YAL squad 5th at UK Finals – Full report

Tue 4 September 2012--admin

City of Lisburn AC finished in an excellent 5th place overall at the UK Young Athletes League Auxiliary final at the weekend, an improvement of two places on the 2011 position.

59 medals (up from 38 last year) were won overall by the squad in what was an excellent all-round display by our young athletes.

After flying in to Manchester on Friday evening a double-decker bus collected the 83 athletes and coaches the next morning for the short journey to the Sportcity Arena. The athletes were very impressed by the excellent facilities including the adjacent 200m indoor warm-up track and the squad set up base beside the high jump fan at the end of the home straight.

Conditions were excellent – warm and sunny with a gentle following breeze in the home straight. After the squad’s representatives (team captains Aoibhin McManus and Andrew Hutchinson) were introduced to the crowd along with those from the other 7 teams, the competition began.

With John Glover doing the bulk of the commentary over the PA system, his familiarity with the Lisburn squad saw our athletes being well featured. Happily this was deservedly so as the squad proceeded to surpass all expectations with great performances across all the age-groups.

In the field event points the team were 2nd place overall, although a few gaps on the track saw us finish in 6th place there. At one stage in the day the team had moved up to 3rd place but ultimately the team were delighted with their 5th place finish. However, with a few more distance runners in the squad we could definitely have finished even higher.

U13 Girls – 4 medals – Athlete of the Match Kate Gourley

Katie O’Reilly was the only A-string winner in this team, producing a great 1.38m high jump PB for gold.

Kate Gourley had a fantastic run in the 1200m, winning a silver medal for her run of 4:06.30, which left her just a fraction outside the NIYAL record set by Madison Bowyer last year.

Anna McAuley has had a great season and she finished it with a 10.51s 75m B bronze here plus a silver in the high jump with 1.30m.

U13 Boys – 9 medals – Athletes of the Match Josh Armstrong / Sean Terek

Josh Armstrong’s season finished with an exceptional day as he became one of just two athletes in the squad to bring home the maximum possible 4 medals. He won his A high jump with a PB of 1.40m before winning the A hurdles in another PB of 12.67. He also picked up a silver in the B 100m in 14.21s.

Bradley Mulholland picked up a gold the B high jump with his 1.35m PB clearance and also won a bronze in the B 800m in 2:36, while Sean Terek had a great run in the A 800m to place 3rd in 2:37.

Matthew Neill won 1500m B bronze in Birmingham last year and upgraded that to an A bronze this year with a run of 5:19. Christopher Larmour contributed to the medal haul with a 3.97m B long jump silver.

The relay team of Bradley, Josh, Simon McMaster and Louis McGuckian were undefeated in the NIYAL this season and ran well again here to claim silver at the National finals.

U15 Girls – 16 medals – Athlete of the Match Megan Marrs

Megan Marrs has been the outstanding athlete in the YAL squad this season and was a class act again as she won her A 75m hurdles in 11.41s before adding 100m bronze in 12.73s. Rebekah Douglas also stood out on the track, smashing her PB with a run of 2:24 to claim 800m A bronze.

Middle distance success continued for this team in the 1500m with the reliable Zoe Carruthers picking up A silver in 5:09 while her training partner Madison Bowyer collected B bronze in 5:29.

Sarah Woods is vastly improved over the hurdles this year and she produced another good run when it mattered to take B silver in 12.73s from lane 1.

Phoebe Tan was the other A-string winner for this team after pushing her high jump PB up to a superb 1.59m in front of the great Lisburn support based in the grandstand behind her event.

Alix Galbraith has peaked perfectly towards the end of this season. She recorded her 3rd shot performance over 9m within the space of a week as her 9.18m PB gave her A-string silver. Well done to Natalja Ritchie who won the B shot with a PB of her own – 8.51m.

Lara Creighton came home with two medals – bronze in the A pole vault plus a gold in the B javelin thanks to a great 22.41m last round effort. Jodie Savage brought home a bronze as she did last year from Birmingham thanks to a 17.66m throw in the B discus.

The long jump saw a silver for Jessica McMaster in the A-string with 4.80m while Katie Larmour jumped well in the B to win with 4.65m. Ulster Schools champion Robyn Kelly did well off borrowed poles to place 3rd in the A string pole vault.

The U15 girls grabbed a 4×100 relay silver after a fantastic run by Katie, Mollie, Jessica and Megan in 51.53s – by far their fastest time this year.

