School Games selectors that he deserves a place in the relay squad for London in May.

Lisburn debutant Fiontann Curran won a silver in the high jump behind Andrew. Nelson Amaral and Cameron Powell both showed they were in good form in the sprints, running big PB’s in the 200m heats and with Cameron missing a 60m final place by 0.01s!

Dominic Martin ran a huge 800m PB of 2:12, a 10 second improvement on his outdoor best while placing 9th and also ran a 26.20m PB in his 200m heat.

The final race on Saturday was the U17 boys relay, with Lisburn fielding a strong although relatively inexperienced team. It proved to be the race of the day. Stuart McEwan had a brilliant start before passing on to Nelson who blasted round the Odyssey Arena before handing on to Cameron Powell. Cameron sat in behind the leading Shercock AC athlete before making a perfectly timed move with 75m to go and held on to give anchor-leg man Andrew Hutchison a crucial half-metre advantage as he set off. With the Lisburn support now literally screaming from their base above the back straight, Hutchy produced a real captain’s run to hold off the Shercock athlete by 0.16s for the perfect finale to the day!

A huge thank you to all the Team Managers for their organisation in the Odyssey including Jo (under 14’s), Tracey (under 15’s), Annie (under 16’s) and Jonny (under 17’s) and to all the coaches across the club who had their athletes so well prepared for these championships. A special mention perhaps should go to Phil for his work with the hurdlers and sprinters, with the relay teams winning 6 medals from 8 races.

Finally, a massive thank you to the parents and familes of the athletes for their wonderful support at the Odyssey!