U15 Boys – 12 medals – Athlete of the Match Josh Jordan

Irish Schools champion Josh Jordan was the only A string winner in this category thanks to his 37.26m hammer throw. Ben Fisher had a clean run in the B hurdles to win in a swift 12.42s and also placed 1st in the B long jump with 4.93m with Ryan Hall 2nd in the A-string long jump with 5.33m.

In Jordan Hutchings the club has a very promising athlete, as he showed with a well-executed 1500m where he earned A-string silver in 4:29. Ryan Hall took 0.1s off his PB when placing 3rd in the A 300m in 40.09s with Ciaran Barnes recording his fastest electric-timed 300m in the B race of 40.91s which earned him bronze.

Matthew Dalton was extremely unlucky to have all three of his events scheduled for exactly the same time. He was high jumping well before he had to head off to the shot where his single effort of 11.64m earned him silver in the A. After returning to the high jump for another clearance he then dashed to the hurdles just in time to make the start but finished 4th after no warm-up. This effort obviously didn’t help his jumping but he finished with a 1.60m best for silver again.

Cameron Kelly picked up a couple of bronzes on the B throws after a 20.67m hammer and an 8.61m shot.

The 4x300m squad of Ciaran, Ryan, Matthew plus Tom Baird on anchor leg finished in 2nd place in 2:48.34 after good legs by all 4 athletes.

U17 Girls – 7 medals Athlete of the Match Chloe Howes

Chloe Howes made a stunning debut over 300m, running a superb 43.50m to claim B gold after only stepping in at the last minute. Jane Anderson went in the first track event of the day and was cheered to a great bronze in the A 300m hurdles in 47.39s. Caitlin Rose was next up in the B race and she placed 2nd in a good 50.36s to make it a good start for the squad.

Charlotte McConville grabbed a bronze with a good run in the B 1500m, finishing in 5:38. The high jump was a good event for the club with Anna McIlmoyle clearing a good 1.55m for A-string silver with Caitlin winning B bronze on countback with 1.45m.

Kathryn Case had a 16th birthday to remember, lifting B silver in the hammer with 17.38m and later on had the entire plane sing “Happy Birthday” to her!

U17 Boys – 11 medals – Athlete of the Match Christian Robinson

Christian was the 2nd member of the squad to bring home 4 medals after a great day’s work. He lost out on winning the silver in the B 100m with his 11.78s run after a very close examination of the photo-finish by the officials. He also placed 2nd in the B long jump with 5.76m and 2nd in the A triple jump with 12.76m.

Stuart McEwen had a great day, wining the B 200m in a flying 23.11s PB. Boys team captain Andrew Hutchinson delivered a gold of his own with a shared win in the A high jump thanks to an excellent 1.80m effort.

Jonathan Hill has performed well all season in the horizontal jumps and delivered again here with 5.80m for A long jump bronze plus and triple jump B silver with 11.82m.

A picture of Cameron Powell competing in Birmingham last year featured on the cover of the official programme and he lived to his high-profile status with two medal-winning performances. The first came in the B 400m hurdles where he was 3rd in 65.49s and he later was 3rd again in the B javelin with 33.12m.

Ronan Jenkinson took bronze in the B shot after a best throw of 9.53m.

There was drama for the 4x100m relay squad as an injury to Andrew Hutchinson meant Ronan Jenkinson had to be called up as a late replacement on the 3rd leg. He combined well with Aaron, Stuart and Christian to see the boys win a well deserved bronze in 45.78s.

Congratulations to every athlete in the squad on their top-class performances at the stadium, where they were excellent ambassadors for Northern Ireland Athletics, showing that a local club can compete at this level. Well done to all the Team Managers who worked extremely hard all weekend but especially in the stadium where a variety of illnesses and several injuries meant last-minute team changes – with Annie Rose’s U17 girls being particularly badly affected.

Thanks to the many parents and other friends of the club who travelled over to lend their support, which all helped add to an unforgettable experience for the athletes. A massive thank you also to Tracy Lowry of Travel Counsellors who handled all our travel arrangements superbly and who was on hand all weekend to ensure everything went smoothly.

Athletes / parents please note that we have brought home a number of items including vests, hoodies and spikes which were left in the stadium. Please contact your Team Manager from Manchester if you have lost something or if you have mistakenly brought something home which wasn’t yours!